Visiting San Antonio at Christmas has all the benefits of a modern, bustling, shopping city with all the charm, culture and tradition of an old Spanish Missionary Town. If you want high-end shopping experience, visit The Rim at Loop 1604 and I-10 or La Canterra, just a bit south of there on Loop 1604. There is also The Quarry on Hwy 281 closer in the Uptown or "North Central" area as the locals call it.
And if you want all the ambiance and romance of Historic traditions, then visiting San Antonio at Christmas Downtown is your choice. Linger on the River Walk or visit San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the United States. It was this cathedral that rang the bells to warm of the impending battle of The Alamo. It is said there are over 120,000 lights gracing the very old cypress trees along the San Antonio River. These lights begin shining the day after Thanksgiving and continue past Christmas. Lights and candles twinkle everywhere. It's not to be missed.
Traditions found while visiting San Antonio at Christmas date back to the 16th century in Spain. One is called The Lighting of the Way or Las Posadas. when the people would light bonfires to signal the path for the Holy Family, symbolic of Joseph and Mary's search for an Inn. Stores would symbolically turn them away until they were finally given a place to rest. San Fernando Cathedral celebrates the Las Posadas annually. It is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States today. San Fernando is the cathedral that rang the bells warming of Santa Anna's approach to The Alamo. This year, the last evening for Las Posadas traditions is December 19th.
For more historical info on the tradition of Las Posadas,
For more info on San Fernando Cathedral and events,