Buying stuff for other people makes you feel good. This season, you can also feel good by supporting San Antonio's many local artists, vendors, and craftsmen by venturing out to a local market. Ease into it. Before you know it, you’ll have that holiday spirit — and you’ll have your shopping done.
Here are the city’s best holiday markets to get you started.
Holiday Lighting in Travis Park
Come for the artisan’s market, but stay for the ice sculpting, the bell ringers, Ballet San Antonio, and more. Enjoy hot chocolate, cider, shopping, entertainment, and at 8:15 pm witness 250,000 lights turn on in downtown’s Travis Park.
Friday, November 27 at 6 pm
International Peace Market (Mercado de Paz)
Black Friday is traditionally when throngs of holiday shoppers overrun mega malls shopping for corporate items. Don’t go there. Instead, shop for unique, handmade gifts centered on themes of peace, social justice, cultural diversity, and ecological well-being at Esperanza Center’s 26th annual Mercado de Paz.
Friday, November 27 and Saturday, November 28 at 10 am
The Feria de Santa Cecilia
This festival at Historic Market Square celebrates the patron saint of musicians with three days of rhythms and refrains, arts and crafts, food booths, and more.
Friday, November 27 – Sunday, November 29 at noon
A Holiday Fair “DIY” to Remember
A Holiday Fair at Wonderland of the Americas Mall features arts and crafts, shows, carnival games, and other activities from 10 am to 6 pm. This is a great pop-up shop to make Christmas crafts and DIY projects for one-of-a-kind gift giving. Children can enter a costume contest while adults participate in an “ugly sweater” contest.
Saturday, November 28 and Sunday, November 29 at 10 am
Holiday Market with Santa at Traders Village
That warm feeling you get when you give to others is intensified at one of the largest flea markets in the area. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will benefit with a special charity event to fight against child abuse. Children of all ages can have their photo taken with Santa from 12:30 to 4:30 pm for a small donation to CASA. Admission is free and parking is $3.
Saturdays and Sundays, November 28 – December 20 at 10 am
Celebration Circle’s Arts Mart
Artists, musicians, and craftsmen abound at this fun-raiser at Say Sí. Shopping times will be from 10 to 11 am and noon to 1 pm with 10 percent of sales going back to Celebration Circle.
Sunday, November 29 and Sunday, December 6 at 10 am
Holiday Gift Market at Pearl
Shop from 3 to 7 pm with local artisans and other vendors from the Pearl. Select vendors plan to set up pop-up tents along Pearl Parkway to market handmade soaps, artisan chocolates, and other local gifts. A different musician also plays each Thursday.
Thursdays, December 3, 10, and 17 at 3 pm
Hecho a Mano Festival
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center offers this festival, made by hand, to not only support the artists but to support the arts as well. Two canned goods or $2 will get you in the door December 5 and 6. The opening reception on December 4 is $15.
Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6
Shop and Sip San Antonio
This local marketplace will feature local retailers, artisans, and restaurants for a one-day opportunity offered at Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex. The market hours run until 4 pm and offer holiday shoppers food from top San Antonio eateries and a complimentary cocktail while checking off items from their shopping list.
Saturday, December 5 at noon
Tamales Holiday Festival
What is a San Antonio Christmas without tamales? From noon to 6 pm at the Historic Pearl Brewery, guests will enjoy live music and performances, activities for children, as well as delicacies from more than 40 tamale makers. The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverage prices range from $1 to $5.
Saturday, December 5 at noon
Holiday at the McNay and Shopping Extravaganza
Participants at this shopping extravaganza at McNay Art Museum can enjoy a 20-percent discount off of museum store purchases, as well as free admission to "Miro: The Experience of Seeing." There will be a trunk show including jewelry by Susan Butler, Ayala Bar, and J Collier Metalsmith; silk scarves by Kavita Singh; and items offered by Wine-tique. The Trinity AcaBellas will perform holiday favorites while hors d’oeuvres and sparkling cocktails are served. Space is limited, so call 210-805-1772 or visit the museum's website to reserve your spot. Pre-sale tickets for members and nonmembers of the museum range from $25 to $35; tickets at the door are $40.
Tuesday, December 8 at 5:30 pm
Holiday Arts & Crafts Show
Some residents can go years without visiting the River Walk. Here’s something to entice the regular and random visitor. Vendors will line the River Walk near the Chamber of Commerce until 11 pm each night of this weekend to offer gifts as unique as your friends. Decorations for the individual, the garden, or the home will be available from dozens of vendors. Stop by for the shopping; stay for the lights.
Friday, December 11 – Sunday, December 13 at 11 am
Performers, panels, music, vendors, and all things nerdish will be celebrated at Wonderland of the Americas at the Nerdtacular shopping event. Join hundreds of cosplayers and shop myriad merchants for pop-culture prints, clothing, jewelry, and collectibles. Check out the lightsaber demos from local Star Wars groups, take a picture on the Grinch’s sleigh, and visit with Santa Darth Vader.
Saturday, December 12 at 10 am; Sunday, December 13 at 1 pm
Queer the Cheer Holiday Market and Celebration
This is the third annual event hosted by the San Antonio Queer Collective. This year, the holiday market will take place at the Southwest Workers Union. The mission of the market is to create a unique space that focuses on the many diverse talents of the queer and ally community where artists can share their work and gain recognition. Planned festivities include a holiday celebration, dance party, and handmade market along with performers, dancers, and musicians. Food, beer, and wine will be available for a donation.
Saturday, December 12 at 4 pm
San Antonio Coffee Festival
This festival offers free admission for families, but coffee lovers can spend $5 for a tasting flight of four beverages in which a java expert will measure aspects of the coffee's aroma and taste, specifically the body, flavor, acidity, sweetness, and aftertaste, much like sommeliers evaluate wines. Stroll through the shops at La Villita Historic Arts Village, smell the coffee, listen to good music, drink coffee, eat some good food, and buy coffee, all in a fun, comfortable community atmosphere. Did we mention there will be coffee here?
Saturday, December 12 at 10 am
Did we miss your favorite holiday market? Leave a comment and let us know where you like to shop for local gifts in San Antonio.
Want more great stories like these delivered to your inbox daily? Then sign up for our emails.