Getting Your Cultural Fix in San Antonio

Photo credit: Mewborne Photography

San Antonio has a diverse and engaged population, but we all come together for a good celebration. Fiesta is our biggest party, but there are events throughout the year that provide an opportunity to learn about our neighbors. We have gathered a listing of various cultural events throughout the year to help you expand your horizons.

January

San Antonio hosts the largest MLK Day march in the nation. Attending is an opportunity to learn more about this historic civil rights leader and participate in something positive with your neighbors instead of spending the day off lazing around.

February

The Asian Festival is held at the Institute of Texan Cultures and observes the Lunar New Year with food vendors, music, dance, martial arts, and more.

The San Antonio Zulu Association holds a Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) celebration every year on the River Walk.

March

The Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival is held mid-March and culminates with a River Walk parade on Sunday.

Holi is a celebration of friendship and new beginnings often called the “festival of colors.” The India Association of San Antonio hosts a celebration with music, food, and lots of colors.

April

The San Antonio Highland Games include music, food, vendors, and athletic competitions.  There is also a dance competition and living history displays.

The Alsatian Festival takes place in nearby Castroville and celebrates the culture of the people from Alsace, France, who founded the city in 1844.

Fiesta San Antonio is a city-wide celebration. It’s basically a multi-day party full of music, food, parades, and parties. Our contributors at Alamo City Moms have written lots of great articles about Fiesta that can be found on our website.

May

The 39th Annual Conjunto Festival is an opportunity to experience this high-energy music at several locations in San Antonio.

June

Juneteenth celebrations in San Antonio include a golf tournament, a blues festival, and kids’ events.

International Day of Yoga in mid-June is a celebration of the power of yoga and includes free yoga classes across the city.

September

Mexican Independence Day celebrations occur all over the city on the weekend closest to September 16.

  • The Avenida Guadalupe Association kicks off its Mexican Independence Day celebration with a parade. This Westside neighborhood parade began 38 years ago to preserve local Mexican American history. The parade is followed by a musical celebration at Plaza Guadalupe with a lineup of mariachis, folkloric dancers, and musical artists.
  • The Mariachi Connection hosts an annual fall festival with live performances of mariachi and ballet Folklorico.
  • El Grito San Antonio hosts a weekend-long music festival with local artists, Tejano musicians, and guests from Mexico.

The Medina Lake Cajun Festival includes Cajun-Zydeco music, a gumbo cook-off, and a celebration of Louisiana culture in the Texas Hill Country.

October

Beethoven Halle und Garten has an Oktoberfest celebration with food, music, drink, dance, and entertainment. The event is held the first two Fridays and Saturdays in October.

November

The Diwali SA Festival takes place the first Saturday in November in 2020. Diwali is a celebration of the community. This local festival includes food, dancing, entertainment, and floating of thousands of diya (lamps) and concludes with a fireworks display.

When we want to go big, we celebrate Oktoberfest with our own Wurstfest in New Braunfels. In 2020, the festival will take place from November 6–15. The celebration of German culture includes food, music, dancing, carnival rides, and of course, beer.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in many ways across San Antonio.

  • Day of the Dead San Antonio is centered at La Villita with a river parade on Friday, altars, kids activities, food and drinks, and lots of family-friendly activities.
  • Esperanza Center boasts community altars, music, kids’ activities, and a procession.
  • The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center offers art-making workshops, face-painting, and community altars along with a procession.
  • Muertos Fest has moved from its prior home in La Villita to Hemisfair this year with an altar contest, procession, vendors, two stages with live bands, and workshops.
  • Say Sí has a Muertitos Fest with a showcase of student art, altars, workshops, and vendors.

December

La Gran Tamalada takes place at Historic Market Square. You can sign up for classes on how to make tamales or simply purchase some to take home and enjoy.

Know of any other cultural events that we missed? Please share them in the comments. Happy 2020!

Shanti
Shanti is the product of recovering hippie parents. She’s a lifelong Texan, born in El Paso, with stops in Lubbock and Austin for college, before settling in San Antonio. She met her husband when she was 18. They both married and divorced other people before they realized it was meant to be. She now works as an attorney practicing primarily family law, and he designs HVAC for commercial buildings. They are raising twin tornadoes affectionately known as the Aliens, along with a rotating menagerie of dogs and cats. In her free time, she is involved in local nonprofits, runs, and grows a (sometime) thriving vegetable garden.