Make Holiday Shopping an Event: Fill Your Gift Lists at Local Markets

Tackling your holiday shopping with twinkling lights, music, and fun, perhaps even with a drink in hand? Yes, please! If you want to actually enjoy your shopping excursions and land unique gifts this year, add shopping holiday events to your plan for the season.

Even when you’re shopping with gift lists, wish lists, and must-finds in mind, shopping holiday events gives you the opportunity to have fun while taking care of everything you need to tackle during the season. If you want to make scoring a great find a true event, spend some time at any of these fantastic holiday shopping opportunities:

Holiday Art Market at the Tobin Center, Saturday, November 23, 10:00 A.M. at the Tobin Center—An outdoor market focusing on fine arts and high-end artisan products, with fun for all ages at the Will Naylor Smith River Walk Plaza. Stop by and shop for unique items for the entire family, including beautiful artwork, home decor, gourmet food, accessories, gifts, and much more. Enjoy live holiday music, meet Santa Claus, sample hot drinks and gourmet treats, and bring your pet along: the event is pet-friendly, making it perfect for a River Walk stroll.

A glimpse of some of the educational entertainment the whole family can enjoy at the Yanaguana Indian Arts Market. Photo courtesy of the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Yanaguana Indian Arts Market, Saturday, November 23–Sunday, November 24 at the Briscoe Western Art Museum—This market features a collective of Native American artists showcasing and selling their handcrafted works of art. You’ll also enjoy musical performances, including Grammy Award-winning performing artist Ty Defoe, as well as dancing, storytelling, and artist demonstrations of painting, printmaking, pottery, weaving and carving, while enjoying Native American-inspired food. The event starts with a special blessing, followed by a ceremonial drum circle where everyone is invited to join, and includes free admission to the museum, giving you an opportunity to shop and enjoy both the event and the museum. The museum shop is a favorite stop for fantastic gifts, including wonderful ornaments, jewelry, books and more.

The Holiday Fair fills the grounds of the San Antonio Art Museum. Photo courtesy of the San Antonio Arts Museum

San Antonio Museum of Art 6th Annual Holiday Fair, Saturday, November 30, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M., San Antonio Museum of Art—A one-stop shop for unique finds from local artisans, all on the grounds of the San Antonio Museum of Art. Pottery, art, jewelry, and more from more than 60 vendors, the fair is a great reason to check out the museum and enjoy a day of fun shopping on the River Walk. While you’re there, be sure to check out the museum gift shop, another favorite go-to for unique items sure to help fill your gift list. Stroll part of the Museum Reach, stop by the museum, and enjoy a family day filled with art and shopping.

30th Annual International Peace Market/Mercado de Paz, Friday, November 29–Saturday, November 30, 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M., and Sunday, December 1, 12:00–6:00 P.M., Esperanza Peace and Justice Center—This local market combines art with economic sustainability, international exchange, and social consciousness. The Peace Market provides a family-friendly environment that honors the importance of moments and spaces where people gather outdoors and indoors together as community. One of the oldest annual open-air international markets, the Mercado de Paz features international and local artists/artisans with a variety of artful, beautifully handmade items, including hand-woven rugs, handcrafted pottery, handcrafted textiles, hand-embroidered clothing, paintings, sculptures, vintage goods, soaps, and much more.

The Christkind and Der Weihnachtsmann, along with Santa, are part of the Christkindlmarkt. Photo courtesy Christkindlmarkt.

Christkindlmarkt, Friday, December 6, 5:00–9:00 P.M., and Saturday, December 7, 10:00 A.M.–9:00 P.M., Bavarian Halle at Schlitterbahn—A German-inspired, open-air Christmas market complete with food, drinks, German music, singing, and dancing as vendors selling Christmas ornaments and handcrafted artisan gifts fill the space with amazing finds. Who can resist shopping with a good German beer or warm glühwein in hand, especially when it’s this much fun? Pottery, candles, stained glass, soaps, children’s toys, clothing, jewelry, and more will greet you as you stroll the market to the sounds of German music.

Some of the fantastic jewelry you’ll find at SoFlo Market.

SoFlo Market, Saturday, December 14, 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M., 1344 S. Flores St.—A once-monthly market that fills a warehouse in San Antonio’s South Flores Arts District every second Saturday, October through May. Whether it’s concha earrings, wreaths for every occasion or colorful and fun art crafted with old cassette tapes that literally pops off the wall, there is nothing standard about what you’ll discover at SoFlo. Scoop up fabulous holiday decorations, including beautiful, personalized wooden Christmas ornaments. Be sure to treat the top of your gift list with luxurious hand-crafted, all-natural body scrubs, candles, and soaps from award-winning In the Weeds Natural Skincare, locally produced with Texas ingredients like fresh citrus from the Rio Grande Valley.

Holiday Artisan Show, Friday, December 13, 11:00 A.M.–11:00 P.M., Saturday, December 14, 10:00 A.M.–11:00 P.M., and Sunday, December 15, 10:00 A.M.–8:00 P.M., on the River Walk near the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Shops at Rivercenter—Featuring hand-crafted everything from more than 40 artists. Paintings, photography, glasswork, and woodwork are waiting to be discovered, along with jewelry, clothing, soaps, and candles. There’s something for everyone on your list, and many items can be personalized onsite. Don’t forget to stroll the River Walk and take in the sights and sounds that make San Antonio a favorite holiday destination year after year.

A glimpse of some of the handcrafted items at Hecho a Mano. Photo courtesy of Hecho a Mano.

Hecho a Mano, Saturday, December 21, 12:00–6:00 P.M., Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center—This market has celebrated San Antonio’s culturally unique and vibrant artisan community for more than 30 years in the heart of West side. Offering art lovers and holiday shoppers an array of fine art and handmade items by local artists, Hecho a Mano is a one-day shopping event that guarantees fun finds with true San Antonio flair. The pieces encompass both traditional and contemporary styles, and the atmosphere allows you to enjoy a festive spirit of holidays, friendship, and joy in Plaza Guadalupe.

An Army brat who came to Texas for college and ultimately managed to make the Lone Star State her permanent home, Dawn became a mom “AMA” (advanced maternal age), giving her the opportunity to use a stroller vs. a walker as she navigates the world of motherhood. Her growing up way too fast native Texan loves all things Star Wars, Legos, dinosaurs and keeping his parents on their toes. When she’s not busy parenting the original strong-willed child, Dawn runs Tale to Tell Communications, a San Antonio-based PR and marketing agency. An award-winning writer, Dawn also contributes to San Antonio Woman, Rio Magazine and Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She and her family enjoy exploring all that San Antonio has to offer, going on adventures and playing tourist together as much as possible. Favorite Restaurant: Clementine Favorite Landmark: The beauty of the River Walk, especially La Villita Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Celebrating anything and everything with color, music and food