Photo by Francisco Cortes

Tap into your expressive side with a blend of performance art, classical art, and more at venues around the city. Enjoy a live Folkorico performance by the Guadalupe Dance Company, or stop by the McNay and Centro Cultural Aztlan to appreciate new art exhibitions. Check out the top seven things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a complete list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, September 7

McNay Art Museum presents Alice Aycock: "Moving through Time"
Discover and appreciate the work of sculptor and painter Alice Aycock at the McNay Art Museum’s newest exhibition. Guests will be able to view all 10 studies for one of Aycock’s most influential sculptures, 1972’s Maze, and other pieces from her body of work spanning five decades. Following opening weekend, the exhibition will be on view through November 26. Go to mcnayart.org for more details.

Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club presents Arnez J
Comedian Arnez J. takes up a brief residence at The Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club. He’s known for his regular appearances on the BET series, Comic View, and recently released his comedy special, Racially Motivated, on Netflix. Shows are scheduled through September 10. Go to improvtx.com for more information.

Friday, September 8

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents "Celebrando Tradiciones"
Experience the rich culture of traditional Mexican dance at this special Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Folklorico production. The performance showcases music by Mariachi Azteca de América and movement by the Guadalupe Dance Company. For tickets and more details, go to guadalupeculturalarts.org.

San Antonio Parks Foundation presents Jazz In The Garden
Jazz in The Garden returns for a fall season of live music, fresh evening air, and the botanical beauty of San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden. This month’s event features a live performance by jazz and neo-soul group CarbonLily. Guests are encouraged to bring their blankets and lawn chairs for the most comfortable listening experience. Admission to this event is free and open to the public. For more concert series information, visit saparks.org.

Centro Cultural Aztlan presents Jorge Sandoval: "Fotos y Recuerdos" opening reception
San Antonio artist Jorge Sandoval showcases a culmination of the world around him for the past two decades at Centro Cultural Aztlan. Visitors can expect photographs that portray Chicano Art, defining historic moments, and cultural events in San Antonio and Mexico through Sandoval’s acclaimed lens. Following opening weekend, the exhibit is on display through October 18. Admission to the reception is free and open to the public. This exhibition is part of Fiestas Patrias 2023.

Saturday, September 9

Peso Pluma in concert
Mexican music artist Peso Pluma performs live in concert at Majestic Theatre. The singer's "Ella Baila Sola" with Eslabon Armado was the first regional Mexican song to enter the top five on the Billboard Hot 100. He makes the one-night stop in San Antonio in support of his 2022 album, Sembrando. For ticket details, go to Ticketmaster.

Sunday, September 10

San Antonio Parks Foundation presents Jazz In The Garden
Photo by Francisco Cortes

San Antonio Parks Foundation presents "Jazz In The Garden" on September 8.

Flogging Molly in concert
Punk rock is alive and well in the Alamo City thanks to Flogging Molly. The seven-piece band known for songs like “Drunken Lullabies” and “Devil’s Dance Floor” comes to Aztec Theatre in support of their 2022 album, Anthem. Visit concerts.livenation.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Charley Crockett

Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Entertainment comes to Alamo City in the form of live music, poetry, and family-friendly cultural showcases. Catch Texan artist Charley Crockett live in concert, or celebrate with local heritage organizations during Historic Plaza Days. Check out the top five things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a complete list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, August 24

Gemini Ink presents A Night of Celebration with 2023 Texas Poet Laureate ire'ne lara silva
Newly awarded 2023 Texas Poet Laureate ire’ne lara silva shares excerpts, stories, and the spotlight with guests at this Gemini Ink-hosted event. The poet will read from her works and will welcome other artists to the stage for additional readings and appearances. Admission to this event is free and open to the public.

Matute: Party Monster Tour
Rock out to the nostalgic music of the ‘80s and '90s as performed by Mexican band, Matute. Travel back in time with the help of the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre’s transformed stage, historically-appropriate band costumes, and all the top hits from two of the most iconic eras in pop culture. Get more information on Ticketmaster.

