The Best Events for Holiday Fun in St. Louis

Monday November 14, 2022
Photo courtesy of Gateway Arch Park Foundation

By Rachel Huffman

St. Louis offers an abundance of holiday magic, beginning with the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights and ending with spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations. From parades to train rides and live entertainment to light displays, here are the best events for holiday fun in St. Louis.

Holiday Events to Get You in the Spirit

Holiday Fun in St. Louis_Winterfest
Photo courtesy of Gateway Arch Park Foundation

Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights

November 19

Ushering in the holiday season, the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights also opens Winterfest. The free, family-friendly event features festive holiday performances by local talent, photo opportunities with local mascots, real reindeer, vendor booths and an outstanding fireworks finale. Don your favorite hat, scarf and mittens, and join us in Kiener Plaza from 12 to 8:30 p.m. for one of the best and brightest days in St. Louis.

Winterfest

November 19 to January 1

Back for its seventh year, Gateway Arch Park Foundation’s Winterfest will have fan favorites such as ice skating, s’more stations and igloos positioned under 70,000 twinkling lights. The festivities kick off with the annual Winterfest 5K and Kids Fun Run, and on certain weekends, the St. Louis Blues will sponsor three-on-three hockey tournaments and hockey lessons. There will also be visits from princesses and superheroes and a family-friendly New Year’s Eve fireworks display. This year, the Winterfest Cafe will feature an entirely new menu with handcrafted pastries, a deluxe line of hot cocoa beverages and more from chef Juwan Rice of JR’s Gourmet.

Ameren’s Thanks-For-Giving Parade

November 24

Celebrating its 38th year, the 2022 Ameren Thanks-For-Giving Parade will feature more than 120 parade units, including musical floats and displays, dance groups, drumlines and marching bands from the St. Louis region. As always, Santa Claus will attend the festivities to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and this year, special guest Nikki Glaser will sing The Star-Spangled Banner.

Holiday Performances to Celebrate the Season

Holiday Fun in St. Louis_Elf The Musical
Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre

A Christmas Carol

November 19 to December 30

This year marks The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ second annual production of Michael Wilson’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol. At long last, the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge’s past, present and future have caught up with him. Now, London’s most infamous miser must face his demons, reconcile the consequences of his choices and experience the power and joy of a miraculous redemption. The production will be directed by artistic director Hana S. Sharif. “This production of A Christmas Carol is truly my love letter to St. Louis,” she says. “It’s the best and brightest of what our community has to offer meeting the best and brightest of what our country has to offer in the field.”

The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays

November 26

Celebrate the holidays with the entire family at The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays. The mind-blowing showcase at The Fabulous Fox Theatre boasts jaw-dropping talent, astonishing acts and sophisticated magic from some of the most incredible illusionists on earth. Packed with nonstop, thrilling illusions of unprecedented proportions, The Illusionists dazzles audience members of all ages.

The Nutcracker

November 26 to December 23

Gen Horiuchi’s The Nutcracker has become one of the region’s most popular holiday productions. Year after year, thousands of children, teens and adults flock to see the company dancers, professional character actors and talented students from the Saint Louis Ballet perform among the dazzling sets at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. In the ballet, Clara’s life-size nutcracker comes to life on Christmas Eve and, together, they embark on wonderful adventures in magical lands. Hundreds of colorful costumes and special effects enhance the timeless tale, which boasts universal appeal.

93.7 The Bull’s Santa Jam

December 2

Local country music radio station 93.7 The Bull presents Santa Jam at Stifel Theatre. The intimate, acoustic evening will feature performances by Dan + Shay, Carly Pearce, Joe Nichols and Jimmie Allen.

Annual Holiday Concert by the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America

December 2

The Emmy Award-winning U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America will present its annual Spirit of the Season holiday concert at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. This year’s family-friendly event features a reading by Santa Claus of Hababy’s Christmas Eve, a book by Jamie and Joy Farr, and after the performance, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to meet with young guests. The concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Brett Eldredge

December 3

American country music singer, songwriter and record producer Brett Eldredge brings his Glow Live tour, an unforgettable night of Christmas classics, to Stifel Theatre.

