Join us Friday, November 24, 2023

San Antonio is a festive dream for the holidays; it's no wonder so many choose to make San Antonio their destination of choice for the Yuletide season year after year. 

The Alamo City comes alive with twinkling lights and festive decorations, and the spirit of the holiday season fills the air.

One standout event each year is the Ford Holiday River Parade, in which the locals and visitors alike come together to kick off the holiday season and countdown to the official lighting of the San Antonio River Walk.

Floats, festive characters, holiday cheer and more - here is what you can expect at the 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade: 

Save the Date 

Friday, November 24, 2023
6:00 - 9:00 PM.

Folklorico dancers dancing onstage

Start by saving the date! San Antonio locals will tell you the day after Thanksgiving doesn't belong to Black Friday; it belongs to the Annual Ford Holiday River Parade! This magical celebration will be a wonderful mingling of culture and tradition with holiday fun.

Get Your Tickets

Ford Holiday River Parade 2022

Tickets are on sale now for the Ford Holiday River Parade! Seating will occur on a 4-mile route on the River Walk and the historic Arneson River Theatre at La Villita Historic Arts Village. Be sure to get the best spot to view the action!

There are also free viewing areas on the parade route available on the East side of the River Walk between Pecan Street and Richmond Ave.(just be sure to bring your chair); however, this space is on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Tickets on Sale Now

This Year's Theme

Ford Holiday River Parade 2022Every year is a completely new experience at the parade, as the theme changes each year. You can always expect to see Santa and Mrs. Claus with a sleigh full of glitter, glee, and toys, but float themes change annually.

This year's parade theme is "Holiday Stories." What's your favorite holiday story? You just may see a float dedicated to it at this year's parade! Illuminated floats related to the parade's theme will drift down the San Antonio River, filling the area with festive holiday music and cheer. This year you can expect a whopping 28 floats participating in the parade. 


View 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade Program Guide

The Official Countdown to the Lighting of the River Walk

River Walk view with holiday lights adorned on treesYou know our iconic River Walk holiday lights? Each year, they're officially lit at the Annual Ford Holiday River Parade. Gather around the River Walk with us and countdown to their official lighting. In addition, these lights shine bright on the River Walk each evening thereafter until the beginning of January - from sunset to sunrise. Experience the River Walk in all its bright glory all holiday season long! 

​Schedule of Events2 girls waving from parade floatBefore the main parade commences, The Arneson River Theatre will hold a pre-parade show for ticketed attendees from 6:00 – 7:00 PM. 

At 7:00 PM, the lighting of the River Walk will occur. This is a truly fantastic moment, as the River Walk comes to life with a dazzling display of light as it reflects off the water. The parade route will begin at The Tobin Center for ticketed parties and arrive later in other areas. 

Remember, Santa Claus will be on the last float, so watch or attend for the entire duration to get a touch of Christmas magic. 

Schedule of Events

  • 4 PM – River Walk closes to the general public
  • 5 PM – River Walk gates open for ticket holder access
  • 6 PM – The parade begins at the Tobin Center and arrives later in other areas (check map for times)
  • 6-7 PM – Pre-parade show for ticket holders in the Arneson  
  • 7 PM – Lighting of the River Walk 
  • 7-8 PM – Televised Parade – Santa on the last float!  

Grab your tickets for the 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony. 


Come Enjoy San Antonio's Winter Wonderland 


The Ford Holiday River Parade is just the beginning of what San Antonio offers during the holiday season and beyond. From the twinkling lights of the River Walk to San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street and many other festive events and activities, there's something for everyone. 

Start planning your trip today and make this holiday season one to remember.