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Ready or not, the holidays are here! San Antonio and the surrounding areas are alive with many festive, joyous, free holiday events this season. Here are some holiday events to consider, from free meals to holiday lights to children’s activities.

The spirit of Christmas and the holiday season inspires wonder and kindness. All of these events and light shows are free to attend. Some are walkable, and some are drivable. Some are open all season, and others are only available on specific dates. There are options to buy food, drinks, crafts, and gifts at some of these events.

Free Events in Bexar County

Helotes Lighting of the Lights
When: December 1, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: 12951 Bandera Rd., Helotes
Cost: FREE

Helotes rings in the Christmas season with their annual Lighting of the Lights at City Hall. Watch as the twinkling lights are set aglow while local elementary school choirs and the Helotes Area Community Band serenade the audience with the sweet sounds of Christmas music.

37th Annual Light the Way
When: Now – January 6, 2024
Where: University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway, San Antonio
Cost: FREE

The annual holiday lights at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) illuminate the way across the campus throughout the holiday season! Enjoy a drive or stroll beginning at 4301 Broadway and admire the one million twinkling lights across the university grounds.

Holiday Lights on the Riverwalk
When: Now – January 7, 2024
Where: San Antonio Riverwalk
Cost: FREE

Every year, the San Antonio River Authority creates a brilliant display all along the downtown stretch of the River Walk. People come from all over to stroll along the river and enjoy the famous sparkly Holiday Lights on the River Walk. Soak in the sights and experience the sounds of the season as caroling boats float along the river in the downtown area. And don’t miss the lights through the Museum Reach and Pearl District!

San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street
When: Now  January 2, 2024
Where: Houston St., Downtown San Antonio
Cost: FREE

Enjoy a new, free holiday experience from the city as a five-block stretch of historic Houston Street, from Legacy Park to the Alamo, is transformed into major downtown holiday attraction, perfect for lights viewing and photo opportunities. Holidays on Houston Street is open and free for anyone to visit, with the exception of a special ticketed event on December 12. They will also host special events like a holiday market December 15-17 featuring local vendors, carolers, and other live entertainment, and festive photo ops. Each night of the holiday market, they will also show Holiday Lights in the Sky (a drone light show).

Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias
When: December 2-17 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Where: San Antonio Riverwalk
Cost: FREE

Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias is a centuries-old holiday tradition recreated along the San Antonio River Walk as part of the seasonal lights display. Delight in the joyful glow of more than 2,000 Luminarias, traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns (candles in paper bags) lining the River Walk.

Holiday in the Garden at Hemisfair
When: December 9, 2023, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Hemisfair Yanaguana Garden, 434 S. Alamo St., San Antonio
Cost: FREE 

Holiday in the Garden at Hemisfair includes the holiday traditions of Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, creating an inclusive and diverse celebration for all. See Santa and his reindeer, including Rudolph. Make holiday crafts, sit in on Kwanzaa Storytime, enjoy Christmas carolers and mini-nutcracker performances by San Antonio Dance Company, live holiday tunes by Billy Ray Sheppard, and meet The Grinch.

Holiday Movies at Legacy Park
When: December 8, 22, and 29, 2023, 7:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
Where: Legacy Park, 103 W. Houston St., San Antonio
Cost: FREE

These holiday movies at Legacy Park are free all season long, brought to you by Legacy Park, Slab Cinema, Centro, and CCDO. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks with you, and enjoy Hollywood’s most popular holiday movies.

  • December 8, “Miracle on 34th Street”
  • December 22, “Home Alone”
  • December 29, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Kwanzaa Market Festival
When: December 9, 2023, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Where: 3455 Martin Luther King Dr., San Antonio
Cost: FREE

Celebrate community and culture at the 14th Kwanzaa Market Festival, a free family-friendly event hosted by the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum (SAAACAM). Shop gifts and goods from Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, including culturally enriching products, handmade items, African-inspired clothing and accessories, and items for Kwanzaa celebration, while learning more about the history of the holiday and its celebration.

Renaissance Christmas Yule Fest
When: December 9-10, 2023
Where: Jackson Ranch National Historic Landmark, 8910 Callaghan Rd., San Antonio
Cost: FREE, with a donation to the San Antonio Food Bank

Join the Medieval fun, dance around the Yule Log Fire, and try your hand at archery and axe throwing at the Renaissance Christmas Yule Fest on the peaceful and gorgeous grounds of the Jackson Ranch National Historic Landmark. Take a photo with majestic birds or take a hawk walk with Wildlife Revealed, a charitable organization that benefits the birds you get to holdThe Renaissance Christmas Yule Fest will also feature live music, costume contests, vendors, a food court, and an open mic stage to share your poetry or music. 

