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Visiting the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas

Visiting the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas

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San Antonio is a hot spot for tourists year-round.  And everyone who visits spending at least some time on the River Walk. 

The River Walk is known for the great restaurants, shops, and fabulous hotels that line the banks of the San Antonio River in Downtown San Antonio. Well, what if I told you that visiting the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas is even more magical? 

For you see, this area comes alive during the holiday season and just beckons visitors to come and enjoy all of the festivities.  Honestly, it easily becomes one of the many romantic getaways in Texas.

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    San Antonio River Walk at Christmas

    Holiday Lights on the River Walk

    The San Antonio River Walk at Christmas is a sight to behold!  Each year, the River Walk glistens with over 100,000 lights draped through the tree that line its banks.  These lights come on daily at dusk and remain on until dawn for all to enjoy. 

    The lights are first turned on the day after Thanksgiving and remain lit each evening until January 2 of the new year.

    This is one of the many free things to do in San Antonio for you and your family to enjoy.   The River Walk itself is considered a public park, so it is always free to the public. 

    There is an exception to this during the Ford Holiday Parade when a ticket is required to enter the River Walk area.

    Ford Holiday River Parade

    The Ford Holiday River Parade kicks off the lighting of the River Walk each year.  This parade is a nationally televised event that draws visitors from all over the country.

    This hour-long parade features celebrities riding on decorated and illuminated floats to help ring in the holiday season.  The floats and costumes in this parade are incredible, especially when you paired with the holiday music that so many include when passing by. 

    In order to watch the parade from the River Walk, tickets must be purchased through the San Antonio River Walk website.

    If you so desire, you can make a reservation at one of the many restaurants located along the River Walk.  Many offer dinner packages for you to enjoy while watching the parade.

    San Antonio River Walk at Christmas

    Ford Holiday Boat Caroling

    Another fun tradition on the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas is boat caroling.  The boats, which can be rented out, make a lap around the downtown area of the River Walk while participants carol to those on the banks. 

    Of course, you don’t have to participate in the caroling.  You can just enjoy the music from the banks of the River Walk.

    Fiesta de las Luminarias

    The Fiesta de las Luminarias is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss.  This annual tradition makes the river look absolutely magical when over 2,000 paper lanterns grace the water. 

    The centuries-old Mexican tradition is said the help “light the way” for the holy family. 

    Be sure and visit on the weekends in December to enjoy this beautiful tradition.

    Holiday Artisan Show

    The Holiday Artisan Show is another great activity on the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas.  This annual show allows visitors to shop over 40 booths filled with handmade artisan goods. 

    Items like pottery, textiles, woodwork, paintings, and jewelry are just some of the examples of the treasures you can find here. 

    The show takes place on the River Walk extension near the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce building.

    Christmas Dinner Cruise

    For a special treat while visiting the River Walk, consider participating in a Christmas Dinner Cruise.  The river barges transform into floating restaurants allowing guests to see the River Walk from an entirely different viewpoint. 

    This is truly a romantic experience as you enjoy dinner under the beautifully lit cypress trees while cruising along the river.

    Visiting the San Antonio Riverwalk at Christmas-Final Thoughts

    San Antonio River Walk at Christmas

    As you can see, the San Antonio Riverwalk at Christmas is truly a magical experience. 

    There is just something about the thousands of lights that make the River Walk feel magical. That’s probably why it is one of the Texas Christmas destinations that we love.

    When planning your trip, be sure to check the dates of the events notated above.  I would hate for you to have your heart set on a certain event and not attend during the right time. 

    Happy Travels, friends!

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    Michelle Snell-Founder That Texas Couple

    About the Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures.  While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time. 

    Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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