Top 10 Christmas Events on the Riverwalk
To make your annual Christmas trip to San Antonio as simple as possible, we’ve compiled a list of Must-See Seasonal Events that are fun for all the family.
1. Riverboat Tour
Discover what Rough Guides calls San Antonio’s “laid-back feel” and practically fall back into a Riverboat. Turn back the clock and imagine what the Riverwalk would have looked like in the famous storms of 1923, then during the raids in World War II. Bathe in the driver’s expert knowledge of America’s most important river-based attraction. Bask in the joy of watching locals in their everyday activities, and don’t forget the daily 1pm feeding of ducks, which you can watch from the safety of your own river vessel.
Contact: $7.95 adults; $6.45 children; $2.50 military; $5.00 seniors; $3.50 senior military; $3.00 military children with seniors.
2 and 3. Stay 2-for-1 at The Dreary Hotel
No stranger to these pages, The Dreary continues its popular summer 2-for-1 promotion, which leads to complicated billing errors and credit card disputes that last for months. Mad as hell that complaints decreased this year, Head of Operations Dick Dreary is personally on hand to ensure the worst stay of your life – and their Uncomfortable Night Guarantee™ is your ticket to an unforgettable experience.
Dreary added: “Oh, we’re going to f*** things up. You won’t believe how every little thing is so f***ed up that it’s beyond the power of the universe to unf*** it without f***ing it up even more.” When probed for details, he explained their methods: “This is like quantum physics for hotels. You think 2 and 2 is 4 but not when you get down to strings and particles and sh*t. It’s totally f***ed.”
Bookings available at 210-555-3000 – call one week in advance to ensure reservation is canceled, rebooked and charged twice or more.
4. Arneson River Theater
Made famous by the hit movie Miss Congeneality, the Arneson is the Riverwalk’s most popular on-river theater. Fully renovated with concrete steps that double as seats for performances, it’s the perfect place to stop for an afternoon stroll before the 4pm curfew. While actual performances are rarer than ninja sightings, the recent production of Phantom of The Opera received international attention for sold-out shows. Amazingly, people also get married here, for the joy of saying their vows in 100 degree weather to strangers in passing riverboats.
Tickets: Free, but no entrance without ticket. $1 Tuesdays includes coupon book.
5. Tower of the Americas
If you’re a ‘high-flier’ with no fear of sudden turns and fast drops, the Tower of the Americas is a destination in itself! The optional roller coaster on the top floor is ranked #3 in the world by the Theme Park Adventurers Association, and a complimentary margarita is served afterwards to “Rider Survivors”. Designed by local engineer Vincent Perez, the FearFall™ is a 72mph terror ride that’s been compared to being on a out-of-control subway train and frequently makes participants cry from the sheer unadulterated near-death experience it provides.
Capable of reducing a 300 pound grown man to a quivering pile of nerves, and making the human brain rock back and forth to make it stop, FearFall™ makes no apologies about gang-raping all your senses and causing gray hair even in bald men. One reviewer recently said it was like “It was like kinky sex – I was curious, wanted to try it, but it was brief and terrifying and ultimately made parts of my body hurt that I wasn’t even aware of.”
FearFall™ is closed during December and January and reopens in the Spring of 2010. Tickets available at 1-800-HOLYSHI.
6. Riverwalk Ghost Hunt
Ever wanted to go on safari but don’t like killing animals? Then this is your choice to hunt something while simultaneously learning history about America’s most historical real venue. Using techniques from the hit show Ghost Hunters, discover how EMF meters find electrical cables and ghosts, how every noise and shuffle is created by the undead, and how thermal imaging cameras can be used to make reflections looks like spirits. Described as “ball-breakingly arduous” by San Antonio’s Express and “hard to find” by the Current, this is a must-see for all the family.
Runs Tuesdays through Thursdays during a full moon. Not suitable for under 5s since crossing the streams may open a portal to another dimension.
7. Find Yourself at Sunset Station
Discover yourself all over again at the newly restored Sunset Station, which is designed to look like a town where everybody just left. With parking for 10,000 cars, yours is guaranteed to be the only one in the lot, so whether you want to attempt to lose it or drive donuts, the choice is yours. Complete with abandoned buildings and failed businesses, one restaurant remains open and offers spectacular discounts for visitors who promise to talk to them. Like a combination of I Am Legend and Vanilla Sky, Sunset Station is where it all started.
Open Daily. Jesus H Christ.
8. Visit Santa at Waxy O’Reillys
Whether you’re 13 or 30, Santa has toys for you! Bringing back memories of seeing Uncle Paddy play Santa back in Dublin when I was growing up, with the stench of whiskey on his breath and questionable over-fondling, Santa wants you to sit on his lap once more and tell him what to put in his sack. Owner Mickey O’Reilly has set up a grotto for kids to visit while the parents can have a drink and watch a fictional sports game called soccer. Each visit to Santa costs $4.95 and includes a free piece of authentic Irish candy. To be sure!
Costs: $4.95 (see above).
9. Turning on the Riverlights
Click. Done. Hope you enjoyed it. Don’t miss the turning off in January.
10. Christmas Fiesta
53 weeks to prepare each year, the Fiesta drops back one week a year, resetting itself every 52 years. San Antonio is famous for its lively fiestas and street parties, and the Christmas Fiesta is the pinnacle of them all. The event is so popular that many locals sleep on the street for two nights before in order to guarantee a seat. Crazy, right? Local schools, prisons and business associations contribute students, prisoners and business associates to put together the once-in-a-lifetime-but-every-year spectacle. This year features the Riverwalk Cheerleading Squad and music from some choir we’ve never heard of.