San Antonio Holiday Events Guide, 2019 Edition

The holidays are quickly approaching, and ACM has compiled all holiday event info in one place for you. We’ll continue to add to this list as more events pop up, so be sure to check back throughout the holiday season. Our Holiday Event Guide includes holiday musical and theatrical performances, seasonal eats, Hanukkah events, live nativity scenes, downtown festivities, Hill Country happenings, a variety of presentations of The Nutcracker, and more. Plus, given that our winter weather is often pleasant, there are even a few outdoor movie screenings in December. You might want to bookmark this one!

Dates to remember:
Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 28.
Hanukkah is December 22–30.
Christmas is Tuesday, December 25.
Kwanzaa is Wednesday, December 26.
New Year’s Eve is Monday, December 31.

Friday, November 29

H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting, 3:00–9:00 P.M. at Travis Park | FREE!
The tree lights will be illuminated for the first time at 6:20 P.M. For the event, H-E-B will provide free VIA bus rides to the tree lighting. The community celebration will feature activities such as cookie-decorating stations, holiday crafts, free giveaways, letters to Santa, and live musical entertainment, as well as a special visit from Santa. Catch the screening of Home Alone after the tree-lighting ceremony.

Ford Holiday River Parade, 6:00–9:00 P.M. at San Antonio River Walk | Tickets: $18–28 for reserved seating & FREE viewing in designated areas!
Ring in the holidays with this iconic night parade filled with lights, costumed float riders, and music. The theme for the 2019 parade is “Texas Music Christmas.” Each float will depict a Texas musician and their Christmas music.

November 29 & 30

Dickens on Main, 1:00–10:00 P.M. at Hill Country Mile (Main Street in Boerne) | FREE!
Boerne’s 20th annual Dickens on Main is a vintage holiday wonderland you don’t want to miss! Experience great shopping, Santa visits, children’s crafts, ice sculpting battles, live musical and theatrical performances, amazing music headliners, guaranteed SNOW, and a 60-foot ice slide for sledding!

November 29–December 1

International Peace Market at Esperanza Peace & Justice Center | FREE! to attend
The 30th annual market brings people together in the tradition of open-air markets found in indigenous communities around the world. More than 100 international and local artists/artisans will offer visitors a variety of artful, beautifully handmade items including rugs, pottery, textiles, hand-embroidered clothing, paintings, sculptures, y más, filling the two-story building, the back patio, and spilling out into the street. The market will also offer live music from local performers and affordable and delicious food options for the weary shopper, from tamales to vegan menudo.

Saturday, November 30

Kids Workshop: Stocking Ornament, 9:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. at Home Depot stores | FREE!
Have fun making your own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in the kit, learn to nail a frame to the inside of the ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from parents and store associates, paint your creation to make it truly unique and add stickers for a final special touch. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft and will receive a certificate of achievement, workshop apron, and commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron, and pin.

Christmas in Comfort, 10:00 A.M.–9:00 P.M. at Downtown Comfort Historic District (Comfort, TX) | FREE!
This event will draw visitors to the Texas Hill Country for holiday shopping and family fun. What started with a handful of local residents manning a few booths in the historic district, now offers more than 125 art and craft vendors and a full day of holiday activities.

Sunday, December 1

Saddle Up & See Santa, 4:00-6:00 P.M. at Enchanted Springs Ranch (Boerne) | Tickets: $15 per person, under 12 months old are free with a paid ticket
The venue will be open exclusively to ACM event attendees for the duration of the private event, and families are invited (and encouraged!) to stay and enjoy all the fun that starts after the sun goes down. Each family will enjoy a visit and professional photo with Santa, hot chocolate and s’mores, the entire Old West Christmas Light Fest experience, including laser tag, games, food and drinks for purchase (stay as long as you’d like—they’re open until 10:00 P.M.!), and more!

Saturday, December 7

Holidazzle, 8:00 A.M.–9:00 P.M. at Baldwin Municipal Complex (Schertz) | FREE!
Event includes Breakfast with Santa, ice skating, live entertainment, and Kris Kringle’s Market. Lighted night parade begins at 6:00 P.M.

Breakfast with Santa, 8:00–10:30 A.M. at Leon Valley Community and Conference Center | Tickets: $5
31st annual Breakfast with Santa featuring a silent auction. Tickets will be on sale at the library closer to the date. They are $5 in advance, and you will receive $6 in food tickets.

Kids Workshop: Christmas Countdown Calendar, 9:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. at Home Depot stores | FREE!
Create a countdown to the holidays, and have a blast with your child while doing it. Kids develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing, and applying stickers. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft and will receive a certificate of achievement, workshop apron, and commemorative pin while supplies last.

