They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and in San Antonio, the holiday lights display is no exception. The Alamo City’s Texas-sized light show will be amped up to more than 20 times its numbers in years past, thanks to the city’s move toward more eco-friendly LED lighting. Holiday visitors to San Antonio’s bustling River Walk can expect to “ooh” and “ahh” at no fewer than 1.8 million bulbs this year, with 200 trees wrapped in 10,000 lights apiece, as well as some 20 bridges adorned with streams of colorfully patterned light strings. The switch will be flipped tonight (November 25), with the lights staying aglow through January 1.

Head there this evening (from 7pm to 10pm; tickets are $10 to $25, which include seating) for some extra-special celebrations courtesy of the Ford Holiday River Parade – expected to draw some 150,000 viewers – which will see the riverbanks lined with spectators taking in a floating entourage of about 25 illuminated floats. Or, make you way on select weekends in December, when the River Walk also becomes home to the Fiesta de las Luminarias, which features some 6,000 luminarias (small paper lanterns) that serve to symbolically light the way for the Holy Family. Also a draw from November 26 through December 18, more than 180 choirs will bellow traditional Christmas carols from aboard river barges each evening. Finally, come December 3,  the new Museum Reach section of the River Walk will be decked out with more than 100 underwater lights and fiber optic water features in the River Of Lights event.


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Be sure, as well, to make way to the downtown area, where business owners are set to compete in the inaugural Light Up Downtown Holiday Contest. Local businesses will be rewarded for the most decorative and creative uses of LED holiday lights, while visitors will be rewarded with a dazzling San Antonio-style holiday spectacle, destined to serve as a new annual holiday tradition for many years to come.


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