Holiday activities for the whole family, a bootcamp for fledgling entrepreneurs and a voluntary firearms exchange are among the highlighted happenings scheduled in the San Antonio area the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Hill Country Christmas

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa is hosting various holiday season activities for resort guests and the public. Ticketed experiences include a tubing hill made of real snow, an interactive snowball make-and-toss game, a visit from Mrs. Claus, refreshments, a gingerbread decorating corner, a holiday pop-up shop and a secret Santa scavenger hunt.

The South Pole lights up

Residents may visit The South Pole, an illuminated holiday experience where visitors can drive through lighted tunnels and displays while Christmas music plays across the park.

  • Daily now through Jan. 8, 6-10 p.m.
  • Admission: Mon.-Thu. $30 per car, Fri.-Sun. $35 per car
  • 5135 N. Loop 1604 E., San Antonio


San Antonio Botanical Garden will host Lightscape, an after-dark holiday experience where visitors can go down a 1-mile path adorned with more than 1 million Christmas lights and nature-inspired installations created by artisans worldwide.

  • Nov. 17-Jan. 1, 5:30-9 p.m.
  • Tickets: $18-$28 adults, $7-$18 children ages 3-12, free for infants through age 2
  • 555 Funston Place, San Antonio

Startup Bootcamp

Local coworking space provider Geekdom and Bexar County Precinct 3 Commissioner Grant Moody will present the Startup Bootcamp, which is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs. The three-day collaborative event is designed to equip participants with key skills to kickstart their business ventures.

Santa Paws visits

Santa Paws will make an appearance at Pet Supplies Plus. Visitors and their pets may get family photos with Santa. Proceeds benefit Right to Live Rescue.

  • Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • 15034 San Pedro Ave., Ste. A, San Antonio
  • Free admission; Santa pet photos: $10 single pet, $12 multiple pets
  • 210-545-6900
Downtown Dog Market

Dog Guide San Antonio will present a pet- and family-friendly monthly market with various vendors selling pet apparel, accessories, food, treats and other products. There will also be music and pet adoption opportunities.

Pets rescue fundraiser

Pups and Pals Bar and Grill will host a benefit for San Antonio Pets Alive. There also will be pet adoptions and pet portraits.

Voluntary weapons exchange

The city of San Antonio will exchange H-E-B gift cards for every weapon voluntarily given over for safe disposal, while supplies last. Gift card values range from $50-$300 depending on the type of firearm. Participants are asked to place unloaded weapons with the safety on into their vehicle trunk or rear of their automobile. A police officer will remove the weapons, and the motorist will then drive through the line to collect their gift cards.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will celebrate its 22nd anniversary by presenting Beergiving, a pre-Thanksgiving food drive for SAMMinistries, a local nonprofit that helps the unhoused and those at risk of becoming homeless. Attendees are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items. For each food item donated, guests will receive a raffle ticket as well as a chance to win gift cards and beer swag. Participants may also buy a turkey plate with trimmings and choose from a list of specialty draft beer releases.
  • Nov. 18, 11 a.m.-midnight
  • Free admission
  • 11255 Huebner Road, Ste. 212, San Antonio
  • 210-696-5080.
Alamo Heights holiday parade

The Alamo Heights Chamber of Commerce will present its 45th annual Holiday Parade and Fun Run. A short fun run starts from Alamo Heights High School and ends at the corner of Alamo Heights Boulevard and Argo Avenue. A parade involving local businesses, school performance groups and civic organizations follows the same route. An after-parade/run party will include food, music and kids’ activities.
Light the Way
The University of the Incarnate Word will host the 37th Light the Way holiday festival. The event will include musical performance from several academic and other groups, food, holiday shopping opportunities and kids’ activities. At 6:30 p.m., UIW officials will turn on hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights cast across the campus. A fireworks display wraps up the evening. Visitors may see the Christmas light display on campus nightly through Jan. 6.
‘The Velveteen Rabbit’

Magik Theatre will present performances of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Based on Margery Williams’ book, the play revolves around a young child who awakens on Christmas morning to discover a stuffed velveteen rabbit under the tree. In time, the stuffed rabbit becomes real and accompanies the child on fun adventures where they learn about love, friendship and the true meaning of being real. The Dec. 9 performance includes a “Holiday Hop” activity where attendees are encouraged to donate new pairs of socks to benefit unhoused individuals staying at Haven for Hope. Other special themed performances are scheduled.
  • Nov. 18-Dec. 24, show times vary
  • Tickets: $20-$25
  • Hemisfair, 434 S. Alamo St., San Antonio