Where to see holiday lights from your vehicle in San Antonio

Want to stay warm and cozy in your car? The area has plenty of options for drive-through holiday lights

SAN ANTONIO – It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays in San Antonio.

The lights on the River Walk are already illuminated, the H-E-B Christmas tree has arrived at downtown’s Travis Park, and plenty of drive-through displays are about to open for the season.

Drive-through displays became a big part of holiday festivities last year as people tried to stay socially distant from others while enjoying the Christmas cheer.

It’s a great way to stay warm and cozy inside the car with your friends and family, and maybe pop on some holiday tunes on the radio. But nearly all the drive-through venues also have a place for people to walk, shop and eat if they want to enjoy the night on foot.

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.

Crumbling Castle Lights: Located in Comfort, just north of Boerne, Crumbling Castle includes more than 30 acres of illuminated displays and holiday scenes. The display opened on Nov. 15 and it will remain open until Jan. 2. Hours are 6-11 p.m. nightly, and it is located at 571 FM 289 in Comfort. Tickets start at $40 per vehicle. Click here for more information.

Don Strange Ranch: The venue in Boerne is returning for 2021. The mile-long drive-through display will be open from Nov. 26-Dec. 24. It will include new displays, carriages, hayrides, food, shopping and photos with Santa Clause. Don Strange Ranch is located at 103 Waring Welfare Road. Click here for more information.

Elf Acres: Located on the far West Side, Elf Acres will open with a mile-long display of holiday lights and animated displays. Santa’s Village also includes photos with Santa Clause, holiday treats and a gift shop. The 2021 season opens on Nov. 21 and ends on Jan. 2. General admission ranges from $30-$35 per car, and a season pass is $70. It is located at 1475 Grosenbacher Road.

Lights Alive!: The computer-controlled, synchronized light display is nearly one mile long. The event space also includes an escape room, ax throwing, soccer darts, photos with Santa Claus, food and more. It is located at the National Shooting Complex at 5931 Roft Road on the far West Side. 3. The season lasts from Nov. 19 through Jan. 2 including holidays. Passes start at $35.

The Light Park on Retama Parkway: The drive-through display with one of the longest light tunnels in the world opened on Nov. 5. The 700-foot animated LED tunnel is one of the park’s main features. Tickets range from $30-$35 per vehicle and must be pre-purchased. It is located at 1 Retama Parkway, which is the parking lot of the Retama Park racetrack.

Palo Alto College: The college located on the South Side will once again become illuminated with holiday lights for the festive season. A drive-through light display will be available to the public nightly from Dec. 3-23. Hours will be 6-9 p.m. For more information, click here.

Santa’s Ranch: The venue that bills itself as “one of Texas’ favorite Christmas displays” opened on Nov. 5. 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 remain open through Jan. 2

University of the Incarnate Word: UIW will present the 35th year of Light The Way starting on Nov. 20. In-person traditions of live music, food trucks, Shoppers’ Lane, photos with Santa Claus, and other activities will also return this year. Visitors can drive through campus from 3-9:30 p.m. to see the lights. The drive-through is free.

Windcrest: The tradition will begin with the annual Light Up on Dec. 4. This year’s theme is “A Kaleidoscope of Colors - 2021 A Christmas Odyssey.” The displays will run through New Year’s Eve.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.