Courtesy of Enchanted Springs Ranch

Visiting the San Antonio area this holiday season, but want to see more than the River Walk lights? Or the Travis Park Christmas tree and the surrounding holiday wonderland?

Several suburbs and towns surrounding the Alamo City have their own Christmas events. Some are a few years old, others date back decades, but each offers a taste of the community's holiday spirit. Check out 10 holiday happenings outside the San Antonio city limits.

Boerne: Old West Christmas Light FestNow through December 24
Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne is the place to be as the ranch is transformed into an Old West town. Guests may come during most any evening now through December 24 and get into the holiday spirit, aided by millions of twinkling Christmas lights, live music, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There's even a chance to see Santa’s herd of ... longhorns. Organizers said this year’s additions included extended Saturday hours, an interactive petting zoo, an inflatable jumping pad for children, and more illuminated tunnels through which to walk. Prices start at $20 for general admission before discounts.

Selma: The Light Park Now through January 1
Drive out to Selma’s Retama Park and ride around pathways, figures and structures lined with millions of Christmas lights, while enjoying festive holiday music. The Light Park has food and drinks, and is pet friendly. Prices start at $39 per car. Visit from 5:30-10 pm from Monday to Thursday; 5:30-11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Seguin: Lighted Holiday Parade December 1
Seguin’s annual Christmas parade features more than 70 entries around the city’s historic downtown. The parade starts at the intersection of Austin and College streets at 6:30 pm, and ends at Central Park, where the mayor will flip the switch and turn on the Christmas lights hung around downtown. Attendees may also get a photo with Santa Claus. Admission is free. Stick around for other holiday events in Seguin from December 2-4.

Hondo: A Night in BethlehemDecember 2 and 3
First Baptist Church of Hondo organizes a drive-through live nativity scene outside the church, with a 120-person cast and crew. The "story of Jesus Christ’s life" will be told with live animals and historically accurate costumes. The drive-through starts at 6 pm on both days at 2400 Avenue P. The event is free, and donations are appreciated.

Castroville: Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration and Market December 2 and 3
Medina County’s biggest arts and craft show features artisan vendors from around South Texas, gathered in Houston Square from 6-10 pm on December 2, and 9 am to 4 pm on December 3. It offers a variety of handmade crafts, gift items, home decorations, candles, jewelry, and more. There will also be children’s activities, a visit with Santa Claus, and other entertainment. Admission is free.

Schertz: Holidazzle December 3
Holidazzle is Schertz’s annual day and evening of Christmas celebrations, starting with a breakfast with Santa, followed by the Kris Kringle Market featuring handmade crafts, specialty foods, and more. Then, the Holiday Hoopla offers snow, a temporary ice skating rink, entertainment, and a chance for fireside roasting and toasting of food for all ages. The Festival of Angels Parade, held at night, concludes the event as local schools, clubs, and merchants travel Schertz’s main roads between Pickerel Park and Community Circle Drive. All festivities take place between 8 am and 8 pm.

Windcrest: Light-Up — December 3
Windcrest’s annual holiday event is one of the more renowned activities of its kind in the San Antonio area. Dozens of households decorate their front windows, doors, porches, and lawns in fantastical ways with lights and elaborate designs according to each year’s theme; this year’s theme is Fiesta de Navidad. Members of the public are invited to use a map from the city showing them participating decorated homes and businesses to judge the best decorations. The December 3 kickoff ceremony includes entertainment, a market, and a visit from Santa. Anyone can drive through Windcrest and check out decorated, illuminate homes nightly through December 31, starting at 6 pm.

New Braunfels: Old Town Christmas Market — December 8
The New Braunfels Conservation Society puts on a market fundraiser at Conservation Plaza, filled with gift baskets, refreshments, and unique, handmade crafts and other products. The one-day event runs from 2-8 pm. Admission is free.

Helotes: Hill Country Christmas Parade — December 10
The Hill Country Christmas Parade includes many local individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and civic groups marching or traveling through “old town Helotes.” The procession starts at 13715 Riggs Road near Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church at 7:30 pm; it ends at First Baptist Church of Helotes. Admission is free.

