Ford Holiday River Parade Kicks Off Season
SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 18, 2021) – The return of traditional favorites and new exciting additions promise to make San Antonio the go-to destination for the holidays.
“San Antonio is absolutely magical during the holidays. The city’s unique Mexican, German and Native cultures and traditions blend together with festive activities almost every day through the new year,” says Marc Anderson, President & CEO, Visit San Antonio. “We invite visitors to take a stroll through the luminaria-lined riverbank, enjoy festive German holiday music and kolaches, join a tamalada to learn the rich local tamal-making tradition, and the many more only-in-San Antonio holiday experiences.”
New this year is Lightscape at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, November 19 – January 2. This massive light extravaganza debuts in Texas after sold out shows in Chicago and the UK. Visitors can enjoy the unique flora of the 38-acre gardens immersed in the magical glow of thousands of twinkling lights and displays set along a beautifully illuminated one-mile path. The show includes installations unique to Texas created by local and international artists.
Visitors will not want to miss the cherished River Walk activities – kicking off with the return of the Ford Holiday Parade November 26 under 100,000 multicolored lights twinkling above the winding River Walk, draping from some 300-year cypress trees and creating a magical canopy through January 10. For the parade itself, more than 20 highly decorated barges with costumed characters, music and more float by entertaining all. San Antonio’s holiday spirit on the River Walk continues after the parade. The first three weekends of December, the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias returns with more than 2,000 luminarias (small sand-filled bags with candles) lining the banks of the River Walk as singers from the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling float by on the river (December 2-23).
A city of blended cultures and always in Fiesta-mode, activities can be found across San Antonio for all tastes and ages. Here is a sampling of what the Alamo City has lined up for 2021:
Rotary Ice Rink at Travis Park – Ice skating and a decorated tree at historic Travis Park downtown will run from after Thanksgiving to January 22.
Pearl – San Antonio’s Pearl celebrates the season with Holiday Night Markets, Chanukah celebration, Posada carols, and more. The popular area kicks off with installation and lighting of the Christmas tree November 19 and lighting of the menorah December 1. Each Wednesday in December leading up to Christmas, Pearl will host its Holiday Night Market featuring a wide variety of local vendors to help make holiday shopping easier and music to add to the festive spirit. A Holiday Stroll on December 9 features extended hours and entertainment. More cultural traditions are marked at Pearl with Posada (a re-enactment procession representing the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking refuge) December 16, partnering with Mission Concepcion choir for an evening of carols in Pearl Park.
The Alamo – Get into the holiday spirit at Alamo Lights, a great trip for the family, the Alamo grounds will be decorated with festive lights to celebrate the Christmas season, and the decorated tree in the plaza. This free event will also kickoff the Alamo's extended holiday hours. From November 19 through January 3 the site will be open until 7 p.m. daily. A special event is set at the cradle of Texas liberty on December 4. Homemade Christmas will feature historical crafts, 19th century trades, and carols to showcase Texans celebrated Christmas in the mid-1800s.
Natural Bridge Caverns – Christmas in the Caverns returns to Natural Bridge Caverns with live Caroling in the Caverns, the Trail of Lights walk-through, synthetic skating rink, outdoor s’mores station, AMAZEn’ Reindeer Round Up, a 30-foot musical Christmas tree, and Spelunker Claus.
Wonderland Christmas – Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s only ultra-accessible theme park, hosts Wonderland Christmas on 13 select evenings November through Dec. 23 to bring holiday excitement to visitors of all abilities. The fully inclusive Morgan’s Wonderland will feature special holiday entertainment, thousands of shimmering lights and festive decorations at the 25-acre park. Those with physical and cognitive special needs receive free admission.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration – The largest Christmas event in Texas, returns for 38 magical days. The marine life park will transform into a holiday wonderland featuring millions of sparkling lights, decorations, holiday festivities, and delectable holiday treats and eats. This year’s event also includes brand-new shows and entertainment, and an exclusive pass member scavenger hunt. The fun runs on select days November 11 through January 2.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Holiday in the Park returns with wondrous holiday enchantment for the entire family featuring the park’s dazzling Holiday Express train ride, enchanting caroling Christmas tree family, and the family favorite spectacular live nativity show, The Majesty of Christmas. The most thrilling time of the year features more than a million glittering lights, festive décor, seasonal foods, holiday entertainment, and thrilling rides to create this winter wonderland experience. Celebrate at Six Flags Fiesta Texas November 20 through January 2.
Briscoe Western Art Museum – All are invited to saddle up and mosey on down to the Briscoe’s Cowboy Christmas for holiday fun and pictures with Cowboy Santa! Arts and crafts will be available to enjoy (December 5).
San Antonio Zoo – At Zoo Lights, guests can see life-sized animals from the savanna, including a 15-foot-tall illuminated giraffe in Starry Safari while sipping hot cocoa; stroll under a unique display of lights, roast s’mores, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, and visit Santa. There is a high-energy Lakeside Light Show featuring pixel technology combined with a custom soundtrack guaranteed to have all dancing to favorite Christmas tunes along with Latin inspired songs.
For even more light-filled imagery and holiday celebrations, plus event details, including dates, hours and pricing, go to VisitSanAntonio.com/holidays.