This San Antonio | The Saga review is not sponsored.
The absolute top of my bucket list, for a really long time, was The Alamo. I would never say I wanted to go to San Antonio or I wanted to go to Texas. Quite literally, I wanted to go to The Alamo.
From gawking at it online for years, I knew The Alamo was smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown San Antonio. It wasn’t tucked away in some preserved corner of the city. It was downtown, near the Riverwalk, across from bars and restaurants.
What I didn’t know was that The Saga, possibly San Antonio’s best kept secret, was also smack dab in the middle of downtown San Antonio.
And if you don’t know about this secret, you might miss it. And that would be such an incredible let down.
San Antonio | The Saga Review
San Antonio | The Saga is a 24-minute light show about the history of San Antonio, projected onto the face of the San Fernando Cathedral.
We actually got really lucky and stumbled across San Antonio | The Saga. Well, not literally.
We were sitting in our hotel room the first night we got to San Antonio. Pete jumped in the shower and I started looking for something to do. And I found The Saga.
I hadn’t heard of it in all the time I spent planning our trip, but since we didn’t have anything planned for that night anyway, we took a quick walk down The Riverwalk, over to San Fernando Cathedral.
Honestly, our expectations were low. We just didn’t know what to expect.
We arrived about 30 minutes before The Saga started. That was just enough time to grab some tacos from the Blue Star Ice House, a tiny structure selling food and Blue Star beer, and churros from Mi Taquito Arandas Jalisco, the food truck that was residing on the plaza that night.
We ate our food, Pete drank a beer, and then we walked up to the front of San Fernando Cathedral. We were able to get a table right in the front center of the Cathedral.
Eventually, all the tables filled up and people were sitting on the ground and leaning on lampposts. Definitely get there early so you can get a seat.
The History Of Texas
We had gone to The Alamo earlier in the day and paid to take the history tour. Our tour guide was incredible. He was a retired archeologist and was so knowledgeable. He told us about the history of Texas and San Antonio.
It started with Native Americans, followed by Spanish conquistadors. Later France and Mexico laid claim to Texas. It was its own republic for a while, then finally became the United States. He told us about the Battle of the Alamo, about Davy Crockett’s involvement, about how the façade of The Alamo is sort of a misrepresentation of the actual building.
We grew up in New York, so we learned the history of New York in school. We touched upon the highlights of Texas, like its secession from the United States, but that was pretty much it. So this Alamo history tour was so informative. Plus, our guide was just really interesting, engaging, and passionate about history.
San Antonio | The Saga Light Show
Our tour guide at The Alamo told us the history of San Antonio; San Antonio | The Saga shows the history of Texas via images.
There aren’t words and there isn’t a narration telling you about Texas. You actually have to watch the images that are projected on and move across the building to gather the history of Texas.
The images start when the Native Americans lived in San Antonio and ends at modern San Antonio, depicting buildings that are currently in town, like The Aztec Theatre.
If you’re a tourist (and honestly, tourists are mostly who is gathering to watch this), you probably don’t know the full history of Texas. So while the way the images move to incorporate the cathedral’s windows and frame are gorgeous to watch, you’re probably missing a little of the plot.
There’s music throughout the entire light show. Some of the music is instrumental, like Ashokan Farewell from the miniseries The Civil War and my favorite song to play on violin.
Peppered in are songs with lyrics and a Texas theme, like West Side of Town by Tish Hinojosa which has the lyrics, “San Antonio was home on the west side of town.”
The music matches up with the images on the cathedral and help to tell the story. But really only help if you know the story.
So, if you are a tourist, we suggest paying for the history tour at The Alamo before checking out San Antonio | The Saga. You’ll get so much more out of it.
But, even if you can’t get to The Alamo first, go to The Saga. It’s phenomenal. We sat in awe for nearly 25 minutes.
I don’t know how French artist Xavier de Richemont, the designer of The Saga, did it. I don’t understand how everything lines up perfectly on the 300-year-old San Fernando Cathedral. But he did and it does and it’s amazing.
Watch San Antonio | The Saga
We actually watched San Antonio | The Saga twice. Well, one and a half times. After it ended, there’s about a five minute turnover before the next show starts.
We walked to the back of the Main Plaza, Pete grabbed another beer from Blue Star Ice House, and we waited to see if the second showing was different than the first.
There are three showings nightly on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and they’re all the same. So don’t feel like you have to be there for all three.
If you can’t make it to San Antonio to watch The Saga, you can see the full light show on YouTube below:
San Antonio | The Saga Information:
Main Plaza, Home Of San Fernando Cathedral, 115 N. Main Avenue, San Antonio, TX 78205
Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 9 pm, 9:30 pm, and 10 pm.
Yes. San Antonio | The Saga is free and open to the public.
Yes. There are three main food vendors.
There’s Blue Star Ice House, which sells tacos, chips, BBQ, beer, and margaritas.
There’s Texas Dawgz, a food cart selling chips, hot dogs, and drinks (located at the front left of the San Fernando Cathedral).
And then there’s Poblano’s on the Plaza, which has breakfast foods in the daytime and more dinner foods in the afternoon and during The Saga.
There are tables and chairs located in Main Plaza, in front of the San Fernando Cathedral. You cannot reserve the tables, and they’re available on a first come, first serve basis.
It’s phenomenal and incredible and will honestly blow your mind. I can guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it.
If you do one thing in San Antonio … well, do The Alamo. Seeing that in person was the highlight of my year. But that’s because I’m Alamo-obsessed. If you do two things in San Antonio, do The Alamo and San Antonio | The Saga.
Planning a trip to San Antonio?
If you stumbled over this San Antonio | The Saga review while you’re planning a trip to San Antonio, we have a post of 10+ Outdoor Things To Do In San Antonio, Texas that should help you round out your trip.