Bandera: Sunday Funday Christmas Ride — December 18
Head out to Bandera in the Texas Hill Country, mount a rescued horse (or "mule/donkey/zebra/camel," according to the cheeky event description) and enjoy a Sunday Funday Christmas Ride by Major Hope Corral. Visitors may see Bandera’s historic downtown, hit the trails going through the city park and past Medina River, go to the Cowboy Bar, and return to the ranch; there they can gather around campfire with chili and mulled wine. The ride starts at 11 am at the corral and concludes at 4 pm.

San Antonio River Walk/Instagram

7 spectacular San Antonio spots to enjoy dinner and the 41st annual Ford Holiday River Parade

Dinner and a Show

The 41st annual Ford Holiday River Parade and River Lighting Ceremony is back, y'all — why not make it a full night out with dinner and drinks? We've rounded up the best spots to sip and dine while watching the colorful display. Check out these seven local riverside hotels and restaurants.

Biga on the Banks
Head chef and James Beard award nominee Bruce Auden has curated a sumptuous three-course prix-fixe menu for guests, with options like pozole verde de pollo, beef ribeye, and more. Call Biga at 210-225-0722 for reservations or visit biga.com.

Hotel Contessa
Check out a parade pre-party at the Hotel Contessa, complete with live music, face painting, and vendors. The hotel's in-house restaurant, Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails, will also offer light bites and cocktails for the parade. Purchased reserved seats for the parade at the Hotel Contessa via eventbrite.com.

Omni La Mansion Del Rio
Enjoy a four-course meal at Ostra (the Omni's in-house restaurant at the Mokara Spa), or across the river at Four Brothers (the main in-house restaurant) before grabbing your reserved seat for the parade. Guests can choose to purchase a seat to the parade only, but if you buy a ticket to one of the meals, you also get a reserved seat included with the price and a complimentary cocktail (we love the sound of a Four Brothers holiday sangria!) Purchase tickets to either dinner or a reserved seat via eventbrite.com.

On The Bend Oyster Bar
Enjoy live jazz, a full private buffet, great views of the river parade, a private VIP party, and more at On The Bend Oyster Bar. There are still plenty of tickets left for premium riverside seating at On The Bend that'll give you a great view of the parade. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

The Thompson Hotel
The Thompson Hotel's signature restaurant, Landrace, will serve a decadent multi-course meal from the restaurant's head chef, James Beard award finalist Steve McHugh. Save up your post-Thanksgiving appetite for courses like roasted squash soup and slow-roasted prime rib. Guests can enjoy the parade from reserved seating at the Thompson after the meal. Purchase tickets to the dinner and reserve your seat at eventbrite.com.

The Westin
The Westin Riverwalk has a full parade reception dinner and premium seating available in three different pricing packages. Enjoy menu options like the charred aleppo spiced New York strip loin, unlimited select beer and wine options, and a reserved seat to the parade with the VIP All Is Bright package. There are also lower priced tiers for kids and guests who just want access to the reception dinner. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

Hotel Valencia
If you're looking to make a true night of it, book a one-night stay at the Hotel Valencia to enjoy their Ford Holiday River Parade Seat & Parking package. Each booking includes luxury accommodations for two, two tickets to the parade in front of the Hotel Valencia in the first or second row, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary valet parking for one night (this applies to one vehicle per reservation). Book your Hotel Valencia holiday parade staycation here.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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.

Take a journey under the sea with real mermaids at Sea Life San Antonio

Mermaids. That is all.

Just finished watching the live-action Little Mermaidand don't want to return to real life just yet?

Well this summer, you don't have to, thanks a special mermaid-themed event at Sea Life San Antonio! Guests will not get to watch mermaids swim their tails off in the Sea Life sea tunnels, they'll also have the chance to meet the mermaids themselves after the sea-worthy shows.

However, make sure you act faster than Ariel finding her human legs to get the tickets – the Mermaids event will only take place the next two weekends in June and then it's gone until next year.

