San Antonio is such a magical place to visit year-round, but especially during the holidays, with its abundance of Christmas events and holiday things to do! With beautiful lights everywhere, choosing where to celebrate the holidays may prove challenging. So, we’ve compiled a list of Christmas events & seasonal activities happening in 2023 to help!
There are so many things to see and so many holiday/Christmas events that will put you in the holiday spirit, from strolls along the San Antonio Riverwalk, to yummy holiday treats, and holiday lights in all sorts of shapes and sizes!
@mycurlyadventures One lf my faveoite places to see holiday lights! Its one of the most magical places in Texas #texas ♬ It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas – Michael Bublé
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Free Holiday & Christmas Events in San Antonio
The Tunnel of Lights at Legacy Park (FREE)
During Holiday Light City, Legacy Park transforms into a winter wonderland, featuring a unique holiday light installation known as the Tunnel of Lights.
One of the key highlights of the Holiday Light City event is the ceremonial lighting of the trees at Legacy Park. This grand ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 14, 2023 at 4:30 PM.
In addition to the spectacular light display, the event also features Holiday Night City Live, featuring various activities and entertainment on November 30 (5 PM to 9 PM).
Be sure to come and enjoy a tail-wagging Yappy Hour from 5 PM to 6:45 PM, with music from a live DJ, followed by live holiday music from 7 PM to 9:30 PM! There will also be pets available for adoption, food from Pinkerton’s Barbecue, and a variety of local artists/vendors.
Moreover, the Holiday Light City event extends beyond Legacy Park, with over five blocks of Houston Street, from Legacy Park to the Alamo, being part of the festivities.
Free Photos with Santa
EAA Education Outreach Center
Get your photo taken with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Elf Karston (the larger-than-life Texas Blind Salamander mascot) at the EAA Education Outreach Center’s Holiday Jamboree, presented by the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
You will receive a free print of your photo and there will be complimentary sweet treats, an ornament decoration activity, and games with prizes (while supplies last)! The event will take place on November 18, 2023, between 10 AM and 2 PM. Schedule your visit by selecting “Holiday Jamboree” here.
Bass Pro Shops (FREE)
Visit Bass Pro Shops in San Antonio to take a picture with Santa Claus. He will be in store through Christmas Eve 2023! This event is free and perfect for the whole family! There will also be complimentary hot cocoa and and an array of holiday treats. You can even shop for a loved one while you wait and enjoy giveaways while they last!
The H-E-B Christmas Tree (FREE)
We already have Texas waffles and Texas just-about-everything. It only makes sense that we have a Texas tree too!
The H-E-B Christmas Tree at Travis Park is a 50-foot concolor fir decorated with ten-thousand red, white, and blue lights, in true Texas fashion!
The Christmas tree lighting will take place on November 24, 2023, at 6 PM. The festivities, however, will begin at 4 PM and feature crafts, giveaways, food trucks and live music, as well as a visit from Santa himself! There will also be a free screening of The Grinch in the park at 7 PM.
The H-E-B Christmas Tree will be on display throughout the holiday season.
The San Antonio Riverwalk (FREE)
Since 1975, the holiday lights on the Riverwalk have become one of the most iconic Christmas events in San Antonio! Witness a breathtaking presentation featuring more than 100,000 lights adorning its majestic bald cypress trees.
You’ll find riverboats filled with Christmas carolers, restaurants where people enjoy each other’s company over dinner, and shops adorned with festive decorations and twinkling lights.
The shops along the Riverwalk offer a wide array of fantastic gifts, making it a joyful (and convenient) destination for holiday shopping.
The lights will be up from November 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024 (at dawn) between 5:30 PM and 8 AM nightly.
Holidays on Houston Street (FREE)
If you want to catch some holiday vibes, you’ve got to hit up Houston Street. Spanning over five blocks, from Legacy Park to the Alamo, the event features dazzling displays of twinkling lights, larger-than-life holiday décor, and a lively atmosphere filled with festive activities and entertainment.
Local businesses and eateries will also join in the fun, offering special treats and surprises that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Nov. 24 – Jan. 2, 2024
Bad Santa Pub Run
On the Rocks Pub will host a FREE Bad Santa Pub Run on December 1st, 2023 from 7 PM to 2 AM. Come dressed in your best holiday attire and enjoy dancing and bar specials all night long! Be sure to register online so they’ll have a free wristband for you!
Westover Field of Lights (FREE)
Dive into an enchanting world with 300,000 synchronized lights, expanding over a half-mile, accompanied by your favorite holiday songs at the Westover Field of Lights.
