Traveling to Texas in 2024: San Antonio Festivals and Events

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Have you ever ventured ‘deep in the heart of Texas’? If not, you should consider it. A few years back, San Antonio commemorated its Tricentennial anniversary, marking its founding in 1718. Now, in 2024, the city is poised to make this year equally remarkable with a lineup of significant openings and events scheduled throughout. This year, there are a variety of exhibitions, and old favorite San Antonio festivals are making a comeback. From lively festivals to cultural happenings, San Antonio promises an unforgettable experience you won’t want to overlook.

In addition to being the seventh-largest city in the nation, San Antonio is also one of the fastest growing in the U.S. with approximately 66 people moving to town each day. To keep up with this rapid growth, improvements are constantly being made to appeal to the ever-changing demographic and to always stay current.

View from the SAMA of the Tre Trattoria Museum Reach of the River Walk Photo credit DownshiftingPRO
UNESECO City of Gastronomy – Chef Jason Dady redefined San Antonio’s culinary culture – Tre TrattorTrattoria across the courtyard from the San Antonio Museum of Art.

San Antonio has experienced a renaissance on the culinary, hospitality and cultural fronts as well as gained notable recognitions, such as being named one of only two UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy in the U.S. San Antonio continued to evolve to make the next 300 years even better and paving the way for 2024 to be an incredible year. 

Here is a preview of some of San Antonio’s newest offerings slated this year, as well as a round-up of some key annual events of particular note to keep in mind:

Arts & Culture in San Antonio:

From classic attractions like the Riverwalk, the Alamo, and the city’s historic missions (which are collectively, with the Alamo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), to a city-wide arts scene including contemporary art spaces.

World Heritage Festival

Mission San Jose in San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Mission San Jose, San Antonio, TX Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

5 Days in Early September – The event will celebrate San Antonio’s cultural history highlighting its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The missions are the only such UNESCO site in Texas.

The festival — put on by the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Office — coincides with the Organization of World Heritage Cities Solidarity Day on Sept. 8. The day will be celebrated by other UNESCO cities around the globe.

Hopscotch Gallery

Hopscotch San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Hopscotch San Antonio Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

Hopscotch is an immersive and experiential brand that brings together artists in collaborative environments to create unique, impactful, and distinct shared experiences.  It is an adventure in sight, sound and sensory experiences with large-scale contemporary art pieces. Not to be missed this was one of my favorite stops during my recent visit to San Antonio.

San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio Museum of Art Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
San Antonio Museum of Art Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

A beautifully designed and curated collection, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA), will transport you around the world and through five thousand years of art in a complex of buildings that once housed the Lone Star Brewery. From the Pop Culture collection of Latin America to the comprehensive Asian wing and the stunning Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian Collection, there is something for everyone. This museum is not to be missed. SAMA, the Witte and DoSeum museums are all included in the official San Antonio CityPASS®)

Latin American Popular Culture Collection SAMA Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Latin American Popular Culture Collection Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

Current Exhibition – The Age of Armor: Treasures from the Higgins Armory Collection at the Worcester Art Museum

February 16, 2024 – May 12, 2024 – From the warriors of ancient Greek legends, to the knights of the Middle Ages, to the superheroes of today’s popular culture, the idea of personal body armor has an enduring hold on the human imagination. Armor is as old as human civilization, and has been used in various forms in societies around the globe, but full suits of articulated steel plates were made only in Europe, and only for a brief time in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. This exhibition explores the story of armor in its golden age. 

Pearl Historic District

Pearl Historic Site in San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Historic Pearl District has been redeveloped and re-invented but it has been around since 1883. Located just north of downtown San Antonio, Pearl provides a unique experience as a top residential, culinary and cultural destination. With popular farmers markets on Saturdays and Artisinal market on Sundays, you can also enjoy live music.

The mixed-use space features retail, dining, picturesque green spaces, paseos riverside amphitheatre, and the third campus of The Culinary Institute of America. As a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, Pearl reflects a vivid past while embracing the future. A fan favorite, Pearl is bursting with food and drink options, boutique shopping, festive seasonal events and loads of local flavor.

