San Antonio Events: 12 Things to Do
For fun and adventure, look no further than San Antonio, TX.
Deep in the heart of Texas is a city that loves to play just as hard as it works. San Antonio hosts thousands of events throughout the year. The city showcases everything from fun holiday events to cultural exhibits. It makes San Antonio a vacation hot spot not only for locals but for people worldwide. Here is a list of some of the most popular events that take place in this grand city all year round.
Annual Valero Alamo Bowl
Whether it is high school divisions, college, or professional leagues, football has always been a favorite pastime all across Texas. San Antonio is the proud home of the Alamodome. It’s the site of the The Alamo Bowl, a major post-season college bowl game.
San Antonio rolls out the welcome mat in a big way to host the rivals that will come to battle on their turf. There is a big pep rally and a pregame party before the game, fun parades, and tailgating galore. Many of the local merchants and restaurants have specials to celebrate the game too.
San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo
For a true Texan experience, there is none better than seeing a rodeo first hand. San Antonio is home to one of the biggest and best rodeos around. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is an 18 day event in which you’ll see 20 PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeo performances, horse and livestock shows, and country and western culture.
If the rodeo isn’t really your thing, they have shopping, great food, a carnival and live entertainment featuring everything from local musicians to famous celebrities. Some of the past featured performers includes Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, and Martina McBride, just to name a few. The Rodeo is held annually at the AT&T Center just minutes from the Alamo Dome.
Remember the Alamo Weekend
Most Americans learn about the Battle of the Alamo in their history classes at some point in their education. In 1836, the Alamo was an old Spanish mission in what was once Mexican Territory. As Texan settlers began to vie for their independence from Mexico, San Antonio was seen as one of the last strongholds against the Mexican army. Santa Anna, a Mexican general, launched a 13 day siege on the mission, killing all of the Texan defenders inside. This event became a battle cry for Texas as they fought for their independence. The Alamo has long since been remembered as a heroic struggle against impossible odds and certain death, known both locally and worldwide.
Every year, during the anniversary of the siege, The Alamo welcomes visitors from all over the world and treats them to live reenactments. It’s a trip back in time to see what life was like in the Alamo during the battle. They hold many ceremonies and special events to continue to honor the memory of the lives lost and for the symbol of what The Alamo is.
Fiesta! San Antonio
One of San Antonio’s oldest traditions is Fiesta! San Antonio. This annual event has been taking place for 125 years and is the very essence of what San Antonio is all about. It began as a “battle of flowers” parade to honor the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. It quickly grew to include a host of events, such as balls, carnivals, street dancing and so much more.
Today, the Fiesta draws millions from around the world to San Antonio for what is now a 10 day celebration with over 100 events that includes everything from pageantry and music events to exhibits and parades. Hundreds of local vendors and artisans can be found around the celebrations offering up local cuisine and handmade wares.
One of the three major parades is an actual river float parade and is always a favorite among spectators. There is also a pilgrimage to the Alamo in which everyone walks silently to the mission to pay tribute to the lives lost and is concluded in a brief memorial service once the procession has reached the Alamo grounds. There are many more parades that take place all around the city to commemorate this celebration too.
Fiesta is the ultimate culmination of great food, music, history, shopping, and entertainment in San Antonio and is the biggest celebration of the year. And the best part about it: over half of the events are free!
Cinco de Mayo
On May 5th thousands gather in San Antonio’s historic Market Square for a weekend-long celebration of Cinco de Mayo. This historic holiday celebrates Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Here in the US it has since developed into a holiday for many Mexican Americans to celebrate their culture and heritage.
For San Antonio, this means a large festival, concerts, great food, and so much more. The festivities overflow into other parts of the city as well. Most merchants will host Cinco de Mayo specials and live entertainment can be found at most venues.
Texas Folklife Festival
For 3 days in June, more than 40 ethnic groups will converge in downtown San Antonio at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The Texas Folklife Festival gives them a platform to showcase their authentic food, music, crafts, and traditions.