Friday, August 25

Main Plaza Conservancy presents Historic Plaza Days
Celebrate and honor the practices and culture of the people who lived here before San Antonians at Main Plaza Conservancy. Family-friendly event highlights include beading activities, live music, drumming, and a blessing by the Tehuan Band of Mission Indians. Following this weekend, the next plaza day will be hosted on September 29. Plaza days are free and open to the public to attend.

Charley Crockett in concert
Texan country musician Charley Crockett makes a concert stop in the San Antonio area for one night only. He comes to Whitewater Amphitheater in support of his 2022 album, The Man from Waco. Alex Lambert, Molly Tuttle, and Golden Highway will join Crockett as special guest performers. Go to Ticketweb for more information.

Saturday, August 26

1964: The Tribute in concert
Revisit the year 1964 through the lens and superstardom of The Beatles during this musical reimagining at Majestic Theatre. Fans can experience the historic performances that The Beatles gave at the peak of the group’s worldwide “Beatlemania.” For ticket details, check out majesticempire.com.

Charley Crockett
Photo courtesy of Charley Crockett

Charley Crockett peforms live at Whitewater Amphitheater on August 25.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Here are the top 6 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

The theatre is calling to us in the days to come. Animated zoo pals, historical figures in a musical light, and legendary rock artists are all set to take the many storied stages of the Alamo City. Check out the top six things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a complete list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, June 22

Tobin Center presents Madagascar The Musical
New York's Central Park Zoo and its most beloved animated characters come to life on stage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. This high-energy musical based on the hit Dreamworks movie Madagascar will feature favorite tunes, new music, puppets, dancing menageries, and more. This family-friendly live production is suitable for viewers of all ages. Tickets are available at tobincenter.org.

Broadway in San Antonio presents Hamilton
The hit Broadway musical about the life and legacy of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton comes to the Majestic Theatre for a brief residency. Audiences will experience a genre-blending score with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda about America at the time of the country’s founding, with a present-day twist and a touring cast. Performances are scheduled through July 2. Splurge on tickets to this can’t-miss show at sanantonio.broadway.com.

Reckless Kelly in concert
Austin-based band Reckless Kelly performs live at Gruene Hall for four days straight this weekend. Throughout their decades-long career, Reckless Kelly has released 10 albums and is known for top hits like “Vancouver” and “Motel Cowboy Show.” For ticket details, go to gruenehall.com.

Friday, June 23

Fiesta Noche del Rio
The Alamo Kiwanis Club’s Fiesta Noche del Rio summer series continues at Arneson River Theatre. Highlights include Mariachis, Flamenco guitar, dancing, costumes, food, and more. The series continues through August 5, and raises money for a multitude of children's charities through the club. Get tickets and a full schedule at fiestanochesa.com.

Whitewater Amphitheater presents Dirty Heads in concert
Whitewater Amphitheater welcomes Dirty Heads to the stage for a live show in support of their 2022 album, Midnight Control. The Southern California-based band is known for its fusion of hip-hop, reggae, and rock, and has hits like “Vacation” and “Stand Tall.” Go to ticketweb.com for more information.

Saturday, June 24

Hamilton national tour
Photo by Joan Marcus

See Hamilton with a touring cast this opening weekend at the Majestic Theatre.

Aztec Theatre presents Sam Morril: The Class Act Tour
Stand-up comic Sam Morril makes a stop in San Antonio at Aztec Theatre as part of his national tour. A rising star in the comedy world, Morril has performed regularly on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and Conan. Ticketing information is available on Live Nation.

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden's annual Lightscape show dazzles San Antonio with new exhibits for 2023


One way to get through the scorching San Antonio summer? Blast that air conditioner and daydream about temps that don’t bust the thermometer.

