San Antonio, TX, one of the state’s most popular cities to visit for its vibrant history and culture, offers a ton of great things to do around Christmastime.
If you’re considering coming to San Antonio this Christmas season, be sure to check out these 10 things to do to help make your holiday visit festive and fun!
Winter Packing Essentials:
1. Christmas on San Antonio’s Riverwalk
One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Riverwalk meanders through the heart of the city, dazzling millions each year as a true Texas treasure. Don’t let yourself miss out on experiencing all the Riverwalk has to offer during your Christmas in San Antonio visit.
This must-see destination comes alive at Christmas every year. One simple but beautiful reason to go is just to soak in the Christmas lights and ambience while strolling along the river.
Be sure to notice the colorful reflections on the water the Christmas lights provide as they hang down from cypress trees above. Any jaunt along the Riverwalk will provide moment after moment of festive Instagram-worthy photo ops.
Extra credit if you take in all these views on a romantic river boat ride.
While you can enjoy excellent shops and restaurants along the river when you visit, the Riverwalk provides some special experiences at Christmas. Holiday Boat Caroling and Fiesta de las Luminarias are two Riverwalk mainstays you won’t want to miss.
2. The Tradition of Las Posadas
San Antonio is greatly influenced by Latin American culture, and one celebratory tradition observed by many locals at Christmas is Las Posadas.
Las Posadas is a tradition that goes back centuries in which observers reenact the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Friends and neighbors will often dress up in costume as shepherds or angels and go from house to house singing Christmas carols and enjoying festive food and drinks.
While you can participate in this community-building tradition often in local neighborhoods and churches, a popular rendition of Las Posadas has been celebrated each of the past couple of years in the trendy Pearl district, with live music, Mexican hot chocolate, tamales, kids’ activities, and other festivities.
3. Holiday Dinner at Tower of the Americas
A long-standing landmark of San Antonio’s skyline, the Tower of the Americas rises high above to provide spectacular views of the city below.
In December, the views of all the Christmas lights below (especially the Riverwalk) are breathtaking.
At the top of the tower sits the Chart House restaurant, a fine dining experience that provides a festive family holiday dinner or romantic date night. While seated, guests enjoy panoramic views as the entire restaurant rotates slowly around the tower.
Reservations are recommended!
4. Christmas at the Caverns
The area surrounding San Antonio is known for its caves and caverns, and nearby Natural Bridge Caverns really draws the crowds each year. In December, Natural Bridge Caverns fully embraces the Christmas spirit with “Christmas at the Caverns.”
Seeking a unique Christmas in San Antonio experience? Visitors to the caverns get the rare opportunity to sing Christmas carols inside the caverns and experience the magical echo of these songs reverberating all around.
Other festivities include a Christmas maze, visits with Santa “Spelunker” Claus, outdoor movies, and a Christmas lights trail.
5. A Texas Hill Country Christmas
San Antonio sits in the heart of the scenic Texas Hill Country, making it worth a day or evening trip to go explore some of the nearby towns and take in the beauty and culture of the area.
While several towns are worth visiting at Christmas, Gruene and Fredericksburg should top your list. Both rooted in German heritage, each town provides local Christmas spirit and festivities guaranteed to bring the fun.
Gruene is famous for having Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall. You can dance the night away while admiring all the country music legends who have played here.
I highly recommend staying at the Gruene Mansion Inn if you plan to spend the night.
Fredericksburg’s quaint main street is a holiday shopper’s dream, full of unique gift ideas. Visitors should also make time to visit one of the many popular wineries in the area for some extra yuletide cheer.
6. Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Fiesta Texas provides thrills and entertainment throughout the year with its roller coasters and amusements (my favorite coasters are the Iron Rattler and Superman, FYI).
This beloved amusement park will make your Christmas in San Antonio experience action-packed with its annual Holiday in the Park festivities. In addition to riding all the roller coasters and other rides, guests can enjoy an extravaganza of holiday fun:
- A strong lineup of holiday-themed live entertainment
- Christmas tree lighting & fireworks
- Dancing fountain shows
- Holiday Express train ride
- Candy Cane Lane & Winter Wonderland Christmas light displays
- Holiday food & drink specialties
7. Christmas at San Antonio’s Historic Missions
Every December, locals and visitors alike flock to San Antonio’s historic Spanish missions as Christmas nears.
Visitors can tour the historic missions at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which contains Texas’ only UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, guests can still attend special Christmas vigils, masses, and other festivities in a place that has celebrated Christmas for 300 years.
Christmas in San Antonio wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city’s most famous mission, the Alamo. A Texas legend, the Alamo provides a great place to appreciate Texas history and culture and take awesome photos with a giant Christmas tree.
8. SeaWorld San Antonio’s Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld San Antonio draws tons of visitors every year to see this popular park’s orcas, sea lions, dolphins, and other aquatic animals. Full of rides and entertainment as well, SeaWorld hosts a special month-long celebration of Christmas you’ll want to experience this December.
With holiday festivities for the whole family, the park becomes a winter wonderland of activities that will make your Christmas in San Antonio visit a magical one:
- Over 9 million Christmas lights
- Dinner with Santa and Mrs. Claus
- Merry Mariachis holiday performances
- Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Christmas fireworks shows
- The Christmas Market and Snowman Village
- Hanukkah and Kwanzaa festivities
9. Pearl District Holiday Shopping and Fun
The trendy and revitalized Pearl District should be a must-see destination for your Christmas in San Antonio visit. A former brewery, the area has been transformed into an eclectic community of hip shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
Plus, Christmas shoppers will appreciate the Pearl’s popular weekend farmers and makers market, as well as the local artisan shops.
At night, this neighborhood comes alive with Christmas lights and its centerpiece Christmas tree, making a wonderful evening dinner date or family outing.
10. 365 Days of Christmas at Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia
A local institution in San Antonio, the famous Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery has provided Tex-Mex cuisine to generations of locals and tourists alike for over 80 years.
Known for its live mariachi entertainment, Mi Tierra has kept its Christmas decorations up year-round since the 1960s. The restaurant draws countless visitors seeking to enjoy its festive holiday atmosphere and food.
Make sure to put Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia on your list of stops this December for your Christmas in San Antonio visit!
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Did we miss any of your favorite things to do in San Antonio at Christmas?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more to the list!