San Antonio Shines Bright with Holiday Lights

Some of my fondest memories of the holiday seasons throughout the years include some kind of take out (Taco Bell when I was a child and the family was budgeting, and coffee and a sweet as my palette has refined), listening to the jazz station that plays Christmas music after Thanksgiving, and looking at holiday lights.

If you’re wondering where to find the best holiday lights San Antonio has to offer—look no further! Some of these recommendations are more time and date specific, but you do not want to miss the neighborhood-specific locations, as they are the wild cards of what you are going to see on your holiday light adventures.

DOWNTOWN

Museum Reach Lock & Dam and San Pedro Creek Culture Park
510 Brooklyn Ave. and 715 Camaron St.
Open daily, November 12, 2021–January 3, 2022
Free admission
The San Antonio River Authority invites you to visit the Museum Reach segment of the San Antonio River Walk and San Pedro Creek Culture Park every evening beginning November 12 to enjoy the annual holiday lights. A 30-foot tall musical tree light show at the Museum Reach Lock & Dam will also return this year. For more information about the Museum Reach River of Lights, follow the River Authority social media channels at @sanantonioriver and San Pedro Creek Culture Park at @sanpedrocreek.

Travis Park
301 East Travis St. | 210.207.3677
Open daily through January 3, 2022
Free admission
Winter wonderland kicks off at Travis Park on November 19 with ice skating hosted by CCDO, Centro, and Rotary Club of San Antonio. Tickets are on sale now. The fun continues on November 26 at 6:00 p.m. with the lighting of the 50-foot tree gifted by H-E-B.

River Walk
Open daily through January 3, 2022
Free admission
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season on the River Walk where 100,000 lights shine. The lights turned on for 2021 on November 12, and the official kick-off of the holiday season happens November 26 with the Ford Holiday River Parade. The fun does not stop there. Ford Fiesta de la Luminarias will be held on weekends December 3–19, and Holiday Boat Caroling on December 2–23, 2021, Monday–Thursday: 6:00–8:15 p.m. and Friday–Sunday: 6:00–9:30 p.m. Marvel at the lights above during one of the Holi-Dine on the River Walk Culinary Adventure Tours.


MIDTOWN

Lightscape
San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Place | 210.536.1400
November 19, 2021–January 2, 2022 (Not operating on: November 22, 23, 29, 30; December 6, 7, 13, 14, 24, 25)
Prices vary, based on day of the week and date selected. Additional service fees apply.
A one-mile path winds through the Botanical Garden boasting a field of Texas bluebonnets and a show-stopping Cathedral of Light. Festive foods, s’mores, and drinks are available for purchase.

Zoo Lights
San Antonio Zoo, 3903 N. St. Mary’s Street | 210.734.7184
Open daily, November 19, 2021–January 2, 2022
This is a family favorite because it allows you to view lights while also learning about nocturnal animals. There are 12 realms to explore, plus special encounters like caroling train rides and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Light the Way
University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway
Drive through campus nightly starting November 21 through January 6, 2022.


NORTH CENTRAL

Shavano Park
Enter off of Northwest Military between Huebner and DeZavala
Dates vary
FREE!
This is a residential neighborhood (and a personal fave) that does not have a set deadline or contest but has always put the best on display: full-size ice rink, large animal silhouettes, and a Snoopy scene are some of the usual highlights.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas 
17000 IH-10 West
Open November 20, 2021–January 2, 2022, weekends and select dates
Park tickets start at $24.99.
Holiday In the Park and Taste of Holiday In the Park engage all of your senses under a sky of glittering lights.

Old West Christmas Light Fest
Enchanted Springs Ranch, 242 State Hwy 46 W, Boerne, TX 78006 | 830.249.8222
Open Thanksgiving Day–Christmas Eve 2021
Admission is $15 per person, six years or older, with discount for Military/First Responders.
Ticket includes onsite parking and event admission to Old West Christmas Light Fest for one night. “Our holiday experience includes a light show, laser tag in the lights, mechanical bull rides, Santa’s Holly Jolly Herd of longhorns, live music, food, and straight from the North Pole, Santa Claus himself! Brimming with activities and fun, our old West town is the perfect way to make lasting memories this holiday season.”

Christmas on the Ranch
Don Strange Ranch, 103 Waring Welfare Rd., Boerne, TX
November 26–December 24, 2021
Pricing varies by vehicle size or per person for hayrides.
New light displays and an expanded Santa’s Village.


