Ben and I had a date night and went to Light Up Middletown. The drive through Christmas light display has lots of displays. Some of our favorites were the Calling Birds (on cell phones) and the reindeer with whales. There were a few unique ones including a steel smelter and an OH-IO.
We have a YouTube video of the drive (about 16 minutes long) or the super sped up version below.
The light display entrance fee is by Cash Donations! For more information, here is the link to their website. I would recommend going early, as the line gets very long to get in (we were in a line for about 45 minutes).
Although it is really nice for the weather to be between 60-70 degrees (F), it is a little weird that it is so warm the week of Christmas. Saturday we bought a ticket to go see illumiNight, a drive through Christmas light show. It was held at the AT&T Center. The tickets were for timed entry, although there was still quite a wait to get in. A ticket (per car) was $35 (plus online “processing” fees) and $63 for entry/Santa picture (physically distancing). It was cashless, so online ticket sales were recommended.
After entering the grounds, you kind of wrapped around the parking lot, weaving back and forth to make it seem like you were moving (but were still really just in line to get in to the main event). There was a light tunnel and a few other glowing decorations. There was a stop for bathrooms (portable kind) and drive through food. The food was similar to the Fair Foodie Fest we went to in California, although it wasn’t as well run. It was confusing as to whether you should get out of your car to order or not, as they didn’t come up to your window very quickly.
Passing the food and the bathrooms, you finally wrapped around again and came to the main entrance of the light show.
There were some awesome light displays. I loved the train, polar bear, and huge ornaments. There were some quirky things too, like statues of a coyote and antelopes. I’m not really sure on how those fit in.
There was a section for the 12 days of Christmas. It was a neat take on a Christmas light show, although we had a hard time remembering what all the items were. Number 3, we titled Paris Christmas Chickens.
Austin was a little over an hour away from the campground and we were excited to see it. We had heard a lot of good things about the city, plus there were a few holiday events there that we wanted to check out.
We started off at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. It was a really neat store with booths from different artists. Nick made out with a new baby Yoda face mask and a keychain guitar pick holder. I found a chocolate bar with locally sourced ingredients. It looks like it will be tasty. They did a great job with Covid precautions: everyone had to wear masks and they were limiting the amount of people allowed in the space.
We drove further into Austin and had a little bit of a hard time finding parking. There were several artist booths with items for sale ranging from food to jewelry and clothes. We found a couple of items for Christmas gifts. We wandered around and tried pizza from Home Slice and ice cream from Amy’s. We explored this amazing candy store called Big Top Candy Shop. The inside decor was awesome and they had all different types of candy (chocolates, gummies…).
We also saw the Austin Motel’s Winter Wanderland. This must be a fun place to stay. It was close enough to walk to shops and restaurants and had a really cool vibe. They decorated the courtyard (even the pool area!) for Christmas with a lot of trees and garland. Even the prickly pear cacti had ornaments on them! It was really neat to see, super festive.
I did notice as a whole, the part of Austin we were in did a much better job with wearing masks, even outside.
We wanted to find a couple of Christmas things to do with the kids for their first Christmas away from home. While I hoped we didn’t see any snow, we did want to see some Christmas lights! After searching online, I found the 55 Nights of Fredericksburg Lights. The town did a nightly event to turn on the lights at the Marketplatz and featured the 26 ft tall German Christmas Pyramid.
The pyramid was made in Germany and was the tallest one in the US when it came over. It was neat to see; all but the top layer moved. The candles were electric (small Christmas pyramids for houses used to use real candles).
The town itself was very cute with lots of historic looking buildings. There were several hilarious shop signs as well.
It was about an hour drive from our campground. We went on a Tuesday, which may have been a mistake. Although the 55 Nights were advertised, there actually wasn’t a lot to do when we got there (about 4:45pm). It seemed like most of the shops were closed for the day (or there were several that were closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). There were only two places open serving dinner type of food (a wine tasting place and a brewery) and an ice cream shop. (We ended up grabbing dinner on the way home.) There was also a chocolate shop, but once we got to the front doors and saw the employees were not wearing masks, we did not go in.
I did find some cute mini cookie cutters and a Christmas gift for Will. We did not stay long after the lighting, as most places were closed.
We wanted to have lights on the outside of the RV for Christmas. We hung some lights around the back door and the ladder, and across the front using Command hooks. We found a candy cane striped rope light and have that laying on the ground near our connections. (Helps to see it when we have to go out at night to empty the tanks). The outdoor tent also got decorated with plastic ornaments at the corners and lights on the inside. It’s not the best light hanging I’ve done, but it at least looks cheery! 🙂
Inside the RV we have a RV ornament hanging by the TV, our stockings and two large ornaments hanging off the living room slide. On the wall, we have our Christmas tree (complete with lights), and a Christmas RV decoration sent to us in the mail! We also changed the LED strip lights on the living room slide to red and green.
We had been looking forward to seeing the San Antonio River Walk for a long time, years in fact. So, of course, one of our first stops in San Antonio was the River Walk.
After driving around to find parking (everything is paid parking, even street parking), we lucked out and found a spot near one of the River Walk bridge entrances.
The River Walk is as neat as everyone says. There were sections of just walking (or running for some people) with plants growing along the walls or decorations in the retaining/bridge walls. Then there was the shopping and restaurant section of the River Walk. The restaurants certainly had great patio views.
Our first trip there was during the day, which was great. But Ben had seen online that the Christmas lights really make it beautiful. So, we went back during a Luminary weekend, which was too pretty. We found a restaurant next to the river to eat dinner (Casa Rio). All the wait staff wore masks, and there were plastic curtains between tables. They also seated customers with a table in between them for spacing. The ducks that occupy the canal are expert beggars at these restaurants. The kids named them water pigeons. While eating it was fun to hear snippets of the boat tour guides speeches as they passed. Ultimately, we got to sit and and enjoy the lights as they came on at dusk.
The restaurants were decked out in lights, there were lights hanging down from the trees and they had luminaries placed along the sidewalk. It looked like open-drink carry was allowed, as we saw several people with (plastic) glasses of wine or even baggies with straws for frozen margaritas.
CAUTION: Most of the sidewalk does not have railings. Be careful while walking along the edge. It would be really easy to fall in. Luckily, we did not.
It was a really neat treat to see the River Walk and so far it has had my favorite Christmas decorations.