Insider tip: stop by Bakery Lorraine for brunch or Southerleigh’s for dinner. There was also a great Taco Food Tour with Pearl Taco Tour with MOV Tour that I really enjoyed. Great history, a walk around this massive area and great food too!

Southerleigh at the Historic Pearl District Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery at Historic Pearl District Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

San Pedro Creek Culture Park

Similar to what was successfully accomplished with the San Antonio River decades ago, another one of the city’s major water sources, San Pedro Creek, is undergoing a complete revitalization. The first phase was completed in May 2018 and the first segment of the Creek is now open to the public, featuring public art installments, giant commissioned murals and various other attractions. In total, the revitalization will add more than 60,000 linear feet of new walls (including the creek’s original, historic 1900s vintage walls), replace eight street bridges and add four miles of walking trails and 11 acres of landscaping.

The San Pedro Creek Culture Park resurrects a major natural resource in the city as well as provide improved water quality, increased biological diversity and a renewed sense of the importance of urban communities and neighborhoods in San Antonio. When the four phases are completed, the San Pedro Creek Culture Park will span 2.2 miles through downtown.

Notable Festivals in San Antonio FOR 2024:

San Antonio Photo Credit DownshfitingPRO

San Antonio’s many festivals provide a renewed reason to visit the Alamo City each year.  Here is a selection of some of the key celebrations taking place for 2024 that particularly contribute to the overall festive spirit of the city:

Cowboy Culture & Rodeos

San Antonio is the birthplace of the American cowboy. Yes, you read that right. Rope steering, bull riding, and busting broncos date back to the city’s earliest days with vaqueros on the Mission ranches.

In the past, when Spain ruled Texas, vaqueros (cowboys) filled Mission ranches to rope and round up cattle. Today, this vital culture still thrives throughout the dude ranches and old-time dance halls that dot the Texas Hill Country, providing plenty of opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in a truly authentic Western experience.

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is held in San Antonio every February, but have no fear if you’re visiting the Alamo City during a different season. There are many ways to rodeo in San Antonio all year long. 

 Tejas Rodeo Company hosts rodeos weekly from March through November and entertains with Texas Country concerts, too.

Valero Texas Open

April 1-7, 2024 – The Valero Texas Open returns in 2024 bringing the best of the PGA tour to San Antonio. With 156 players and $9.3 million purse, this proves to be a popular golf tour stop. Sergio Garcia lent his unique perspective in assisting celebrated golfer and renowned golf course architect Greg Norman with the design of the par-72, 7,522-yard The Oaks course at TPC San Antonio; a part of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa.

Fiesta

April 18-28, 2024 – While New Orleans has Mardi Gras, the Alamo City has Fiesta, and if one celebration sums up San Antonio’s upbeat, welcoming and lively spirit, this is it. The 10-day celebration honors San Antonio’s traditions and culture with a multitude of festive parades, patriotic observances, exhibits, creative culinary offerings and more. 

Culinaria

January 2024 – Founded in 2000, Culinaria is one of San Antonio’s biggest and most impressive food festivals. The week-long event hosts a variety of happenings showcasing dishes from the city’s top restaurants and chefs, from casual to gourmet.

Tasting Texas Wine +Food Festival

Tasting Texas Photo Credit Tasting Texas via IMM press release
Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival

Last weekend in October 2024 Look out for the Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival! This four-day epicurean experience allows food and wine lovers alike to explore the unique flavors of Texas for themselves. Guests will enjoy delicious bites from Texas chefs and restaurants, live music, mingle with beverage makers, and learn from industry experts in educational panels, in one of San Antonio’s popular open-air venues, historic Travis Park.