This joyous occasion will also include an array of kid-friendly activities, concessions, a visit to Santa’s workshop, and memorable photo ops, including a complimentary picture with Santa.
The event will be held December 1-18, 2023, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at the Westover Sports Complex. Admission is free, but you do need to RSVP online.
Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias (FREE)
Along with the River Walk’s beautiful Christmas lights, 2,000 luminarias AKA traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns, will illuminate the cobblestone path along the banks of the river.
Time your visit for dusk on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between December 2nd & 17th, 2023 for some additional holiday magic in downtown San Antonio.
Witte Holiday Market (Free)
Check out the annual Witte Holiday Market when you’re in San Antonio for some real Christmas feels. This annual event features over 35 local artisans and vendors selling handmade gifts, holiday decorations, and delicious treats. It’s a great way to pick up unique gifts and support local artists at the same time.
It’s more than just a market; it’s a whole vibe, a place where you can get into the holiday spirit and maybe cross a few things off your gift list too. The Annual Witte Holiday Market is held on Dec. 3, 2023 at 12pm to 5pm.
Breakfast with Santa at Caliente Harley-Davidson (FREE)
Caliente Harley-Davidson will host a FREE breakfast with pancakes, eggs, hot chocolate, and pictures with Santa on December 16, 2023, from 9 AM to 11 AM (while supplies last). Location: 7230 N.W. Loop 410
Ticketed Holiday & Christmas Events in San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio’s Christmas Celebration
This event will showcase a wintry, aquatic wonderland complete with themed performances, holiday cuisine, Santa Claus, Texas’ biggest Christmas light exhibit, and more!
With lots of family-friendly attractions, including Sesame Street Christmas and dinner with Rudolph and friends, SeaWorld welcomes guests of all ages!
The park will celebrate the holiday season from November 9, 2023 through January 2, 2024. Tickets can be purchased online.
Celebrate a White Christmas in Texas
Experience JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in a whole new way this holiday season at their Snow Factory!
Throw real snowballs with their Snowball Build & Blast and enjoy unlimited rides down Snow Flow Mountain on real ice! You can also participate in a sing-along with Mrs. Claus, take photos with Santa, and decorate your very own Christmas cookies!
This event is open to the public, but inventory is limited, and blackout dates may apply. Tickets are available online for between $15 and $40.
Or, book your getaway between November 11 and December 31, 2023 before it’s over!
Experience Lightscape, a one-mile route inside the San Antonio Botanical Garden of enchanting light exhibits crafted by both local and international artists, including the iconic cathedral arch tunnel and its more than a 100,000 lights.
There will also be festive food and beverages, including roasting s’mores! The Lightscape will take place from November 17 – December 31, 2023. Tickets can be purchased online, starting at just $18!
The Rotary Ice Rink is set to return to downtown San Antonio’s Travis Park the Friday before Thanksgiving and will be open every day until January 15, 2024. Tickets are available online for $15.
Come and celebrate Frostival at The DoSeum, San Antonio’s Museum for Kids, for a season filled with kid-friendly play and fun! Included with museum entry, discover the latest, seasonal additions, like the specially designed “sock-skating rink,” family-friendly events, and much more!
You can expect all of this family-friendly holiday fun between November 18, 2023 and January 7, 2024.
The DoSeum will also be hosting special events. These require separate purchases:
- Winter Wonderfest will take place on December 9th from 10 AM to 5 PM. There will be musical wall installations, holiday lights, stories from Mrs. Claus, face-painting, a hot cocoa bar, “sock-skating,” and of course, photos with Santa. Tickets can be purchased here. Kids 3 and under are FREE!
- The DoSeum will also be hosting their Holiday Camps for various age levels during the following days: November 20-22, December 19-22, and December 27-29, 2023. See their website to register now!
Crumbling Castle Lights: Drive Thru Forest of Lights
If you’re in San Antonio during the Christmas season, you definitely don’t want to miss the Crumbling Castle Lights.
The experience takes a magical twist with its drive-thru forest of lights. It’s like driving through a fairy-tale forest filled with thousands of sparkling lights. Tall trees are all lit up, creating a magical tunnel of colors. You’ll also come across animated light displays and festive scenes that’ll make the journey truly enchanting.
Open from Nov. 18 – Jan. 1, 2024 from 6pm to 10pm. The general admission ticket is $40, while the season pass ticket is $75.
Holiday in the Park – Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Admire stunning light displays like Candy Cane Lane, live musical performances, and more, combined with all of your favorite, year-round rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Catch Holiday in the Park from November 18, 2023 – January 7, 2024. One-day tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online.