This is 100 percent a family-friendly event — kids will also get the chance to get their very own mermaid (or pirate) makeover, which yes, includes an adorable mermaid tail and a hair accessory to take home!

Tickets for the mermaid makeover sessions cost $65 per child, and they are required to be accompanied by an adult (you can purchase a mermaid makeover here).

If you opt for the pirate makeover for your little pirate captain in the making, they'll get to take home their very own pirate hat, pirate sword, and pirate accessory. Each mermaid or pirate makeover session includes a VIP photo op and their very own mermaid meet and greet.

In total, you have six more chances to check out the mermaids in action — June 9, 10, and 11, and the following weekend — June 16, 17 and 18.

And while it hasn't been officially confirmed whether the mermaids will return in 2024, this is the second year that the Mermaids event has taken place at Sea Life San Antonio, which officially opened as a venue to the public back in 2021.

In other words, if you want to mermaids to return, make sure to book your meet and greet now so San Antonio can go under the sea again next year!

Southtown: San Antonio's artsy, historical enclave

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


"Southtown is a neighborhood in the truest sense," says real estate agent Debra Maltz, "residents with diverse backgrounds who care deeply about their community, both its people and its structures, who strive to maintain balance in order to assure that future generations have the same quality of life."

The artsy neighborhood of Southtown is where Maltz keeps her office, and it's an area that she's been happily introducing clients to for the past decade.

"The vibe of Southtown is well appreciated among San Antonio," she says. "It is probably the most walkable neighborhood in the city, with fabulous restaurants, interesting shops, Blue Star Arts complex, the San Antonio River, the So Flo HEB, and gorgeous Victorian homes, all only a short walk to downtown."

Maltz offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Southtown. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"There are too many to pinpoint, but I love Cascabel, a small Mexican cafe across from Bonham Elementary — delicious!" she says.

Liberty Bar, Upscale, Bar Loretta, Little Em's, Pharm Table, Bliss, and The Good Kind also make the list, though Maltz points out that new favorites seem to always be appearing.

Where to play
Obviously Hemisfair Park and the San Antonio River hike and bike path, which goes all the way to the Missions, are oft-visited spots, as is Yanaguana Park and just strolling down King William Street.

What to see
Though the Edward Steves Homestead Museum is currently closed, you can still visit Villa Finale and the Blue Star Arts Complex for your doses of culture and history.

Where to live
"Southtown has wonderful historic homes, many of them well over 100 years old, as well as newer, more modern ones," Maltz says. "Many of the older homes are filled with history, and when you decide to live in a home filled with history you are agreeing to be a steward of the home."

One such homes is a recent listing of Maltz's: 129 Crofton Ave., a one-of-a-kind artisanal King William home.

This was the lifetime home — and project for almost 40 years — of noted local designers and craftsmen Isaac and Judith Maxwell. It has since been thoughtfully updated by the current owners and features gorgeous long-leaf pine floors and ceilings and meticulous woodworking, joinery, and craftsmanship. Original coal-burning faux fireplaces with gorgeous brick can be found throughout. The Maxwells' original punched metal light fixtures and chandeliers can still be found throughout, along with many hidden cabinets and hiding places.

The kitchen has a beautiful island with those same original punched metal cabinet doors, but has also been updated with Corian counters, a built-in refrigerator, a downdraft gas range, farm sink, and a charming banquette overlooking the back deck. Wrap-around porches decorate both the first and second floor, while the third-floor loft makes an ideal guest room, office, or reading room.

A second, 400-square-foot structure in the rear has two floors, each with a living area, full bath, and private entrance. Follow the brick path that winds through the yard down to the San Antonio River.

A stunning recent sale is 331 Adams St., a five-bedroom historic treasure built in 1893.

Known as the Haarmann/Goethe House, it's recognizable by the arched brick facade and multiple porches, but also hides a 900-square-foot apartment, dog run, pool, and outdoor kitchen out back.


Debra Maltz works and plays in Southtown. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email debra.maltz@kupersir.com, or call 210-639-3272.

Realtor Debra Maltz

Photo by Onward Group

Agent Debra Maltz.