Best Things to Do in December in San Antonio

Fun and Safe Holiday Cheer Await You in San Antonio!

San Antonio becomes the city of lights every holiday season with the millions of bright Christmas lights strung across trees all along the riverwalk, downtown and various places throughout the city. This Texas town becomes a wonderland unto itself and even more so this year, with these top 10 things to do in December!

It's easy to keep Christmas alive and well with this one simple event - the Nutcracker! This year, the San Antonio Youth Ballet is putting on a unique performance of this iconic holiday favorite at a drive-in theater. Make sure to get tickets fast for dates throughout the month of December. 

For another special event, take advantage of Hotel Valencia's 'Tango in the Courtyard' package and get swept away as you watch professional tango dancers glide across the courtyard in an exciting, romantic performance! 

If you're looking for either a quick or leisurely bite to eat, look no further than one of San Antonio's favorite haunts, Lucy Cooper's Ice House. With classy yet sassy craft cocktails, local brews and scrumptious Southern-inspired eats, including a "Holidays at Mom’s Burger" that will have you falling blissfully out of your chair, Lucy's puts the "why" in holiday! 


Hiatus Spa
Photo courtesy of Hiatus Spa

Hiatus Spa and Retreat likes to take a fresh approach to relaxation and overall wellness. They believe that a day at the spa isn't just a luxury but a necessity. San Antonio's location at the stunning Pearl Brewery is one of their newest location and a convenient choice if you're staying at Hotel Emma. You can enjoy all of the traditional treats (or treatments) at Hiatus, such as massages, facials and pedicures. They also offer packages, such as The Big Chill, which includes a 90-minute Signature Massage followed by a super-charged plant peel (The Perfectionist Facial), which will help you regain that lovely glow. You might also want to consider their "Happy, Happier, Happiest" package, which pampers you from head to toe. It combines their three most popular treatments - the Signature Massage, The One and Only Mani-Pedi, and The Tailor-Made Facial. Why not treat yourself today? You deserve it!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: 'Tis the season to finally take time for some self-care. While visiting the historic Pearl, why not pop into the Hiatus for some holiday pampering?!

Kimberly's expert tip: Hiatus Spa has some phenomenal seasonal spa packages, including two-plus hours of rejuvenating experiences with 'The All About You" and three of the most in-demand spa services in "The Peace, Love, Joy" package.

Read more about Hiatus Spa →

There were five missions established in the early 1700's. These Spanish missions were more than churches. They became towns with a focus on encouraging the natives to become Catholic in order to be citizens. The Spanish king was able to extend influence outward from Mexico. Four missions are linked on this trail. San Jose, San Juan, Concepcion, and Espada. The fifth was the Alamo. With the exception of the Alamo, all four of the missions are still active Catholic parishes. Beautiful architecture remains almost as it was nearly 300 years ago. Step back into a beautiful history as you tour the San Antonio Missions. Family friendly and educational.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: This is a rare opportunity to visit quite a few historic missions that laid the foundation for the city of San Antonio.

Kimberly's expert tip: The best way to take in the historic missions is to rent bikes and follow the mission trail, enjoying fresh air at your own pace.

Read more about San Antonio Missions National Historical Park →

San Antonio
Slab Cinema
Photo courtesy of Slab Cinema

What's better than an outdoor movie? A free outdoor movie! And thanks to Slab Cinema, which provides free movie watching experiences all over the city of San Antonio, you have the opportunity to enjoy popular films, often several times a month. Slab Cinema started in 2004 and has been a favorite family activity ever since. From The Little Mermaid to War Games and even a Coen Brothers triple feature which includes Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski and Fargo, Slab Cinema pops up at the coolest, iconic venues, ranging from the San Antonio Museum of Art (at Confluence Park) to Hemisfair Park and even the Alamo. On the Southside, they've been playing movies on a restored drive-in screen at Mission Marquee Plaza. Typically, the movies tend towards family-friendly flicks, but the content varies, so be sure to check out their website to see what's coming up. Bring a blanket or chair, maybe a cooler with some drinks and snacks and you're set for the evening. Often the venues have food trucks or access to nearby restaurants, in case you don't have time to prepare. Free never felt so fun!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Slab Cinema offers good family fun! This month, they will be screening all of our favorite Christmas classics, including Die Hard, Scrooged and Love, Actually.

