5 Free Holiday Happenings in San Antonio

Beautiful all year long, San Antonio really shines during the holidays. Our historic River Walk twinkles with thousands of lights and cultural traditions come alive. Ring in the season with these five free holiday events in the Alamo City:

1. Tamales! Holiday Festival at Pearl 
303 Pearl Parkway, San Antonio, Texas, 78215 
Saturday, December 6, 12pm – 6pm 

What would South Texas holidays be without tamales? On Saturday, December 6, the Pearl, San Antonio’s foodie/shopping hot spot, plays host to this free festival along a stretch of the San Antonio River. Munch on goodies from 40 tamale vendors, listen to live music, and watch your kids make free crafts presented by The DoSeum. The festival is free to attend. Food and beverages range from $1 to $5.
Free Tamales Holiday Festival at the Pearl in San Antonio 

2. Ford Luminarias and Holiday Boat Caroling on the San Antonio River Walk
Saturday, December 6 – December 21: nightly, from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. for caroling and weekend nights only (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) for luminaries

Stroll the picturesque River Walk under twinkling lights while enjoying the holiday sounds of various choirs, singing groups, and bands as they travel by boat down the river, serenading you with holiday favorites. And, on weekend nights in December, 6,000 luminarias, bags filled with sand and candles, light up the River Walk as they symbolize a path for the Holy Family.

Free holiday festivities on the San Antonio Riverwalk 


3. Alamo Heights 37th Annual Holiday Parade 

On Broadway in Alamo Heights, 78209 (Cambridge Elementary School, proceeds down Broadway, and ends at the Stewart Center)
Saturday, December 6, 5:30 p.m.

This charming, down home holiday parade takes place in Alamo Heights, a lovely little town just north of downtown San Antonio. An after-party wraps up the parade festivities in the parking lot behind Nothing Bundt Cakes (Grove Place and Broadway).

The 37th annual Alamo Heights Holiday Parade in San Antonio

23808 Resort Parkway, San Antonio, Texas 78261 
Now through December 31. 

Pastry chefs at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa invite you to visit their amazing Gingerbread Storytime Village. These doll-sized gingerbread houses, each crafted by hand and featuring 19 different holiday story themes, took a total of 1600 hours to build. And, while you’re stopping by to nibble, I mean, admire their handiwork, be sure to check out Illuminations, the resort’s dazzling holiday light show that runs each evening from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
Gingerbread Storytime Village at the JW Marriott in San Antonio 


5. Los Pastores Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., San Antonio, 78205
Sunday, December 14, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Visit the Institute of Texan Cultures for free on Sunday, December 14, when the museum joins Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to present Los Pastores, the traditional morality play. It’s the story of how the angels defeated the devil, who tried to dissuade shepherds from visiting the baby Jesus. A workshop kicks off the day’s events with activities for families. Learn about the play and its songs and make devil masks and angel crowns to take home. Then, stay for the play. Each child attending will receive a copy of “Rosita’s Christmas Wish” by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni (a children’s book, while supplies last, limit one book per family/household). The workshop runs from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the play is from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Los Pastores, a free holiday event at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio

Visit San Antonio Mom Blogs for our full list of free holiday events in San Antonio!

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