Homemade Christmas, 9:00 A.M.–4:30 P.M. at the Alamo | FREE!
Explore what the holiday season would have looked like on the Texas frontier! Event will include period crafts for visitors of all ages, living history demos, Christmas storytelling, and more.

Disney Junior Holiday Party, 12:00 P.M. & 4:00 P.M. at Majestic Theatre | Tickets: $24.50–69.50
A dazzling musical wonderland where children and their families can sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs and holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Puppy Dog Pals, Vampirina, and many more, plus a special visit from Santa Claus. Children one year of age and older require a ticket.

Free Family Night: Victorian to Steampunk, 4:00–8:00 P.M. at San Antonio Museum of Art | FREE!
Get into the holiday spirit with fun art activities that range from traditional Victorian to Steampunk! Craft Victorian angel ornaments, Steampunk collages, and more at this festive, free family night.

10th Annual Museum Reach River of Lights Kickoff, 6:00–9:00 P.M. at San Antonio River Museum Reach | FREE!
Event will feature free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a holiday concert stage, food trucks, an artisan holiday market, costumed characters along the River, and live musical entertainment in holiday barges. New this year: cookie-decorating workshop and free photos inside a giant snow globe.

The Muppet Christmas Carol, 6:00–9:00 P.M. at Juarez Plaza, La Villita Historic Arts Village | FREE!
Free outdoor movie hosted by Slab Cinema. Bring chairs and blankets.

December 7 & 8

Drive-thru Nativity , 5:00-9:00 P.M. at Concordia Lutheran Church | FREE!
The story of Christmas comes to life through this amazing outdoor production, complete with live animals and actors! See the true story of Christmas unfold from the comfort of your vehicle. Although they are sharing the same wonderful story of the birth of the Savior, the experience will be brand new.

Tuesday, December 10

Conspirare Christmas, 7:30 P.M. at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | Tickets: $20–80
The traditional holiday concert reinvented with songs of hope, courage, and love that speak to our hearts and times! Soprano Nicole Joseph and the African Children’s Choir join Craig Hella Johnson and Grammy Award-winning Conspirare for this holiday favorite.

Wednesday, December 11

Hands-on Hanukkah, 5:00–7:00 P.M. at Whole Foods at The Vineyard | FREE!
Bring kids of all ages (birth through 7th grade) and their friends for a Hanukkah kickoff sure to melt your menorah. Take your picture with Danny the Dreidel. Enjoy lots of different Hanukkah crafts for all ages. Complimentary latkes from Whole Foods made fresh by the gourmet Whole Foods chefs will be available. Dinner will be available for purchase at Whole Foods as well.

December 12–15

A Charlie Brown Christmas, at Empire Theatre | Tickets: $15–35
The Magik Theatre’s 5th annual production. When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas fir tree fails, he needs Linus’s help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.

Friday, December 13

Holiday Shorts, 8:00 P.M. at River Walk Plaza (Tobin Center) | FREE!
Plaza opens at 7:00 P.M. Movie starts at 8:00 P.M. Three holiday shorts will be screened: The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). No outside food or drinks; concessions are available for purchase (includes full bar). Chairs are provided, but attendees are also encouraged to bring their own blankets and portable chairs. No pets allowed on Plaza.

December 13 & 14

La Pastorela Folklorica, 6:30 P.M. at Guadalupe Theatre | Tickets: $10
This annual holiday celebration is a fun representation of the traditional shepherd’s play with a Folklorico and Flamenco flair. This version highlights the Guadalupe Dance Academy performing beautiful traditional Mexican Folklorico and Flamenco music and dance throughout the evening.

Saturday, December 14

Pancakes with Santa, 8:30 A.M., 9:30 A.M., & 10:30 A.M. at Devine Acres Farms | Tickets: $15+fees
This annual, reservation-only event starts with breakfast and enjoy a whole day of holiday fun that includes getting the perfect Christmas tree! Santa will be on the stage of the Pavilion during breakfast. He will be visiting and having photos made with guests (by a professional photographer) while breakfast is being served. Musicians will be playing at the pavilion also. Dancing, singing along, and ringing the jingle bells is optional, although encouraged.

Super Fun Saturday: Holidays at Hemisfair, 11:00 A.M.–1:00 P.M. at Hemisfair | FREE!
Get in the holiday spirit at Yanaguana Garden. Enjoy visits with Santa and his reindeer, decorate your own stocking, make your own ornament, and enjoy a jumping elf photo op by AQUA ACRO Entertainment, LLC, carolers by The American Caroling Company, a letters to Santa station, macaroons by Neko Masi, a holiday slime-making station by Fox Lover Slime Lab, and a hot chocolate bar by Paleteria San Antonio.

