San Antonio is known for throwing fiestas at the drop of a sombrero. Here are a few of the city’s famed annual events.
Martin Luther King, Jr., March and Rally and DreamWeek – January More than 300,000 adults and children participate in the nation’s largest MLK march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The nearly three-mile march through San Antonio’s east side is the highlight of citywide activities for DreamWeek San Antonio, a multi-day series of events to foster the free exchange of ideas on universal issues impacting humankind. www.sanantonio.gov/mlk and http://dreamweek.org
San Antonio Cocktail Conference – January The San Antonio Cocktail Conference brings together top bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the country for five days of seminars, craft cocktail tastings and parties. Event highlights include the glamorous “Waldorf on the Prairie” at the historic St. Anthony Hotel and cocktail pairing dinners at some of the city’s finest restaurants. Proceeds from the San Antonio Cocktail Conference benefit San Antonio children’s’ charities. www.sanantoniococktailconference.com
Restaurant Week – January and August Some of the city’s most time-honored restaurants, along with buzz-worthy newcomers take part in Restaurant Week, held in both January and August, when prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus offer the ideal opportunity to savor San Antonio’s diverse culinary scene. http://www.culinariasa.org/restaurant-weeks
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – February Expecting more than 1.9 million attendees over 18 days, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has been named the Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year 14 times by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. It features entertainment by star-studded country, rock ‘n’ roll and Latin artists during all 20 PRCA rodeo performances. This spectacular event held at the AT&T Center also includes shopping, a carnival, farmers markets, local cuisine and livestock centers. www.sarodeo.com
Contemporary Art Month – March March is Contemporary Art Month (CAM) in San Antonio—the nation’s only annual, month-long, citywide celebration of the contemporary arts. CAM showcases San Antonio’s diverse and flourishing art community with more than 400 exhibitions at more than 50 venues throughout the city. From new to traditional, sculpture to experimental installations and photography to video art, no genre is left untouched. www.contemporaryartmonth.org
Valero Texas Open – April The Valero Texas Open welcomes golf’s finest players to historic San Antonio, one of the nation’s top golf destinations. Originated and played in San Antonio since 1922, the Valero Texas Open is the PGA TOUR’s third-oldest tournament and has been one of the top-three most charitable tournaments for the last several years. The tournament is played at TPC San Antonio, which features a practice facility and golf instruction for TPC members or guests at the accompanying JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. www.pgatour.com/tournaments/valero-texas-open.html
Fiesta San Antonio – April
Celebrating the diverse history and culture of San Antonio, Fiesta started in 1891 as a tribute to Alamo heroes. Today, more than 3.5 million people attend the 11-day celebration with more than 100 events. Activities include parades, carnivals, balls, art fairs, concerts and more. Many events are free, and the Battle of Flowers Parade is one of the biggest in the nation, second only to the Rose Bowl’s Tournament of Roses Parade. The Texas Cavaliers River Parade, one of the only night parades in the nation, attracts visitors and locals alike as they fill the banks of the San Antonio river to watch the decorated floats. fiestasanantonio.org/
Cinco de Mayo Events – May Celebrations commemorate the Mexican Army’s defeat of the invading French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Events include a festival with music and food at historic Market Square, concerts and other commemorations. www.marketsquaresa.com
Fiesta Noche Del Rio – May through August Fiesta Noche del Rio has been a San Antonio tradition for more than 50 years, entertaining guests with a multi-act musical extravaganza that features the songs and dances of Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Texas. Performances are at the River Walk’s historic Arneson River Theatre. http://fiestanochesa.com
Texas Folklife Festival – June Join the celebration of all things Texas at the annual Texas Folklife Festival. Hosted at UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures at Hemisfair, this three-day extravaganza brings more than 40 cultural groups together in one place to showcase authentic food (150 dishes), great music (65 bands), colorful dance (50 folk dance groups) and authentic crafts (50 craft demonstrators and 50 craft vendors). Come celebrate your heritage and share in a Texas tradition. www.TexasFolklifeFestival.org
