Official Contest Rules

The goal of Light Up Downtown is to have all major buildings lit up to create an illuminated view of the downtown skyline throughout the holiday season, as well as to have smaller buildings decorate their facades at the street level. This is an opportunity to showcase the downtown area to our locals and visitors and to create a new holiday experience throughout downtown.

Participants will receive official recognition from the City and its partners for participating in the contest and can win prizes in several categories from “Best Use of Space,” to “People’s Choice Award.”

Contest is open to all street level properties within the Central Business District. Contest winners will only be determined based upon their EXTERIOR displays. The use of LED lights is encouraged, but not required for participation.

• Contest is open to all downtown businesses.

• Participants will showcase the EXTERIORS of their buildings with creative holiday lighting displays and compete to win honors and recognition at the Celebrate San Antonio New Year’s Eve Event.

• Participants can compete in a variety of categories including: Critic’s Choice & People’s Choice- Best Use of Space, Critic’s Choice & People’s Choice- Storefront, Critic’s Choice & People’s Choice- Building and Greenest Lighting Display.

• Participants are dived into three categories Best Use of Space, Storefronts and Buildings.

• The use of LED lights is encouraged, but not required for participation. Extra points will be given for “green” energy-conscious displays.

• Light Up Downtown contest will begin on Friday, November 28, 2014 and ends December 19, 2014.

• Displays should be turned on daily no earlier than 5:30 pm and turned off no later than 12:30 am.

• The general public can vote for their favorite lighting displays online at

• Participating businesses will also display a decal with a Quick Response (QR) Code linking the public directly to the website to vote from a smartphone. QR decals will be distributed the week of November 17, 2014.

• Displays will be lit through early January.

• Contest Voting ends December 19th

• Winners will be notified on December 19th (Mayor’s Office)

• Winners will be publicly announced on New Year’s Eve

• Press release announcing winners will be sent to media January 5th

Awards will be presented to winners at Council Ceremonial Items

Contest winners will be chosen for the following awards:

  • Critic's Choice Greenest Lighting Display
  • People's Choice - Best Use of Space
  • Critic's Choice - Storefront
  • People's Choice - Storefront
  • Critic's Choice - Building
  • People's Choice - Building
Light up downtown application

For Riverside properties that abutting the river, all lighting displays must conform to City Code Sec. 35-673 – Site Design Standards
***(5) Prohibited Lighting on the Riverside of Properties Abutting the river.A. Flashing lights.B. Rotating lights.C. Chaser lightsD. Exposed neon.E. Seasonal decorating lights such as festoon, string or rope lights, except between November 2014 and January 10, 2015. Flood Lamps.