Yesterday, I grabbed my kids, our friends and their out-of-town relative, and my pocket camera, and set out to enjoy the holiday lights along the San Antonio Riverwalk. Go be a tourist in your own city and enjoy this unique San Antonio experience.
In the late afternoon, we all met at the Pearl and ate tacos. We walked to the amphitheater and hopped on a Rio Taxi. We bought the 24-hour passes ($15 per person; bring cash) that are good on both the Museum Reach and the Downtown Reach.
Through January 1, the River of Lights on the Museum Reach, produced by the San Antonio River Authority, features glowing underwater lights and sparkling light strings that stretch across the river. The museum reach is strewn with art: Carlos Cortés‘s grotto looks eerie in the twilight; Donald Lipski’s glowing F.I.S.H. swim in the breezes.
The kids asked lots of questions (F.T.: “Are we sinking?”) while the water flowed out of the locks, lowering our barge by nine feet to the level of the downtown river. The tall trees there are draped with long strings of multicolored LED lights. Passing under the brightly colored light strings on a gentle barge ride is a beautiful experience. My daughter, G.N., was bouncing, spinning, and singing endless rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”; her young friend was stunned into awed silence. (Note for next year: The colored lights are turned on the day after Thanksgiving at the Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony.)
Photos of the colored lights:
The Riverwalk had a festive atmosphere. Our river taxi passed other barges carrying holiday carolers (Ford Holiday Boat Caroling, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through December 22). The pathways along the river were lined with luminarias (Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias, beginning at dusk each night through December 22).
We stopped for dessert in the bustling horseshoe bend of the Riverwalk, then hopped on another river taxi for a cruise past landmarks like the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Rivercenter Mall, the Tower Life Building, the Bexar County Courthouse, and the Tobin Center, and then back through the locks to the Pearl. Meanwhile, the two little girls had fallen asleep.
Photos of Riverwalk landmarks:
Here a video from NOWCastSA:
- “Celebrating the Holiday Season” guide from the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau
- My earlier post about attractions, including the San Antonio Museum of Art, along the Broadway Reach
- Former Mayor Phil Hardberger’s reflections on San Antonio River improvements during his tenure: “Museums in the Current: Hardberger’s Homage to the San Antonio River”, Phil Hardberger, Rivard Report, July 4, 2013