Christmas in America: Austin and San Antonio

Today I’ve chosen two Texan cities that both have great holiday traditions.

San Antonio, TX

On the west edge of downtown San Antonio is El Mercado, or the market square: the heart of shopping and the location of vibrant festivals and cultural activities. It’s a little bit of Mexico in Texas. (Just as, not all that long ago, Texas was a little bit of Mexico, prior to being its own republic in 1836. Then it joined the U.S. in 1845, sixteen years before seceeding.)

Well, who doesn’t love an old-fashioned market? Come to El Mercado for the Cinco de Mayo in May, Diez y Seis in September, Dia de los Muertos in November, and — naturally — Fiestas Navideñas in December.

La Gran Posada

San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas

San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas

Another San Antonio tradition, dating to the 1730s, is the public reenactment of a familiar story. A young couple, expecting a child, have been walking for days yet cannot find a suitable place for the birth. It’s not that they haven’t got adequate healthcare coverage — good guess, though. There simply isn’t any room at the inn. This musical, candlelit procession of Mary and Joseph is known as La Gran Posada and occurs annually between Milam Park and the breathtaking San Fernando Cathedral.

Location: Milam Park, 500 W. Commerce
Schedule: December 16, 2012. 6pm.

Austin, TX

Austin Trail of LightsThe Austin Trail of Lights has got to be one of the best lighting displays in the country. Austin’s Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lit in December along with the “Trail of Lights”, an Austin Christmas tradition.

Location: Zilker Park
Schedule: First Sunday of the month (lighting); second Sunday through December 23 (Trail of Lights)


Travelling to America? Start here.

There’s no better place than the 2AD Memorial Library to find American travel guides. We have books on all fifty states, often several for each state, as well as guides for major U.S. cities. Our collection of oversized photography books is a great place to start planning.

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