20 Fun Things to Do in San Antonio: December 2018 Edition

As a city of well over a million people (and growing!), San Antonio is constantly buzzing with activity...especially around the holidays.

But how do you choose the best events to put on your calendar? Whether you’re entertaining family, hanging out with friends, or heading out for a festive date night, these 20 December events in San Antonio get our Alamo City stamp of approval!

Image Courtesy of the San Antonio Zoo

1. Light Up the Night at the Zoo

Why not put a wild twist on a classic tradition? This December, San Antonio Zoo will open its doors for their annual“ Zoo Lights” event, which invites visitors to explore the extra-festive exhibits. Admire the twinkling light show, sip hot chocolate, roast s’mores, and take a spin on the ice-skating rink! Oh...and did we mention camel rides? This is a classic San Antonio holiday event!

When: December 1-31, 12:00 - 9:00 PM

Where: San Antonio Zoo, 3903 North St. Mary's St

2. Experience the Holidays In Bloom

One of the perks of holidays in Texas? The possibility for outdoor activities! Take advantage of the warm temperatures at The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s annual “Holidays In Bloom” event. Showcasing seasonal flowers, garlands, red ribbons, and other holiday decorations, this is the perfect spot for family photos and Instagram opportunities. The cost is included with general admission, and members enjoy this exhibit for free!

When: All Month, 9:00 AM -5:00 PM

Where: San Antonio Botanical Gardens (555 Funston Place)

3. Experience the Glittering River Walk

Sometimes, the simplest holiday traditions are also the best ones. As San Antonio’s most iconic neighborhood, the River Walk makes sure to turn up the “festive” levels each holiday season. Starting the day after Thanksgiving (because we honestly can’t wait until December), the glittering light display will guide visitors down the river from dawn until dusk daily. This spectacular display features over 100,000 lights!

When: All Month, 5:30 PM - 6:30 AM

Where: San Antonio River Walk

Image Courtesy of Downtown San Antonio

4. Make Your Own Tamales at La Gran Tamalada

In partnership with the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, La Gran Tamalada offers San Antonio residents the opportunity to celebrate everyone’s favorite holiday food: tamales! Taking place at the colorful Historic Market Square, this event features make-your-own-tamales demonstrations and hands-on workshops, as well as children's activities (storybook reading, corn husk doll decorating, and photo ops with Pancho Claus!), live music, and more. The best part? this family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

When: December 8, 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Where: Historic Market Square (514 W. Commerce St)

5. Celebrate at SeaWorld

Every year, SeaWorld pulls out all of the stops for their Christmas Celebration. This “wintery and watery” holiday event goes on all month and features Christmas shows, plenty of lights (9 million!), Santa Claus, festive food, Rudolph sightings, and more. Make sure you take time to visit the park this Christmas season; we promise it’ll be a night to remember!

When: All Month, Park Hours Here

Where: SeaWorld San Antonio (10500 SeaWorld Drive)

6. Head to Fiesta Texas for the Holidays

Fiesta Texas has so many great things happening this holiday season! Holiday in the Park will feature new Holiday Express train ride, a caroling family of Christmas trees, a live nativity show, nightly musical shows, personalized meet-and-greets with Santa Claus and his helpers, and way more.

When: All Month, See Park Hours Here

Where: Six Flags Fiesta Texas (17000 IH-10 West)

Image Courtesy of Sarah Pflug

7. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Dulce

Let’s face it: the holidays are an absolute paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth. This year, why not embrace the sugar rush with a dessert experience like Dulce? This tasty event will feature incredible desserts, drinks, and savory treats created by top local and regional artisans. Enjoy macaroons, cupcakes, churros, cookies, cakes, paletas, milkshakes, ice cream, ciders, spiked hot cocoa, candy-rimmed cocktails, and more!

When: December 7th, 7:00 - 11:00 PM 

Where: San Antonio Botanical Gardens (555 Funston Place)

Image Courtesy of The Tobin Center

8. Watch a Glittering Performance of The Nutcracker

Perhaps the most famous holiday ballet, The Nutcracker (by Ballet San Antonio) is a Tobin Center tradition. An original commission and world premiere (choreographed by Easton and Haley Smith), this’s performance is set to sweep the audience off their collective feet. According to Smith: “Whether you’re a dance enthusiast or it’s your first time bringing your family to the ballet, we know that our fresh take on this classic tradition will envelop your whole family in the warmth of the holiday season."

When: December 1-2 (See Times Here)

Where: The Tobin Center (100 Auditorium Circle)

9. Shop at the Holiday Artisan Show

Looking for unique gifts this year? Why not stop by the Holiday Artisan Show at the San Antonio River Walk? This collection of hand-selected vendors will be selling everything from pottery, to textiles, jewelry, woodwork, paintings, beadwork, and more.

When: December 14-16, 11:00 AM- 11:00 PM

Where: San Antonio River Walk

10. Be Wow’d by “A Wonderland Christmas”

From November 23th to December 23rd, Morgan’s Wonderland will burst into holiday spirit for “A Wonderland Christmas!” Watch as this 25-acre theme park transforms into a Christmas extravaganza, complete with glowing lights, complimentary hot chocolate, a petting zoo, simulated ice rink, pictures with Santa, and way more.

When: November 23 - Dec 23

Where: Morgan's Wonderland (5223 David Edwards Drive)

Image Courtesy of the San Antonio River Walk

11. Sing Your Heart Out on the River Walk

The San Antonio river spans 2.5 miles, and we want you to help carol all the way! With the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling, more than 185 different groups will come together over the course of the holiday season to perform live Christmas carols. Stroll the banks of the river, make a dinner reservation on one of the many riverside restaurants, and enjoy the sounds of Christmas with this fun, San Antonio tradition.

When: View Dates & Times Here

Where: San Antonio River Walk

12. Watch a Dazzling Laser Light Show

Get ready for a light show unlike any other! Urban-15’s annual Holiday Laser Show is a spectacular event featuring choreographed laser beams and colorful 3D animation performed to favorite holiday songs. Although specific dates and times will not be posted until November, keep an eye on the website and reserve your tickets when times are announced!

When & Where: TBD, Check Website for Details

13. Explore Christmas at the Caverns

In case you thought Christmas was a solely “cozy” affair, Natural Bridge Caverns invites you to take a more adventurous approach to the holiday season at “Christmas at the Caverns.” Set within an underground stage of stunning natural rock formations, Natural Bridge Caverns will offer the opportunity to listen to your favorite carols resonate from 180 feet below and the cave fills with the sound of Christmas.

When: December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 (2:00 PM-Close)

Where: Natural Bridge Caverns (26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road)

Image Courtesy of University of the Incarnate Word

14. See a Million Sparkling Lights

The University of the Incarnate Word will host their annual Light the Way display to celebrate the start of the holiday season! A tradition that spans back over 30 years, Light the Way is an iconic San Antonio holiday tradition, illuminating the campus in nearly a million vibrant lights. Lights turn on at dusk and run all month long!

Where: 4301 Broadway

15. Enjoy Tasty Tamales

Feliz Tamalidad is a San Antonio tradition that celebrates the heritage and culture of the city with live music, tamales, and plenty of family-friendly fun. Plus, all proceeds from the holiday event benefit Brooks Gives Back!

When: December 8, 12:00 PM-6:00 PM

Where: The Greenline (2532 Sidney Brooks)

16. Take a Ride on Santa’s Railroad

Santa’s Railroad Wonderland is an exceptional holiday event that includes a fully decorated 40-acre site, a nighttime train ride, Choo Choo Claus, and so many fun activities for families of all ages. This event promises to be picture-perfect, so bring your cameras and snap a family photo!

When: December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 (6:00 -9:00 PM)

Where: 11731 Wetmore Road

Image Courtesy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

17. Work Off Holiday Candy at the Rock & Roll Marathon

Looking for a way to stay in shape this holiday season? The extra-ambitious may want to consider signing up for the San Antonio edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series...a run that has 20 years of history in the Alamo City! This extra-musical marathon and half-marathon features live bands, cheer teams, and more (plus, it benefits a great cause!).

When: December 2, 7:15 AM-3:00 PM

Where: Downtown San Antonio

18. Enjoy (Even More) Tamales

In case you haven’t gotten your tamale fix yet (because...who could?), check out the second annual Sunday Masa, featuring tamales, local holiday vendors, a “pan dulce pavilion,” hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, live music from Los Nahuatlatos, and more! Besides offering tasty tamales, this event also benefits a charitable organization: the Elf Louise Christmas Project

When: December 2, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Historic St. Paul Square (1174 E Commerce St)

Image Courtesy of the  Valero Alamo Bowl Official Facebook Page

19. Cheer for Your Team at the Valero Alamo Bowl

In San Antonio, “Christmas week” is synonymous with “the big game.” Every year, fans flock from across the country to the Alamodome for the beloved Valero Alamo Bowl! This college football showdown pits the #1 Pac-12 team against the #1 Big 12 team after the College Football Playoff selections. Cheer for your favorite team on December 28th (and be sure to check out the Game Day Guide for more game info!).

When: December 28, doors open at 6:00 PM

Where: Alamodome (100 Montana Street)

20. Ring in the New Year in Downtown SA

San Antonio’s downtown NYE celebration is always exciting...but this year’s tricentennial edition is sure to be the best yet! Featuring fireworks, three stages of live music, carnival games, rides, and delicious festival food, this downtown fiesta is the biggest free New Year’s Eve celebration and fireworks extravaganza in Texas!

When: December 31, 5:00 PM - After Midnight

Where: Downtown San Antonio

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