Festival and Events in San Antonio
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Mardi Gras River Parade & Celebrations

Mardi Gras River Boat Parade San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Crowning of the Mardi Gras Court – River Parade and Festival – Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

Falling in February 2024, catch beads, bling, and fun at the River Walk’s family-friendly Mardi Gras River Parade and Festival. Expect the best in jazz music at JazzFest and then be sure to check out the Mardi Gras River Parade as we celebrate Mardi Gras Alamo City style!

San Antonio Beer Festival

October 19, 2024 – San Antonio’s thriving brewery culture may be best experienced at the annual San Antonio Beer Festival, which pours more than 400 beers from 125+ breweries throughout the world. In addition to casks of all kinds, the festival also features live music, food trucks and booths, local vendors and games. 

Dia de los Muertos

Historic Market Square San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Historic Market Square San Antonio Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Late Oct./Early Nov. – When it comes to Día de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, no place in the United States observes this traditionally Mexican holiday quite like San Antonio. The city comes alive with everything from small gatherings with traditional altars and face painting to multiple-day festivals featuring live music, stilt walkers, Mexican cuisine and festive parades (link above is to one of the city’s largest festivals, Muertos Fest at Hemisfair).

Day of the Dead San Antonio River Parade

October 25-27, 2024 – San Antonio is the premier location to celebrate Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, with its many festivals, commemorations, and celebrations. Join us for the Day of the Dead San Antonio River Parade where you’ll see festive barges decorated with altars, catrinos and catrinas, and costumed characters paying homage to the occasion and celebrating the life and memories of loved ones past. The festivities continue all weekend long at La Villita Historic Arts Village!

Ford Holiday Boat Caroling

November 28 to December 23, 2024 – If holiday caroling is your thing – then you’ll want to experience it floating down the gorgeous San Antonio River Walk! Ford Holiday Boat Caroling is available from the end of November through Christmas. Not a caroler yourself but still like to see carolers? Sit at your favorite River Walk restaurant and catch carolers drifting along the riverbank throughout the holiday season.

Events for the Family:

San Antonio is one of the leading cities in the U.S. when it comes to attractions and accommodations for families, and for 2024 there are some exciting developments underway:

SEA LIFE Aquarium & LEGOLAND Discovery Center|

SEA LIFE is the world’s biggest aquarium brand and highlights impressive displays of diverse marine life. LEGOLAND Discovery Center will be the ultimate indoor LEGO® playground and will offers a range of themed LEGO play areas, creative workshops with LEGO Master Model Builders, LEGO-themed rides, party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, as well as the popular MINILAND exhibit which will reflect the buildings and skyline of San Antonio. Check out this event in San Antonio

SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio

Visit SeaWorld and Aquatica San Antonio to see the Turtle Reef™, a turtle habitat that enables guests to get an up-close look at threatened and endangered sea turtles. Family rides will include Riptide Rescue™, which takes guests on a sea turtle rescue mission; Sea Swinger™, a thrill ride that swings riders back and forth 180 degrees and Ihu’s Breakaway Falls®, a one-of-a-kind multi-drop tower slide at Aquatica San Antonio.

April 8th, 2024 get ready for an unforgettable celestial experience that will leave you in awe! You are invited to the Eclipse Party at SeaWorld San Antonio. SeaWorld San Antonio falls into the path of totality, so it is the perfect place to see this rare event!

Hopscotch Gallery Lounge Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Hopscotch Gallery – Lounge Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

DC Universe at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

April 27, 2024, water park gates will open for a season of sun-soaked fun! Six Flags Fiesta Texas announced park enhancements, thrilling upgrades, and three new family-friendly thrill rides creating the largest DC Universe at any amusement park in the United States.

The new rides – CYBORG™ Cyber RevolutionSHAZAM! ™ Tower of Eternity and METROPOLIS Transit Authority were presented during the annual FT92 fan event. One of the most anticipated events each year, FT92 highlights the latest park developments and new attraction announcements.

Additional Park enhancements feature the transformation of several existing attractions to include new Superheroes and Villains including THE PENGUIN™: Gotham City Getaway, SUPERGIRL™ Sky Flight, POISON IVY™ Toxic Spin, and more.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.