@mycurlyadventures Christmas lights with a side of thrills! #christmas #texas ♬ What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder
The entire zoo will come alive with dazzling lights, just in time for the holiday season. This includes the addition of two new 32-foot LED trees and the illumination of all the themed areas throughout the zoo. Over 95 percent of the lights used are LED, ensuring energy efficiency.
There will be TONS of fun activities, including a laser lightshow, petting zoo, Polar Playground, cookie decorating with elves, and more!
Zoo Lights is free for members and prices range from $27 to $32 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online. Come visit November 18 – December 31, 2023.
Photos with Santa at the Shops at La Cantera
You’ll find some fun, festive things going on at La Cantera! Have a pet photo taken with Santa between November 20 to December 5, 2023. Photo opportunities are open from 4 PM to 7 PM.
Santa Cares Day is a great option for a sensory-friendly photo with Santa! Come out to La Cantera’s Center Court on December 3, 2023 from 10:30 AM to 11:30AM. Book your appointment here.
Ice Skating at San Antonio Square
Step into the holiday cheer at the largest ice skating rink in San Antonio Square. This place turns into a cozy corner of winter joy right in the middle of our city. If you’re not keen on skating, there’s still plenty to do.
Kids can hop aboard the Polar Express train ride that’s sure to bring smiles. Also, don’t miss out on snapping some adorable pictures with their themed backdrops — they’re perfect for your family holiday cards!
Just remember, if you want to join in on all the non-skating fun, you’ll need a Winter Wonderland Pass. From November 23 to December 31, 2023. The ticket price is $5 for admission and $15 if you want to skate.
Devine Acres Farm
If you’re looking for a cozy and fun Christmas outing near San Antonio, you’ve got to check out the Christmas Countryfest at Devine Acres Farm.
One of the highlights of the CountryFest is the opportunity to cut your own Christmas tree. There’s also plenty of simple, fun activities for the kids and the kids-at-heart, including hayrides around the farm and an extra special treat—a visit from Santa Claus himself!
Make sure to bring your camera because you’ll want to remember the good times you’ll have at this down-home Christmas celebration! The CountryFest is open every weekend from November 24 to December 17, 2023. Purchase your tickets here.
Ford Holiday River Parade
The 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights along the San Antonio Riverwalk on November 24, 2023. The parade will begin at 6 PM at the Tobin Center before reaching other parts of the Riverwalk.
There are free places to sit along the East side of the Riverwalk between Pecan Street and Richmond Avenue, but these are only available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You must also bring your own chairs.
Otherwise, this parade will be a ticketed event (purchase tickets here), with seats at the Arneson River Theatre and along the 4-mile route. Some restaurants also offer packages specifically for the Ford Holiday Parade, including Taco Cabana (purchase tickets here).
If you can’t make it, the River Walk Christmas lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day.
Old West Christmas Light Fest
During Boerne’s Old West Christmas Light Fest, Enchanted Springs Ranch is lit up with more than 2 million twinkling lights, with a spectacular light show in an authentic Old West town setting, along with holiday treats, live music, photos with Santa, and activities for everyone to enjoy.
The event will premiere November 24th, 2023, with the ranch aglow from 5 PM to 10 PM every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 10th. Then, starting December 15th, the light fest becomes a nightly event, open every day until December 23rd, 2023. Tickets are available online.
Experience the iconic Alamo grounds in a whole new way this holiday season. The gardens surrounding the Alamo will be adorned with all kinds of vibrant lights, including the Christmas tree in Alamo Plaza.
With hours extended until 8 PM, there’s even a chance you might come across carolers during your visit.
Take advantage of this iconic San Antonio photo op from November 24, 2023 to January 2, 2024. Tickets can be purchased online.
Get Tickets to Las Nuevas Tamaleras
The Carver Community Cultural Center will be showing Las Nuevas Tamaleras between November 30 and December 3, 2023.
Given the prominent tradition of tamale-making during the holidays, you’ll enjoy this comical story about spirited family members determined that their tamale recipe is the best.
This delightful Christmas play has been performed in San Antonio for over 26 years, and has become just as much of a tradition as The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol.
Tickets are priced at $26 and are available online.
Sing Christmas Carols on the Water
Bring your friends and reserve a boat for the Ford Boat Holiday Caroling experience. Individual caroling tickets are also available.
Caroling will take place from November 30 – December 23, 2023. Reserve your spot online if you’d like to participate.
