To rent a car or to not rent a car - that is the question.  Whether you want to explore the outer regions of San Antonio or just stay downtown that is ultimately the question.  Define what you want to do and let that dictate your decision.  If you don't plan on venturing too far from downtown, then don't rent a car.

The taxi fare from the airport to the Alamo (downtown) is under $25. and all taxicab rates are charged per vehicle NOT by passenger.  A taxi is the best way to travel if you want to get to your destanation on time. The taxi travel time between the airport to downtown is about 15 minutes. Taxis can be hired fast just outside both terminals at curbside cabstands.  (

If you are a single traveler, and you have time for the usual shuttle delays. You also have the Airport Shuttle option and the rates are charged per person. The downtown rate for one passenger is $18, two passengers $36, three passengers $54, four passengers $72.  You can take a city bus or a downtown streetcar that will take you to most tourist locations such as Market Square, Brackenridge Park / Zoo, the Missions, SeaWorld etc.  You are dependent on public transportation schedules at this point, but you will save a great deal of money.

Otherwise, you may want rent a car if you wish to have more freedom to come/go at your own pace or to see other attractions such as the Texas Hill Country ( that includes horseback riding in Bandera, shopping in Fredericksburg, tubing the Guadalupe in New Braunfels (, caving at Natural Bridge Caverns (, or exploring wineries (

Please note that if you decide to rent a car and stay downtown, parking can be expensive.  However, the following is a brief outline of different parking options, and for the most part, if you are willing to walk a few blocks from your hotel, you'll be able to save a few dollars. 

First of all, many hotels charge a premium for valet parking as would be expected.  The Marriott charges $25/day for valet and $17/day to self-park in their lot.  Found a garage one block away on the corner of Bowie and Market that charges $8/day. Two blocks away from the hotel in the opposite direction is the River Center Parking Garage that charges the following:
0-60 minutes - free
61-90 minutes - $3
91-120 min. - $4
121-150 min. - $5
151-180 min. - $6
181-300 min. - $10
over 300 min. - $15
Across the street from the garage on the corner of Bowie and Crocket are three lots that charge $10/day Fridays through Sunday and $5 or $7/day (depending on the lot) on Monday through Thursday.  Hotel Valencia charges $27/day for valet and $17/day to self-park. Across the street at a diagonal on the corner of Houston and Soledad is a lot that charges $7/day.  Just a block away on Travis street there are a couple of parking garages that charge a flat rate of $6/day. St. Mary's church on Navarro and Pecan has lots on both sides that are only $2.50/day.

Just north of there are the "20 cent s per hour" parking meters (the least expensive parking in downtown that I always use) on Auditorium circle, Lexington & Taylor streets. You can pay for an entire day at once, which is just $2.  NOTE: Sundays are always free on all meters!!  There are other meters around town, but be sure to look at the rate on the meter as each one is different.  Some charge $1/hour, so be careful!

One big other option to consider is that if you opt for staying in a hotel away from downtown you will not only have free parking, but you'll also save money on the hotel.  It just depends on if you want the ambiance of staying on the Riverwalk or not.  Otherwise, you can stay away from downtown, save money, and use that saved money to pay for parking on an excursion to the downtown area for the afternoon or night.  Hope this helps your travel plans as far as transportation is concerned.  Have a great stay in SA!!

Here’s a link to the City run garages