Free and Cheap Holiday Fun in San Antonio

Tis the Season!  There are so many unique and memorable holiday events in San Antonio this season that are free and family friendly.

Free Events (sorted by date)

Holidazzle, Saturday, December 7th – 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

Kids Workshop: Christmas Countdown Calendar, Saturday, December 7th 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.

Santa is Coming to Frost Bank, Saturday, December 7th – 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M at 4 San Antonio Frost Bank Locations | FREE!
Frost invites families to come into four San Antonio-area Frost financial centers for a little holiday cheer and photos with a special guest: Santa Claus. Guests can enjoy holiday cookies in a festive holiday setting while kids get a chance to visit with Santa. Kids will also get a candy cane, and parents should bring a camera so their kids can pose for pictures with St. Nick.

Homemade Christmas, Saturday, December 7th – 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.

Free Family Night: Victorian to Steampunk, Saturday, December 7th – 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, Saturday, December 7th – 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, Saturday, December 7th – 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.

Drive-thru Nativity , Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December 8th – 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.

Hands-on Hanukkah, Wednesday, December 11th – 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.

Holiday Shorts, Friday, December 13th – 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.

Super Fun Saturday: Holidays at Hemisfair, Saturday, December 14th – 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, Saturday, December 14th – 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.

Hands on Chanukah, Tuesday, December 17th – 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.

Posada at Pearl, Wednesday, December 18th – 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.

Donuts & Driedels, Monday, December 23rd – 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, Monday, December 23rd – 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.

Ongoing Events: 

Ford Holiday Boat Caroling December 5 -22nd at San Antonio River Walk | FREE! to view
The public is welcome to enjoy the caroling for free from the banks of the River or while seated outdoors on a patio.

Ford Fiesta De Las Luminarias   Weekends December 6 -22nd at San Antonio River Walk | FREE! to view
Ford Fiesta De Las Luminarias features more than 6,000 luminarias, which are candles in sand-filled bags, along the San Antonio River. These are part of the Mexican Christmas tradition of “lighting the way” for the holy family. Teams of volunteers make this display possible for the citizens of San Antonio to enjoy every holiday season.

Holiday Night Market at the Pearl Thursdays, December 5th, 12th and 19th 4:00 P.M – 8:00 P.M. | FREE!
Get a jump start on holiday shopping Thursdays in December.  Shop farmers market vendors and artisan vendors while enjoying live music. Seasonal favorites like tamales, artisanal chocolates and sweets will also be available! All of Pearl’s retail tenants will be staying open until 7 p.m. during the markets.

The Saga at The Plaza  Ongoing, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:00, 9:30 and 10:00pm at San Fernando Cathedral | FREE! to view
This unique video art projection depicts the historical discovery, settlement and development of San Antonio, our wonderful Lone Star State, and United States history. The Saga projection covers 7,000 square feet of light, color and visual narration projected onto the majestic façade of San Fernando Cathedral- the oldest cathedral in the United States. Through the 24-minute journey, it has become a destination for residents, South Texans, national, and international visitors.

Cheers for Holiday Lights! Photo courtesy Mewborne Photography.

Christmas Lights 

Fill up with a full tank of gas, full travel mugs with hot cocoa and have a bright, festive and cheap night! Here are some not-to-be-missed free light displays:


University of the Incarnate Word

Boerne’s Parade of Lights

Check out our Guide to San Antonio Holiday Lights.

San Antonio Shopping Areas and Stores

Our team loves taking their kids to these spots that get all decked out for the season:

Bass Pro Shops (can also see Santa for free with some advance planning)

Shops at La Cantera

North Star Mall

Alamo Quarry Market

DIY San Antonio Christmas Tree Tour

We love this free and memorable idea from one of our team members!  Pick and choose from memorable San Antonio spots on this list for a San Antonio Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt and see some of the unique and exquisite trees across our city:

What’s on your list of free Holiday events in San Antonio?  Share your family favorite, budget friendly Holiday Traditions in the comments.

Michelle moved to San Antonio eight years ago and yet still feels like a newcomer. She is rather smitten with the Alamo City. She and her husband met at Texas A&M and started their marriage in Minnesota. After six years of very cold winters, they returned to Texas. Michelle has two kids (12 and 9), along with a very quirky rescue dog and two rather cute guinea pigs. A former corporate food scientist turned part-time yoga instructor, she still takes her food very seriously—she just doesn’t get paid for it anymore. She is fueled by tea, cold brew coffee, yoga, dog walking, books and quickly googling answers to her kids eleventy million questions.