One thing I've always wanted to do....and when I say always, I really do mean-at least ten years, and not 10 days like most of my stories go, is see Christmas lights on the river during December. Once, when I was much younger, like, not even driving yet-which is a really long time ago, we spent spring break in San Antonio, which accidentally fell over St Patrick's Day, where I accidentally learned they have a parade down the river and dye the river green. Which led to me discovering they do all sorts of cool things, aside from the normal 'cool things' that go on at one of my very favorite Texas spots. One of them? Lighting up the river with lights and luminaries (and MX tradition) each night during Christmas. It's quite a feat, and quite a sight. It was worth the drive, and totally list worthy. I took a quick trip down and started in the market.
There isn't anything much cuter than mini pinatas. I took a poll of all things mini and these are in the top three.
Every time I go into a restaurant this colorful I want to redo my house....but I'm worried my friends wouldn't be responsible enough not to swing at the 457 hanging pinatas when they came over.
...and I'm worried if I installed a bakery this colorful in place of my kitchen I might need a bigger door. After shopping and eating my way through the Market (my first time to try out Mi Tierra-worth the reputation), we headed on to the downtown area.
This year I stayed at the Menger. I've stayed here several times in the past, and I'm seriously in love with this hotel. It gets it's very own post tomorrow, but the tease is-it's one of America's historic hotels. Presidents have stayed here, the insides are authentic to it's past, and it's reputation as a great place to stay, and-unless the Catholic Daisi's and state department let you sleep in the Alamo, you can't get any closer to the site, which is literally right next door.
The Christmas trees in town had fun colorful fiesta themed ornaments, and I've decided if I can't redo my whole house like a TX MX restaurant, I at least need a tree this fun.
The Alamo is, clearly, one of the coolest things about San Antonio, but most of my time was spent on the river walk, it's always impressive in the day-so many restaurants, so much going on, and so much history....
I swung by La Villita, outside of the market, my favorite area to look around at artsy stores, and apparently they decorate for Christmas (or winter?) in their artistic fashion. The trees were all wearing colorful yarn decorations in various styles and colors.
Once the sun set, I took a boat ride up the river, affordable, informative, and the best place to catch the lights on the bridges and luminaries along the side. A lot of the boats had been rented out by companies for caroling, so many of those passing had the occupants singing carols that echoed up and down the river, which was added bonus to the lights.
I headed back to the hotel (just two blocks away from the river which sits down a bit from the main strip with the Alamo and entertainment). I had an ice cream dinner, because I believe dairy is an important element to the diet (ha), and got to see this...
They had carriage rides passing, lit up for Christmas, trees and buildings were participating in the festivities, and a group of bikers went by as I sat and consumed calories.
Before leaving on Sunday, I wanted to check out some of the missions, which I never knew, before I realized how much I enjoyed missions (thanks to my Spring trip to San Diego), are only 5 minutes away. There are four, but I only saw two this trip....I have to need a reason to return.
Church was being held at both missions, so I walked around outside and enjoyed the songs, trumpets, and prayers seeping through the doors.
San Jose is the largest and the main National Park service is housed here, though all the missions have a national park offices. San Jose is the main park.
It also still has the walls/houses that surrounded the mission, and it was neat to see how people lived within the walls.
San Jose really had some fabulous arches and angles. I'm looking forward to exploring some of those views on a sunnier day!
Every year, as Christmas rolls forward, there is a wish list of things I want to do. I'm definitely glad I finally get to mark this off my list, but it was so fabulous, it's just going right back on it because as much as I love San Antonio at any time of year, there is something really special about her decked out for Christmas. When an already colorful city twinkles those same vibrant colors-I'm impressed!