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Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

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Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

By Spring Sault

Between the meals and mingling, the smell of wrapping paper and Scotch tape, and the sounds of friends and family toasting visits together that are always too short, few and far between, this is the stuff that the holidays are made of. From approximately 2 weeks before Thanksgiving to 1 minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve and beyond, San Antonio at this festive time of year, is unforgettable! Here, the experiences, sights and sounds of the holiday season are marinated in great food, amazing culture, and the seamless blending of tradition with the joyfully unexpected. These are the Holidays in Hill Country – San Antonio’s Best Offerings.

The Shopping

Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

Photo: Wikipedia

If completing your holiday shopping is at the top of your list, then this is the place to be. Forbes has named San Antonio the “Top Shopping Destination in the Nation” – the NATION! With 9 major shopping malls, western wear shops, antique bargains and boutique chic, you can shop like the pro that you know you are. A detailed listing of malls, markets, shopping districts and outlets can be found at visitsanantonio.com/shopping.

The Festivities

Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

Photo: sacurrent.com

The most festive city in Hill Country becomes 10 times more-so this time of year! Millions of twinkling lights and dazzling holiday displays will leave you breathless and your camera’s memory card full. The River Walk is a shining example (pun intended) with the Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Festival on Nov. 27, 2015 as well as the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias beginning at dusk on Fri., Sat. and Sun. only from Dec. 4-20, 2015. Tickets for the parade itself must be purchased in advance and online, so be sure to check out at their online store in order not to miss out! And don’t forget Light The Way at the University of the Incarnate Word, happening at 7:30 p.m., Sat., Nov. 21, 2015 at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium. Join the UIW as they celebrate the festive season with an evening of musical entertainment culminating in the official flipping of the switch to illuminate close to 1 million sparkling lights in their winter wonderland. You’ll feel like Clark Griswold!

The Food

Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

Photo: mysanantonio.com

The range of dining offerings in the city is so broad that your taste buds will think it’s Christmas – and it is! If Tex-Mex is your craving, 2 San Antonio restaurants (Mi Tierra Café y Panadería and Los Barrios) have recently made the list of the Texas Highways Magazine top 5 in the Lonestar state (November 2015 issue). Love steak and seafood? Check out the 10 Best San Antonio Restaurants according to Trip Advisor. And if a traditional festive comfort food feast with all the trimmings would top off your trip, then “Ride the bus to flavor town” through the list of locations that Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has visited in San Antonio. They won’t roll out the TV crew for your visit but you won’t be disappointed!

The Traditions

Holidays in the Hill Country: San Antonio

Photo: mariachimusic.com

San Antonio is the whole tamale! (You thought I was going to say ‘enchilada’ didn’t you?) One of the great local holiday traditions for generations has been that of tamale-making. The many holiday festivals and workshops around this practice can be found at http://visitsanantonio.com/holiday.

Or if music is more your style, why not go to the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza – the largest mariachi competition in the United States as well as the longest-running competition in Texas! Running from Nov. 15-23, 2015, this musical and cultural gala will be sure to put you into the holiday spirit. Tickets for these festivities are available through Ticketmaster.com.

And if you’re a fan of the Dickensian time, why not experience the timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol,” running Dec. 3-21, 2015 at Playhouse San Antonio. Speaking of fans, did anyone say ‘football’? The 23rd annual Valero Alamo Bowl takes place in San Antonio on Jan. 2, 2016 between the Big 12 and the Pac-12 conferences, and the future of college and professional football go head-to-head in an east vs. west matchup of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 9, 2016, both at the Alamodome. All of this plus an amazing New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown San Antonio on Dec. 31, 2015 make this city a holiday-lover’s dream, and then some! Experience it, enjoy it, and don’t forget to come back!