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is more than happy to help with the delusion. The local institution is already preparing for the holiday season by releasing tickets to Lightscape, its showstopping annual exhibit. Advance public passes, ranging from $15-$28, go on sale starting June 22.

Guests will have to wait a few months to enjoy the attraction, which kicks off on November 17. But the planners warn that several nights sold out quickly in 2022. Purchasing tickets early will ensure locals have their choice of prime dates — and the first look at 2023’s new installations.

Among the dazzling debuts will be “Floraison” from France-based creative studio Pataya — a grouping of hundreds of illuminated red poppies dangling from the lush trees. Couples will want to take selfies under the Heart Arch Walk, an immersive tunnel of four-meter-tall hearts produced by the United Kingdom’s ArtAV.

Annual visitors will also be treated to reworked classics, including the Fire Garden and an even more brilliant grouping of sparkling bluebonnets. And, of course, there will be plenty of food and drink for purchase — including ever-popular s’mores.

San Antonio Botanical Garden Lightscape

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Botanical Garden

Floriason features a field of illuminated poppies.

“This year, Lightscape has been reimagined to deliver an even more captivating and enchanting experience for our guests,” said Sabina Carr, CEO of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, via a release. “Those who have been to Lightscape before will be stunned by new displays and holiday magic - 2023 promises to be our most spectacular Lightscape yet.”

Brrr — we’re feeling the chill already!

Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio

City drops jam-packed summer schedule of downtown family fun in San Antonio


For parents, it’s an eternal struggle. Though they look forward to giving their kids a well-deserved break from the academic wind, the energetic flock also needs things to do during the long summer days. Luckily, the City of San Antonio has locals covered with a packed schedule at downtown Travis Park, La Villita, and Market Square.

The affordable family activities start with the ever-popular Movies by Moonlight at Travis Park. Every Tuesday in both months (with a break on July 4), guests can enjoy nostalgic favorites like Cool Runnings, The Karate Kid, and A League of Their Own. A full schedule can be found here.

Over at La Villita, the Alamo Kiwanis are bringing back Fiesta Noche del Rio, a series of cultural performances at the Arneson River Theatre held every Friday and Saturday from June 10 through August 6. Tickets for the dancing spectacular are available online for $8-$20 or can be picked up at any local H-E-B with a business center.

June will also find weekend happenings at Market Square. A rotating assortment of live entertainment will delight visitors every Friday and Saturday from 10 am-6 pm. The attractions will include music, working artists, and, of course, food booths.

Speaking of food, vendors will be popping up downtown throughout the summer. On the second Thursday of every month, guests can marvel at La Villita’s architecture while noshing on favorites from La Villita Cafe and Guadalajara Grill. Guests will also want to check out Lunch Break on Houston Street. On the first and third Thursday of every month, food trucks will park outside the Majestic Theatre with special musical guests.

In case folks are worried about that frequent bugbear — downtown parking — the city has a webpage with an interactive map. San Antonio also offers free parking downtown on Tuesdays from 5 pm-2 am in city-owned parking facilities, and the City Tower Garage provides free parking on Sundays from 7 am-midnight at 117 W. Commerce.

The Thompson Hotel San Antonio

Summertime is here in San Antonio — beat the heat at these cool local pools

Cool for the summer

Remember when we were complaining about the endless rain? Mourn the loss of cool weather and beat the heat (in style) at these local pools. Several of these offer day passes, and thanks to Resort Pass, you can book a day trip to a cool pool without having to pay for a hotel stay.

Hotel Emma's rooftop pool
Named the best luxury hotel in the country thanks to the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2023, the Hotel Emma's pool is an obvious choice for this list. Sadly, you can't get a Resort Pass to the Hotel Emma pool at the moment, but hey, you're really not losing out by booking a staycation at the historic Pearl Brewery hotel anyway!

And don't fret if you find yourself starving during your poolside adventure at the Hotel Emma — they've got poolside provisions for guests, including snack and cocktails housed in a 1960s-era Pearl beer delivery truck.