Kimberly's expert tip: Check out the website for dates and details. Plan on going thirsty and with an appetite to take advantage of the offerings at The Good Kind.

Read more about Slab Cinema →


The Briscoe Western Art Museum is a collections-based institution building upon art and artifacts that tell the vast and multifaceted story of the American West. Located on San Antonio's famed riverwalk, the institution is housed in San Antonio's first Public Library and newly constructed pavilion. It's a special place to visit, but particularly during the holidays. The Briscoe Campus consists of the historic Museum building, the Jack Guenther Pavilion and the adjacent McNutt Courtyard and Sculpture Garden. The Briscoe Western Art Museum preserves and interprets the art, history, and culture of the American West through engaging exhibitions, educational programs, and public events reflective of the region's rich traditions and shared heritage. Their unique collections include Santa Anna's Sword, Visions of Change bronze sculpture by John Coleman, Pancho Villa's Saddle of leather and silver, a replica of a Western mail stagecoach and much more!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: During December, the Briscoe goes all out with holiday decorations and festive music in the garden.

Kimberly's expert tip: Take advantage of the great deals and discounted merchandise in the museum store this month and check out their website for details on new exhibits and events,including "Cowboy Christmas" on December 19th!

Read more about Briscoe Western Art Museum →

SeaWorld San Antonio
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

SeaWorld should be on everyone's list when visiting San Antonio, no matter what your age. Although they have some great rides, such as the Steel Eel and Great White rollercoasters, the best reason to go to SeaWorld is for the animals and the animal-centric shows. They have dolphins and stingrays that you can "pet" if you are lucky enough for them to swim by you, a magnificent oceanarium filled with all sorts of creatures, including sharks and giant sea turtles. The shows are outstanding and include dolphins, Beluga whales and sea lions. Oh, and did we mention the penguins? Yes, there are penguins in Texas, if you can believe it!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Now through Jan. 3, SeaWorld is putting on a Texas-sized Christmas celebration with Christmas shows, twinkling lights, holiday foods, Santa Claus and more!

Kimberly's expert tip: Don't go home without getting a photo with everyone's favorite Sesame Street friends in their colorful holiday outfits!

Read more about SeaWorld San Antonio →

San Antonio
Pearl Brewery
Photo courtesy of Kimberly A. Suta

The Pearl Brewery is one of the coolest places you can visit in San Antonio. This brewery, established in 1883 and once home to Pabst beer, has recently been transformed from a historic brewery to a thriving multi-use space where you can eat, shop, learn, work and live. The Pearl is situated next to the recent Riverwalk expansion, so you can catch a tour boat or walk from the Pearl all the way downtown, past the San Antonio Museum of Art and numerous artistic elements that have been carefully built into the landscape. You'll find fine dining to street food restaurants, a great coffee shop run by the Culinary institute and more. Make sure to visit the website to find out what festive events they have going on throughout the month of December.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: The historic Pearl is one of San Antonio's premier destinations for dining, shopping and sight-seeing.

Kimberly's expert tip: A great place to Christmas shop for special gifts you won't find anywhere else. Make sure to stop in at Bakery Lorraine's for a macaron (or four) when you need a little break.

Read more about Pearl Brewery →

River Walk
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Travel + Leisure ranked the San Antonio River Walk as the #1 River Walk in America. Also known as Paseo del Rio, this major tourist attraction brings in over five million visitors a year. Delight yourself with a relaxing dinner at one of the numerous restaurants or cafes that line the river. Spice it up by visiting one of the numerous night spots or enjoying the sounds of mariachis and other live music. Adults and children enjoy floating on river boats piloted by San Antonio's humorous tour guides. The River Walk is the perfect place to hang out with family or sit quietly with your date while you enjoy the sounds of a bubbling waterfall.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: With hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, music and good cheer, the River Walk is a must this time of year.

Kimberly's expert tip: Enjoy a great meal at one of the renowned riverwalk restaurants, such as Biga on the Banks or Boudro's.

