The Best Christmas Lights in San Antonio

River Walk, Zoo, and SeaWorld are all aglow

San Antonio Riverwalk at Night During Christmas
••• Nan Palmero/Flickr

When the sun goes down each day during the holiday season, San Antonio lights up with thousands of twinkling lights. If you're going to be in the San Antonio area during December in 2017, here's where you can partake in the festivities, Texas-style.

  • 01 of 06

    Every year, thousands of lights are turned on to light the renowned San Antonio River Walk on the day after Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 24 in 2017. On that day, the Ford Holiday River Parade is held on the River Walk, and only those with a ticket will have access to the River Walk. But starting Nov. 25 and continuing until Jan. 7, 2018, everyone can take a look at the River Walk holiday lights for free. The lights will be on from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. every night, dusk to dawn. The River Walk is open 24/7.

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    The University of the Incarnate Word starts off the holiday season with a lighting ceremony and entertainment at 6:30 p.m. on Nov 18, 2017. The lights will stay on at the university every night until Jan. 6, 2018. At the lighting ceremony, you can get snacks and drinks from food trucks and visit the Holiday Shoppe to check out the wares. 

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    The Christmas Light Fest in Boerne, Texas, about a 20-minute drive from San Antonio, boasts that it is the most dazzling holiday light show in the San Antonio area. You can drive through two miles of holiday light tunnels every night from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve 2017. Stop into Santa's Village, a rustic barn filled with holiday goodies and, yes, see Santa Claus while you're there.

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    Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias

    If you prefer a more low-key experience, you might like the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias, which takes place on the River Walk over three weekends in December: Dec. 1 through 3, Dec. 8 through 10, and Dec. 15 through 17. The luminarias, traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns, will be lit starting at dusk on these nights, and you can enjoy them while having dinner at one of the River Walk's many restaurants. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    SeaWorld San Antonio sparkles with 8 million lights in what it dubs the biggest holiday lights display in Texas. The show is on from Nov. 18, 2017, through Jan. 2, 2018. Besides millions of lights in this unusual winter wonderland, you'll get a glimpse of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and get to chat with Santa.

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    At  ZooLights at the San Antonio Zoo, you can do a regular zoo stroll, holiday style, under bright holiday lights strung throughout the zoo. But there's more: You can get hot chocolate and roast marshmallows on your visit and watch the Lakeside Light Show, take a ride on a camel, or go ice skating. Santa will be there if you want to remind him what's on your list. ZooLights opens on Nov. 18 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. every day except for Nov. 19, when ZooLights will be open from 6 to 9 p.m.