Festivals and fun, family-friendly things to do around San Antonio this fall

Get lost in a pumpkin patch or an immersive holiday light display

Top Left: Lost Maples State Park (Flickr, G. Lamar), Top Right: Muertos Fest (Francisco Cortes, Muertos Fest), Bottom Left: Ford Holiday River Parade, Bottom Right: Marble Falls Walkway of Lights (Look Think Make) (KSAT 12)

Fall is a favorite season for many and it’s starting to feel a bit more festive outside after the hottest summer on record in San Antonio. (You know it’s been hot when 90-degree weather feels festive!)

But the return of Halloween decor and pumpkin spice products signals a changing of the seasons no matter what the weather looks like.

Want to celebrate the season? There’s plenty to do around San Antonio this fall.

  • Sundrop Springs Festival - This brand new festival takes place across a series of weekends (with a few select weekdays) starting Sept. 23 through Oct. 31 in New Braunfels. Picture a captivating fall maze, a charming pumpkin patch perfect for photos, and an engaging petting zoo featuring irresistibly cute baby dwarf goats and more. There is also a pumpkin trail!
  • Zoo Boo! - The San Antonio Zoo is bringing back its Zoo Boo! for the 2023 Halloween season. The annual, family-friendly celebration includes free trick-or-treating, live music, costume parties, “Monster Mash Dance Parties” and other activities. Zoo Boo! runs nightly through Oct. 31.
  • Pumpkin patches - Pumpkin patches start popping up in September ahead of the Halloween season. The times and dates for pumpkin patches vary by location. Pro-tip: Pick a pumpkin with a flat surface to make carving easier.
  • Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival - Head to the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead on weekends through Oct. 29 for the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival. There are over 50 fall-inspired games, activities and attractions for families to enjoy. Admission is $15 per person.
  • Barbacoa and Big Red Festival - The uber-popular Barbacoa and Big Red Festival is returning on Oct. 7-8. The festival will take place at the R&J Music Pavilion, located at 18086 Pleasanton Road. Tickets start at $10 per person for a single-day general admission ticket.
  • Spirit Halloween - Spirit Halloween stores are already open for the spooky season. Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween retailer in North America, according to the company’s website, and it sells everything from costumes to decorations. What makes trick-or-treating with twin witches so challenging? You never know which witch is which.
  • Haunted Houses - Haunted Houses are a fall favorite for scare seekers. There are many popular locations around San Antonio and some are located within theme parks like SeaWorld San Antonio and Fiesta Texas.
13th Floor
  • Spook Track-ula - This family-friendly series at the Texas Transportation Museum will take place from 4-9 p.m. on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29. There will be trick or treating and creepy cabooses. The museum is located at 11731 Wetmore Road. Kids ages 4-12 are $10 and anyone aged 13 and older is $12. Kids 3 and younger are free.
  • Muertos Fest - One of the largest Día de los Muertos festivals in the United States takes place in downtown San Antonio. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend Muertos Fest on Oct. 28-29 at Hemisfair. The festival is free to attend.
  • Wurstfest - This 10-day annual festival is a tradition that started in New Braunfels in 1961. Wurstfest is one of the Hill Country town’s biggest events and attracts thousands of visitors from across the state and beyond every year. This year Wurstfest takes place from Nov. 3-12.
  • DiwaliSA Festival of Lights Parade - This free event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 4 throughout Hemisfair, Arneson River Theatre and the Tower of Americas. There will be live entertainment, food and handicrafts for sale, 2,000 floating diyas to be released, and a DJ area for dancing the night away at DiwaliSA.
  • Lightscape - The immersive holiday light display Lightscape will return to the San Antonio Botanical Garden for the 2023 holiday season. Lightscape will run from Nov. 17 through Jan. 1, 2024. There will be a fire garden and a “more spectacular” display of bluebonnets, which is an installation unique to Texas. Tickets are currently on sale.
Lightscape at San Antonio Botanical Garden (San Antonio Botanical Garden)
  • Ford Holiday River Parade - This year’s Ford Holiday River Parade theme is “Holiday Stories.” The 42nd annual parade will take place Nov. 24. Tickets are on sale now.
  • Marble Falls Walkway of Lights - Official dates for the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights have not yet been announced but in years past the annual event has kicked off in mid to late November. There is no cost to attend the Walkway of Lights, which includes two million lights that cover more than 350 sculptures. Marble Falls is a roughly 90-minute drive from downtown San Antonio.
  • Lost Maples - Lost Maples State Natural Area is a picturesque paradise when the leaves change. The Texas state park is located roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes from downtown San Antonio but it’s a great day trip for taking in some fall foliage. The peak season is usually somewhere around the middle two weekends of November.

Want to see how some of our KSAT employees like the more popular pumpkin spice treats? Check it out:

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.