Meet the Missions

Meet the San Antonio Missions

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Established between 1718 and 1731, San Antonio Missions sit along a nearly 8-mile stretch of the San Antonio River and are the most complete and intact example of the Spanish crown’s efforts to colonize, evangelize and defend the northern frontier of New Spain.

During the 18th century, they were self-sustained and buzzed with construction, agriculture, activities, trades, and worship. Today, each Mission church remains an important part of South Texas heritage and U.S. history; hosting an active parish to serve a vital part of the community.

Mission Espada

Home to the only functioning Spanish Colonial aqueduct in North America

Over 265 years old, this aqueduct, acequia system is a prime example of how impressively well-built the San Antonio Missions really are. The system and dam still feed privately owned farm fields, making this Mission home to the oldest continuously operating aqueduct in the U.S.

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Mission San Juan

Explore the farm-to-table mission

Mission San Juan retains much of the rural feel it had when it was established in 1731. This Spanish Mission made the most of its site directly along the banks of the San Antonio River, using a dam and an acequia to irrigate the cultivated farm lands called labores.

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Mission San José

Immerse yourself in 18th century daily life

Called the “Queen of the Missions,” Mission San José drew praise as far back as 1778 when Fray Juan Agustin Morfi noted it in his journal. “It is, in truth, the first mission in America,” he wrote. "In point of beauty, plan and strength … [none] along the entire frontier line that can compare with it.”

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Mission Concepción

Journey to New Spain as it once was

Mission Concepción, dedicated in 1755, is the only mission church in the Western Hemisphere that has not sustained major damage to its walls and roof. Visitors are amazed by the solar geometry and interior acoustics. A barrel-vaulted masonry roof and 44-foot high dome dominate the interior of the church, and the impressive carved stone portal and symmetrical twin bell towers outside are prime examples of the more austere late-Baroque style of New Spain.

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The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Travel to the 18th Century

Set aside a full day or just a few hours to explore the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park at your own pace. Use our interactive map to plan your trip, starting at the southernmost Mission Espada, and heading north to Mission Concepción, with stops at Missions San Juan and San José along the way.

Getting Around
  • The VIVA Missions Route provides a dedicated, direct bus route between each of the Missions in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and The Alamo downtown. Route schedules are available at the VIA Metropolitan Transit website.
  • Bring your bicycle or rent one at San Antonio B-cycle rental stations located at each Mission. Biking is a great way to enjoy the eight-mile hike and bike trail that runs from Mission Espada to Mission Concepción.
  • If you choose to drive, there is free, convenient parking at each Mission in the Park.
Park Operating Hours

9 am to 5 pm daily
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's Day

Additional Resources