Enjoy the lights, culture, festivities, and food of San Antonio this Christmas season.
Known for its Hispanic culture, beautiful Riverwalk, and historic missions, San Antonio is a great city to visit year-round. It has a little bit of something, making it one of the best getaways in Texas.
Enjoy Christmas in San Antonio as the city turns into a winter wonderland featuring gorgeous decorations, holiday light displays, ice skating, and festive activities.
The city has ongoing events, Christmas light displays, and unique shopping destinations to help get you into the holiday spirit.
Visiting San Antonio, Texas for the weekend will allow you time to visit some of the tourist hot spots and local gems in the city.
If you have more than a weekend to explore, then you need to check out these great day trip ideas.
Below are the top things to do when you visit San Antonio at Christmas. The city has everything from spectacular holiday lights to family-friendly events, Christmas carols, Christmas shows, and holiday markets.
Best Things to Do in San Antonio for Christmas
Christmas at the Caverns
Enjoy Christmas on a whole new level at Natural Bridge Caverns. The event takes place over the four weekends in December with caroling in the caverns, a Christmas campfire, hayride, reindeer roundup, and Santa “Spelunker” Clause.
Natural Bridge Caverns is Texas’ largest underground cavern and is always one of the most popular Christmas events.
Christmas Dinner Cruise
Enjoy a narrated boat cruise down the river walk for a romantic holiday dinner.
Guests can enjoy sipping on hot chocolate, and delicious food all while listening to holiday music and taking in the beauty of the decorated San Antonio Riverwalk.
Other cruises operated by Go Rio Cruises include the Downtown Lights Cruise and the Pearl District Lights Cruise which takes visitors around the Museum Reach. Those cruises do not provide dinner, but have drink options and of course, enjoy the views.
Christmas on the Ranch
Located in Boerne, just 35 minutes from San Antonio, is Don Strange Ranch. Christmas on the Ranch is the largest drive-thru light display in the area. The month-long celebration features interactive carriage and hayrides, new light displays, and Christmas shopping.
The event also has food trucks, hot cocoa bars, and s’mores for purchase. Photos of Santa and Ms. Claus are also available.
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Fiesta de Las Luminarias
While the lights will be on every night through January 6, you can also catch fun events like the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias on select weekends.
Experience the holiday serenity guided by the glow of 2,000 luminarias (paper lantern bags with a candle inside), a centuries-old Mexican Christmas tradition to light the way for the Holy Family.
There’s also boat caroling on some nights throughout December.
Ford Holiday River Parade
The Ford Holiday River Parade is a popular holiday tradition in San Antonio. The one hour parade on the San Antonio River features celebrities, decorated floats, costumed people, live music, and more.
The parade typically takes place the day after Thanksgiving and the route begins near the Arneson Theatre and ends near Biga on the Banks restaurant.
Holiday Artisan Market at Pearl
Pearl Holiday Night Market features festive music and local makers for the best in holiday shopping.
It takes place each Wednesday in December from 4-8 pm. The Holiday Night Markets also include traditional culinary favorites like tamales, artisanal chocolates, and sweets. Vendors will vary each week.
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Six Flags Fiesta Texas Holiday in the Park
The park is transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of colorful twinkling lights throughout, magical musical shows, and special appearances by Santa Claus.
Holiday Shopping on the Riverwalk
Experience the beauty of the San Antonio River Walk at the Artisan Show by shopping over 40 handmade artisan booths, including pottery, textiles, jewelry, woodwork, paintings, beadwork, and more.
The Holiday River Walk Artisan Show is a great way to support local shops and purchase unique Christmas gifts.
Ice Skate at Travis Park
Travis Park is the coolest place to have fun in downtown San Antonio! Tickets can be purchased in advance or on-site. Tickets include ice skates and 75-minutes on the Rotary Ice Rink.
On Thursdays, there will be intermittent snow at 5 p.m., while the rink with have Food Truck Fridays and Storytime with Santa on Saturdays. On Sundays, the rink will have “Skating with the Stars,” allowing people to enjoy the sight of seeing professional skaters at the attraction.
La Gran Posada at San Fernando Cathedral
Las Posadas (Spanish for “the inns”) is when Christians gather to reenact Mary and Joseph’s challenging journey to Bethlehem just before the birth of Jesus.
This one day event will start in Milam Park (across from Market Square), then winds its way to the cathedral, where the large crowd is welcomed with singing and a party.
San Antonio Botanical Garden turns into a Christmas wonderland during the winter months. Guests will enjoy strolling through the 1-mile path that is adorned with over one million lights that feature new installations from around the world.
Enjoy the sights of the Fire Garden and display of Bluebonnets which is an installation exclusive to the Lone Star state.
Guests can also roast s’mores, and dine on other festive food and beverages. This after-dark holiday oasis is one of the best Christmas lights displays in San Antonio.
The holidays aren’t complete until you experience the magic of Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
This magical holiday tradition of traveling through the Land of Snow and Sweets brings the characters to life.
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River Walk Christmas Lights
The San Antonio River Walk shines a little brighter during the holiday season. It’s easy to get in the Christmas spirit when dining at the riverside restaurants, strolling along the path, and taking in the sight of more than 100,000 lights on the building, trees, and bridges.
The lighting ceremony takes places the Friday after Thanksgiving and is decorated through the New Year.
San Antonio Christmas Showcase
San Antonio Christmas Showcase is Texas’ premier holiday shopping event! With over 300 vendors, shoppers can expect a variety of fun and unique gifts.
Taking place November 18-19 is a great excuse to grab your friends for a day of shopping. Shoppers will enjoy holiday food, craft workshops, winery row, a kids zone, and a visit with Santa.
Santa’s Railroad Wonderland
The railroad museum is filled with festive decorations, along with scale model railroad layouts, and train rides. Santa will also be on-site for visits and photos.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
This wintry wonderland features Christmas shows, festive foods, Santa Claus, the largest Christmas light display in Texas and so much more! It’s an event that the whole family will enjoy.
Guests will be greeted with millions of twinkling lights blanketing the park, and live entertainment, then meet Santa and friends as you sip hot chocolate and sing along with Christmas carolers at Sea World.
Zoo Lights At San Antonio Zoo
Guests can see life-sized animals from the savanna, including a 15-foot tall illuminated giraffe in Starry Safari while sipping hot cocoa; guests can stroll under a unique display of lights, roast s’mores, Christmas tree, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, and visit Santa.
San Antonio Zoo Lights also boasts a lakeside lightship, reindeer row, photo displays, camel rides, holiday train rides, photos with Santa, and roasted s’mores. Runs from November 18 – December 31.
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