Ford Holiday River Parade and River Lighting Ceremony 2023

Friday, November 24, 2023
6:00PM-9:00 PM

Seating at Arneson River Theatre & on a 4-mile route on the River Walk  

4PM – River Walk closes to general public

5PM – River Walk gates open for ticket holder access

6PM – Parade begins at the Tobin Center and arrives later in other areas (check map for times)

6-7PM – Pre-parade show for ticket holders in the Arneson  

7PM – Lighting of the River Walk 

7-8PM – Televised Parade – Santa on last float!   

Parade on the River Walk is ticketed 

Santa and Mrs. Claus are back in 2023 with more glitter, glee, and toys to carry on this wonderful tradition of turning on the holidays!

The 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade is a San Antonio tradition that offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk. This year’s theme, Holiday Stories will kick off the San Antonio tradition of ringing in the holiday season. 

Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) are illuminated on the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day.

Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the ticket prices range from $15-$40 and are sold online. The majority of River Walk restaurants offer dinner packages. 

This ticketed parade begins Friday, November 24, 2023 at 6 p.m. at the Tobin Center and arrives later in other areas (check map). It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre. 

Several free viewing areas are offered on the parade route (bring your own chair). This space is available on a first-come basis: East side of the River Walk between Pecan Street and Richmond Ave. 

Children 2 years of age or older will need a ticket.

Strollers, ice chests, and carriers are NOT allowed on the River Walk for this event.

ADA tickets are available in certain areas of the parade.

Tickets are non-refundable/non-exchangeable. 

Interested in Volunteering?

We are looking for volunteers for the following positions:
  • Chair Set-Up
  • Ushers
  • Ticket Takers
  • Area Coordinators
  • Zone Captains
  • Event Break Down

If you or your organization are interested in volunteering, or would like more information, please email our Community Engagement Coordinator at