As a proud San Antonian, the arrival of Fiesta each year is a huge cause for celebration. These two weeks in April are nothing short of a cultural extravaganza, filling our streets with vibrant colors, joyous music, and a comforting sense of community.

Fiesta San Antonio began in 1891, and it continues to offer a cultural experience that draws people from all over the world to our special city. Growing up here, Fiesta has been an integral part of my childhood, a tradition passed down from generation to generation. The anticipation of Fiesta 2024 is already building, promising an unforgettable experience for the little ones, just as it did for me when I was growing up. Who out there remembers El Rey Feo coming to their school to hand out medals? Did anyone else live for the thrill of receiving a special medal from his court? Talk about a core San Antonio memory!

Whether you’re new to San Antonio or are experiencing Fiesta again through the eyes of your children, I’ve put together a list of the spectacles and events you should not miss during this special season.

Spurs Coyote on float at Fiesta Parade. Photo provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

Day Parade (Battle of Flowers): This spectacular parade transforms the streets into a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds. I remember eagerly awaiting the procession of elaborately decorated floats, marching bands, and the iconic Battle of Flowers royalty waving from their majestic carriages when I was a child. “SHOW ME YOUR SHOES!” is a demand that only makes sense in San Antonio, IYKYK! The energy from the crowd is infectious as families gather along the parade route, sharing laughter and cheers. The air is filled with the sweet aroma of funnel cakes, confetti and the distant melodies of mariachi bands, creating an atmosphere of pure delight for the kids. This is one event that is suitable, without a doubt, for all age groups. Tickets are required and a variety of seating options are available; seating for those with mobility needs is also available. Food items and souvenirs are available for purchase. Cost: $ – $$$ 

San Antonio Library staff and volunteers on the parade route. Image provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

Night Parade (Fiesta Flambeau): This is another enchanting event that captivates the imagination of all! Illuminated floats, adorned with twinkling lights, glide through the darkness, casting a magical glow on the faces of spectators. It is a beautiful and unforgettable sight for little eyes, that are dazzled by the mesmerizing performances of dance groups and other creative displays. The Night Parade is truly a sensory feast for kids, turning the evening into a magical wonderland that sparks their imagination. I can remember a vivid scene of standing by my parents, marching in place & shouting the lyrics to “YMCA” as a huge float drove by with the royal court aboard. Tickets are required and a variety of seating is available; seating for those with mobility needs is also available. Food items and souvenirs are available for purchase. Cost: $ – $$$ 

Marching Band in Fiesta 2023 Battle of Flowers. Photo provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

Fiesta de los Niños: Get ready – this is a special event designed exclusively for the little ones! It’s a day filled with excitement, activities, and joy. From interactive games and carnival rides to live entertainment tailored just for children, this celebration is a dream come true for young Fiesta enthusiasts. Face painting, puppet shows, and a myriad of delicious treats create an atmosphere where kids can stretch their tolerance for all day Fiesta shenanigans, making memories that will last a lifetime. Tickets are not required for entry. Food items and souvenirs are available for purchase. Cost: $ – $$ 

Pictured: Trevino-Ripper & Zaiontz family @ Fiesta 2023 event. Photo provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

Fiesta Castle Hills: Woah – this event adds a unique touch to the celebration! This family-friendly gathering features live music, food vendors, and a diverse range of activities that cater to children of all ages. From bounce houses to pony rides, Fiesta Castle Hills transforms the neighborhood into a joy-filled playground, allowing families to bond over shared experiences and create lasting connections with their community. Tickets are not required for entry. Food items and souvenirs are available for purchase. Cost: $ – $$ 

Fiesta de los Reyes: Hosted at Market Square, this event embraces the rich cultural heritage of San Antonio. The vibrant colors of the decorations, the rhythmic beats of live music, and the enticing aromas of authentic Tex-Mex cuisine make this event a sensory delight for kids. Families can immerse themselves in the traditional dances and folklore, fostering an appreciation of the city’s cultural roots while enjoying the lively atmosphere that only Fiesta can bring. Tickets are not required for entry. Food items and souvenirs are available for purchase. Cost: $ – $$ 

Trevino-Ripper & Zaiontz family at a Fiesta 2023 event. Photo provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

A Taste of New Orleans: For those seeking a taste of different cultures, this Fiesta event offers a culinary journey to the vibrant streets of the Big Easy. Kids can indulge in the flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisine, while live music and street performers add to the festive ambiance. A Taste of New Orleans introduces children to the rich diversity of culinary traditions, expanding their palates and broadening their cultural horizons. Tickets are required for entry and food/beverages are available for purchase the day of. Cost: $$ – $$$ 

Night In Old San Antonio (NIOSA): Y’all! This is an event that showcases the eclectic mix of cultures that contribute to our city’s unique identity. With more than 200 food and drink booths, NIOSA provides a gastronomic adventure for the entire family. Kids can savor the tastes of diverse cuisines while participating in games and enjoying live music. The colorful decorations and lively atmosphere of NIOSA create a festive environment that brings the San Antonio community together in celebration. I’d recommend making sure you’re a door buster for this event – it starts at 5pm, but at around 8pm the atmosphere shifts as adults arrive to let loose! Tickets are required for entry, and food/beverages are available for purchase on the day. Cost: $$ – $$$ 

Chicken on a stick – a famous San Antonio Fiesta food staple. Photo provided by Angela A-Zaiontz (2023)

Fiesta 2024 promises to be an unforgettable season for the kids of San Antonio, just as it has been for generations past. From the lively parades and dedicated children’s events to diverse cultural celebrations, Fiesta captures the true spirit of San Antonio in a way that resonates with families – and creates cherished memories and traditions for years to come. As a San Antonian, I always look forward to this time of year the most, and I love sharing the city’s festivities with my own family. !Viva Fiesta!