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San Antonio's new tradition: Parade of Lanterns


While in San Antonio over President’s Day weekend 2018, we stumbled upon a new experience on the Riverwalk called Parade of Lanterns.  Apparently this was their first year running this event, thus I wanted to share some information for anyone else who is not familiar with the Lanterns on the Water. It also ran in 2020 (pre-pandemic) but was cancelled this year (like everything else in 2020 and a lot here in 2021)  due to the selfish pandemic caused by the Chinese government.

Lantern Float 2Anyway, during a 14 day time period, 26 foot floats carrying magically illuminated lanterns float along the Riverwalk from 7:00-9:00 nightly. Some of them are really cool. One of my favourites was the Texas float but sadly none of those pictures came out decent enough to share .  However, they were all pretty cool-looking. Here is a list of some of the ones that participated in early 2020.

Parade of Lanterns - 2020:

  • Dragon Float Sponsored by Sinclair Broadcasting
  • Panda/Fan/Umbrella Float  sponsored by San Japan
  • Pinata Float  sponsored by UTSA Confucious Institute
  • Texas Float, sponsored by TBA
  • Butterfly & Mushroom Float (NEW) sponsor TBA
  • Hot Red Chili Pepper Float (NEW) sponsored by The Original Mexican Restaurant
  • Mexican Kites (NEW) sponsored by120 Ninth Street Apartments
  • Bonsai Floats (NEW) sponsored by Asian American Alliance of San Antonio.
  • Downtown at Night Float (NEW) sponsored by Hyatt Regency San Antonio
  • IKEA Float (NEW) sponsored by IKEA

Lantern Float 4While there in 2019. we were able to see them docked earlier in the day, but really wanted to see them all lit up at night too. We headed back downtown one night and grabbed a seat facing the river and waited for them to makes their rounds. It was a nice night even in February and there were a lot of people there checking out this new tradition.

Lantern Float 3They finally started and I was surprised that they were mixed in with the regular tour boats. I thought they would all be together but I couldn’t help think how cool it would have been to be in one of the tour boats following or being in front of one of the floats.

Parade of LanternsHappily the winds weren’t bad and they didn’t have to cancel the event or change their route. It was really fun to be able to say we were there for the first Lanterns on the Water event. Hope it does become a yearly tradition and that more and more businesses create floats to continue this fun experience. Not sure if it will change before next year, but this is what was available at the time of posting. I will come back and add more information as they announce more information about the 2022 Parade of Lanterns.


Images (5)
  • Parade of Lanterns
  • Lantern Float 1
  • Lantern Float 2
  • Lantern Float 3
  • Lantern Float 4

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