How is it already time for March Madness?! We’re not sure how we got this deep into 2018 already, but we’re pumped for more college basketball excitement.
And if you feel like your team might go all the way – or you just want to head to Texas for those last rousing games of the tournament – there’s actually a lot more than hoops on the agenda in San Antonio. Here are some of the activities and events going on during Final Four weekend.
(Warning: The names of these events are heavy on the alliteration.)
March Madness Music Festival
Since 2010, there’s been a three-day music festival that takes place during the Final Four. Fans and locals who are here for a good time in addition to some college ball can attend a series of concerts put on by corporate sponsors over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. This year, it all happens on two stages in Hemisfair Park, located in downtown San Antonio.
Did we mention it’s free?
In the past, performers have included Rihanna, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Maroon 5, Pitbull, and LL Cool J. (We could go on, but yeah, it’s a lot of famous artists and usually a pretty diverse lineup.) Last year, 13 different bands and singers took the stage for around 130,000 fans. There’s food, fun, and sunshine – but lots of people flock to this event, so get there early. Who’s performing this year? Still no word on that, but check back here for details.
Final Four Fan Fest
This one is something you can do with the whole family. Located in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from Friday to Monday, buy tickets to the Final Four Fan Fest by Capital One to try to spot some celebs, get autographs from famous athletes, play games, and watch special presentations. There’s a rock climbing wall, home run derby, free cheer clinics, and you can snap a pic with the NCAA Championship trophy. #FinalFour
Kids under 12 and military get in free, but it’s only $8 to $10 for everybody else, and you can buy your tickets ahead of time if you like!
Reese’s Final Four Friday
This one is pretty big time for hardcore college basketball fans. On the Friday before the games begin, you can go into the Alamodome and watch all the Final Four teams in their last open practices. Admission is free! In the afternoon, they’ll be hosting the Reese’s College All-Star Game. Concessions stands will be open so you can buy food and drinks, and there will be special tributes throughout the course of the day.
Check out the schedule to find our when your team practices here.
Final Four Dribble by Buick
This one is just for kids under 18, but it’s also free!
Starting at the Institute of Texan Cultures, kids and teens can come out to dribble through the streets of downtown San Antonio for this parade-like event. Why would they want to do this you might ask? To make friends and get hyped about basketball, obviously. And if they’re one of the first 3,000 to sign up – yeah, apparently they’re expecting a big crowd – they’ll get an NCAA t-shirt, Wilson basketball, and free entry into the Final Four Fan Fest. Here are the details.
Tip-Off Tailgate by Infiniti
To bring a touch of tailgating atmosphere to the Final Four, Infiniti is sponsoring this multi-day event as a preface to the weekend’s big games. It’s an outdoor pre-game hangout with live music, pep rallies, southwestern food, interactive skills and shooting challenges, beer gardens, brand activations with chances to try new products, and other activities and opportunities to win prizes.
This tailgate experience is happening on The Great Lawn of the University of Phoenix Stadium. On Friday, it’s free for everybody to attend, but for Saturday and Monday, you’ll need to have a ticket to the actual games.
Do Your Own Thing in the City
San Antonio is known for its great weather, Tex-Mex food, and history, so you could go out and explore on your own if you have a few spare days leading up to the games. Be sure to check out the famous San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, which includes The Alamo. The site of this historic battle is located right downtown and it’s free!
This year is also San Antonio’s 300th anniversary and they’re celebrating all year long, so it’s a great time to visit the city. Check out their 15 miles of riverwalk along the San Antonio River, the city’s museums, and Pearl – an old brewery which is now a hip district of vibrant local restaurants, shops, and a weekend farmer’s market.
You could also go biking or walking through the eight miles of paths in Mission Reach, just south of downtown. Or take the quintessential river barge to see more of the city from the water. If you’re feeling like some physical activity, you could even kayak part of it. And if you’re traveling with kids – or you’re traveling with friends who act like kids – there’s also Six Flags and the San Antonio Zoo.
Be sure to check out the city’s Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southern cuisine, but don’t forget that there’s more than just happy hour chips and queso (though that could be your go-to afternoon plan). The local culinary scene is blowing up right now, and you can get oysters, brunch, cajun food, fancy cocktails, pizza, house-made charcuterie, and craft beers all right here in San Antonio.
Need Final Four tickets? Here you go.