The Cenote pool deck at the Thompson Hotel San Antonio
Slap on your strongest sunscreen before heading to the Thompson Hotel San Antonio's Cenote pool deck on the hotel's 4th floor — you're going to be lounging poolside for a while. In addition to the picturesque pool being an Instagram content creator's paradise, the Thompson Hotel pool also includes cabanas (which you have to book ahead of time), an alfresco pool bar (where you can order anything from a charcuterie board to a veggie panini), and of course, cocktails to sip poolside.

The pool at the Eilan Hotel
Any visit to the Elian Hotel & Spa near La Cantera feels like a getaway to Italy without the need to pull out your passport. A nice bonus about the Eilan pool experience is the fact that the hotel has an indoor and an outdoor pool, plus a hot tub.

If you're looking to snap a picture or two of your time at the Eilan pool, then the outdoor pool is a must, given that you're surrounded by swaying palm trees and a perfect shot of the Eilan Hotel itself in the background. There's also food and drinks available from the Blu Pool Bar.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa
If you can't get enough of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa's epic murder mystery dinners, book yourself a day pass to the resort's epic onsite water park: That's right, in addition to a pool, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa has a lazy river, a waterslide, and more.

So if you're looking for a good family-friendly option for a pool day, look no further than the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

The St. Anthony Hotel pool
From a cursory glance, it would be understandable to assume that the historic St. Anthony may not have many modern amenities. We are happy to confirm that this is far from the case. You can also book a daycation via Resort Pass for the St. Anthony Hotel's pool, which is located on the hotel's rooftop. And bonus, it's a heated infinity pool.

Make sure to order a St. Anthony Breeze cocktail (a blend of Tito's vodka, cranberry and pineapple juice) and a plate of nachos or a burger from the cabana bar before you leave (just don't forget to wait half an hour before swimming again!)

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Hot San Antonio hotel brings back popular live fire dinner series for fall

Straight fire

Fall is finally upon us, and while we welcome the end of 100 degree days, we're all for the heat at Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails, which is bringing back its popular live fire series.

The downtown restaurant, located inside the Hotel Contessa, is reprising a summer series, this time for the fall season. Led by executive chef Michael Collins, the Ambler live fire dinners are a fun, interactive dining experience out on the hotel patio. If you're looking for a way to eat well and stay warm as temperatures (hopefully) cool, the live fire dinner is a guaranteed way to get the best of both worlds.

Chef Collins and his team are essentially hosting a hotel cookout where every item on the plate is grilled. It kicks off with a complimentary welcome cocktail, alongside buttermilk biscuits made with Shiner Bock beer and honey, plus a romaine salad for starters.

Guests will then choose between starters like mesquite-smoked and grilled Texas Akaushi ribeye, cast iron-blackened Gulf mahi-mahi, or mesquite-smoked beer can chicken. These entrees have more than a touch of Texas in the tasty mesquite smoke — and the 22-ounce ribeye and the half-chicken are seriously big portions.

Ambler invited CultureMap to a previous live fire dinner, where the sides were a surprising star. The cast iron-griddled potatoes also caught some smoke from being on the grill, and each dish is only lightly seasoned, to enhance the natural flavors rather than create a new taste.

Reservations for the fall live fire series ($79-$129 per person depending on entree, beverages at additional cost) are available on OpenTable. The fall live fire dinners kick off on September 30, and occur every Saturday all the way through November.

Stylish Barbie merch truck cruises through San Antonio on 'Dreamhouse Living Tour'

This Barbie Sells Merch

Hot on the heels — or wheels — of the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck comes another timely pink rolling shop. Actually, this truck will beat the Sanrio version here on September 30.

The Barbie Truck will stop in San Antonio on its 2023 "Dreamhouse Living Tour," which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Barbie's ever more popular property, and will give visitors a chance to spice up their own homes.

