Magical Spots to See Christmas Lights in San Antonio (2023)

San Antonio is a city that knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. One of the most popular ways to get into the festive spirit is by checking out the incredible Christmas lights in San Antonio displayed around town. From the famous River Walk to botanical gardens and neighborhoods, San Antonio has plenty of options to explore in 2023.

The River Walk is a must-see destination during the holiday season. The city’s famous downtown waterway is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights adorning the trees and bridges. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the river or hop on a boat tour to see the lights from a different perspective.

We spent several days in San Antonio just last Christmas as a family and were able to explore all the beautiful Christmas lights in the city. It is truly one of the best Christmas towns in Texas! Now that we have walked along the River Walk in December, I can’t imagine visiting any other time – it was magical!

Christmas lights in San Antonio at River Walk

Best Places to See Holiday Lights in San Antonio

San Antonio is known for its festive holiday lights displays in Texas that attract both locals and visitors. Here are some of the best places to see holiday lights in San Antonio:

River Walk

Christmas lights in San Antonio at River Walk

The San Antonio River Walk is one of the most popular destinations for holiday lights in San Antonio. The River Walk is lit up with over 100,000 lights, creating a magical atmosphere.

The lights are turned on in mid-November and stay on all night ever night until early January. The River Walk also hosts the Ford Holiday River Parade, which is a must-see event during the holiday season.

You can see the lights from the banks of the river or by taking a boat cruise on the water with Go Rio. We skipped the boat ride as it looked pretty crowded and we were content walking around.

We captured the image posted at the top of this post from a hidden gem spot – the second story of Yard House during Happy hour. We had the BEST view of the gorgeous tree out of the huge windows over the river. We showed up for an early dinner around 4:30 pm and are so glad we did. By the time we left the lines were very long and we never would have gotten those great seats!

Experiencing River Walk is one of the best things to do in San Antonio for Christmas!

University of the Incarnate Word

The University of the Incarnate Word hosts the annual Light the Way event, which features over a million lights and a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. The event also includes live music, food, and drinks. The event takes place in late November and is free to attend.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

The San Antonio Botanical Garden hosts the annual Lightscape event, which features a winter wonderland of lights and immersive installations. Visitors can walk through a flower forest and see kinetic hues on the one mile path – you can’t miss the bluebonnets!

We visited during the Christmas season but only during the day. I am dying to go back for the light show event!

Botanical Garden in San Antonio

San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo hosts the annual Zoo Lights event, which features over two million lights and festive displays. Visitors can walk through the illuminated zoo and see animals in a new light.

Don’t miss the sing along, dance show and beautiful light tunnel before you munch on some hot cocoa, cookies, and s’mores!

Windcrest

  • 2023 Dates: December 2 – December 31
  • Admission: Free
  • Windcrest

Windcrest is a small town outside of San Antonio that is known for its elaborate holiday lights displays. The town hosts the annual Lights Alive event, which features over 100 homes decorated with lights and festive displays. Visitors can drive through the town and see the displays from the comfort of their car.

San Antonio has many other holiday lights displays, including the Old West Christmas Light Fest, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Natural Bridge Caverns. Visitors can also enjoy festive displays at Seaworld San Antonio and Enchanted Springs Ranch. Parking and shuttle information for each event vary, so visitors should check the event website for details.

The Alamo

If you’re planning a trip to San Antonio during the magical Christmas season, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Alamo and the nearby missions, a truly enriching experience.

The Alamo now offers a beautiful light display on their grounds in the evenings from 6-8pm, where thousands of lights illuminate the surroundings, providing visitors with a unique and enchanting way to explore this iconic site. Step back in time as you set foot on the hallowed grounds of the Alamo during the day, admiring the holiday decorations that cover this symbol of Texas independence, and then immerse yourself in the mesmerizing glow of the evening light display.

We were unaware of the evening light display during our visit, and I was REALLY disappointed that we missed it! So make sure to plan your visit accordingly if it is on your bucket list too!

Christmas at the Caverns

Elf Acres

Elf Acres is a drive-thru holiday light park that features over a million lights and a variety of holiday-themed displays. Visitors can enjoy the lights from the comfort of their own car as they drive through the 20-acre park. Some of the highlights of Elf Acres include a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, a gingerbread house, and a life-size nativity scene. This is a perfect activity for families who want to get into the holiday spirit.

Travis Park

Travis Park is a beautiful public park in downtown San Antonio that transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The park is adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday decorations, making it the perfect place to take a stroll on a chilly winter evening. Visitors can also enjoy festive activities such as ice skating at the Rotary Ice Rink or solving puzzles at the Gingerbread Escape Room.

