A Guide to Holiday Fun in the Texas Hill Country

Texas may not scream holiday like New York City, but with tree lighting ceremonies, ice skating, New Year’s celebrations and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this holiday season in the Texas Hill Country. Check out some of our favorites in San Antonio and Austin below.
A Guide to Holiday Fun in the Texas Hill Country - Austin Skyline

San Antonio 

Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony

The 34th Annual Ford Holiday River Parade is a San Antonio tradition offering a spectacular one-hour parade along the river featuring 26 illuminated and decorated floats. The 2015 parade takes place on November 27. Following the parade and lighting ceremony, the famous San Antonio River Walk dazzles throughout the month of December.  

Riverboat Caroling

Joyous caroling can be heard along the 2 ½ mile River Walk each night as boats carrying different musical groups make their way down the river. Join in the festive spirit with impromptu sing-a-longs December 2 – 20 from 6:15-8:30 nightly. 

Sea World Christmas

From November 21 – December 31, SeaWorld becomes a winter wonderland, full of holiday programs, sparkling Christmas lights, and of course, Santa Claus himself! 

Zoo Lights

The San Antonio Zoo shines bright with thousands of twinkling lights from November 27 – January 3. This festive holiday soundscape features exotic decorations, animal patterns and experiential displays. 

Alamo Christmas Tree  

Each year, 100,000 lights and ornaments adorn a 55 foot Christmas tree that sits in the Alamo plaza. The tree lighting takes place each year on the day after Thanksgiving around 6pm.


Ice Skating on Whole Foods Rooftop

Lace up those skates and hit the rooftop rink at Downtown Austin’s Whole Foods.  Open from 11am – 9pm from November 25 – January 11, admission to the rink is $10 per person. 

Ballet Austin's The Nutcracker

Celebrate the magic of the holidays with a seasonal classic, showing December 5 - 23. Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker is the longest-running production of the Nutcracker in Texas, and features live accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. 

Zilker Park Trail of Lights

What began as a small gathering in 1965 is now a favorite holiday tradition and one of the largest events in Austin each year. Zilker Park sparkles with thousands of Christmas lights and holiday displays from December 8 - 22.  

Armadillo Bazaar

This two in one Christmas Bazaar features an art fair and musical festival.  Shop handmade items from over 160 artists and enjoy some of Austin’s best musical performers as they take the stage. The Armadillo Bazaar takes place December 15-24 and is perfect for last minute holiday shopping.

Willie Nelson & Friends at ACL Live

Willie Nelson & Friends take the stage at Austin City Limits Live on December 29th, 30th & 31st. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to ring in the year with Willie Nelson and Friends – reserve W Austin’s exclusive package featuring floor seats to the show, overnight parking and Willie Nelson memorabilia.

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