Illume: Making Spirits Bright, 6:00–9:00 P.M. at San Pedro Creek Culture Park | FREE!
Dynamic one-night event highlighting the food, dance, music, and art of our diverse and festive community. The event will feature food trucks and vendors with cuisines from around the world, a beer and wine garden, cultural performances, and music by DJ Steven Lee Moya. Performers include Tehuan Band of Mission Indians, dancers from the Korean American Cultural Center of San Antonio and St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, and an African drummer from the Carver Community Cultural Center. The event also features a temporary, light-based art installation by Ansen Seale and custom, on-the-spot holiday poetry by Typewriter Rodeo.

Sunday, December 15

Holiday Performances at ITC, 12:00–4:00 P.M. at Institute of Texan Cultures | FREE with admission
The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will present two performances, with suites from their rendition of The Nutcracker. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will perform a traditional Pastorela play, a morality tale about shepherds going to visit the Holy Family in Bethlehem and the snares the Devil uses in attempts to dissuade them.

Making Spirits Bright, 3:00 P.M. at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | Tickets: $8–28
Holidays call for singing! This December Children’s Chorus of San Antonio presents your favorite pop and choral holiday classics. This group of young singers is sure to make spirits bright as they relish in the joys of family, love, and unity through song.

December 16 & 17

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, 7:30 P.M. at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | Tickets: $26.50–64.50
The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all your favorite characters including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph as they come to life. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.

Tuesday, December 17

Hands on Chanukah, 3:00–6:00 P.M. at Barshop Jewish Community Center | FREE!
Join this celebratory afternoon filled with arts & crafts, games, treats, and special guests. Free for the whole family and open to the community.

Wednesday, December 18

Posada at Pearl, 6:30–9:00 P.M. at The Historic Pearl | FREE!
Inspired by the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, community members are invited to join the posada and become pilgrims traveling by candlelight. Las Posadas is a nine-day Christmas celebration in Mexico and Latin America, centered on the ritual re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s quest to find lodging in Bethlehem. The evening includes live music, children’s crafts, and traditional treats of buñuelos, tamales, and Mexican hot chocolate.

December 19-21

The Nutcracker, 7:30 P.M. & 2:00 P.M. (Saturday only) at Lila Cockrell Theatre | Tickets: $29–99
American Midwest Ballet’s performance in collaboration with with San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet and the Dorothy Keck Dancers of San Antonio. Always fresh, lively, and thoroughly entertaining, The Nutcracker returns with the visual splendor and charming story that make it a family favorite. Set to one of composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous works, it transports audiences to the enchanting Land of Snow and the opulent Kingdom of Sweets, featuring a uniquely breathtaking Waltz of the Flowers scene. Performance includes a cast of 130 professional and student dancers and features lavish sets and more than 250 beautiful costumes.

December 20–22

Holiday Pops at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | Tickets: $15–100
Ring in the holidays with the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers and the San Antonio Symphony in a magical celebration of the season. Join an audience sing-along and a program featuring both traditional and popular music to get you in the holiday spirit.

Sunday, December 22

Chanukah on the River, 2:45–5:00 P.M. at Arneson River Theatre | Tickets: $6
A interactive entertainment Chanukah cruise experience. The Maccabeats live in concert. Boat ride departs from Arneson River Theater and includes surprise performers, live music, interactive entertainment, and gelt. Presented by Chabad Center for Jewish Life & Learning in cooperation with community synagogues & Jewish organizations.

December 22-30–Hanukkah

Monday, December 23

Donuts & Driedels, 4:30–6:00 P.M. at Shipley’s Donuts (on Bitters Road at Blanco) | FREE!
Join Agudas Achim for the second night of Hanukkah for sweet sufganiyot fun! Bring your own Hanukkah Menorah to light. Eat donuts (pick any flavor from the store!), play dreidel, and light the Hanukkah Menorahs together. A youth choir will be leading everyone in Hanukkah songs. All are welcome.

Chanukah Celebration, 6:00–7:30 P.M. at The Historic Pearl | FREE!
For the fifth year the San Antonio community comes together for a Chanukah and menorah lighting celebration in partnership with YJSA – Young & Jewish San Antonio. The menorah at Pearl will be lit each night of Chanukah, and on December 23 at 6:00 P.M., all can celebrate with live music and kosher tacos from Savor Restaurant‘s Live Fire Kitchen.