San Antonio Christmas lights at Travis Park

The Light Park

The Light Park is a drive-thru holiday light experience that features over two million lights and a variety of holiday-themed displays. Visitors can enjoy the lights from the comfort of their own car as they drive through the park’s two-mile-long course. Some of the highlights of The Light Park include a forest of cypress trees adorned with lights and a tunnel of lights that visitors can drive through. This is a great activity for couples or friends who want to experience the magic of the holiday season together.

San Antonio is home to many other holiday light installations, such as Lights Alive!, Windcrest Light Up, and Millions of Lights. However, if you’re short on time, these three installations are a great place to start. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these holiday light displays are sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

Christmas at SeaWorld

During the Christmas season, SeaWorld San Antonio transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland that promises a magical experience. The park becomes a spectacle of millions of twinkling lights, making it the largest light display in the whole state of Texas.

From late November to early January, guests can immerse themselves in the Seaworld Christmas Celebration, a joyful event filled with heartwarming holiday shows, delightful encounters with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and thrilling rides down snow hills that add an extra dose of excitement.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

  • 2023 Dates: Open year round; seasonal activities are November 18 – December 31
  • Admission: Starting at $50
  • San Antonio, TX 78257

Holiday Light Events in San Antonio

San Antonio is known for its festive holiday spirit, and one of the best ways to experience it is by visiting one of the many holiday light events throughout the city. Some of these events take place nighty throughout the season and others are just a one time event. So check the dates and plan your visit accordingly.

Below are some of the top holiday light events in San Antonio (in no particular order).

Ford River Holiday Parade

You won’t want to miss the Christmas lights in San Antonio at the Ford Holiday River Parade. Get ready to be enchanted by thousands of twinkling lights illuminating the iconic River Walk, creating a magical holiday wonderland.

As night falls, the river transforms into a breathtaking scene of floating illuminated floats, live entertainment, and the joyful spirit of Christmas. The Ford Holiday River Parade is a cherished San Antonio tradition.

Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias

One of the most beloved holiday traditions in San Antonio is the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias. This event takes place during the first half of December and features more than 2,000 luminarias lining the streets of the historic River Walk. Visitors can take a stroll along the river and enjoy the beautiful lights while listening to carolers and other live entertainment.

Ford Holiday Boat Caroling

For a unique holiday experience, you can be part of the show by joining the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling event, which takes place on the San Antonio River Walk. Participants can reserve a spot on a boat and enjoy a guided tour of the river while singing Christmas carols and admiring the festive lights. Fa la la la la!

San Antonio Christmas lights at River Walk

H-E-B Tree Lighting Celebration at Travis Park

The H-E-B Tree Lighting Celebration at Travis Park is a must-see event during the holiday season. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a giant Christmas tree and thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment, ice skating, and more.

San Antonio Holiday lights at Travis Park

Visit Nearby Boerne for Christmas on the Ranch

Nestled amidst the picturesque Texan countryside, Don Strange Ranch is know for its amazing holiday light display. Over 4 million twinkling lights allow visitors to drive through the amazing display.

The Old West Christmas Light Fest is another option nearby featuring western buildings covered in pretty lights along with fun family friendly activities on the ranch.

Westover Field of Lights

Westover Hills hosts a stunning holiday light display known as the Field of Lights. Visitors can walk through the half mile trail with over 300,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy the games, music, festive photo opps, and free photo with Santa too!

Head to River Walk to see Holiday Lights in San Antonio

FAQs: Christmas Lights San Antonio

Where can I see the best holiday lights in San Antonio?

San Antonio is known for its beautiful holiday light displays, and there are many places to see them. Some of the most popular spots include the River Walk, the San Antonio Zoo, and the neighborhoods of Windcrest and Alamo Heights.

What are some popular Christmas events in San Antonio?

San Antonio is home to many exciting Christmas events, including the Ford Holiday River Parade, the Holiday Festival of Lights at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the Holiday Artisan Show at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Are there any drive-thru Christmas light displays in San Antonio?

Yes, there are several drive-thru Christmas light displays in San Antonio, including the Crumbling Castle Lights in Comfort, the Windcrest Light Up in Windcrest, and the Holiday Lights on the River Walk.

Which San Antonio neighborhood has the best Christmas lights?

Many San Antonio neighborhoods go all out with their Christmas light displays, but Windcrest is known for having some of the best. The annual Windcrest Light Up event features over 1,900 homes decorated with lights and other festive displays.

When do the Riverwalk Christmas lights turn on in San Antonio?

The River Walk holiday lights display typically turns on in mid-November and stays up through the end of the year. The official lighting ceremony usually takes place in late November at the Arneson River Theatre.

How long will the holiday lights be up in San Antonio?

Most of the holiday light displays in San Antonio stay up through the end of December, but the lights at the River Walk do stay up through the first week of January. It’s always a good idea to check the specific display’s website or social media pages for exact dates and times.

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