15 Ways to Enjoy a No-Spend Weekend in San Antonio

I don’t know about you, but March is one of the toughest months of the year for me. My bank account (and waistline!) is still recovering from the holidays (not to mention my waistline!); I need to start saving for upcoming summer vacations; and yet it’s Spring Break and my kids are out of school and want to enjoy themselves. What to do? A No-Spend Weekend or two could be just the answer!

What’s a No-Spend Weekend? Well, it is exactly what it sounds like: You don’t spend money on anything other than necessities during an entire weekend period. That means no eating out, no shopping, no theater tickets, and no ice-cream runs. You can put gas in the car and buy necessities like milk and bread, but no extras. Sure, you could always spend the weekend binging on Netflix, but San Antonio is a great place to explore and discover new things. Besides, who wants to stay inside and watch TV during Spring Break?!

A No-Spend Weekend can be really fun, and you can get creative with it. Here are 15 ways to enjoy a No-Spend Weekend in San Antonio:

1. Head to your nearest park. San Antonio has great parks to explore. I’ve been wanting to try Frisbee golf with my kids for forever. Go teach the kids how it’s done! 

2. Check out FREE museum days. Even better when they are on the weekend, right? The McNay offers free admission on the first Sunday of the month from noon−5:00 P.M. (Click here for a current schedule of the McNay’s Free Family Days.) The Institute of Texan Cultures has free admission on the second Sunday of the month from noon–5:00 P.M. And the San Antonio Museum of Art has free admission every Sunday from 10:00 A.M.–noon. 

3. Enjoy stunning visual art. Projected onto the face of San Fernando Cathedral on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 9:00 P.M., 9:30 P.M., and 10:00 P.M., The Saga is a one-of-a-kind multimedia history of San Antonio. This free art installation is cool for the whole family.

4. Take advantage of FREE crafts. Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts for kids from 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. every Saturday. Home Depot has a DIY workshop for kids once a month. It’s best to register for Home Depot workshops because they fill fast. Both are great for kids who enjoy creating!

5. Get outdoors for a hike. San Antonio Parks and Recreations has great hiking information—check it out before hitting the trail. (And be sure to review former contributor Ariana’s guide to hiking trails in and around SA for some ACMB-approved tips.) Whether you revisit a favorite hiking spot or head to a new area, the kids will enjoy exploring and maybe even get a little tired. It’s also great for that waistline!

6. Learn about history. Head to the San Antonio Missions to learn about our city’s history, or visit the Alamo on the first Saturday of the month for a living history event.

7. Head to the kitchen. Check out what’s in your pantry to create a culinary delight! The kids will have fun experimenting right along with you. It may end up being something unique for dinner! Tortillas, a San Antonio staple, can be made with just flour, salt, oil, water, and a rolling pin.

8. Feed the ducks. Brackenridge Park, one of San Antonio’s historic parks, offers plenty of opportunity to feed hungry quacking ducks. Live Oak Park is another one of my favorites for duck feeding. For a healthier alternative to bread, use corn, grapes, or lettuce as duck food.

9. Visit your local branch of the San Antonio Public Library (or your local city library). Grab some books, movies, audiobooks, etc. and check out your local branch’s schedule of events to see if your library is showing a movie, hosting a concert, or planning an art event. Best of all, it’s FREE!

10. Watch remote control airplanes fly. The RC Club of San Antonio has a website that lists flying fields. These are big boy toys but great to watch!

11. Go for an art drive. San Antonio has great public art and is known for wonderful murals. Trust me, even your teen will love an art tour! Plan out your adventure using this map from Public Art San Antonio, a program from the City of San Antonio that manages public art in our vibrant, colorful city.

12. Take advantage of a FREE class. Schedule one free music lesson with Sam Ash, or check out REI’s free classes on the great outdoors.

13. Volunteer with the family to perform community service. Go pick up trash in a local park or nearby residential area. Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne has family volunteer time every second Saturday to help weed/harvest/mulch, etc.

14. See a FREE outdoor movie. While they’re more frequent in the summer, free family movies do exist year-round. You might want to take a blanket during the colder months. Tower of Americas hosts an outdoor movie once a month.

15. Enjoy a FREE concert. Musical Bridges Around the World offers free concerts on certain Sunday evenings. The San Antonio Symphony is hosting free family concerts at various San Antonio Public Library branches. Be openminded to new types of music and you might find a new musical favorite! 

Check out this month’s Scoop for even more FREE family events in and around San Antonio.

So what are you waiting for? Commit to a No-Spend Weekend this Spring Break. Your bank account (and maybe even your waistline?) will thank you for it!

Do you have a favorite no-spend activity that you enjoy in our city? Comment below to share yours. I’m always looking for unique ideas for my family.