Culinaria Festival Week – September Culinaria showcases San Antonio’s finest restaurants and chefs as it celebrates the city as a premiere food and beverage destination. Events range from winemaker dinners and seminars, the foods of Mexico, Grand Tasting and Burgers & Beer. Featured wines are local bottles from more than 50 wineries located throughout the Texas Hill Country, as well as national and international bottles. http://culinariasa.org
Jazz’SALive – September Celebrate more than 35 years of great jazz music in the historic and recently renovated Travis Park in the heart of downtown San Antonio. This two-day festival features award-winning national, regional and local talent playing diverse styles of jazz. Enjoy live music on two stages, food from more than 20 local vendors, and arts and crafts items for sale from local artisans. https://saparksfoundation.org/event/jazz-sa-live-2020/
World Heritage Festival – September The five-day World Heritage Festival celebrates and honors the San Antonio Missions, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Festival events include a culinary experience showcasing the city’s rich cultural food traditions, Restored by Light, an event where the façade of Mission San Jose is restored to its original frescoed appearance using projection technology and an active tour of the missions for cyclists, runners and walkers. https://www.worldheritagefestival.org/EVENT-INFORMATION/SCHEDULE-OF-EVENTS
Diez y Seis de Septiembre Celebrations – September On September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a man known as the Father of Mexico’s Independence, initiated the fight for freedom as he made a cry, or grito, which sparked the beginning of Mexico’s battle for independence from Spain. The anniversary of this major event beginning in 1825, is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day. San Antonio celebrations include a parade at Plaza Guadalupe, the El Grito Ceremony and Fiestas Patrias at Market Square and Mariachi Lab performances at Pearl.
Mala Luna Music Festival – October This two-day hip hop and electronic dance music (EDM) festival combines national headlining music performers with homegrown musicians, artists and merchants for an exciting cultural experience at Nelson Wolff Stadium. https://malalunamusicfestival.com/
Día de los Muertos – October / November Translated literally as “Day of the Dead,” this Mexican cultural tradition is a celebration in which family welcomes back departed loved ones, sharing the joys of life with them as their memories live on. Showcasing its rich heritage, San Antonio celebrates with more than 20 events during October and November. Creative and respectful altars are set up around town at galleries, cultural centers and restaurants to commemorate those who have passed on. The Catrinas on the River Parade features colorful floats, music and mojigangas – giant dancing puppets, while large festivals at Hemisfair, Pearl and La Villita offer hands-on activities, delicious food and traditional face painting. https://www.visitsanantonio.com/dia-de-los-muertos/
Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival – November Luminaria is a weekend-long event where the city glows with colorful and free celebrations, exhibitions and performances in honor of art in San Antonio. Luminaria’s signature nighttime event at Hemisfair inspires audiences with illuminated performances and installations. Artists of all styles transform streets, buildings and theatres into wonderous places of imagination. The festival is free to attend, and guests are invited to immerse themselves in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary evening of cutting-edge art. www.luminariasa.org
Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony – November The day following Thanksgiving, the switch is pulled to turn on thousands of lights that will brighten the River Walk until early January. Decorated floats wind through the river in one of the country’s only nighttime river parades. www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com
San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & ½ Marathon – December This marathon features multiple musical bands along the course which passes by some of San Antonio’s top attractions and most eclectic neighborhoods. Great South Texas fall weather and the picturesque terrain of San Antonio match up for the perfect marathon mix. www.runrocknroll.com/Events/San-Antonio
Valero Alamo Bowl – December Major college football comes to San Antonio’s Alamodome. The matchup introduces teams from the Pac-12 Conference and the Big 12 Conference, providing contenders that have placed the Alamo Bowl within eight of the top 20 most-watched bowl games in ESPN history. www.alamobowl.com
Celebrate San Antonio – December Ring in New Year San Antonio style! Enjoy spectacular fireworks, live music on multiple stages, food booths, family activities and more in the heart of downtown on South Alamo Street between Cesar Chavez and Market streets and at La Villita Historic Arts Village and Hemisfair.
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