Hotspots in San Antonio, TX

Santa's Ranch

Just outside of San Antonio, you'll find one of the best drive-thu Christmas light parks in South Texas. Santa's Ranch features a mile of holiday scenes with over a million lights and over 100 displays and animations. If you have young kids, this light spectacular is definitely a must-see. Because you stay in the car, you don't have to worry about tracking down your little ones. Yet unlike many other light displays, you can actually see everything from your vehicle and won't be disappointed. Santa's Ranch is priced at $22 per car and if you think you are going to go back often, you can buy a season pass for $42. Check out their website where you can find a map, directions and a coupon for a couple bucks off.

Windcrest Light Up

A tradition since the 1950s, San Antonio residents and visitors enjoy viewing the dazzling Christmas lights in the City of Windcrest annual Light Up. Thousands drive through the Windcrest streets in awe of the amazing Christmas light displays. A contest is held by the city to select the most beautifully decorated homes in various categories prior to their opening ceremony in mid-December. To find all the best locations, you can print a map from the city's official website. It's not just the homes in Windcrest that participate; churches, schools and businesses also get involved. The streets of Windcrest get very crowded with spectators as Christmas approaches, so visit on a weeknight for less traffic. Windcrest is adjacent to the Interstate 35/Loop 410 interchange, just 15 minutes from downtown San Antonio.

Holiday in the Park

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is transformed into an amazing winter wonderland for their Holiday in the Park festival. Over a million colorful lights illuminate the park. There's a gigantic 60-foot Christmas tree and a new skating rink. The kids can see Santa Claus at Santa's Castle and the choreographed light show is a spectacle you shouldn't miss. One of the best holiday shows at Fiesta Texas is The Majesty of Christmas -- the story of the Nativity. Though an additional fee is required, it's worth the price. The park offers special holiday snacks including roasted nuts, hot chocolate and cookies. They also have several holiday shops and a number of live holiday performances. Look online to save some money, many websites offer discounts of $15 or more per ticket.

Pee Wee Bees

While it’s easy to find places for preschoolers and older children to play, it can be a challenge to find a place that is suitable for babies and toddlers. Pee Wee Bees is one of the best solutions in San Antonio when it comes to baby- and toddler-friendly play areas. This premium indoor playground accommodates children as young as three months old. The play area has thick rubber padding to cushion any falls. While their children play, the parents can relax on the comfortable couches with their little ones still in sight. Pee Wee Bees offers food and beverages for both children and adults. Admission is $10 per child, however be sure to check their Facebook often for coupons and special offers.

 

Just Add Children

When it comes to indoor playgrounds in San Antonio, it's difficult to top the quality of Just Add Children. Their 5,550 square foot facility includes everything from aquariums to jumbo toy animals to mini kitchens. For the babies, there is a jungle-themed room that features bright colors and a soft area to play and burn off energy. Just Add Children has open play Tuesday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per child, while babies get in for half price. However, before you head out, be sure to check their online calendar because they often hold private parties for birthdays and other special events.

Cowboy Christmas

If you want to experience Christmas Old West style, head to Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne for their Cowboy Christmas festival. The 86-acre working ranch offers all day activities and events including their "Texas' Night Before Christmas" puppet show, tractor rides through the wild animal park, free ornament making, train rides and more. Kids love the decorated Old West town, Cowboy Santa and all the Christmas music and entertainment. Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for children, and kids under three are free. Located about 20 minutes outside San Antonio in Boerne, Enchanted Springs Ranch also offers train rides, stick pony races, a kids' playground and much more. Don't use your GPS to try to get there -- you'll end up getting lost. Instead visit their website for accurate directions.

Phil Hardberger Park

This 311-acre former dairy farm is the newest park in San Antonio. A beautiful oasis, Phil Hardberger Park offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Park visitors get fit by using the bike and hiking trails throughout the park. The Geology Loop Trail is 1.5-miles long and winds through beautiful natural vistas leading to a beautiful area full of oak trees and stone benches to relax. Whether you come alone or with a few girlfriends, you'll love to exercise and enjoy nature at Phil Hardberger Park. They also offer a 1.8-acre enclosed dog park, two playgrounds for the kids and outdoor basketball courts. Only the first two phases of the five-phase development are complete, so they'll be much more to come at the park in upcoming years. You can enter the park from the west entrance on NW Military Hwy. or the east entrance on Blanco Road.

SeaWorld San Antonio

Get lost in an underwater adventure at SeaWorld San Antonio, featuring animal shows, amusement rides, the Lost Lagoon Waterpark, dining and so much more! One of the most popular attractions at SeaWorld San Antonio is Dolphin Cove, where kids can actually touch and feed the bottlenose dolphins. Children of all ages also enjoy the Penguin Encounter, Sharks at The Coral Reef and Alligator Alley. And of course, everyone loves the Shamu show. SeaWorld San Antonio offers plenty of thrill rides too, including the Great White -- Texas' first inverted steel roller coaster.

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

Believe it or not, SeaWorld is home to some of the best holiday activities in San Antonio. SeaWorld’s Sea Star Theater features "The Polar Express 4-D Experience." This is a multi-sensory ride that offers a thrilling Christmas journey. Shamu and his friends are also putting on a special Christmas show: "Shamu Christmas...Miracles." It's a 22-minute production that takes place daily through the end of the year. Shamu isn't the only one with a special Christmas show, however. You'll find sea lions, dolphins and other creatures up to holiday tricks. If you have toddlers, take them to "A Sesame Street Christmas" for a lot of fun. Kids can also take pictures with Santa too. Many people don't know that SeaWorld is open daily in the days leading up to Christmas, so consider going on a weekday morning when it's less crowded.

Mildfire Coffee Roasters

At this locally-owned shop, the beans are fresh roasted in-house, while the seasonal and specialty menu offers a creative variety of blends. You might know this place as "Wildfire" but a Chicago steakhouse chain by the same name forced them to change the name. So, they simply changed the W to an M. The owners and staff are friendly and helpful, particularly if you don't know a lot about coffee. Though this place isn't large, it's big on customer service. The art on the walls is mostly for sale by local artists -- so ask if you see something you like. Don't forget to buy some beans and take them home.