NORTHEAST

Santa’s Ranch
9561 I-35 North, New Braunfels, TX
November 5, 2021–January 2, 2022
Tickets are $35 per vehicle or $70 for a season pass.
You cannot miss the 50-foot Christmas tree donning the access road of I-35, marking the entrance to this family-friendly drive-through experience.

The Light Park
Retama Park, 1 Retama Pkwy, Selma, TX | 830.310.3962
Open daily through January 2, 2022
Online tickets, Monday–Thursday: $30 per vehicle, Friday–Sunday & Holiday Weeks: $40 per vehicle. Prices increase by $10 at the gate.
A drive-through “sights and sounds of the holiday season” experience. Tip from the website: Skip the long lines and save by visiting Monday–Thursday.

Windcrest Light Up
Windcrest City Hall, 8601 Midcrown Dr., Windcrest, TX
December 4–31, 2021
FREE!
Join in the decades-old tradition of driving through the streets of Windcrest to see the neighborhood lights. This year’s theme is “A Kaleidoscope of Colors—2021 A Christmas Odyssey.” Maps are available nightly at City Hall. Make sure to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award through December 31.

Sights and Sounds of Christmas
401 E Hopkins St., San Marcos, TX 78666
December 2–4 & 9–11, 2021
Tickets are $5 per person over 13 years of age, free for 12 and under. Purchase a six-day pass for only $15.
A family-friendly Christmas festival.


WEST

SeaWorld 
10500 SeaWorld Dr. | 210.520.4732
November 11, 2021–January 2, 2022
Tickets start at $45.99 during the Black Friday Sale.
Nine million twinkling lights fill the 250-acre park, with exciting pop-up shows and meet and greets (available for an extra fee).

Lights Alive!
5931 Roft Rd.
November 19, 2021–January 2, 2022
Entrance fee includes drive-thru and entry to Park-n-Play Winter Wonderland—Limited (non-peak) Day, $35; Peak Day, $45 per vehicle
“Lights Alive! is a 100% computer-controlled, musically synchronized, drive-thru light show experience. The nearly mile-long attraction is the first of its kind in Texas and proudly showcases innovative new lighting technologies that are sure to dazzle and captivate viewers of all ages. The intensive and immersive experience is family-friendly and synchronized to a one-of-a-kind soundtrack with modern high-energy, up-beat, non-traditional remixes as well as popular Christmas classics.”

Elf Acres
1475 Grosenbacher Rd. | 210.643.8662
November 20, 2021–January 2, 2022
Season passes available for $70, and single-day passes start at $30.
“Get ready to experience the magic of the holiday season as you wind your way through our one-mile trail of lights and animated displays and sing along to your favorite Christmas music on our Elf Acres radio station!”

SOUTH

Winter Wonderland ¡Celebraciòn! 
Palo Alto College, 1400 W. Villaret Blvd.
Open daily, December 3–23, 2021
The drive-thru experience is $15 per vehicle and funds raised will go towards the PAC Foundation. Admission can be purchased upon arrival.
Kick-off event on Facebook Live December 2. Visitors will enjoy thousands of lights across a variety of magical light displays through the Palo Alto College campus. Enter from Villaret Blvd. This year’s event is drive-thru only, so please remain in your vehicle.

BONUS: OUTSIDE OF SAN ANTONIO

Austin Trail of Lights
Zilker Park: 2100 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704
November 27–December 31, 2021
Prices range from $30–$40 per vehicle depending on entry time and night, with timed access each hour starting at 7:00 p.m.

Peppermint Parkway
Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd., Austin, TX 78617
November 26–December 26, 2021
Starting at $40 per vehicle.

Lights Spectacular 
Johnson City, TX
November 26, 2021–January 2, 2022
Free!
​The twinkliest town in the hill country celebrates its 31st annual Lights Spectacular.

The Walkway of Lights
Lakeside Park, 305 Buena Vista Dr., Marble Falls, TX 78654
November 19, 2021–January 01, 2022
Free!
“Open nightly from 6:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. until January 1st, The Walkway of Lights displays two million lights in Lakeside Park and over 350+ lighted sculptures.”

Cuero’s Christmas in the Park
Cuero Municipal Park, US Hwy 87 S, Cuero, TX
November 22–December 31, 2021
FREE!