Things to do around San Antonio this December

Take photos with Santa, eat tamales and celebrate the season

San Antonio River Walk lights (Nan Palmero, Flickr)

Happy holidays everyone — Santa Claus is coming to town and there are lots of things to do around our beloved city.

San Antonio and the surrounding areas are known for having great holiday light displays and fun family-friendly activities.

If you’re looking to add a new holiday tradition to your life there are many places around town with holiday events that you can check out.

My favorite Christmas tradition is making honey cookies (an old German recipe that’s been handed down in my family for generations) and watching “Jingle All the Way.” It’s turbo time!!

Here’s what is going on in the San Antonio area in December:

  • San Antonio Spurs - The Spurs will be playing eight home games in December. The first home game is scheduled for Dec. 2.
  • Tamale Festival - The San Antonio Tamales Festival is returning on Dec. 3. Multiple tamale vendors will be participating in the festival. Attendance is free but parking is $5.
  • Weihnachts Parade - This Boerne Christmas tradition will return on Dec. 3 in the Main Plaza Park. It’s free for guests and if you’re hoping for a good view, go early. The streets fill up fast. Up to 100 floats, bands and other participants will make their way from the Fire Station to the parade’s end at River Road.
  • Gruene Town Lighting - Cowboy Kringle will ride his horse into Gruene and light up the town for the holidays at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3. There will be live music, festival food and beer/wine available for purchase.
  • Natural Bridge Caverns - Christmas at the caverns takes place Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11 and 16-23 at Natural Bridge Caverns. Hear your favorite carols echo through Texas’ largest underground cavern and marvel at the 30-foot Christmas tree. There will also be opportunities to take photos with Santa.
Natural Bridge Caverns (Copyright 2012 Mark Langford www.mlphoto.com)
  • Santa’s Railroad Wonderland - This event takes place over several weekends at the Texas Transportation Museum. From 5:30-9 p.m. on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 guests can visit the museum, which will be decked out in holiday lights. Santa will also be making visits from the North Pole and will be available for photos.
  • Nutcracker - The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio is putting on its annual Nutcracker performance. There are three shows scheduled between Dec. 9 and 10. There will be a holiday market and treats available for purchase.
  • Kwanzaa Market Festival - This free festival is taking place on Dec. 10. It is an opportunity to sell and purchase culturally enriching products, handmade goods, items for Kwanzaa celebration, and African-inspired clothing and accessories. This year Kwanzaa falls on Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
  • Movie in the Park - You can watch “Shrek The Halls” at the base of the Tower of the Americas on Dec. 10 as part of the Movies in the Park series. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Admission is free.
  • Kinder Fest in Boerne - The spirit of Christmas will be alive in Boerne Dec. 16-18 at Kinder Fest. There will be a cookie crawl, appearances from Santa and a scavenger hunt that will take you through stores on a hunt for Old Saint Nick.
  • Chanukah on the River - Chanukah on the River takes place on Dec. 18 at the Arneson River Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. There will be live music, kosher concessions, free donuts and the lighting of a 9-foot menorah.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio - SeaWorld San Antonio is decking out the halls for one of the biggest Christmas celebrations in Texas. Guests will be greeted with millions of twinkling lights blanketing the park and will have an opportunity to meet Santa while sipping hot chocolate and singing along with Christmas carolers. The event runs through Jan. 2.
From 2017 Photoshoot. (Courtesy of SeaWorld San Antonio)
  • San Antonio Zoo - The San Antonio Zoo has lit up again for the annual Zoo Lights holiday celebration. There are parades, live music a light tunnel and camel rides available for guests to celebrate the holiday season. Zoo Lights runs through Jan. 1.
  • Rotary Ice Rink - You can skate around San Antonio’s Travis Park at the Rotary Ice Rink in December. Travis Park will also host Rink Reel movie nights, live jazz music and Santa photo opportunities throughout the skating season. Rotary Club of San Antonio and Centro San Antonio help organize the event.
  • Lightscape - Tickets for the San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Lightscape lets guests walk through an immersive light display that illuminates a one-mile path through the garden. Lightscape will run through Jan. 8.
  • Fishing - Thousands of rainbow trout will be stocked in lakes and ponds around San Antonio in December. Live Oak City, Miller’s Pond and Southside Lions Park will all be stocked at least once.
  • Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls - This holiday celebration will run through Dec. 31 at Lakeside Park in Marble Falls. More than two million lights cover upwards of 350 sculptures. Marble Falls’ Walkway of Lights is funded entirely by donations every year and attendance is free.
Marble Falls Walkway of Lights (Look Think Make)

Where to get your photo taken with Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town! And not just on his annual journey around the world on Christmas Eve. Reservations for photo sessions, which are a holiday tradition for many families, are highly encouraged and at some locations, they are required.

The following locations are offering Santa photos for 2022:

  • Bass Pro Shops - Santa photos will be available from Nov. 5 through Dec. 24. One photo is free and additional packages are available for purchase.
  • Ingram Park Mall -Santa will be available for photos on select dates from Nov. 21 through Dec. 24.
  • Natural Bridge Caverns - A spelunking Santa will be available for photos on Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23.
  • North Star Mall - Reservations for Santa photos are available from Nov. 21 through Dec. 24.
  • Old West Christmas Light Fest - Located 20 minutes outside of San Antonio off of IH-10 West at exit 540 in Boerne, Santa will be available to take photos with guests on select dates from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio - Santa will be at the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration again this year to take photos. The celebration kicked off on Nov. 10 and it will end Jan. 2.
  • Shops at La Cantera - Santa will be available for photos on select dates from Nov. 21 through Dec. 24.
  • South Park Mall - Santa will be available for photos from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24.
  • Texas Transportation Museum - Santa will be seen at the museum on Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
  • Trader’s Village - Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be at Trader’s Village taking photos from Nov. 26 to Dec. 18.
Stock images of children with Santa Claus. (Pexels)

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.