Cirque Musica presents Holiday Wishes, 7:00 P.M. at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | Tickets: $44.50–85.00
A full theatrical cirque event for the entire family that brings a holiday story to life. Featuring the world-renowned cast of Cirque Musica with holiday favorite hits all performed live by a full symphony orchestra. Be amazed by the acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks and holiday cheer. The show blends the spellbinding grace and daredevil athleticism of today’s greatest circus performers with the sensory majesty of a symphony orchestra.

Tuesday, December 24—Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 25—Christmas Day

Thursday, December 26—Kwanzaa

December 26 & 27

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, at Majestic Theatre | Tickets: $33.50–103.50
Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, more than 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets, soaring birds, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.

Saturday, December 28

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical, 7:00 P.M. at Majestic Theatre | Tickets: $29.50–59.50
A toe-tapping tale that tells the story of one particularly impressive Scout Elf™ who must help his new, human family overcome a personal loss and remember the importance of Christmas cheer. Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and moments that make even the most cynical believe.

November 28–December 25

Old West Christmas Light Fest, 6:00–10:00 P.M. at Enchanted Springs Ranch (Boerne) | Tickets: $15 per person, free for children 5 and under
A holiday spectacular since 2014, bringing the season to life in an Old West town filled with lights, food, and fun under the beautiful, star-filled Texas sky. Enjoy dazzling lights, visit Santa, snap holiday photos, and travel back in time with games, activities, and family fun, all paired with tasty holiday flavors. Don’t forget to see Santa’s Longhorns, ready to pull his sleigh across Texas! The 2019 event is open Thursday through Sunday evening beginning Thanksgiving night, November 28, through Sunday, December 15, as well as every night from December 19–25, including Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Family 5-packs are available for $60; other discounts available.

November 29 & 30, December 7, 14, 15, 20–23

Wonderland Christmas, times vary at Morgan’s Wonderland | Tickets: $11 for children, $17 for adults
Enjoy your favorite Morgan’s Wonderland ride and attractions with added entertainment, twinkling lights, a petting zoo, simulated ice rink, and more!

November 29–December 8

The Nutcracker, times vary at Tobin Center for the Performing Arts| Tickets: $35–129
Presented by Ballet San Antonio. Young Clara’s mischievous uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer, concocts a fantasy world for Clara, replete with a growing Christmas tree and a nutcracker doll that comes to life and battles a Mouse King. The defeat of the Mouse King brings a fantastic sleigh ride through falling snow and dancing snowflakes. Clara’s visit to the Land of Sweets is a showcase of dancing treats presented by the Sugar Plum Fairy herself. Live music provided by San Antonio Symphony. The Nutcracker Ballet Tea Party on December 4 at 5:00 P.M. (tickets: $75, in addition to performance ticket). The Nutcracker Student Matinees on December 5 & 6 (tickets: $8–10).

December 5–22

Ford Holiday Boat Caroling at San Antonio River Walk | FREE! to view; Registration: $125–150
The public is welcome to enjoy the caroling for free from the banks of the River or while seated outdoors on a patio. *To book a private one-hour caroling boat for your friends, family, or group, simply click on the link below ($125 for Monday–Thursday, and $150 for Friday–Sunday). Boats are decorated with lights and holiday bling and include a driver, an iPod loaded with popular Christmas music, and binders with music lyrics. Each boat can accommodate a maximum of 15 adults or 20 youth. Caroling boats book quickly—don’t delay in booking yours! Other types of festive holiday music, such as mariachis, bell-ringers, and bands, are also welcome to book boats.

December 7 & 8, 14 & 15, and 21 & 22

Santa’s Railroad Wonderland, 6:00–9:00 P.M. at Texas Transportation Museum | Tickets: $10 for children (4–12), $12 for adults, children under 4 are free
An extravaganza of Christmas activities including nighttime train rides. Just about every part of the 40-acre site is decorated, from the historic depot, the trains, the garden railroad, the three other scale model railroad layouts, and everything else in between. Bring your camera and make your own Christmas memories.

Heather was born and raised in San Antonio and became a mom in 2013 and again in 2018. She never imagined she'd be raising two sons but is grateful for the opportunity! Heather enjoys the outdoors and even mowing her own lawn. She and her husband Santiago look forward to raising two feminist boys who will hopefully be better at Spanish than she is. Her professional experience since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Art History includes working for a variety of arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, from grassroots to governmental. She spent a few years as a stay at home parent and is easing her way back into the workforce. Her dream job would be to work for Sesame Workshop, or President of the United States. In the meantime, Heather enjoys filling her family's weekends with the diversity San Antonio has to offer. Favorite Restaurant: La Tuna Favorite Landmark: Hemisfair Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Breakfast tacos