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November 20, 2020 Slideshows » Arts

The 15 best Christmas light displays within driving distance of San Antonio 

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While the holiday season doesn't look or feel quite the same this year, there is one tradition that can be safely enjoyed without much alteration: driving around to see beautiful Christmas lights.

Whether it's a ticketed visit to a fancy drive-through extravaganza or an impromptu visit to a neighborhood known for its Clark Griswold-level commitment to Christmas spirit, we've rounded up light displays that will get you your holiday fix, all within driving distance of San Antonio.
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Travis Park
301 E Travis St, (210) 207-3677, travisparksa.com
The holiday season in San Antonio officially begins with the lighting ceremony of the city’s 50-foot Christmas tree on Friday, November 27. This year's festivities will be virtual, so that everyone can enjoy safely from home. Just tune in at 7 p.m. to H-E-B's YouTube channel to enjoy the lighting, which will be followed by a performance by Mariachi Las Altenas.
Photo via Instagram / skylinedronetx
illumiNight
1 AT&T Center Parkway, (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com
The one-mile drive-through experience at the AT&T Center will include over four million holiday lights and some 3D displays for curious eyes to feast upon. The added bonus to this event is that 50% of the proceeds will go Spurs Give, the community-focused nonprofit partner of Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
Photo Courtesy of Spurs Sports & Entertainment
Santa’s Ranch
9561 IH 35 North, New Braunfels, (830) 743-1293, santasranch.net
From now through January 3, you’ll be able to make the quick trip to New Braunfels for this long-running light display. You’ll be able to stay warm in the car as you take a drive through more than a mile of Christmas light displays – which vary from blankets of lights to specialized designs. If you’d like, you can even score treats like hot cocoa and kettle corn on the grounds to enjoy during the ride.
Photo via Instagram / jesserieser
San Antonio Zoo
3903 N St Mary's Street, (210) 734-7184, sazoo.org
This year's Whataburger Zoo Lights is full of animal-themed holiday cheer. This year's edition includes the Lakeside Light Show, Starry Safari and special display of former Spur Tony Parker's unique collection of FAO Schwarz plush animals. Zoo Lights is open now through New Year’s Eve.
Photo Courtesy of San Antonio Zoo
Trail of Lights
2400 Barton Springs Road, Austin, austintrailoflights.org
From November 28 through January 3, San Antonians can make the trip up to Austin to hit up the famed Trail of Lights. The display, back for a 56th year (!), brings more than 400,000 visitors each year to take in the 40+ displays and more than 2 million lights — this time as a drive-through experience. Though the event has featured amusement rides and concessions in past years, this year they are not available. You are, however, allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy in your vehicle.
Photo via Instagram / atxlights
Monte Vista
Christmas lights just look better when they’re carefully placed on beautiful homes. Though not an official display or event, Monte Vista makes for a prime spot for tricked-out displays. Take a drive through the neighborhood and admire these homes that fit the season just right.
Photo via Instagram / sun_carlos
The River Walk
849 E Commerce Street, (210) 227-4262, thesanantonioriverwalk.com
In what's been a tough year for many, the San Antonio River Walk turned on the holiday cheer a little bit early this year to try to lift locals' spirits. The annual light display is on view through January 4.
Photo via Instagram / thesanantonioriverwalk
Museum Reach River of Lights
It isn't just the downtown portion of the River Walk that gets the holiday treatment. The San Antonio River Authority's 11th annual Museum Reach River of Lights extends the Christmas cheer further down the river, and even features a 30-foot-tall musical Christmas tree at the Museum Reach lock and dam. The lights will be on view through January 4.
Photo Courtesy of San Antonio River Authority
Don Strange Ranch
103 Waring Welfare Road, Boerne, christmas.donstrangeranch.com
From November 27 through December 24, folks will be able to head up to Boerne for the drive-through Christmas light display at Don Strange Ranch. The Texas-sized display has more than 4 million lights and even moving displays that you’ll be able to enjoy from your car. For even more socially distanced fun, they'll be hosting a regular schedule of drive-in movies.
Photo via Instagram / henrylee1968
Lights Alive
5931 Roft Road, seelightsalive.com
Remember that Star Wars light show at that house near Dignowity Park a couple of years ago? Well, the folks recognized that the show was so popular that they decided to put together a whole drive-through light display! Venture out to Alamo Ranch and you’ll be able to enjoy this massive display, all with music to complete the show.
Photo via Instagram / seelightsalive
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Boerne
Map will be provided, ci.boerne.tx.us
Boerne residents might be battling it out for who has the most festive display or which is decorated best, but we can just enjoy how extra they’ll be. Guaranteed to go all out (it is Boerne after all), these houses make for the quick getaway to enjoy lights without dealing with crowds or entrance fees. Judging will take place on December 16.
Photo via Facebook / Hinojosa Family Lights - Boerne, TX
University of the Incarnate Word
4301 Broadway, lightthewaysa.com
Though the opening weekend festivities of Light The Way — which was converted to a drive-through event this year — are completely sold out, the beautiful display of lights across the UIW campus remain. You’ll find lights nestled on numerous trees that literally light the way across campus.
Photo via Instagram / uiw.international
Marble Falls
Buena Vista Dr, (844) 635-4448, marblefalls.org
The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights is now open, allowing locals to take a short drive to get away and enjoy some seasonal goodness. The 30th annual offering of the display, which features two million twinkling lights adorning festive outdoor sculptures, is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. now through January 2. Masks are encouraged at this outdoor event, and there will be no Santa this year due to safety concerns. Just keep an eye on the forecast — the event will close on days with bad weather.
Photo via Instagram / amani_family
Elf Acres
1475 Grosenbacher Road, (210) 643-8662, elfacres.com
There’s plenty of fun to be had at this Far West Side attraction, which boasts a 15-acre drive-through trail and thousands of lights that are animated and set to music that plays along. You can get in on the holiday spirit now through December 30.
Photo via Instagram / elfacresvenue
Enchanted Springs Ranch
242 State Hwy 46 W Unit C, Boerne, (210) 570-7669, christmaslightfest.com
Just up the road in Boerne you’ll be able to enjoy the Old West Christmas Light Fest. The magic of the holidays will be alive with this Texas-themed light display that’s synchronized to special tunes. Just don’t forget your festive face mask — the ranch requires them. This display opens Thanksgiving night and will run through Christmas Day.
Photo via Instagram / christmaslightfest
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Travis Park
301 E Travis St, (210) 207-3677, travisparksa.com
The holiday season in San Antonio officially begins with the lighting ceremony of the city’s 50-foot Christmas tree on Friday, November 27. This year's festivities will be virtual, so that everyone can enjoy safely from home. Just tune in at 7 p.m. to H-E-B's YouTube channel to enjoy the lighting, which will be followed by a performance by Mariachi Las Altenas.
Photo via Instagram / skylinedronetx

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