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River parade, lighting ceremonies welcome Christmas to downtown San Antonio

Float in the 2022 Ford Holiday River Parade passes by the Arneson River Theater
Al Rendon
Visit San Antonio
A float in the 2022 Ford Holiday River Parade passes by the Arneson River Theater

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Downtown San Antonio will get in the Christmas spirit this weekend with the Ford Holiday River Parade, lighting ceremonies, and a new attraction on Houston Street.

Local officials announced on Tuesday the kickoff of San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street.

A five-block stretch of historic Houston Street, from Legacy Park to the Alamo, will be transformed into a major downtown holiday attraction with Christmas lights and oversized ornaments.

San Antonio's Office of Historic Preservation Director Shannon Miller said the goal is to give it the feel of a European style Christmas market.

"Our signature event is a holiday market, which is Dec. 15th, 16th, and 17th, featuring carefully curated artisanal products, carolers and other live entertainment, festive photo ops and holiday lights in the sky."

City leaders hope in the future San Antonians will make shopping and dining on Houston Street a part of their holiday routine between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

Events and specials are offered on Houston Street from this Friday through Jan. 2.

San Antonio Holidays on Houston Street was put together through a partnership between the city, CENTRO San Antonio, and Visit San Antonio.

The street has undergone major revitalization projects in recent years. The Alameda Theater is now undergoing a major makeover.

Other Christmas events downtown this weekend include:

  • The 2023 Ford Holiday River Parade is Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through the River Walk section of the San Antonio River. There will be 28 illuminated floats. Some tickets still remained as of Tuesday through the Visit San Antonio website.
  • The 100,000 Christmas lights adorning the River Walk will be lit during a ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday.
  • Over at Travis Park, the city's official Christmas tree will be lit during a ceremony at dusk this Friday. The Oregon Nordman Fir was donated by H-E-B. It has been decorated with 10,000 lights.
  • Travis Park is also home of the holiday run of the Rotary Ice Rink, which officially opened on Nov. 17.

Learn more about the downtown events here:
San Antonio's Holidays on Houston Street (visitsanantonio.com)

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