Where to see holiday lights from your vehicle in San Antonio

From the AT&T Center to Boerne to New Braunfels, here are options for a low-risk activity

Image courtesy of Six Flags Fiesta Texas. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic may have upended plans for a traditional holiday season, but that doesn’t mean only silent nights in the San Antonio area this Christmastime.

That’s because venues have transformed into dazzling displays of Christmas lights that revelers can bask in — from the safety of their vehicles, of course.

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The AT&T Center is a newcomer to the drive-through holiday lights game, but the venue has included more than 4 million lights in the mile-long route.

Even better, the Texas Medical Association has stated that viewing holiday lights with your family from a vehicle is considered a low-risk activity for becoming infected with COVID-19.

So besides driving through downtown to see the city’s Christmas tree at Travis Park or the illuminated trees on the River Walk, here are other options for a socially distanced holiday activity.

AT&T Center: Illumi-Night: A Magical Drive-thru Experience is a mile-long Christmas lights display that surrounds the AT&T Center. More than 4 million lights are featured in the dazzling display. Illumi-Night costs $35.50 per vehicle, but an express pass is $63 per car. It runs through Jan. 3, with gates opening at 6 p.m. daily. Half of the proceeds are donated to Spurs Give, the Spurs Sports and Entertainment’s nonprofit partner.

Don Strange Ranch: The venue in Boerne will return for its seventh year with drive-in movie screenings, along with photos with Santa Claus and the drive-thru light display. A concession stand is also on-site. The display is open from 6-10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 27 to Dec. 24. General admission for a drive-thru is $25, and a drive-thru and move screening combination is $45. A movie screening alone is $30 per car. Don Strange Ranch is located at 103 Waring Welfare Road.

Elf Acres: Located on the far West Side, Elf Acres is now open with a drive-thru light display and Santa’s Village. The village features a synchronized light show on three Christmas trees and has photo opportunities and a concession stand. General admission is $30 per car and a season pass is $60. It is located at 1475 Grosenbacher Road. It will stay open until Dec. 30.

Lights Alive!: The computer-controlled, synchronized light display is one mile long and includes a 400-foot-long tunnel. It is located at the National Shooting Complex at 5931 Roft Road on the far West Side. A Park & Play Wonderland is also onsite for food, activities and photo opportunities. The drive-thru will run through Jan. 3. Tickets are $30 if purchased online and $35 at the gate.

Palo Alto College: The college, located on the South Side, will hold its second annual Winter Wonderland ¡Celebración! with a quarter-mile drive-thru featuring nearly 100,000 lights in 50 displays. The route through campus will gleam from 6-9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3, according to campus officials. The drive-thru is free and open to the public.

Santa’s Ranch: The venue that bills itself as “one of Texas’ favorite Christmas displays” is now open in New Braunfels. Since 2003, the drive-thru display has showcased more than 1.5 million lights for the mile-long route. It is located at 9561 I-35 North. A concession stand and souvenir shop are located on-site. Tickets start at $35 but a season pass is $70. The display will last until Jan. 3.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas: For the first time ever, Fiesta Texas will have a drive-thru holiday spectacular featuring millions of lights, festive themes and seasonal music favorites. The Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience will take place on 10 select weekday evenings from Nov. 30 through Dec. 17, in addition to the Holiday in the Park operation schedule. Reservations are required. For more information, visit the Events page by clicking here.

University of the Incarnate Word: UIW has presented the Light The Way Drive for 34 years, making it an iconic drive-thru light display in San Antonio. The Light The Way Drive, which kicks off the display was a three-day event over the weekend, but visitors can still drive through campus in the evenings to see the lights. The lights will stay up until Jan. 6, and it’s free.

Windcrest: The tradition will begin with the annual Light Up on Dec. 5. This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Ring” to pay tribute to military members. The displays will run through New Year’s Eve.

About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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