Joy to the World Festival – A Global Celebration
When: December 9-10, 2023, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Rolling Oaks Mall, 6906 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio
Cost: FREE

Rolling Oaks Mall gets into the holiday spirit with a global celebration of all cultures, Joy to the World Festival, including free live music and dancing with cultural performances. There will also be craft vendors with family activities, plus food and drink for sale. Catch live performances throughout the festival by multicultural acts: Alamo City Community Marching Band, Amigos Musikanten, Bedouin Dancers, Community Drum Circle, Diva Dance, Fire On The Mountain, Hula Halau Ohana Elikapeka, Kinder Choir, Korean Dance, Mi Mexico, Spirit Lyrical, Studio AVI, Ukrainian dances and more! Santa Claus will also be there on select days and times (see schedule on website).

Helotes Candyland Christmas Parade
When: December 9, 2023
Where: 14391 Old Bandera Rd., Helotes
Cost: FREE

Delight in this whimsical Candyland Christmas Parade in Helotes. Local vendors create their parade entries of larger-than-life, illuminated gumdrops, lollipops, gingerbread houses, sugar plums, and more, bringing the magic of Candyland and the sweetness of the season to life.

Chanukah Village at Pearl and Menorah Lighting
When: December 13, 2023
Where: Shade Structure at The Historic Pearl
Cost: FREE

Celebrate the 9th annual Chanukah celebration at Pearl with a special Chanukah Village night, put on in partnership with YJSA – Young & Jewish San Antonio. Enjoy live music by Jonny Krigel and the Pertnears, fun kids’ activities, and the lighting of the big menorah. Specialty food and art vendors will also participate in the Chanukah Village as part of the Holiday Night Market. They will also light the menorah every night from December 7-15.

H-E-B Feast of Sharing Holiday Plate Giveaway
When: December 23, 2023
Where: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market Street, San Antonio
Cost: FREE

H-E-B continues its tradition of feeding the local community with its Feast of Sharing holiday plate giveaway, welcoming all San Antonians to join their neighbors for a free, Texas-style, holiday feast. The Feast of Sharing entertains the family with live music, family activities, and free health and wellness services such as flu shots, and more. Come one, come all!  


More Free Events Near You

Merry on Main
When: December 1-2, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 10:00 a.m. to midnight Saturday 
Where: 900 River Park Rd., Pleasanton
Cost: FREE

Head to Pleasanton River Park for Pleasanton’s 6th annual Merry on Main event. There will be fun things to see and do, including the Little Miss Merry on Main Pageant, Wonderland in the Park, a Lighted Christmas Parade at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and fireworks at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday! The event is free to attend, and there will be food trucks with food to purchase and a holiday market for shopping.

Caroling in the Park
When: December 9, 2023, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Landa Park, 835 Fredericksburg Rd., New Braunfels
Cost: FREE

The Greater New Braunfels Arts Council hosts their 43rd annual Caroling in the Park event at Landa Park, including festive Christmas caroling, kids activities such as cookie and ornament decorating, holiday train rides, and live entertainment.

Kid’s Holiday Fun Day 
When: December 19, 2023, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: Krause’s Cafe, 148 S. Castell Ave., New Braunfels
Cost: FREE

Krause’s Cafe welcomes everyone to come together for their holly, jolly Kid’s Holiday Fun Day on December 19. Family-friendly free activities include a petting zoo with adorable Nativity animals from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., free photos with Krause Klaus from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Christmas carols by Hope Presbyterian Church from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. They will also have paid activities, including cookie decorating and s’mores, plus their whole menu will be available for purchase.

Gruene Town Lighting
When: December 2, 2023, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Gruene Historic District, 1281 Gruene Rd., Gruene
Cost: FREE

Gruene’s holiday festivities highlights include a brass band street performance at 5:00 p.m. and a visit from Cowboy Kringle, riding on horseback to gift candy canes to the children, at 6:00 p.m. Then, they will animate the magical lights of the town for a charming holiday display along the Guadalupe River.

Christmas Around the World Kids Christmas Party
When: December 1, 2023, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lakehills Community Center, 11225 Park Road 37, Lakehills
Cost: FREE

This free, Christmas Around the World event in Bandera/Lakehills offers passports to each child, who will then “travel” through the Lakehills Community Center to “see, taste, and hear how cultures around the world celebrate Christmas.” They encourage kids to wear Cultural or Christmas costumes.

Hinojosa Family Lights (Boerne)
When: December 1, 2023
Where: 140 Shadow Knolls, Boerne, TX 
Cost: FREE

This single-family lights spectacle has become famous, both locally and nationally, on the TV show, The Great Christmas Light Fight, which they won! The light show is free to visit, at 140 Shadow Knolls in Boerne, but the Hinojosa puts up a donation box, welcoming donations that they give to local charities. Follow their Facebook page for more information.

However you celebrate, we at Community First wish you a safe, joyous, and healthy holiday season!

Beginning September 1, 2024 Community First Health Plans, Inc. will be adding STAR+PLUS to its line of health care products.

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