Although this is all about the house, there are only a few homewares: things like coasters, glass tumblers, a glass mug, a throw blanket, and an "accessories cup." Visiting Barbies have more opportunities to take home wearable and on-the-go items like graphic tees, hoodies, and denim; a baseball cap; embroidered patches; and keychains.

Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living TourPhoto courtesy of the Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Most people who have been awake and on social media in the past year have learned that Barbie's Dreamhouse has a more empowering history than many girls realized while orchestrating drama between the dolls.

A release announcing the arrival of the truck reminds fans (and detractors) that when the Dreamhouse came out, only a tenth of a percent of young women were independent homeowners, and states that someone buys a Dreamhouse every minute.

This is not the first time a Barbie truck has visited San Antonio, but for obvious reasons, it should be in very high demand this time around.

Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Photo courtesy of the Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Dreamhouse aside, this is a dream ride.

The Barbie Truck will be in San Antonio on Saturday, September 30th, from 10 am to 7 pm at North Star Mall. See it in the parking lot on the corner of the 410 access road and McCollough. Arrive early in case of long lines.

These Barbies will hit six other Texas cities on the tour:

  • October 7 — Austin
  • October 14 — Laredo
  • October 21 — Friendswood (Houston)
  • October 28 — The Woodlands (Houston)
  • November 4 — Plano (Dallas)
  • November 11 — Fort Worth

Follow along to see more stops on Instagram or Facebook.

Colors change at San Antonio Botanical Garden with new fall events and 10,000 marigolds

Follow the Marigold Road

It may not feel like the seasons are changing yet, but plants notice that kind of thing. As the days get shorter, the rhythms of life at San Antonio Botanical Garden chance, and locals are invited in to feel the shift with new programming.

Starting off with pure excess and sunny fall joy, the garden will be showing off a path of 10,000 marigolds throughout the month of October at "Marigolds en Maravilla." The Oz-like exhibit draws attention to a fall bloom very significant in Hispanic cultures, and perhaps most associated in San Antonio with Día de los Muertos. (The garden celebrates this in its own event on October 21.)

A special event will introduce visitors to the golden display on October 8 with a live performance by local singer-songwriter Azul Barrientos. Guests can take part in marigold printmaking, a community chalk mural, guided tours, marigold planting, and even tasting the flowers. A separate tea party on the same day will teach visitors to make cake and tea out of marigolds; a craft event on October 11 weaves the blooms into headpieces; and more of the flowers turn up in other events across the calendar.

Of course, a family pumpkin patch was a must-have, and there were some opportunities to taste those too, but they have since sold out. Less expectedly, orchids are also prominently featured with their own tour on October 8. According to the garden, the fall is a "fabulous time" to see orchids in bloom.

Two exhibitions will be departing the garden soon: the "Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time" topiary collection, which brought the park even more to life with fantasy creatures; and the "Frida Kahlo Oasis," which replicated some elements of the famous artist's home and displayed plants as she would have.

Other events to look out for this October include:

  • Fall Brews & Blooms: Sunday, October 15 — Guests will assemble on the lawn to enjoy local and regional craft beers and live music.
  • Bootanica: Saturday, October 21 — Halloween comes early at the garden, where families are invited to dress in costume, trick-or-treat, and try hands-on activities taught by Garden Educators. The event is free with the price of admission.
  • Sinister Soiree: Friday, October 27 — This adults-only experience meet-and-greet connects visitors with pop culture villains, teasing a heavy Disney focus in the event imagery. Guests will "sip and sing" along with live performances.
  • 5th Annual Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Fest: Saturday, October 28 — At the intersection of fantasy and Halloween, this less-spooky event focuses on the candy and dress-up with a "fairytale, superhero, and villain" twist, assisted by live characters, live music, and even live animals.

Next up after the fall programming will be the famous Lightscape holiday path, with more than one million lights and a few upgrades from past years. But let's enjoy fall before rushing forward to winter quite yet.

More information about San Antonio Botanical Garden and its extensive fall programming is available at sabot.org.