Nation’s Largest Day of the Dead Celebration, in San Antonio, Returns with In-Person Events
SAN ANTONIO – No city in the United States embraces the colorful and cultural Día de Muertos like San Antonio. A variety of observances in all sectors of the city – some taking place for more than 40 years – brings locals and visitors together to celebrate life and the lives of loved ones who have passed.
From October through November 2021, San Antonio’s commemorations include the return of in-person events, with traditional altars, live music, Mexican cuisine and a river procession. Restaurants, cafes and cultural institutions across the city will showcase altars, customary décor and fresh-baked pan de muerto, a sweet bread that is a traditional offering. Here is a sampling:
- Día de los Muertos Festival at Hemisfair (October 23-24): The 9th annual event presents an expanded, in-person, outdoor gathering and touts the largest open altar exhibition and contest in the city. Recognized by National Geographic as one of America’s Top 7 Fall Festivals, Día de los Muertos Festival brings back its unique mix of community altars, live music, art vendors and workshops in a free, family-friendly, two-day event. Popularly known as Muertos Fest, this beloved San Antonio event anticipates attracting over 100,000 attendees, complemented with a national digital broadcast.
- Day of the Dead River San Antonio: Parade & Culinary Ofrenda (October 29-30): The River Walk and adjacent La Villita will overflow with Day of the Dead activities.
- River Parade (October 29): features more than 20 floating decorated floats and entertainment barges with characters and music. The parade will broadcast live on San Antonio’s KSAT-TV and air in syndication in cities across the country in late October and throughout November (check local listings for air dates and times).
- Culinary Ofrenda (October 30, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.): New for 2021 is a food festival in La Villita’s Juarez Plaza. Culinary Ofrenda will honor Dia de Muertos‘ designation as a UNESCO Celebration of Humanity, in San Antonio, which holds a UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation. This ticketed, all-inclusive food and beverage event will showcase multiple local chefs, nightlife venues and entertainment.
- Centro Cultural Aztlan (November 2-5): Centro Cultural Aztlan continues tradition in presenting its 44th Annual Día de Muertos exhibition, Altares y Ofrendas. Photographs of loved ones grace altars as well as offerings of food, marigolds, incense, candles, and other traditional offerings. Gallery highlights include altars by local artists, and the annual “Callejon de los Muertos” artisan market.
- San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (October 29): As part of San Antonio’s multicultural celebration, SAAACAM, in conjunction with Eastside Fifth Friday, hosts a tour of historic City Cemetery #3. Four different tour times are offered for visitors and locals alike to learn more about San Antonio’s buried African American history.