San Antonio modeled their festival after the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held in Washington, D.C. as a way to celebrate all the many cultures that have settled in Texas. For nearly 50 years this tradition has thrived and today it is the biggest cultural celebration in Texas. It’s an excellent way to experience cultures from all around the world all from one location. Texas is proud of its rich heritage and diverse culture. From Scottish to Lebanese, you’ll find it all at the Texas Folklife Festival.
Fourth of July Celebrations
To celebrate America’s birthday, theme parks and many other venues jump on board the party band wagon for extravaganzas all across San Antonio. Market Square hosts Freedom Fest—a three day celebration with live music, food, arts and crafts, and fun for the whole family. The River Walk hosts its Arts and Craft Show—a three day event featuring local and regional artists, craftsmen, and jewelers. There are also concerts all over the city and we can’t forget the fireworks either. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld, plus dozens of other venues scattered across the city all put on some pretty amazing firework shows. San Antonio goes all out for the celebrations.
Balcones Heights Jazz Festival
For more than 20 years, every Friday evening in July and August the Wonderland of the Americas Mall has hosted a free concert series at their amazing outdoor amphitheater. The event showcases the top smooth jazz performers from across the nation. Previous headliners have included world renowned musicians like Peter White, Paul Brown, and Slim Man. The amphitheater has a unique and tranquil reflection pool in front of the stage to add to the ambiance of the night. Food can be purchased from vendor booths or from the mall’s food court. Seating is first come first serve so bring a blanket and come early.
Alamo City Comic Con
San Antonio plays host to one of the nation’s ever popular comic conferences (comic con) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. A comic con is a celebration of comic and gaming arts. It’s a venue where fans get to meet celebrities from favorite shows and movies, popular artists in the gaming and comic world, and writers of various fiction. Collectibles, toys, and comics are often available to purchase from merchants. There are Q&A panels that you can attend to learn more about your favorite works of fiction. And of course, many fans participate in cosplay (dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game). Alamo City Comic Con is one of the largest and fastest growing in the nation. It’s a fun place to celebrate the imagination and be a kid for a day.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas Fright Fest
If you are ready for a scream, then check out Six Flags Fiesta for Halloween. They have 13 terrifying Halloween-themed attractions: live music shows, haunted houses, scare zones, and more. There are attractions for all ages. Bring the kids during the day for family fun like Looney Toons Twick or Tweat Twail. Or stay to enjoy the more adult Fright Night. After the sun goes down the park takes on a new life as the ghouls and other monsters come out to play. It’s a fun time for everyone from rides to scares.
SeaWorld San Antonio Christmas Celebration
Tis the season for holiday cheer. SeaWorld does a fantastic job of getting in the spirit starting in November. The park transforms into a wintery, watery wonderland full of over 1 million lights, Santa, and more. You won’t miss out on your favorite live SeaWorld shows either. Shamu even has his own Christmas show. Sesame Street joins the celebration as well, with parades and shows from popular characters. SeaWorld is a great place to get in the holiday mood.
Holiday Lights on the River Walk
The Riverwalk borders the banks of the San Antonio River, and though it is home to many festivities and special events all year long, none are quite as remarkable as the Holiday Lights. The lights are on every day from dusk to dawn and the River Walk is free and open to the public. There are many merchants along the river where you can stop and eat or shop. There are also river cruises that you can take to enjoy the lights as well.
On the weekends, among the dazzling light displays and arrangements, there are also 6,000 luminarias lining the banks of the River Walk. A luminaria is a sand-filled bag with a candle inside. This centuries-old tradition is symbolic of “lighting the way” for the Holy Family.
For some holiday magic and fun, check out the River Walk.
No matter what time of the year you go, there is always a party going on somewhere in San Antonio. With cultural festivals, sporting events, holidays, and more, it’s no wonder San Antonio is known as a city of festivals and fiestas.
This article was written by: