Katie Sagal

Guide to Día de los Muertos in San Antonio

Día de los Muertos is one of the most special times of the year in San Antonio. Translated as “Day of the Dead,” this unforgettable celebration honors and remembers those who have passed. With more than 20 distinct events celebrating Día de los Muertos, San Antonio beats out any other American city in its celebration of this traditional Mexican holiday. From parades and festivals to smaller events at cultural institutions, the Día de los Muertos celebrations abound in San Antonio. If you’re going to be visiting San Antonio from late October to early November, check out one or a couple of these events in honor of the holiday. Our guide to Día de los Muertos in San Antonio is sure to be a help when planning.

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What is Día de los Muertos?

Día de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday intended to celebrate memories of our deceased loved ones. It is a multi-day event where families and friends gather to pray for and remember those who have gone before us. It honors death as a natural part of life. Celebrations include sugar skull decorating, dancing, face-painting, live music, and much more. It has become popularly celebrated in the United States over the last few decades, too, especially in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

When is Día de los Muertos?

Día de los Muertos celebrations in San Antonio span the period from October 26 to November 3, although the official holiday in Mexico is celebrated between October 31 to November 2. American celebrations honoring Mexican culture are usually extended to include full weekends to give folks a better opportunity to participate.

Things to do in San Antonio to Celebrate Día de los Muertos

San Antonio boasts many exciting Día de los Muertos activities for those wondering how to celebrate the holiday. Check out a few of these events, many of which are free to all to enjoy.

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Día de los Muertos (Hemisfair) October 26-27, 2019

This kickoff celebration features altars, live music, a procession, and more. This free, two-day event is a family-friendly activity, also known as “Muertos Fest” to the locals. It’s a combination of traditional activities and music with contemporary components like alt-Latino music. You’ll also find a dance, drum, and puppet procession, a children’s area, an art market, and much more. Check out the Tower of the Americas while you’re there!

Día de los Muertos (Pearl) November 1-2, 2019

Celebrated at the cultural mainstay and dining/entertainment complex called Pearl, this Día de los Muertos event is a multi-day affair. You can observe lovingly-decorated altars, participate in traditional art-making activities, listen to live music and see a vibrant procession across the properties. Costumes and face painting are encouraged! This is a free event.

Day of the Dead (La Villita Historic Arts Village) November 2-3, 2019

Located in Las Catrinas Plaza, the Día de los Muertos celebrations at La Villita Historic Arts Village emphasize hands-on activities for families and kids. See beautiful altars and stunning sculptures of human skulls, signature components of Día de los Muertos. Enjoy sampling the culinary stylings of Mexican chefs. Get your faced painted with the traditional Calavera design. And more!

Image of Carnival, Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Face, Head, Día de los Muertos Family Day (San Antonio Museum of Art) November 3, 2019, 12 noon-3 pm

The San Antonio Museum of Art will be honoring Día de los Muertos with a family-friendly event. They invite everyone to come to explore the collections. See traditional and contemporary Mexican art, and even create some inspired art of their own. This event is a perfect way for kids to enjoy the holiday without the sensory overload of some of the bigger festivals.

San Antonio Outdoor Film Series, “Coco” (Mission Marquee Plaza) November 2, 2019, 7 pm

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with this beloved and already classic family movie. It’s a free screening of the Pixar delight at Mission Marquee Plaza open to all. Visitors will also enjoy live entertainment, food trucks, and of course, the feature film itself on a jumbo screen.

Mythic Creatures / Mythical Alebrijes (Witte Museum) Opens September 28, 2019, ongoing during Día de los Muertos

A special exhibition at the Witte Museum, “Mythic Creatures” is a great complement to the vibrant cultural festivals percolating throughout the city during Día de los Muertos. This “beautiful blend of reality and fantasy,” is a family-friendly exhibition encompassing creatures of water, land, and air. Plus, there will be dragons!

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San Antonio River Cruise

The entire Riverwalk neighborhood will be decked out to celebrate Día de los Muertos. So, it makes sense to explore the area a bit more. You’ll get great photos on a San Antonio River Cruise, with a unique vantage point on the skull sculptures, altars and artwork that honor the dead during this time of the year.

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