Photo courtesy of Netflix

Live music, a dance party, and glowing monster trucks are the perfect reasons to keep your schedule clear for the next several days. Groove to local music at the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival, or enjoy the comedy talents of George Lopez and Paul Reiser live. Check out the top seven things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a complete list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, July 27

Roger Creager in concert
Country music star Roger Creager performs live at Gruene Hall this weekend only. Creager is best known for hits like “Rancho Grande” and “Fun All Wrong” and has released seven albums in his career, including the 2014 project, Road Show. To get details on ticket availability, visit gruenehall.com.

Friday, July 28

Balcones Heights Jazz Festival
The city’s most beloved jazz festival returns for one day only on Friday. This year’s lineup at Wonderland of the Americas includes performances by headliners Marion Meadows and San Antonio Transit. For a full performance schedule, go to bhtx.gov. Festival admission is free and open to the public.

George Lopez
Photo courtesy of Netflix

George Lopez brings his "Alllriiiighhttt!" tour show to Majestic Theatre.

"George Lopez: Alllriiiighhttt!"
Actor and comedian George Lopez brings new stand-up material to live audiences for back-to-back nights at Majestic Theatre. Lopez became a household name during the longtime run of his eponymous mid-2000s TV sitcom. He makes a two-day stop in San Antonio in support of his "Alllriiiighhttt!" tour. For more details, go to Ticketmaster.

Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club presents Paul Reiser
Funnyman Paul Reiser begins a brief stand-up stint at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club. Aside from becoming a comedy legend and being named one of Comedy Central's "Top 100 Comedians of All Time,” Reiser is a multi-talented entertainer and is also known as an actor, television writer, author, and musician. Get tickets at improvtx.com.

Le Petite Fete presents "Euphoric Summer: A Euphoria Rave"
Don your best rave attire and glittering makeup for an evening of euphoric entertainment at Vibes Event Center. This summer sendoff rave features glitter, sequins, and more aesthetics inspired by the hit HBO drama, Euphoria. Partygoers can enjoy a live DJ set including songs from artists such as Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, Post Malone, Labrinth, Lizzo, and more. Get your tickets on Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 29

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Glow Party
Gear up for a three-day performance featuring an iconic lineup of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks and illuminated flair at AT&T Center. Additional highlights include laser light shows, toy giveaways, a dance party, and a special appearance from the transforming robot MegaSaurus. Guests who arrive early can take part in the "Crash Zone Pre-Show Party," which allows access to the competition floor and an opportunity to stock up on souvenir merchandise. Visit attcenter.com for more information.

Ryan Bingham in concert with The Texas Gentlemen and Jamestown Revival
Country music crooner Ryan Bingham brings his music to the stage at Whitewater Amphitheater for two back-to-back nights. The artist and actor known for his role on the hit Paramount Network drama series Yellowstone comes to the San Antonio area in support of his entire catalog, which includes the 2019 album, American Love Song. The Texas Gentlemen and Jamestown Revival will join Bingham as special guests. Get ticket details at whitewaterrocks.com.

San Antonio Coffee Festival/ Facebook

Buzzy San Antonio coffee festival brews up downtown fun this weekend

But first, coffee

San Antonio coffee lovers, prepare to turbocharge the weekend. The San Antonio Coffee Festival is back on February 11 for its 10th anniversary at Travis Park downtown. Guests can enjoy demos, tastings, and a full slate of live music.

The perky annual festival is the creation of New Orleans native Linda Brewster, who brought her love of coffee to the Alamo City after relocating her family. Since then, coffee culture has blossomed in San Antonio, and the festival now showcases almost 30 San Antonio-area coffee companies.

The event's centerpiece is the Tasting Flight, a take on traditional "coffee cupping." The technique is usually employed by professional tasters who are charged with describing every nuance of a brew's tasting notes, from acidity to sweetness.

At Travis Park, guests can opt for a tasting of more than 80 locally roasted coffees. A complete list of roasters sourcing beans from across the globe can be found here.

In addition to getting the caffeine jitters, guests can participate in a full day of workshops. Highlights include a talk on coffee culinary creations, a seminar on using a moka pot, and a chat on buzzy cocktails.

Throughout the day, guests can also bop to a diverse array of live musical acts. The festival has booked BillRay Sheppard, Larry Natwick, BexarBrass, The Muñoz Brothers Band, Lakandon, Rat King Cole, and MC & The Mystyx Band this year.

Although VIP tickets have sold out, general admission between 10 am and 3 pm is free. Flights are available for purchase for $15-$30. Snacks are also available for purchase from local favorites Naco Mexican, Plantaqueria, Beignet Stand, La Panadería, and more.

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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.