Holiday River Parade

Maybe you’ll entertain a houseful of guests this year at Thanksgiving, or perhaps you’ll linger over a lovely Four Seasons’ spread with just your paramour and a few friends—the reality is, once the last leftover-stuffed piece of Tupperware is handed out and the good champagne is gone, there’s no escaping the cold, hard fact that winter is coming, and with that realization: Christmas!

But be of good Texas cheer, and instead of entering into the Black Friday fray, bundle yourself and head out to San Antonio’s storied River Walk for the twinkling, musical wonder of the Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony. Sit and enjoy the unique floats and festivities, and you’ll soon feel your holiday spirit rising.

Down the River and Across the Globe

This year’s theme for the river walk festivities will celebrate “Holidays Around the World,” with each float decked out in an array of international colors, brilliant lights and trimmings, including a fearsome dragon atop the China barge, and a dedicated Texas float to represent the Lone Star state’s “whole other country-ness.” All floats are professionally decorated and designed in town, and perennial crowd favorite the Santa Float will be sponsored by Macy’s, featuring the famous “Letters to Santa” red mailbox in a prominent position.

Dinner Theater Under the Lights

While the River Walk is a designated free public park, for that one Friday evening you will need a ticket to attend the lighting ceremony. Fortunately, some restaurants, including Ácenar, Iron Cactus, and many others, offer a dinner package that includes tickets to enjoy the show, with a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu. If you’d like to make a weekend of it, book a stay at a hotel with a view, such as the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. Whatever this holiday season brings, make sure you kick it off in grand Texas style at the Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony.

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