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Here are all the drive-thru holiday light displays you can visit this year

Looking to balance safety and Christmas cheer this holiday season? These spots allow you to do just that.

SAN ANTONIO — The popular holiday lights display brightening the San Antonio River Walk blinked on a bit early this year in order to bring some much-needed cheer. For those who would rather they stay socially distanced while taking in the sights and sounds of the holiday season, here are all the light displays you can drive through with your family in the San Antonio area. 

Lights Alive!

This musically synchronized holiday wonderland is located on the far west side, and invites visitors on a mile-long journey of Texas-inspired displays and Christmas tradition. Don't forget to tune your radio to the soundtrack, a mixture of energetic tunes and classic Christmas carols. 

Lights Alive! is running daily through Jan. 3. It's open Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The cost if $35 per vehicle, but you can save $5 if you purchase your tickets online. 

Elf Acres

Also on the far west side is Elf Acres, where families can drive through a mile-long light display while listening to Christmas music on the operation's dedicated radio station. 

Elf Acres is open Sunday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. It's up and running now through Dec. 30. Cost of admission is $30 per vehicle, with discounts offered for military veterans. Families can also buy a Fun Pass for $60, which allows one vehicle through the display three times this holiday season. 

Christmas on the Ranch

If you're up for journey there, Don Strange Ranch in Boerne makes for a nice escape this time of year as it sets up a drive-thru display that's over a mile long and glitters with 4 million lights. 

Santa stops by every night, and if you really want to get in the holiday spirit, families can stay and catch "Elf," "The Grinch," "The Polar Express" or another Christmas classic at the ranch's drive-thru movie screen. 

Buying a ticket just to drive through the lights display costs $25 per vehicle, while catching the trail of lights and movie is $45 a car. The display starts up Nov. 27 and operates every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Christmas Eve, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Santa's Ranch

Up in New Braunfels in Santa's Ranch, where families can wind through a mile of country road to take in the lights while indulging in hot chocolate or kettle corn. The display is made up of 1.5 million lights and has been operating since 2003. 

The display operates daily through Jan. 3. It's open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission costs $35 per vehicle. 


For the first time ever, the AT&T Center is getting in on the Christmas spirit with a drive-thru lights display of its own. illumiNight features 4 million lights creating dazzling sights over the course of one mile, as well as opportunities to snap a socially distanced photo with Santa. Hot cocoa and other snacks are also available. 

illumiNight is open nightly through Jan. 3, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. Tickets cost $35.50 per vehicle for a standard experience, while a Santa Express Pass includes photos and an opportunity to skip the lines; those are $63 per vehicle. 

The AT&T Center says 50% of proceeds from illumiNight are going to be given back to the community through the Spurs' charitable arm, Spurs Give. 


Of course, you can still drive through the heart of the city and catch signs that the holiday season is here without getting out of your car. Drive by Travis Park and you can spot the decorated tree (a virtual light-up ceremony is set for Nov. 27), while some lights from the River Walk and Museum Reach areas will be visible should you find yourself driving through downtown. 

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