Festivals, events and fun fill up San Antonio’s calendar each December.
Here’s a look at some of the holiday highlights…

La Tamalada

San Antonio

Comadre Gloria Solis and her husband guide the Tamal making workshop at the Witte Museum
Photo: Julie Kalan

Many of us have holiday family traditions that center around food. In San Antonio families gather together for a tamalada – a tamale making assembly line that involves the whole family. Each year the Witte Museum offers an informal tamal making workshop, guided by Comadre Gloria Solis and her husband. Part informative and part hands on, I learned about the masa (corn based dough), then seasoned my filling with pepper and garlic powder, folded corn husks and tied half a dozen tamales. While the tamales cooked I toured the museum. With a great interactive section for kids, unique temporary exhibits, and permanent history, science and art exhibitions to explore, it was soon time to head back and try our tamales. I can honestly say that my tamales were the best I had ever had! Granted at the time they were also the only tamales I had ever had. But a visit to the Tamale Festival would soon remedy that.  www.wittemuseum.org

Tamale Festival at the Market Square

San Antonio

The colorful and historic Market Square will be filled with music and food at
La Gran Tamalada Festival

On December 10th, the historic Market Square will be filled with the sounds of mariachis and Tejano bands. La Familia Cortez, owners of the popular San Antonio restaurants La Margarita and Mi Tierra are hosting this year’s La Gran Tamalada festival. Three stages will feature live music and cooking demonstrations, while multiple tamal vendors tempt visitors with their delicious fare. The locals all have their favourites and long lines highlight the popular stands. For visitors I recommend buying one tamal from a few different vendors or trying a couple of different varieties (pork, bean, chicken, etc…) until you find your favourite. If you didn’t make it to the Witte’s Tamalada class, make sure to visit the festival’s tamal workshop – new culinary skills are a wonderful souvenir to take back home with you!

River Lights

The River Walk, adorned in lights, is especially beautiful this time of year. Festivities begin with a nighttime Holiday River Parade held the day after American Thanksgiving. The cypress trees lining the river are dressed in long strings of hanging lights, with serene reflections on the water. It’s an enchanting view to behold from atop one of the arched pedestrian bridges or while sitting on a restaurant patio.

A visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus

SeaWorld San Antonio supplies family fun throughout the year with its wild rides and animal attractions. But during the holiday season they go that extra mile – with miles and miles of lights. From about mid November through January 2, SeaWorld San Antonio presents the largest light display in Texas! Eight million lights twinkle across the 250 acre park. There is also a special all-you-can-eat dinner event where the festivities include a special visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and a group of jolly elves. www.seaworld.com/san-antonio/

Alamo Run

San Antonio

Catch a San Antonio Spurs’ basketball game
Photo: Julie Kalan

Runner’s from all over gather in San Antonio on the first weekend of each December for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon. The marathon route brings entrants right in front of the Alamo.  www.runrocknroll.com/san-antonio/

Game Time

Taking in a San Antonio Spurs basketball game is great fun. I have never been to a professional basketball game before, but a first half buzzer-beater shot by the five-time National Champion Spurs has me cheering with the exuberant crowd. With couples and families filling much of the 18,000 plus seat AT&T arena, the atmosphere is very welcoming.  www.nba.com/spurs/

For information on San Antonio attractions, accommodations, dining and more: www.visitsanantonio.com

To learn about San Antonio’s year round attractions read Welcome to San Antonio