Read more about River Walk →

Lucy Cooper's Ice House
Photo courtesy of Braunda Smith

Lucy Cooper's Ice House is a female-focused, chef-forward establishment that serves up food and drinks with kitschy class and a dash of sass. The go-to for the 21-and-up crowd looking to kick back with some local brews and innovative cocktails, but most importantly an array of Southern-inspired, scratch-made bar fare that rivals SA's best casual dining restaurants. During the month of December, the one-of-a-kind Chef Braunda Smith has created a Christmas miracle called the "Holidays at Mom's Burger." This soon to be Santa's favorite is made with a signature burger patty covered in creamy swiss cheese and topped with smoked ham, a deep-fried "ho'made" stuffing patty, zesty orange cranberry compote, a drizzle of roasted turkey gravy on a potato bun topped with a deviled egg. Simply the perfect place to sit back and relax with friends, enjoying some of the best burgers, tin can nachos, signature soda pop BBQ sauces (and more) in Texas and beyond! Located near the airport and with plenty of room, indoors and outdoors, for folks to social distance, Lucy Cooper's also features live music on Friday nights, as well as special events such as Naughty Bingo and Trivia Night.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Lucy Cooper's is more than just an ice house. They serve nostalgia, while at the same time creating new memories you'll never want to forget!

Kimberly's expert tip: Order the Ultimate Spiced Pumpkin Spiked Latte, made with Rebecca Creek Whiskey, pumpkin spice, Irish Cream and hot coffee topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon for the ultimate drink to toast goodbye to 2020.

Read more about Lucy Cooper's Ice House →

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk Packages
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

During the holiday season, the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk pulls out all the stops and virtually whisks you away to Plaza Dorrego in Buenos Aires. Now, through the end of 2020, they are offering a "Tango in the Courtyard" room package on Friday and Saturday nights. It's the perfect getaway that comes complete with entertainment. Oh, what a night! Safely social distance on the courtyard patio or on your private balcony and watch a night of sultry and passionate tango and Latin-style dancing performed by talented professionals. The package includes a bottle of Malbec and Vigilante, a traditional Argentinean cheese dessert. Additionally, they are currently offering a "Light Up The Night" room package, a popular package each year. It includes luxury accommodations for two, complimentary valet parking, complimentary Wi-Fi and two complimentary river boat tickets. Get ready to light up the night!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: A visit to the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is one of the best ways to jump into the holiday spirit and create magical experiences!

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to start the evening out right with an intimate dinner at their in-house restaurant, Dorrego's. Order their flaming Provoleta, a Grilled Provolone Cheese appetizer, for a true taste of Argentina!

Read more about Hotel Valencia Riverwalk Packages →

San Antonio Youth Ballet Nutcracker Suite
Photo courtesy of Danielle Campbell-Steans

It just doesn't feel like the holidays without the classic Nutcracker Suites ballet! The music, the dancing, the whimsical sugar plum fairy truly 'set the stage' for a special Christmas! Thankfully, the San Antonio Youth Ballet, a nonprofit program of the San Antonio Ballet School, presents "Nutcracker Under the Stars," San Antonio's first and only live performance of the famous Nutcracker Suite in an outdoor drive-in theater, located near Brooks City Base on a custom-built stage. This fourth annual event from the San Antonio Youth Ballet has creatively pivoted to enable completely contactless holiday entertainment for the whole family. You can watch the performance happening on stage or projected onto the big screen. The all-youth cast for this performance ranges from 5 to 17, but these young ballet dancers are notably seasoned and have competed and performed at various venues and events all across the city, including the Carver, Witte Museum, McNay and Fiesta. Performance dates include: Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: The Nutcracker is a must every holiday season. This year, one of San Antonio's premier youth groups puts on the performance of their lives!

Kimberly's expert tip: Guests who feel comfortable leaving their vehicles can also enjoy a little Christmas shopping in their pop-up shop. 'Tis the season!

Read more about San Antonio Youth Ballet Nutcracker Suite →


Meet Kimberly Suta

Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations,...  More About Kimberly