Alternatively, you can simply come and enjoy the free caroling, either from the riverbanks or from the comfort of a restaurant patio.
A New Take on A Christmas Carol
Experience the timeless narrative of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story through spoken word and American Sign Language (ASL) shadow performances.
Witness the characters spring to life as ASL interpreters cast striking shadows that capture Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation.
The show will run between December 1st & 17th, 2023, excluding Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Prices vary between $18 and $48, depending on your age. Get your tickets online now!
Eat Breakfast with Santa
Enjoy breakfast with Santa and the entire family near San Antonio on December 2, 2023 at 8 AM or 9:30 AM. Snap lots of pictures and enjoy pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, hot chocolate, and coffee. Location: 105 Main Street, Round Top, TX 78954
Have a delicious breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus with the entire family for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience!
There will be Christmas music and story time with Santa, as well as a “Letters to Santa” and coloring activity. Snap some pictures for your holiday cards or your feed while you’re at it! Dec. 2, 2023, from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Tickets can be purchased here. Location: 420 W Market St.
The La Cantera Neiman Marcus in San Antonio will host breakfast with Santa on December 9, 2023, from 9 AM to 10 AM. There will also be a beautiful spread including breakfast pastries, Brioche French Toast, hot chocolate, and more. Mimosas will also be available for guests 21+. Tickets can be purchased here. Location: 15900 La Cantera Parkway
Santa’s Railroad Wonderland
This holiday event at the Texas Transportation Museum will feature all kinds of holiday lights and decor. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, explore the museum and its grounds, and take photos with Santa. The museum will also offer $1 concessions and train rides on demand.
Santa’s Railroad Wonderland will be open December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, & 17, 2023 from 5:30 PM to 9 PM, with last admissions at 8 PM. Parking opens at 5:15 PM. Pricing ranges from $9 to $12, and parking is free. Tickets can be purchased online, with limited tickets available at the door.
Christmas at the Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns will feature professional singing groups and choirs performing your favorite carols inside the largest underground cavern in Texas, along with a 30-foot Christmas tree, and a 1/3-mile path illuminated with holiday lights.
You can also take photos with Santa, play reindeer games in their 5,000-square-foot outdoor maze, and listen to Mrs. Claus’ captivating tales. There will also be s’mores, live music, a kid’s ice skating rink, and shops full of holiday gifts!
Christmas at the Caverns will take place on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 15-23, and 26-30, 2023. Tickets range from $18 to $47 and can be purchased online.
SantaCon 2023 Holiday Pub Run
Dress up in your Santa suit, ugly Christmas sweater, or any other themed holiday costume and enjoy free entry in bars and venues all over San Antonio on December 9, 2023 (1 PM to 8 PM)! There will also be live DJs, food, exclusive drink specials, and a costume contest! Purchase your tickets here!
The Light Park
The Light Park in Selma, Texas is a renowned drive-through holiday light display, known as one of the world’s longest light tunnels. The park features millions of lights, providing a dazzling show described as “the Brightest Show South of the North Pole.”
Beyond the light tunnel, the park also includes other electrifying light shows across its locations. Each show boasts over a million lights, adding to the festive atmosphere and making it a must-visit destination during the holiday season.
The Light Park will be open daily, seven days a week, through New Year’s Day. Only one ticket is needed per vehicle, starting at just $29 each. This event is also pet-friendly with food and drink available for purchase. Get yours online now!
Visit a Holiday Pop-Up
The Holiday Hideaway: A Chicken N Pickle Pop-Up Bar
If you want to mix up your Christmas cheer with some fun, check out The Holiday Hideaway at Chicken N Pickle. It’s a pop-up bar that’s all about having a good time during the holidays.
The place is filled with Christmas lights and decorations that make it look like you’ve jetted off to a cozy cabin in the mountains. You can grab a holiday-themed drink—think spice and everything nice—and if you’re feeling active, play a round of pickleball. It’s a cool spot to hang with friends or take the family for something different.
Please note that The Holiday Hideaway is for guests 21+ only. It’s open from November 18 to December 31, 2023. So, make sure to check it out before it’s gone! Reservations are required.
Elsewhere Garden: The Ultimate Grinch Pop-Up
If you’re up for a bit of mischief and a whole lot of holiday fun, you can’t miss Elsewhere Garden’s Ultimate Grinch Pop-Up. Decked out in green and filled with all sorts of Grinchy decorations, it’s a festive, quirky spot to grab a drink and snap some hilarious photos.
They’ve got themed drinks that are as sassy as the Grinch himself, and you might even run into the green guy offering grouchy high-fives. It’s the perfect place for you and your friends to toast to the holidays! Starts Nov. 22, 2023.
Esquire Tavern: Miracle on Commerce St.
Get ready to be swept up in the holiday spirit with Miracle on Commerce St. at the Esquire Tavern. This holiday pop-up event is all about festiveness and fun!
The highlight of Miracle on Commerce St. is its extensive menu of holiday-themed cocktails. Each cocktail is crafted with creativity, featuring festive ingredients and unique flavors.
Whether you’re out with friends or making the holiday rounds, make sure to stop by for a dose of holiday cheer. Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, 2023. Sun, Tues-Thurs from 5pm – 12am and Fri-Sat from 6pm – 2am.
Attend a Christmas Show
A Very Sinatra Christmas Special
Looking for a Christmas night out with a twist of vintage charm? Then you’ve got to check out “A Very Sinatra Christmas Special” at The Skyline in San Antonio.
This is where one of Texas’s top jazz vocalists takes the stage, crooning through a catalog of holiday classics that Frank Sinatra adored. It’s all happening indoors, so you can kick back and get cozy while the city outside twinkles with holiday lights.
Don’t forget, The Skyline loves to keep spirits merry and bright with a one-drink minimum policy, so grab your favorite holiday drink and settle in for an evening of jazzy festivities. The show is happening on Dec. 8 and 15, 2023 at 6pm and 8:30pm. Purchase your tickets here.
Candlelight: Holiday Special featuring The Nutcracker
Get ready to get cozy and feel the Christmas vibes at the Candlelight: Holiday Special featuring The Nutcracker.
This enchanting concert will feature a talented string quartet performing a selection of beloved holiday classics, including excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet The Nutcracker and traditional Christmas carols like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “O Holy Night.”
This isn’t just any old concert; it’s like stepping into a holiday card. Not one, but two iconic San Antonio venues, The Veranda and the historic Josephine Theater, will host this heartwarming event. Happening on Dec. 8 and 22, 2023, from 6:30pm and 8:45pm (Josephine Theater) and Dec. 14, 2023, at 6:30pm and 8:45pm (The Veranda). Ticket prices range from $48 – $66. Purchase your tickets here for Josephine Theater and here for The Veranda.
Where to Shop for the Holidays
Holiday Night Markets at the Pearl
The Historic Pearl will host their Holiday Night Markets on November 29, December 6, 13, & 20, 2023 from 5 PM to 9 PM. There will be live music and great gifts from local vendors.
You’ll also find dozens of Christmas gift options at the Pearl’s surrounding businesses, ranging from spa certificates and restaurant vouchers to cute products from the local shops! Be sure to pick up a thing or two for yourself. You deserve it!
Holiday River Walk Artisan Show
Discover the holiday magic of the San Antonio River Walk at this year’s Artisan Show. Browse through an array of 40+ handcrafted artisan booths, featuring pottery, textiles, jewelry, woodwork, paintings, beadwork, and more!
This holiday shopping event is free and will take place December 8th through December 10th, 2023. (Hours are as follows: Friday & Saturday: 11 AM – 11 PM; Sunday: 11 AM – 8 PM.)
Book a Holiday Tea Party
The Lambermont Estate
Celebrate the holidays with a tea party at the luxurious Lambermont Mansion. Along with both hot AND cold tea, there will also be pastries and finger sandwiches. Book a table on either December 2nd (10 AM) or 3rd (2 PM) here.
Make it a Staycation
St. Anthony Luxury Hotel
With lots of great hotel options near the San Antonio Riverwalk, you can book a room with some beautiful views, but a stay at the St. Anthony Luxury Hotel is the perfect place with all the Christmas events happening downtown!
The décor is fun and colorful, with touches like Christmas tree green couches and elegance around every corner.
It’s also conveniently located just minutes from downtown San Antonio’s many holiday things to do, like the iconic River Walk lights, the giant Texas Christmas tree, and more!
Or Take Time Away
Of course, there are a lot of holiday things to do and Christmas events in San Antonio, but if you haven’t gotten enough holiday cheer, why not take a day or weekend trip to Austin or Dallas to see how they celebrate?
San Antonio Christmas Events & Holiday Things to Do: Final Thoughts
No matter how old you are, there is fun to be had this holiday season. Have breakfast with Santa, look at Christmas lights, bar crawl in a Santa suit, among other festive holiday/Christmas events to celebrate.
Attend any of these Christmas events or holiday things to do in San Antonio, and you’re sure to have a jolly time!
Check out our other holiday things to do and Christmas events in: