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Free holiday events in San Antonio (2017)

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Free holiday events in San Antonio

This year, the San Antonio Mom Blogs’ Guide to Free Holiday Events is brought to you by our presenting sponsor, Christmas Light Fest, the most dazzling holiday entertainment in the San Antonio area. We thank them for their generous support of San Antonio Mom Blogs!

 Christmas Light Fest in San Antonio

Ring in the holiday season: it’s here, y’all! You won’t want to miss one minute of the free, fabulous, family-friendly holiday fun happening in the Alamo City this year. Check back often as we’ll continue to add free holiday events in San Antonio as we find them. Have an event that’s free, family-friendly, and not listed? Send all of the details to colleenpence at socialmediamentoring dot com.

San Antonio Mom Blogs’ Guide to Free Holiday Events for 2017

Saturday, November 11: Bass Pro Shop, 17907 IH 10 West, 78257, 5:00 p.m.
Bass Pro Shop’s Holiday Preview Event and Santa’s Arrival! Magical tree lighting, Unveiling of Santa’s Wonderland, Carolers, Free photo with Santa from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., $25 gift card giveaways to one winner every half-hour from 5:30 – 7:30, free Santa stocking craft from 6-8pm, and free cookies and McStevens hate chocolate while supplies last. View the full schedule of FREE fun at Bass Pro Shops this holiday season!

Friday, November 17: downtown New Braunfels, TX, 6:00 p.m.
New Braunfels annual downtown Holiday Lighting Ceremony and Santa’s Arrival. Downtown Lighting Ceremony and Santa’s Arrival is a free event celebrating the spirit of the season in Historic Downtown New Braunfels. This event is hosted by the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department and the Downtown Association. The event is free, however the Downtown Association will be selling treats and photo opportunities with Santa on the bandstand.

Saturday, November 18: Broadway St., 78209, 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Come out and enjoy the 40th Annual Holiday Parade by the Alamo Heights Chamber

Saturday, November 18 – Sunday, November 19: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Old Gruene Market Days: 100 vendors offer Christmas gifts, uniquely crafted items and packaged Texas foods. Free admission.

Saturday, November 18: On Broadway in Alamo Heights (Cambridge Elementary School, proceeds down Broadway, and ends at the Stewart Center (The Lion and Rose), 5:30 p.m.
40th annual holiday parade in Alamo Heights, presented by the Alamo Heights Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade will step off smartly at 5:30pm from Ogden Lane adjacent to Cambridge Elementary School. The parade will proceed south on Broadway, and ends at Broadway and Barilla. Everyone is welcome to an after-parade party for kid-friendly fun in the parking lot located on the corner of Broadway and Grove Place behind Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Saturday, November 18: University of the Incarnate Word, Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium, 4301 Broadway, 6:30 p.m.
31st Annual Light the Way: This free holiday celebration kicks off at 6:30 p.m. The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) has been hosting Light the Way annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, kicking off the holiday season in San Antonio for the past 30 years. The event features entertainment for all ages, including student performers from members of the UIW Brainpower Connection, Incarnate Word High School, St. Anthony Catholic High School and St. Peter Prince of the Apostles School, guest performance from famous Tejano singer Patsy Torres and a visit from our special friend from the North Pole. The evening culminates with the official flip of the switch, illuminating the entire campus with nearly one million twinkling lights.

Saturday, November 19: JW Marriott San Antonio, 23808 Resort Parkway, 78261, 5:30 p.m. (and every evening through December 31)
The JW Hill Country Holidays! The JW Marriott Resort’s Light Up The Night begins on November 19 at 5:30 pm. Santa and Mrs. Claus will welcome the holiday season as he flips the switch for the 2016 light show set to holiday music. The show plays nightly through December 31 and guests of the resort as well as local residents are welcome to come and enjoy the thousands of twinkling lights. Santa will also be at the resort for pictures every Saturday in December for an additional cost. Details about all of the JW’s holiday events can be found here.

Friday, November 24: Travis Park, 301 E Travis St, 78205, 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Centro San Antonio presents: Holiday Lighting in Travis Park. Free hot chocolate, LIVE ice sculpting, live performances, local artisan vendors, food trucks and FREE family activities! At approximately 8:15 p.m., the 250,000 lights adorning the park will be turned on.

Friday, November 24: San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones, 78215, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
FREE admission to the San Antonio Museum of Art the day after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 24  – Saturday, November 25, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 26: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro, 78212
28th Annual International Peace Market. This 28th annual market brings together more than 100 international and local artisans offering handmade items including hand woven rugs, hand crafted pottery, hand crafted textiles, hand-embroidered clothing, paintings, sculptures and  more. There will also be live music and food. Parking will be at the SAC parking lot and there will be go-carts to drive you from the parking lot to the Mercado.

Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25: Main Street in Boerne, Texas, 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Taking place on Thanksgiving weekend each year (Friday and Saturday, from 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.), this year’s 18th annual Dickens on Main invites you and your family to welcome the holiday season on the Hill Country Mile in downtown Boerne with a free, family-friendly festival full of the sights, sounds, tastes, wonder, and delight of Christmas.

Saturday, November 25: Comfort, Texas, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Christmas in Comfort: A full day of arts and crafts vendors, food, shops, live entertainment, a visit with Santa, fireworks, and a parade.

Saturday, November 25: Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Free admission to Holly Daze Dance Performances! Enjoy holiday dance performances performed by San Antonio Parks and Recreations Dance Troupes. For information call (210) 207-3132 or go to SAParksandRec.com.

Saturday, November 25: Milam Park, 500 W Houston St, 78207, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Fantasyland at Milam Park, presented by Jefferson Bank will combine an old family tradition and our beloved tree lighting to create a magical FREE event for children and adults alike. There will be various children’s entertainment groups, face painting, train rides, and of course… visits with Santa Claus himself! The lighting of the Christmas tree, takes place at dusk. One lucky child in attendance will be chosen to help Santa Claus pull the switch for the first lighting of the holiday season. Cookies and hot chocolate provided by Mi Tierra’s to follow.

Tuesday, November 28: Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Central Academic Building Courtyard, One University Way, 78224, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Join this University community for the lighting of Main Campus as they celebrate Lights of Esperanza! Take a magical spin on the ice skating rink, play in real snow on the snow playground and take a selfie in a human snow globe. Need a break? Grab some free refreshments all evening! Free admission, and open to the public!

Thursday, November 30: Barshop JCC, 12500 N.W. Military Highway, 78231, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Hands on Chanukah: Celebrate Chanukah with your friends at the J with this free, fun annual event.

Thursday, November 30: 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 78256, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The halls will be decked and the sounds of Jazz will emanate through the air at La Cantera Resort’s annual tree lighting celebration! Perfect for the entire family, this holiday event will feature a live jazz performance by national jazz sensation Paul Taylor, festive cocktails, holiday treats, photos with Santa and more. You’re invited to ring in the holiday season, La Cantera style, on Plaza San Saba. If there’s a chill in your air, be sure to bring your favorite blanket to curl up by the fire pits!

Friday, December 1 – Friday, December 22: San Antonio Riverwalk, 6:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Ford Holiday Boat Caroling: more than 185 school, church, company, and civic choral groups ring in the holidays by singing traditional carols on cruising boats. Viewing is free to the public. Starts at Embassy Suites (River Level). Barges will make 1 lap around the River Walk horseshoe bend.

Friday, December 1: Helotes City Hall, 12951 Bandera Rd., 78023, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The City of Helotes will host its annual Lighting of the Lights event at City Hall. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. This free event is perfect for the whole family! Enjoy a concert performed by the Helotes Area Community Band while local elementary school choirs share holiday-inspired performances. You also don’t want to miss our special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be available for photos.
See the complete schedule of events at visithelotes.com.

Friday, December 1: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the corner of UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way, 6240 UTSA Blvd., 7:00 p.m.
Free performance of Handel’s Messiah. Kids welcome! Two wiggle rooms will be set-up in the back of the church for children who wish to use their voices or move around. Audio for the performances will also be available in these rooms. The performance runs 90 minutes and prelude performances will begin 20-30 minutes before each Messiah performance.

Friday – Sunday, December 1-3: San Antonio Riverwalk, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Ford Fiesta de las Luminaries: Experience the Holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 6,000 Luminaries. Warmly glowing candles in sand-filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the “lighting of the way” for the Holy Family. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.

Saturday, December 2: The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Join the Alamo as they explore what the holiday season would have looked like on the Texas frontier! A Homemade Christmas will include period crafts for visitors of all ages, living history demos, Christmas storytelling, and more.

Schedule of Events: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
• Holiday frontier crafts, including corn husk dolls, paper ring garlands, and paper snowflakes
• Living history demos, such as broom making, period games, weaving, and sewing
• Live music by Dennis Riedesel
10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
• Christmas storytelling in Cavalry Courtyard

Saturday, December 2: Windcrest Financial Center, 4900 Windsor Hill, 78239, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Frost Bank invites families to come into three San Antonio-area Frost financial centers for a little holiday cheer and photos with a special guest: Santa Claus. Guests can enjoy holiday cookies in a festive holiday setting while kids get a chance to visit with Santa. Kids will also get a candy cane, and parents should bring a camera so their kids can pose for pictures with St. Nick.

Saturday, December 2: W.W. White Financial Center, 314 S. W.W. White Road, 78219, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Frost Bank invites families to come into three San Antonio-area Frost financial centers for a little holiday cheer and photos with a special guest: Santa Claus. Guests can enjoy holiday cookies in a festive holiday setting while kids get a chance to visit with Santa. Kids will also get a candy cane, and parents should bring a camera so their kids can pose for pictures with St. Nick.

Saturday, December 2 – Sunday, December 3: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Gruene Christmas Market Days: 100 vendors offer Christmas gifts, uniquely crafted items and packaged Texas foods. Free admission.

Saturday, December 2 – Sunday, December 3: Concordia Lutheran, 16801 Huebner Rd., 78258, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Concordia’s Annual Drive-Thru Nativity. This annual event brings the story of Christmas within reach of each vehicle that comes through – starting from Christmas today, all the way back to the birth of our Savior, Jesus, and the travels of the wise men! Ten beautifully decorated stations, complete with over 60 actors, angelic choirs, and live animals bring the story to life. Admission is free. This fun family event is a great way to kick off the Christmas season!

Saturday, December 2: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the corner of UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way, 6240 UTSA Blvd., 3:30 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Free performance of Handel’s Messiah. Kids welcome! Two wiggle rooms will be set-up in the back of the church for children who wish to use their voices or move around. Audio for the performances will also be available in these rooms. The performance runs 90 minutes and prelude performances will begin 20-30 minutes before each Messiah performance.

Saturday, December 2: Gruene, Texas, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Gruene Town Lighting: Watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. Celebrate with live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done at Gruene’s 30+ stores, cozy up to a fireplace for dinner at the Gristmill, head over to Mozie’s for a cold one, or stop by the Hall for the show that evening.

Saturday, December 2: Main Plaza located at 115 N. Main Avenue, 78205, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
10th Annual Silver Bells in the City. Come join in the celebration and see the beautiful tree light up the plaza. Centered where Elizondo Plaza meets Main Plaza near historic San Fernando Cathedral, you can see the tree light up and shine from all directions. Sharing in this special family event are special guest speakers, music, mariachi, Santa Claus, food, fun and more. Free and open to the public, Main Plaza is famiily friendly, pet friendly, bike friendly and Christmas holiday season friendly.

Tuesday, December 5: Travis Park, 311 E Travis St., 78205, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Join Slab Cinema for Movies by Moonlight. The movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Get there early for a good spot. The movie will start at dusk.

Thursday, December 7: downtown New Braunfels, TX, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wassailfest: this annual holiday event boasts music, food, shopping, twinkling holiday lights and free wassail for sampling.

Friday, December 8: Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St, 7:00 p.m.
Free Admission to Holly Daze Rock. Enjoy a musical performance by the Take Note Band featuring seasonal pop and rock favorites along the San Antonio River Walk. For information call (210) 207-3132 or go to SAParksandRec.com.

Friday – Sunday, December 8-10: San Antonio Riverwalk, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Ford Fiesta de las Luminaries: Experience the Holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 6,000 Luminaries. Warmly glowing candles in sand-filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the “lighting of the way” for the Holy Family. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.

Saturday, December 9: Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St, 7:00 p.m.
Free Admission to Holly Daze Rock. Enjoy a musical performance by the Take Note Band featuring seasonal pop and rock favorites along the San Antonio River Walk. For information call (210) 207-3132 or go to SAParksandRec.com.

Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10: Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg Rd, 78201, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
What do you give geeks who have every gadget, gizmo, whatchamacallit and thingamajigy imaginable? Find something at the Nerdtacular Holiday show! Jack and Oggie Boogie coming down from Halloweentown for Christmas Pictures and more! Free admission and free parking.

Sunday, December 10: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Theater, 723 S. Brazos St., 78207, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents La Gran Tamalada, the annual community workshop that honors the tradition of making tamales on Saturday, December 10, 11am to 1pm, in the Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St. The free event blends storytelling, the history of the tamalada and promotes cultural pride and lifelong learning. Children and adults participate in this hands-on opportunity to learn about the ingredients, recipes and cooking methods used in making this culturally iconic dish. Participants take home both knowledge of and appreciation for the techniques that have been passed from generation to generation for many years. The Cortez Family, owners of the popular Mi Tierra restaurant, will share their love of family, tradition, and tamales with the community.

Sunday, December 10: Alamo Beer, 202 Lamar St., 78202, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
EgCollaborations hosts the 1st Annual Sunday Masa – a Holiday Tamales Extravaganza! This event is family & pup friendly & open to the public! 20% of profits will go towards the Elf Louise Christmas Project to bring presents to more kids this year. Featuring: 20+ San Antonio tamales vendors (all samples $1-$3, plus purchase your holiday tamales in bulk from your favorite vendors), “Made in SA Holiday Market” (Sponsored by San Antonio Magazine is the perfect spot to shop for holiday gifts from local vendors), “Pan Dulce Pavilion” (Enjoy fresh pan dulce under our Pan Dulce Paviliion from local bakeries), Local Alamo Beer, Live Music, Cookie decoration corner, Gift wrapping station & MORE!

Sunday, December 10: Christmasville, Texas, 2220 NW Military Hwy, 78213, 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Christmasville, Texas is a family-oriented event that is full of seasonal fun and festivity. It is an environment where all are welcome and community relationships are fostered. This is our hometown Christmas celebration. All activities are free. Featured attractions include: Santa, Snow Slide, Carousel, Train rides, Food and more!

Thursday, December 14: Quarry Village, 300 E Basse Rd, 78209, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Free Holiday Block Party at Quarry Village! Enjoy the 3rd annual Holiday Block Party at Quarry Village on Thursday, December 14 from 6 – 9 p.m. This free, family-friendly event features a 15 x 15 foot play zone filled with REAL snow, a gorgeous Christmas tree lighting, live Christmas carolers, a Santa photo station, complimentary bites by area restaurants, wine, cocoa, with beer provided by Weathered Souls Brewing Co., a DJ, plus holiday sales and giveaways. MBP Photobooth Co. will be providing complimentary photos with Santa (and he’s pet-friendly!). Just bring a Toys for Tots donation for your photo print out.

Friday – Sunday, December 15-17: San Antonio Riverwalk, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Ford Fiesta de las Luminaries: Experience the Holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 6,000 Luminaries. Warmly glowing candles in sand-filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the “lighting of the way” for the Holy Family. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.

Saturday, December 16: Leon Springs Financial Center, 23787 W. Interstate 10, 78257, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Frost Bank invites families to come into three San Antonio-area Frost financial centers for a little holiday cheer and photos with a special guest: Santa Claus. Guests can enjoy holiday cookies in a festive holiday setting while kids get a chance to visit with Santa. Kids will also get a candy cane, and parents should bring a camera so their kids can pose for pictures with St. Nick.

Saturday, December 16: Live Oak Park, 8001 Shin Oak Dr., Live Oak, 78233, 4:00 p.m. – 10:0o p.m.
Join us for all the holiday fun at this year’s Christmas in the Park! Photos with Santa, ice skating, hayrides, marshmallow roasting and lots of holiday cheer!

Sunday, December 17: Christmasville, Texas, 24135 W I-10, 78257, 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Christmasville, Texas is a family-oriented event that is full of seasonal fun and festivity. It is an environment where all are welcome and community relationships are fostered. This is our hometown Christmas celebration. All activities are free. Featured attractions include: Santa, Snow Slide, Carousel, Train rides, Food and more!

Tuesday, December 19: Historic Pearl, 303 Pearl Parkway, 78215, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Join us for a traditional Christmas posada, sing along with Fr. David Garcia, the parish members of Mission Concepción and Mariachi Mexica, as we become pilgrims asking for lodging at stops around Pearl with Mary and Joseph. Enjoy crafts, buñuelos, tamales, Mexican hot chocolate and piñatas. Bring the kids dressed as angels or shepherds.

Schedule:
6:30 PM – Children’s Crafts
7:15 PM – Posada begins at Parkito outside Cured
8:00 PM – Posada Celebration

Tuesday, December 26: San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones, 78215, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
FREE admission to the San Antonio Museum of Art the day after Christmas! Please note there is still an additional surcharge for the exhibition The Latino List for those 18 and up.

Sunday, December 31: South Alamo Street between Market and Cesar Chavez streets, 6:00 p.m. – midnight
Celebrate San Antonio: this free New Year’s Eve celebration features three stages of entertainment food and drink booths, and a fireworks extravaganza off of the top of the Tower of the Americas.

Celebrate San Antonio, the city’s official New Year’s Eve extravaganza known as the largest free New Year’s Eve festival in the state of Texas. Celebrate San Antonio continues to draw over a quarter of a million excited revelers downtown for music, food, carnival games and rides and a spectacular fireworks display.

Party-goers will be treated to live music on three stages, featuring Top 40 tunes at the Bud Light Main Stage, Latin beats at the International Stage and family friendly performers at the H-E-B Family Stage at the Arneson River Theater.

The evening culminates with an incredible fireworks show, an outstanding display of pyrotechnics that is sure to wow the whole family. END 2017 WITH A BANG: San Antonians can bid to detonate the midnight Fireworks Show! The San Antonio Parks Foundation (SAPF) is auctioning off the privilege to ‘light the fuse’ on the fireworks show from the main stage of the event. Bids can be placed on CelebrateSA.org and the bidding ends at 12pm on December 30, 2017.

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And, don’t miss:

Free in San Antonio, November 2017 Free festivals this fall in and around San Antonio!

Where Kids Eat Free in San Antonio - by San Antonio Mom Blogs Free movies this fall in San Antonio

Comments

  1. King William Association Holiday Home Tour & Fair
    Saturday, December 3, 2016
    FREE Holiday Fair: 10:00 am- 5:00 pm
    Home Tour: 11:00 am-5:00 pm

    Join the Festivities as KWA Prepares to Celebrate its 50 Year Anniversary!

    KWA is “Kicking-Off” its 50th Anniversary with a Holiday Home Tour & Fair. In a nod to past years when the Home Tour & Fair were held on the same day, we are adding a Fair to this year’s biennial tour of seven King William Historic homes.

    The Holiday Fair will take place around the gazebo in King William Park on Turner and King William Streets. The hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. In addition to art & craft vendors, food, beverages, fun activities, Santa, and live entertainment, KWA will be selling collectible holiday ornaments and a 50th Anniversary commemorative medal and T-shirts. The Fair is Free to attend, while the home tour has an admission fee.

    The seven residences on the Home Tour will be conveniently located near the fair. Tour includes: Oge House, Noble Inns-209 Washington; 112 King William; SA Art League and Museum- 130 King William; 202 King William; 203 King William; 208 King William; and Villa Finale Museum and Gardens- 401 King William Pre-sale ($15) tickets for the Home Tour and Food/Beverage Tickets for Holiday Fair are available to purchase here and day of event ($20) tickets will be available for the tour. The Home Tour starts at 11 am and ends at 5 pm.

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