America By Rail Blog

posted on December 05, 2012

San Antonio is a beautiful city built on the banks of the historic San Antonio River in south central Texas. Home to more than 1.3 million people, the city is a thriving melting pot of vibrant culture and people that draw an additional 26 million visitors each year. Strong Native American, Mexican, German, Spanish and European influences have given rise to one of the liveliest cities in the United States, featuring a variety of culturally eclectic museums, historical attractions, restaurants, bars, shops and sites. From strolling through galleries at the San Antonio Museum of Art, to enjoying the ambiance of charming outdoor cafes alongside lazy river canals, San Antonio offers something for everyone to fall in love with.

In a city that knows how to celebrate, you can be sure San Antonio does the holidays right. If you’re looking to get away this December, San Antonio has everything you could ask for and more. With a myriad of seasonal activities and decorations to suit, the city transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. Below are some of the most beloved things to do in San Antonio during the holiday season that make celebrating in Texas one-of-a-kind. This year, give yourself the gift of travel and unforgettable experiences by visiting the river city on our Christmas Special to San Antonio and Branson tour. Happy holidays!

The Holidays at San Antonio River Walk- If you thought the San Antonio River Walk was picturesque before, just imagine it dazzling with 1.8 million Christmas lights. Throughout the holiday season, the San Antonio River Walk hosts countless family friendly activities to get into the Christmas spirit. On various nights in December, you can watch Santa float down the canal on a flat boat, decked out in holiday d├ęcor, accompanied by carolers merrily singing classic holiday tunes. Shop local riverside merchants featuring one-of-a-kind items made by Texan craftsman, artists and jewelers to find perfect last minute gifts for everyone on your list.

Hill Country Holidays- Chances are good that ice skating doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of Texas. Thanks to the Westin La Cantera Resort, now you can fondly associate the two. The resort is well known for Hill Country Holidays, a series of holiday-related events and activities including a 1,200 ft synthetic outdoor ice rink during the holiday season. Bring your own ice skates or rent a pair. No scarves or mittens needed! Other family friendly activities include arts and crafts, cookie decorating, carolers, visits with Santa, and an elves playland.

Santa’s Ranch- If you’re a fan of drive-thru Christmas light parks, Santa’s Ranch should be on your list of must-see places in South Texas. Located just outside the city, Santa’s Ranch features a mile of holiday scenes complete with over a million twinkling Christmas lights and more than 100 animations and displays. Sit back, relax and coast through as you enjoy a complete, unobstructed view from the comfort of your car. You won’t be disappointed!

Theme Parks- SeaWorld San Antonio’s Christmas Celebration truly captures the magic and energy surrounding the holidays. Park visitors have the opportunity to see Shamu perform spectacular tricks in a holiday-themed show with music and lights, all while doning a Santa hat. The entire park gets a seasonal makeover as Christmas lights transform the park into a colorful winter wonderland. Six Flags Fiesta Texas and New Braunfels Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort also feature holiday extravaganzas complete with light displays, performances, delicious food, and caroling.

Celebrate San Antonio- If you’re looking to ring in the new year in an unforgettable way without breaking the bank, Celebrate San Antonio is one of the largest free festivals in the country. More than 250,000 people of all ages flock to San Antonio to celebrate each year. The event takes place right in the thick of things downtown, on Alamo Street between Durango and Market. This area is thriving with shops and restaurants, making it convenient to dine at one of San Antonio’s best restaurants before the night’s activities begin. Consistently ranked as one of the best New Year’s celebrations in the U.S., Celebrate San Antonio boasts countless festivities. Special entertainment areas appeal to children and families, while live musical performances take place continually on four separate stages. Music filters through the air until the countdown at midnight, when an impressive fireworks show lights up the sky. The Celebrate San Antonio Fireworks Extravaganza is one of the largest in the Lone Star state and can be viewed from many locations around the city. What better way to celebrate the New Year than in a city known for their vitality and cultural flare?

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