Where to see holiday lights in San Antonio and surrounding areas

Feeling festive? Many of these displays are already open

TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights (MATTHEW GRIFFITHS TOYOTAPILOT@GMAIL, TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights)

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are — sparking lights are always a treat for the holidays.

Many attractions in the San Antonio area have opened their holiday light displays for the season. Some even have activities for kids, food and drinks, and meet-and-greet opportunities with Santa.

From drive-thru light parks to illuminated campuses, here are some of the places you can check out lights in San Antonio and the surrounding areas:

  • Campfire Lights in Castle Hills - The McGimsey Scout Park in Castle Hills transformed into a drive-thru light show and opened Nov. 2. It will be open on select evenings through Dec. 30 at 10810 Wedgewood Drive.
Campfire Lights: A Holiday Drive-Thru Light Show in Castle Hills. (BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA)
  • Crumbling Castle Lights in Comfort - This mile-long drive-thru light display is located in Comfort, just north of Boerne. Crumbling Castle opened Nov. 17. It will be open from 6-10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1.
  • Elf Acres - This one-mile trail of lights at 1475 Grosenbacher Road opened on Nov. 17 and will stay open every night through Jan. 7. Animated displays will light up the night and guests can also visit Santa’s Village to take a photo with Santa and eat sweet treats.
  • Houston Street in downtown San Antonio - Holidays on Houston, a new holiday spectacle that will feature twinkling lights, festive decorations, live entertainment, and special offerings from local businesses, kicked off on Nov. 24. Through Jan. 2, Houston Street between Legacy Park and Alamo Street will be dazzled with holiday lights and oversized ornaments and wreaths.
  • Lights Alive! in Alamo Ranch - This immersive light experience opened on Nov. 17 and runs nightly through Dec. 31. It’s a drive-thru event at 5931 Roft Road, two miles outside Loop 1604 and Culebra. Entry fees are priced per vehicle. At the end of the drive, there is a Park & Play Wonderland where you can exit your car and enjoy Christmas confections, create holiday crafts, take photos with Santa and enjoy other activities.
  • Natural Bridge Caverns - The 10th annual Christmas at the Caverns will be open on select days in December. Tickets include access to the Trail of Lights, the Reindeer Roundup Maze, an ice skating rink, live music and more.
  • San Antonio Botanical Garden - Lightscape returned to the Botanical Garden on Nov. 17. Lightscape has five new installations and discounted nights that fans can look forward to, though fan favorites like the winter cathedral and illuminated bluebonnets have returned. It will be open on select dates through Jan. 1.
  • San Antonio River Walk - The famous River Walk holiday lights returned on Nov. 24. There are more than 2,250 strings with 100,000 lights that line the River Walk each year for the holidays. This holiday season, the lights will stay up until dawn on Jan. 7.
  • San Antonio Zoo - Zoo Lights returned on Nov. 18. Zoo Lights is included with standard zoo admission and will be available through Dec. 31. Zoo Lights includes the new Lakeside Laser Lightshow, plus themed areas called Cowboy’s Yuletide Trail, Polar Playground, Water Wonderland, Starry Safari, Candy Lane and Peppermint Path.
  • Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels - This family-friendly drive-thru takes guests through more than a mile of winding country roads lit up with more than 2.5 million holiday lights and Christmas displays. Santa’s Ranch opened on Nov. 3. It will be open nightly through Dec. 31.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio - The annual Christmas celebration at SeaWorld San Antonio returned on Nov. 9. Referred to as the “largest light display in Texas,” SeaWorld San Antonio will be lit up through Jan. 2. There will also be opportunities to see Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas - Holiday in the Park kicked off on Nov. 18. Fiesta Texas will be open on select days through Jan. 7. During this time, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with lights and activities.
  • Texas A&M University-San Antonio - The 8th annual Lights of Esperanza includes more than 40,000 lights throughout the campus. The lights will be available to view all season long. It is free and open to the public.
  • The Alamo - The Alamo was illuminated on Nov. 24. The lights will be located throughout the Alamo grounds and there will also be installations and light-decorated figures of the Alamo Defenders in the Alamo gardens. They will stay up through Jan. 2.
  • The Jones Christmas Ranch in Boerne - The drive-thru display opened on Nov. 14. It will be open nightly through Jan. 2. It includes more than 3 million lights programmed to music.
  • The Light Park in Selma - The drive-thru holiday light display known as the Light Park returned on Nov. 3. It will be open nightly through Jan. 1. There will be millions of lights, DJ Christmas music, and food and drinks available.
  • The Lone Star Light Show in Canyon Lake - The attraction opened on Nov. 24 and will be open daily through Dec. 31, besides Tuesdays. Some features include interactive light tunnels, an LED Nativity display, a 40-foot tree and thousands of light strands. It is located at 1769 Canyon Park Road.
  • The Pearl - The Pearl will have several festive events for the season, like movie nights and photos with Santa. During this time, the district will be illuminated with holiday lights and a 30-foot Fraser Pine from Michigan will be placed in the park.
Holidays at the Pearl. (The Pearl)
  • The South Pole - This holiday drive-thru light experience spans one mile long and has displays for the whole family to enjoy, rain or shine. It is located at 5135 N. Loop 1604 E. between Judson and O’Connor Roads. The season started on Nov. 11 and it will be open nightly from 6-10 p.m. until Jan. 8.
  • Travis Park - The Rotary Ice Rink presented by Valero opened on Nov. 17 at San Antonio’s Travis Park. There will be more than 350,000 lights illuminating the park and the rink. The City of San Antonio Christmas tree will also light up the park. The rink will be open daily through Jan. 15.
  • University of the Incarnate Word - The 37th annual Light the Way festival kicked off on Nov. 18. The tradition includes hundreds of lights available to view for free throughout the UIW campus. The lights will stay on through Jan. 6.
  • Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls - The 33rd annual holiday celebration opened on Nov. 17 at Lakeside Park, located at 305 Buena Vista Drive in Marble Falls. It will be open nightly from 6-10 p.m. until Dec. 31. Attendance is always free, however, visitors are encouraged to give monetary donations to help support the event and local nonprofits.
  • Windcrest - The city of Windcrest is lighting up for a decades-old tradition on Dec. 2. A contest is held to pick the most beautifully decorated homes in various judging categories and the public is invited to drive along neighborhood streets to view the brightly-lit displays. The theme for the Windcrest 2023 Light Up Season is, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The event runs through Dec. 31.

About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.