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San Antonio Events

In addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this travel destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.

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Who needs to ring in the New Year with a lonely little bell? At Celebrate San Antonio , there's music and noisemaking aplenty—you'll hear tunes blaring from multiple stages, count down to midnight with thousands of other horn-blowing revelers and take in an impressive fireworks display showcasing the Tower of the Americas.

Courtesy of San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo/Greg Westfall
When February moseys around, shine up your spurs and gallop on over to the 18-day San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for roping, bucking and lassoing rodeo performances and many more fun things to do with friends. You'll stomp your boots to a doozy of a music lineup; fiddlers, strummers and singers abound. And you'll certainly make time for a little shopping in between events—there are more than 600 vendors selling everything from Old West decor to leather goods. Giddyup, little doggie! More than 2 million rodeo fans attend this event annually.

AAA/Greg Weekes
If you're curious about what life was like during the Battle of the Alamo, visit San Antonio in early March to experience Remembering the Alamo weekend, when the city honors the military garrison's fallen heroes. Both sides of the conflict are chronicled through historical reenactments. You'll definitely “Remember the Alamo” if you include this event in your vacation plans.

Shine up your shillelagh and dust off your green bowler when St. Patrick's Day rolls around in Fiesta City; energetic street and river parades prove residents are experts at honoring Ireland's patron saint and at partying. During St. Patrick's Day Parade & Festival , the San Antonio River is temporarily renamed the "River Shannon” when it's dyed a bright shamrock green.

AAA/Greg Weekes
Browse the work of more than 100 artists in La Villita during the Starving Artists Show , held the first weekend in April. April also brings San Antonio's biggest party of the year— Fiesta San Antonio . It began back in 1891 with the first fiesta event, the Battle of Flowers, a parade held in remembrance of fallen Texas heroes. Now an 11-day, citywide celebration that takes place the week of San Jacinto Day (April 21), the fiesta has expanded its theme to observe Pan-American cultures, too. Entertainment includes carnivals, concerts, sports competitions, fireworks, ethnic edibles, art exhibits and parades. Possibly the most distinctive features of the celebration—which draws more than 3 million festivalgoers each year—are the cascarones, decorated confetti-filled eggshells sold for the express purpose of being crushed on any heads that happen to be within reach.

Early May—when the sound of mariachis carries across town on a warm breeze—brings Cinco de Mayo celebrations commemorating the day in 1862 when Mexican troops defeated an invading French army. From noon until midnight at Market Square, you'll enjoy 2 days of spicy south-of-the-border food and music. And, speaking of music, there's the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio in mid-May at Rosedale Park. The sound of accordions, rock ballads and big bands—both electrified and unplugged—will fill your ears for 5 days, as the region's best Tex-Mex and Latin musical groups showcase everything from traditional Conjunto-style music to more contemporary Tejano tunes. Only the municipal sound code's the limit, so grab a partner and comienza a bailar (start dancing)!

In June, check out the Texas Folklife Festival , a 3-day fete that remembers the diverse ethnic and cultural people who settled the state. Some 40 groups share their stories, crafts, music and foods at the festival, which is hosted by The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures in Hemisfair. The following month, the July 4th Celebration is an Independence Day bash with a motorcycle parade and an array of musical performances by local bands at Market Square.

The Diez y Seis celebration in mid-September focuses on the city's Mexican heritage. There's also a lot of German heritage in San Antonio; you can experience it at Wurstfest in the German-settled village of New Braunfels. For 10 days in November, hang out with Texans dressed to the nines in lederhosen and dirndls, all while sampling thick potato pancakes, zesty sausages and mouthwatering strudels from nearby restaurants. How about a polka or a couple of waltzes? Oom-pah-pah!

The holidays are glorious in San Antonio. Don't miss the Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony , which kicks off the gift-giving season. On the evening after Thanksgiving, thousands congregate at the River Walk after sunset for the electrifying moment when the mayor flips the switch, illuminating riverbank trees in a galaxy of lights to the accompaniment of cheers and whoops. After the lighting, lavishly decorated floats glide down the San Antonio River in a nighttime water parade. Bands play, princesses wave, celebrities pose. The lights twinkle and reflect in the river, imbuing everything with an air of magic. It would be a shame to miss this event, but if you do, take heart: The city doesn't pull the plug on the sparkling lights until New Year's Day.

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The Christmas season is celebrated in colorful Mexican style during Fiestas Navideñas , complete with piñata parties, concerts and a blessing of children's pets by a priest. Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias features more than 6,000 candles in sand-filled bags lining the River Walk, symbolically showing the way for the holy family. La Gran Posada is an ancient Spanish religious pageant. Join the procession as they reenact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter beginning at Milam Park and ending at San Fernando Cathedral. In late December or early January, college football fans head to the Alamodome for the Valero Alamo Bowl .

See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.

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San Antonio, TX

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Travel Information

City Population

1,296,682

Elevation

650 ft.

Sales Tax

Municipalities may impose additional rates of up to 2 percent on the statewide 6.25 percent sales tax. Sales tax in the city of San Antonio is 8.25 percent; rates vary in the suburbs. The hotel occupancy tax is 16.75 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(210) 207-7273

Fire (non-emergency)

(210) 207-7744

Time

(210) 226-3232

Temperature

(830) 609-2029

Hospitals

Baptist Medical Center, (210) 297-7000; Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, (210) 757-2200; Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, (210) 297-3000; Northeast Baptist Hospital, (210) 297-2000; University Hospital, (210) 358-4000.

Visitor Information

317 Alamo Plaza San Antonio, TX 78205. Phone:(210)244-2000 or (800)447-3372

Air Travel

San Antonio International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz, (210) 841-8800 or (800) 654-3131, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

The Amtrak station is at 350 Hoefgen Ave.; for train schedule and ticket information phone (210) 223-3226 or (800) 872-7245.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 500 N. St. Mary's St.; phone (210) 270-5868 or (800) 231-2222.

Taxis

San Antonio taxis are metered. The average fare is $2.50 when you enter the cab plus $2.60 for each mile. A $1 surcharge is added for trips between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Four passengers can ride for a single fare. The major company is Yellow Cab, (210) 222-2222. Boat taxis travel the river's downtown loop daily 9-9 (weather permitting). A one-way fare is $10, an all-day fare is $12, and a 3-day fare is $25. Phone (210) 244-5700 or (800) 417-4139.

Public Transportation

VIA Metropolitan Transit provides public transportation consisting of buses and streetcars. Buses are routed through all sections of town; one bus even whisks shoppers from mall to mall on I-410. Express buses run daily from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. Vintage streetcars travel three main city routes daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later, swinging by attractions, shopping areas and other key locations about every 10 minutes.

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