Heart of Texas Magazine

San Antonio River Walk: The Iconic Texan Holiday Experience

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Tony Maples Photography


Each year, on the day following Thanksgiving, the San Antonio River Walk becomes even dreamier than this already iconic part of Texas usually is. Christmas lights are draped along this Hill Country canal and, when lit, show off a spectacular holiday display that brightens the faces of its viewers and inspires guests to flock to it for its charm as well as its many fun things to do and see. If you haven’t yet been to the River Walk and experienced all that it has to offer, maybe this is the time of year for your amazing, once-in-a-lifetime tour!

Seeing this amazing Texas treasure in its natural beauty at any time of year is truly priceless, and as the official River Walk website explains, “In Texas, water has been a lifeline for many generations for centuries past. The San Antonio River is a source of a South Texas Treasure, The San Antonio River Walk. Development of San Antonio and its most popular tourism attraction has come a long way.” Experiencing it in all its holiday glory throughout Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day is something that will virtually take your breath away!

The San Antonio River Walk Christmas lights will shine from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m., from November 29, 2019 through January 13, 2020. This amazingly brilliant holiday light display features more than 100,000 lights on 2,250 strings, which are beautifully draped over the tall cypress trees that line river. Touring the area is absolutely free, since the River Walk is considered a public park. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors can tour on foot or enjoy the lighting on a boat tour. Plus, there are always a number of great events happening in San Antonio that coincide with the holiday lights display that will make your visit even better.

See the San Antonio River Walk Transformed with Christmas Lights!

Photo: Facebook/The San Antonio River Walk

The annual River Walk lighting ceremony is paired with the remarkable Ford Holiday River Parade, with dozens of floats beautifully decorated, bands, and live performers. This year’s parade will be held on Friday, November 29, 2019, and the River Walk will only be accessible by parade ticket after 4 p.m.

Other notable events this season include the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias. Happening December 6-8, December 13-15, and December 20-22, 2019, it’s an experience in holiday serenity unlike any other. Strolling along the River Walk at night, surrounded by over 2K Luminarias, one can’t help but feel at peace. The tradition, dating back centuries, begins at dusk on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for each of the three weekends, featuring the traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns which the River Walk is proud to share with visitors, including a flame that doesn’t go out. Add to the experience a hot chocolate, a cup of coffee or tea, holding hands with a loved one, and enjoying a delicious riverside dining experience and you definitely won’t forget the close of this decade any time soon!

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