Christmas in San Antonio: 13 Spectacular Things to Do!

While destinations further north may be characterized by cold weather or snowy experiences in the winter months, visiting San Antonio in winter, and especially visiting San Antonio at Christmastime, is dominated by a very different kind of change in weather: it’s simply not hot outside!

For a Texas-ified Christmas getaway in December, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Lone Star State’s most visited city.

While most of San Antonio’s most popular tourist attractions are open year-round, winter does bring some fun festivities to the city.

Here are the best things to do around Christmas in San Antonio!

Front door of Mission Espada in San Antonio with Christmas decorations in front

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Typical Weather During Winter in San Antonio

Winter in San Antonio is generally short and very mild, with average temperatures in January reaching 63° for a high and 41° for a low.

January is typically the coldest month of the year.

December temperatures are similar, with an average high of 64° and a low of 42°.

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November still sees average high temperatures in the low 70s, and by March, average temperatures reach the mid-70s again.

It doesn’t generally snow in San Antonio (not since that one storm in the 80s, anyway), and winter days can frequently be sunny, making San Antonio in winter an often delightful travel experience!

In the years we lived in San Antonio, there were very few–if any–times that I wore a true winter coat.

San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio during the holidays with a Christmas tree out front

Fun Things to Do Around Christmas in San Antonio

Admire the Riverwalk Christmas Lights.

San Antonio’s Riverwalk Christmas lights–all 100,000 of them–are among the most popular and celebrated Christmas displays in Texas!

If you’re visiting San Antonio in December (or even in late November or early January), don’t miss the stunning light display along the Riverwalk!

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Celebrating Christmas in San Antonio with a visit to the Riverwalk is a time-honored tradition for many Texans.

The display is absolutely free to visit, but for even more magnificent views, consider hopping on a boat cruise!

The lights will stay up through January 10, 2022, this season, so if you happen to be traveling after the New Year, you still have a small window to see them.

San Antonio Riverwalk with a bridge in the center of the shot and Christmas lights hanging from trees

Bike the Mission Trail.

San Antonio is well known for its historic missions, including the Alamo, all five of which are recognized together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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One of the best ways to visit is to bike the beautiful trail between each mission–they’re each about two and a half miles apart–but San Antonio’s oppressively hot and humid summer weather makes the experience fairly miserable during much of the year!

During a sunny day near Christmas in San Antonio, though, it’s just about perfect.

The front facade of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas as seen from the ridge side of the building

Attend the Light the Way Festival.

Each Christmas season, San Antonio’s University of the Incarnate Word puts on the beloved Light the Way Festival each holiday season.

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Light the Way is complete with food trucks, holiday shopping, visits from Santa, and of course, lots and lots of lights.

This is probably the closest thing to a traditional Christmas market in San Antonio, and it’s well worth a visit during the holiday season.

Crafted snowmen ornaments for sale at a Christmas market

Go caroling on the Riverwalk.

The delightfully festive Ford Holiday Boat Caroling event is held throughout most of December on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

People wanting to take part, either as singers or simply as admirers, have two options.

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The first option is to enjoy the caroling for free from the banks of the river (maybe even seated at one of the Riverwalk restaurants with a margarita in hand).

Want to get even more involved?

Sign up with a group to be one of the carolers serenading the Riverwalk from a boat!

long exposure of riverwalk at night san antonio christmas

Fill up on TexMex.

Whether it’s breakfast tacos in the morning or a hearty plate of cheese enchiladas at night (or even better, both), there’s no better time to indulge in a gigantic TexMex meal than during winter in San Antonio!

And, of course, even beyond TexMex, there are so many classic Texas foods and food traditions that are best enjoyed in winter, from chili to pecan pie to eating brisket for Christmas dinner.

green plate with a texmex burrito and sides. what is texas known for includes lots of texmex dishes

… and tamales!

Tamales are traditionally eaten for large celebrations in Mexico, Christmas included, and the tradition is also well-rooted in San Antonio (unsurprisingly, given that the population of San Antonio is more than 50% Latino).

Tamales are practically synonymous with Christmas in San Antonio, so if you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the excuse to indulge!

Plate of tamales. Tamales are a traditional food during Christmas in San Antonio Texas

Visit Natural Bridge Caverns. 

Regardless of the weather outside, Natural Bridge Caverns is always a steady 70° inside, making it the perfect year-round San Antonio travel destination!

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If you’re visiting San Antonio in winter, though, you may find far more than just the cave itself.

Christmas at the Caverns is a popular holiday event in San Antonio, and involves everything from a 30-foot Christmas tree to ice skating to opportunities to go caroling in the Caverns!

Interior of Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas

Take a day trip to the Hill Country.

Much like taking a hike or biking the Mission Trail, a visit to the Texas Hill Country is a year-round possibility that can be even more fun in winter–and that goes double for the Christmas season!

The Texas Hill Country has quite a bit of German heritage tucked into various corners, which during December, translates into German-inspired Christmas markets!

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Many of the most charming Hill Country towns, from nearby Boerne to spots further away from San Antonio like Johnson City and Marble Falls, all have magical Christmas traditions to share during the holiday season, from festivals to mulled wine.

The town of Fredericksburg, with its authentic German Christmas pyramid and many celebrations, is one of the most popular places to grab some German food, sip some mulled wine in the Marktplatz, and pretend you’ve hopped across the Atlantic for the day (but with a Texas twist, of course).

storefront in a small texas christmas town at night lit up with lights

Hit up Six Flags.

San Antonio’s own Six Flags Fiesta Texas puts on a great Holiday in the Park event each year, complete with trees, plenty of lights, holiday-themed shows, and even holiday-themed food on offer (maple bacon cinnamon roll, anyone?).

And, thanks to San Antonio’s mild weather in winter, waiting in line for rides is far more pleasant than in the summer months.

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Enjoy a holiday-themed show in San Antonio in December.

From classics like the Nutcracker to more contemporary pieces, there is no shortage of incredible performances to enjoy during the holiday season in San Antonio! 

And, while many of San Antonio’s theaters are beautiful, if you happen to be able to nab tickets for a show at the Majestic, you absolutely will not regret it.

front facade of the majestic theater in san antonio texas

Ride Santa’s Railroad.

All aboard: kids will love Santa’s Railroad at the San Antonio Transportation Museum, a nighttime ride past 40 acres of decorations on an also-decorated train!

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Be sure to buy tickets online in advance before you set off, and make sure your camera is charged!

The decor is delightful from every angle and goes well beyond the ridable trains themselves to the museum, outdoor areas, and model train setups.

Santa's Railroad at the San Antonio Transporation Museum at night. The train is lit up by Christmas lights

Go for a hike (without getting hot).

Government Canyon, Friedrich Wilderness Park, or even a simple stroll around the San Antonio Botanical Garden: one of the best things about visiting San Antonio in winter is that it’s still pleasant to be outside–frankly, often more pleasant than during the summer!

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Whether you’re looking for a local park to enjoy or a state park near the city, there are plenty of ways to get outside when visiting San Antonio in December!

Make the most of the mild winter weather by getting outside and enjoying some sunshine during your Christmas trip to San Antonio.

Photo of the Riverwalk during Christmas in San Antonio at night with lights lit. Black and red text on a white background reads "San Antonio winter guide"

2 thoughts on “Christmas in San Antonio: 13 Spectacular Things to Do!”

  1. I would love to have a guide mailed to me about thing to do in the winter in San Antonio during Christmas sent thank you so much.

    Reply

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