Thanksgiving break, holidays ahead, and taking your turn at hosting visitors again? There’s always something fabulous to see and enjoy in San Antonio—so much so that it can be overwhelming to remember all the options available when you’re ready to get out and explore. The most wonderful time of the year feels even more special this go-round and our local museums and attractions are ready to help entertain you and your visitors. Even if you don’t have visitors you need to entertain, check out all of this fall and winter fun in San Antonio.
Many of these spots offer free hours or special days for locals to visit, making affordable family fun. For instance, you can add the San Antonio Museum of Art to a Sunday morning stroll on the Museum Reach, or pop into the Briscoe Western Art Museum on the third Sunday of each month for half-off general admission. Enjoy an afternoon at the museum, then watch the holiday lights glow on the River Walk.
And gifting hint: a membership or season pass makes a holiday present that ensures fun throughout the year. If you’re looking for a great gift that doesn’t end up as clutter, give the experience of dinosaurs, cowboys, animals, or LEGOs to fill their weekends with San Antonio adventures.
Fall and winter are wonderful times to explore SABOT, where kids can roam and play amongst gorgeous plants and trees and enjoy a space meant for littles in the Family Adventure Garden. But the garden takes on a new glow through Jan. 1 with Lightscape, with magical light displays set along a beautifully illuminated one-mile path winding through the garden grounds. With lasers, lights, and actual flames, the garden is absolutely magical at night. Enjoy a field of glowing bluebonnets, a walk around the lake where you’ll swear fairies and fireflies are strolling with you, and IG for days in the light cathedral. Coming to San Antonio after sold-out shows in the U.K. and Chicago, Lightscape is a must for families to enjoy this season.
Kid favorites at this museum right along the River Walk include a fantastic Alamo diorama that helps them understand the battle, cowboy gear that includes fantastic saddles and spurs, and eye-popping art that takes you West with fantastic works that show cowboy life, Native American heritage, the wildlife of the West, and the rich influence of Mexican heritage. On view through Jan. 24, Anouk Masson Krantz: American Cowboy offers stunning images reflecting the virtues and heritage of the great American West through captivating photography. The museum’s McNutt Sculpture Garden also offers a nice spot to pause during any River Walk visit, including roaming through on your way to enjoy the annual Holiday River Parade.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight …” unless the zoo is lit up with holiday lights! Go at dusk and be there to see the animals getting ready for bed, then stay to see all of the holiday fun. Zoo Lights is included in general admission. And don’t miss the latest addition to the zoo, Neotropica, where jaguars walk over your head and you can see birds from the Amazon Rainforest, monkeys, fish, and reptiles living side-by-side.
Art excursions are something we always enjoy as a family. SAMA is a favorite spot thanks to its location on the Museum Reach, its interesting campus, and the wide range of art you can enjoy. On display through Jan. 7, American Made: Paintings and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection. With over 100 pieces of art representing over 250 years of American art, there is bound to be something everyone in your group will enjoy.
Between November 18- January 7, enjoy the transformation of the DoSeum into Frostival, a winter wonderland of fun, special events, and sock ice skating.
Through January 14, you can reserve your spot to enter the “Dreamland: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” exhibition.
Dinosaurs! Animals! Texas History! Your world is wide. Visit the “Explore Your World” exhibit through Feb. 11 to play with 19 interactive stations. Don’t miss the opportunity to hang out with Santa and the Dinosaurs too!
Originally posted by Dawn in 2021, and updated by Anastasia in 2023.