Experience San Antonio: Sunken Garden Theater is a favorite outdoor venue

Japanese Tea Gardens at Sunken Garden Theater (Brackenridge Park)

Sunken Garden, Brackenridge Park (San Antonio)

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 More than 11,000 years ago, according to archeology evidence, humans gathered near the headwaters of the San Antonio River in an area now called Brackenridge Park. Today, people continue to visit the 200-acre park and especially enjoy congregating at the open air amphitheater of Sunken Garden Theater.

The venue and park expanse has historical significance going back to the eras of primitive American Indians, Spanish Colonial times, and the Civil War. Since the early 1900’s the Sunken Garden Theater has hosted performances and festivals like The Monkees, Carlos Santana, Bush, Taste of New Orleans, Shakespearean dramas, Operas, Siesta Fest and the always fun Margarita Pour-Off.

Sunken Garden postcard (Jack Dennis)

More recently, the 879 seated theater has held comedy, jazz, Cajun, theatrical, rock music, country and western, and drama festivals and concerts. Some events have required additional portable seating, bring the total general admission with seats to 2,700. During standing-room-only occasions the fenced in setting can accommodate about 6,000 people.

“What makes the Sunken Garden Theater especially compelling are the natural acoustics surrounding the area,” said prominent San Antonio artist Curt Slangal. “It was built in an old rock quarry in the late 1800s and early 1900’s and is a magnificent setting for concerts.”

The amphitheater is located just south of the grounds of the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden located in the southwest corner of Brackenridge Park. It’s neighboring such attractions as the San Antonio Zoo, Witte Museum, miniature Zoo Train ride, Kiddie Park, and new Children’s Museum on Broadway Street.

During the day of an evening event at Sunken Garden Theater, some visitors choose to enjoy the varied tranquil and leisure amenities of Brackenridge Park. Besides the attractions mentioned above, the lush park offers golf, baseball, children’s playground, fishing, hiking, bird watching, and picnic spots.


The Sunken Garden Theater and Japanese Tea Gardens (often referred as Sunken Gardens by locals) share parking at 3800 North St. Mary’s Street, 78212. Parking is also available just across McAllister Freeway (I-281) at the Alamo Stadium (an overhead footbridge spans the highway), the San Antonio Zoo miniature train parking area (just north on St. Mary’s Street). If it’s very crowded free parking is available under the McAllister Freeway overpass at Tuleta Drive near the Zoo.


The nearest restaurants are Augie’s Barbed Wire Smokehouse (Barbeque) and Bombay Bicycle Club located within two blocks south on St. Mary’s Street. On Broadway Street, near the Witte Museum there is Jim’s, IHOP, Picante Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Smoke Shack BBQ, Hung Fung Chinese, Boardwalk Bistro, Good Time Charlie’s and WD Deli. Fast food on Broadway include Sonic Drive-In, Whataburger, Church’s Chicken, Jack in the Box and Taco Cabana.

Some picnickers will make a stop at the H-E-B Central Market, an upscale food store that local chefs frequent for incredible food offerings. Located at 4821 Broadway, Central Market has a café, chef-prepared food specials, and extensive wine and cheese offerings.

All Seasons Ground Care (CLICK) in San Antonio

1 Comment on "Experience San Antonio: Sunken Garden Theater is a favorite outdoor venue"

  1. Great reminder of our own hidden little gem, thnx Jack!

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