As the weather starts to drop (even if ever so slightly), our city begins to transform. Before you know it, your calendar will quickly be filled with holiday and Christmas events in San Antonio in 2019. As a matter of fact, the list of happenings in and around town can almost be overwhelming! There are sporting events, holiday festivals, Christmas food vendors and amusement parks—more than enough to please everyone.
While the holidays are a very special time of year, it can be hard to keep track of everything going on, especially when most of us also need to find time to put up holiday decorations and choose holiday recipes for family gatherings. Check out our picks for 2019 so that you can make some new traditions while revisiting local annual favorites which make the holidays in our area truly magical.
San Antonio Riverwalk Events
The Riverwalk is a perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit, whether you are a local or entertaining out of town guests. Here are a few ways you can enjoy this part of downtown during the holiday season.
Ford Holiday River Parade
The 39th Annual Ford Holiday River Parade is a San Antonio tradition which kicks off the lighting of the Riverwalk. This year’s theme is Texas Music Christmas. The parade will include 25 floats, each featuring a popular Texas musician playing their own Christmas music. Some of the musicians include four-time Grammy winner, Jimmie Vaughn; Randy Brooks, who wrote the Christmas classic “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”; the thirteen-time Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, Shelly Lares and many more. The event starts at 6pm on November 29th and will run until 9:45pm. Tickets are required to get a prime seat to take in the festivities, and they sell out in advance each year.
Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias
As many of us in San Antonio know, luminarias are a traditional Mexican lantern consisting of a small candle within a brown paper bag. For centuries, these lights have illuminated the banks of the Riverwalk. For three weekends in December, luminarias will go on at dusk, complementing the lights strung overhead. You can take in the spectacle by walking along the river or by buying tickets to the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling event. The Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias starts on December 6th and wraps up on December 21st, taking place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Ford Holiday Boat Caroling
See twinkling Christmas lights liven up downtown with a group of your friends during the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling. One of these boats fills up 16 to 20 people, and a whole party is required to reserve a boat. Many church groups, community groups and workplaces often take advantage of Ford Holiday Boat Caroling as a fun way to celebrate the holidays together. An iPod filled with Christmas carols is available for you to sing along as you take in all of the sights. Boat trips can be scheduled from December 5th to December 22nd.
Holiday Lights On The River Walk
Take in the beauty of over 100,000 holiday lights along the River Walk starting the day after Thanksgiving. You can take in these lights every day from November 29th until January 13th from dusk until dawn, just keep in mind you’ll need a ticket to the Ford Holiday Parade if you would like to see the lights after 4pm on November 29th. Aside from the Ford Holiday Parade, it is free to go see all of these beautiful lights! Go check out the Holiday Lights on the River Walk to see this San Antonio landmark as you’ve never seen it before.
San Antonio In December: The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
There are plenty of other fun events going on in the River City during the last month of the year. Depending on what your interests are, you can watch sports, go for a festive run or go shopping for your Christmas presents.
The Alamo Bowl
The Alamo Bowl pits the top football team in the Pac-12 against the winner of the Big 12. This year’s game kicks off on December 31st at 6:30pm. A San Antonio tradition since 1993, the Alamo Bowl is an exciting way to ring in the New Year. There’s something for everyone, even if you don’t like football. The halftime show brings together over 1,000 high school musicians, dancers and cheerleaders from across America, and the Fan Zone at Sunset Station at 2pm offers interactive games, food and live music.
9th Annual Santa Antonio 5K Walk/Run
Trying to burn off some of those holiday cookies? If so, the Santa Antonio 5K is perfect for you! A Santa suit is included in registration. Get prepped for this year’s event by finding or making your holiday playlist and putting on your Santa or holiday attire. This 5k is on December 1st, and while it’s a great way to begin your December, it’s also a great way to support the local community. This run benefits cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center and it ends with an after-party with lots of food and beer!
Nerdtacular Christmas Comic Con
Do you have friends and family who love Christmas? If so, Nerdtacular Christmas Comic Con is a perfect event to attend with them, and maybe you’ll even have an opportunity to sneak away to get them a gift they’ll cherish. Vendors will have all sorts of “whatchamacallits”, including custom frames, fine art, plushies, hats, apparel, jewelry, fashion accessories, crocheted goods, ornaments, magnets, stickers, buttons, charms and any other Christmas related objects you could imagine. There will also be Christmas music, a costume contest, holiday movies and a special appearance by Santa Claus to really get you in the Christmas spirit! This event is free and will take place from December 7th to December 8th from 10am to 6pm.
More Christmas Activities In San Antonio
Many of the parks around San Antonio are adorned with Christmas lights even before Thanksgiving. This festive decor brings an added level of enjoyment to these already wonderful destinations. Another benefit of these Christmas activities is that many of them start before Thanksgiving and last until the New Year, giving you plenty of time to take it all in.
Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration
Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration features the biggest holiday display in all of Texas with over 9 million lights. Guests will not only get the chance to see aquatic creatures, but they will also have the opportunity to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other holiday characters. Seaworld puts up their lights early and keeps them up through the New Year, you’ll have from November 16th until January 5th to get in on the action.
Zoo Lights gives visitors the opportunity to see all of the animal residents, as well as dazzling lights. There’s even a nightly Lakeside Light Show that is created using pixel technology. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and get ready for some holiday fun! Zoo Lights begins on November 22nd and will take place until December 31st.
Six Flags Holiday In The Park
This special event provides you and your family with many different ways to celebrate the holidays, including a Holiday Express train that allows you to ride around the park and take in all of the sights. There are also numerous light displays and musical events to attend. Six Flags Holiday in the Park will kick off on November 23rd. The last day to attend is January 5th.
Old West Christmas Lights Fest
This event, which takes place in Boerne, combines the fun Old West atmosphere with Christmas cheer. Over 40 traditional Western building at the Enchanted Springs Ranch are adorned with holiday lights. The Christmas Light Fest will begin on Thanksgiving. Santa will be there every night to take free pictures with kids—that is, until Christmas Eve, when he has to take off to make sure all of the kids on the nice list get their gifts. If you want to save a little money while giving back to the community, bring a non-perishable food item for the San Antonio food bank and you will receive a discount of $2 off your ticket price.
Holiday Night Market At The Pearl
The Holiday Night Market at the Pearl takes place on December 5th, 12th and 19th from 4pm until 8pm. Between the farmers market, artisanal vendors and festive live music, this market will surely get you in the spirit. You can also purchase delicious holiday treats at this free event, such as tamales, artisanal chocolates and other sweets.
Christmas At The Caverns
Looking for a unique way to celebrate Christmas? If so, this event is great for you! Hear your favorite Christmas carols echoing through Texas’ largest underground cavern and take a photo with Santa “Spelunker” Claus. You can admire these beautiful caverns with a holiday twist starting on December 7th. New this year, the caverns will also have an ice skating rink, a giant snowglobe, an underground nativity set and a cowboy hayride. When you buy a ticket to Christmas at the Caverns, a portion of your ticket goes towards the San Antonio Food Bank.
Wonderland Christmas At Morgan’s Wonderland
Celebrate the holidays at Morgan’s Wonderland on November 29th and 30th, as well as on December 7th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd. The attractions at this theme park are made even more magical with twinkling lights, a petting zoo and a simulated ice rink. The folks at Morgan’s Wonderland are even offering complimentary cookies and hot chocolate for you to enjoy during your visit.
One-Night Events To Celebrate Christmas In San Antonio
Get out your calendars, and your guests’ travel dates, because these seasonal events take place on one night only.
Light The Way Holiday Festival
This festive event has been kicking off the holiday season for locals here in San Antonio for over 30 years. While this event starts at 3pm on November 23rd, the holiday lights don’t turn on until 6:15. That’s not a problem, because there is plenty to do while you wait. The schedule of the Light The Way Holiday Festival includes musical performances, food trucks, a kids’ corner and vendors so you can get your gift shopping done early. This festival wraps up around 9:30pm with a fireworks display.
Martina McBride’s 2019 Joy Of Christmas Concert
This year marks the 9th year of Martina McBride ringing in the holidays with a concert series with performances taking place across the country. She will be singing everything from the traditional “O Holy Night” to the joyful “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. You can purchase tickets for this show on December 1st here.
Dulce! is an evening filled with many types of favorite holiday treats. While you are making your way through this culinary wonderland, sample a seasonal beverage, including cider, beer, Cafe de Olla, champurrado, spiked hot cocoa, tea, candy rimmed cocktails and coffee. Interactive art from local vendors and DJs spinning beloved holiday tunes add to the experience.
10th Annual Museum Reach River Of Lights Kick-Off
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Museum Reach River of Lights Kick-Off with Santa and Mrs. Clause, live jazz music, food trucks and live holiday music barges. This event put on by the San Antonio River Authority is free to the public and will start at 6pm on December 7th, and will come to an end at 9pm. Come take a look at the 30 foot Christmas tree they have decorated for the holidays!
ABC Can Save You Time This Holiday Season
Of course, with everything going on, we still have to make time for family and friends, holiday parties, shopping and getting your home ready for the holidays. ABC Home & Commercial Services has been making the holidays a little brighter for homeowners for generations. That includes helping with many seasonal to-dos, including hanging holiday lighting, refreshing your landscaping and getting your lawn and trees looking their best. With ABC’s help, your home will the envy of your street during this busy time of year, without your having to lift a finger.