A Grown-up’s Guide to Fiesta Frivolity

My family loves all of the family-friendly Fiesta events. Ryan and I annually attend parades, fireworks, fairs, and festivals with our four kids in tow. But the flip side of all of this family fun is that Fiesta is overflowing with opportunities to spend grownup quality time with your girlfriends and significant other. Here are my picks for where to go when you book a sitter and ditch the kids for a little Fiesta frivolity.

The Texas Cavaliers River Parade

Our own beautiful San Antonio River Walk is frequently considered one of the nation’s most romantic destinations. During the holidays and Fiesta, the River Walk is especially beautiful, with twinkling lights flickering in the cypress trees, colorful paper flowers blooming along the walkways, and confetti scattered on the sidewalks. We have taken our children down to the River Walk many times for the River Parade, but this year Ryan and I are going sans kids so we can enjoy it without presiding over petty bickering or worrying that someone might fall into the River. You can purchase seats along the parade route at The Fiesta Store (2611 Broadway). A great way to watch the River Parade is to make a reservation at one of the many River Walk restaurants offering seats and dinner packages. Call your favorite restaurants, see if they are offering any packages, and make a reservation.

Fiesta Arts Fair

Ryan and I have spent countless hours over the years in the Children’s Art Garden at the back of the Fiesta Arts Fair, watching our little ones glue curling ribbon on foil “medals,” sculpt with clay, and painstakingly create stained glass masterpieces. My favorite way to while away a glorious Arts Fair day on the grounds of the Southwest School of Art is either with my husband or a group of like-minded girlfriends, sipping frozen margaritas and perusing the art.

Arts Fair

Fiesta de los Reyes at Market Square

When I used to work downtown, my friend Jenny and I had a tradition of meeting and walking down to Market Square during Fiesta every year to “be bad” at lunchtime. We would buy and share our favorite diet-unfriendly-but-oh-so-delicious Fiesta treats—fajitas, gorditas, chalupas, and nachos—listen to music, and take a mini Fiesta vacay in the middle of our harried workday.

A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA)

Every year my sister and I assemble a group of fun-loving girlfriends, leave work a little early, and head down to La Villita for quality time spent over cups of beer, shypoke eggs, fried pickles, and antichuchos. There is a method to our madness. We buy our entry tickets ahead of time and arrive just as the gates are opening. Our first stop (after buying drink and food tickets and a cool libation) is almost always Maria’s Tortillas—if you wait any longer than the first 15 minutes of NIOSA, good luck enjoying a fresh corn tortilla filled with buttery melted cheese, as the lines get impossibly long. We don’t leave NIOSA without spending our last tickets on a few cascarones and confetti in our hair. NIOSA gets crowded quickly, which makes it fun for grown-ups but not so much for little ones. 

NIOSA girls

Fiesta Cornyation

Confession: I have never been to Conryation. But I hear it’s a blast and definitely not for children. Like Austin’s long-running Esther’s Follies just up I-35, Cornyation is a raunchy, irreverent revue of topical political satire with Fiesta flair.

King William Fair

Like the Fiesta Arts Fair, there is lots for kids to see and do at King William Fair. But I would be more inclined to enjoy strolling the gorgeous King William neighborhood hand-in-hand with my main squeeze than with a stroller, meandering and browsing the art, the music, and people watching.

What are your favorite grownup Fiesta outings? I’m always on the lookout for new ways to partake of our city’s Fiesta fun. ¡Viva Fiesta!

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