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Mission Espada, San Antonio

4.7
#8 of 27 in Historic Sites in San Antonio
Mission · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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One of the missions within the UNESCO-designated San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the first Spanish mission in Texas, Mission Espada showcases a well-preserved acequia, a centuries-old irrigation system. Observe the still-functioning aqueduct and dam, which have been transferring water from the San Antonio River to the mission since their construction between 1731 and 1740. Also, check out the irregular arch of the church doorway, which some theorize to be a Moorish design feature and others just a mishap in construction. By using our San Antonio trip planning app, you can arrange your visit to Mission Espada and other attractions in San Antonio.
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Mission Espada reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
477 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Mission Espada is part of the historic missions of San Antonio. It's worth a visit if in the area. The church is quite small and when we were visiting there was a baptism happening, so it wasn't... 
    Mission Espada is part of the historic missions of San Antonio. It's worth a visit if in the area. The church is quite small and when we were visiting there was a baptism happening, so it wasn't...  more »
  • We started here since it took the longest to get to from downtown. Go early because it gets hot out and doesn’t take long to see everything there. 
    We started here since it took the longest to get to from downtown. Go early because it gets hot out and doesn’t take long to see everything there.  more »
Google
  • ✝️ Peaceful, Quiet Sanctuary ✝️ Mission Espada feels like the smallest of the Missions. It's a serene space populated with lush green grass, coiling trees, and many opportunities for repose. Some of my favorite family photos were taken at this spot, with its tranquil benches, vibrant potted plant-life, and rustic stonework. The silhouette of the Mission against the sky--complete with its bells--is lovely to behold. There's a gift shop on-site, for those wishing to take home a memento of their Mission pilgrimages, as well as restrooms for convenience. I visited around Christmastime and enjoyed the festive flourishes that decorated the grounds.
  • Mission Espada was founded in 1731 when the area was New Spain and is one of the four San Antonio Missions that belong to NPS that you can see. It is still an active Catholic Church as well. All four missions are beautiful and for all the similarities, each is very unique. Of the four, this one is in the most ruins. It is just incredible to stand there looking around on a hot, humid Texas September day and think about the people that lived here. Bathrooms are available to the right after you enter the mission from the visitor entrance. Paths are paved and easy to walk. Just be aware some of the edges can be a bit jagged, so watch your step. The mission is free, but the church asks for a donation in the sanctuary to help maintain the grounds.

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