A Holiday Celebration with Harry Connick, Jr.

December 4

Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning singer and composer Harry Connick, Jr. will stop in St. Louis on A Holiday Celebration 2022 Tour. As the year draws to a close, the legendary live performer invites fans to celebrate the holidays with him and his band as they perform their signature takes on Christmas classics, in addition to original songs, such as “(It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus” and “When My Heart Finds Christmas.”

Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

December 9

Grammy Award winners Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith will bring their popular Christmas tour to The Fabulous Fox Theatre this year. Joined by special guest Michael Tait of the Newsboys, a Christian rock band, the highly anticipated seasonal show will span the artists’ extensive repertoire of critically acclaimed holiday albums.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

December 10

Multi-platinum progressive rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra will bring its winter tour, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve – The Best of TSO & More, to Enterprise Center for two shows on Dec. 10. The rock opera is a completely updated presentation of the unforgettable, multi-generational holiday tradition, featuring enduring fan favorites alongside TSO’s greatest hits.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical

December 11

In this adorable musical, the TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Come see characters such as Hermey the Misfit Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and, of course, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in an adventure that teaches us that what makes us different is what makes us special.

Etienne Charles’ Creole Christmas

December 14 to 18

Jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles adds a twist to the holidays with his dynamic Creole Christmas band. The ensemble’s performances at Jazz St. Louis celebrate the season with unique interpretations of classic selections from Caribbean, American and European holiday songbooks.

A Gospel Christmas with Sheléa

December 15

Ring in the holidays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, guest artist Sheléa and the IN UNISON Chorus, a 120-voice, auditioned ensemble made up of volunteers that performs a variety of musical styles under the direction of Kevin McBeth. A Gospel Christmas is a soulful St. Louis tradition that will surely warm your heart.

A Prairie Home Companion Christmas Show with Garrison Keillor

December 15

This holiday season, take a break from decorating, shopping, planning and cooking. On Dec. 15, Garrison Keillor brings his Prairie Home Companion Christmas Show to The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Expect music, humor and holiday cheer, singing, laughter and, of course, all the latest news from Lake Wobegon, the fictional town – where all the children are above-average – that was the setting for Keillor’s weekly coast-to-coast broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion and his later novels in the Lake Wobegon series.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

December 16 & 17

A fantastical cast of storybook characters comes to life in this dazzlingly brilliant, family-friendly holiday spectacular. Held at The Fabulous Fox Theatre, the annual tradition wraps a Broadway-style production around contemporary circus acts for an imaginative show that will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief.

ELF The Musical

December 20 to 24

An endearingly goofy Broadway musical, ELF follows the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly climbs into Santa’s bag of gifts and finds himself at the North Pole. After accepting that he’s actually human, Buddy embarks on a journey to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help New York City remember the true meaning of Christmas. Coming to The Fabulous Fox Theatre, the sugar-sprinkled, modern-day holiday entertainment will inspire you to embrace your inner elf.

Home Alone In Concert

December 22

Back by popular demand, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will perform John Williams’ score for Home Alone. This is a whole new way to experience the hilarious and heartwarming holiday classic.

Holiday Fun for All

Things to Do in St. Louis in November_Polar Express Train Ride
Photo courtesy of St. Louis Union Station

The Polar Express Train Ride

November 18 to December 30

The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station is an important holiday tradition. Set to The Polar Express motion picture soundtrack, the magical experience takes guests on a journey to the North Pole aboard beautifully decorated trains. Families are encouraged to interact with the train conductor, The Polar Express characters, Santa Claus and his elves – and to wear their favorite seasonal pajamas for the occasion.

Winter Jewels

November 25 to December 31

Escape the cold and enter the tropical conservatory at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, which will undergo a remarkable transformation during its Winter Jewels event. The enchanted celebration features elaborate fairy gardens and dozens of jewel-toned butterflies, showcasing the dazzling color spectrum that exists in nature.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions

November 25 to December 24

With a special blend of storytelling, history and whimsy, St. Charles Christmas Traditions welcomes guests into a world of holiday fun. Flying reindeer, dancing sugarplums and an array of international ambassadors invite you to explore holiday traditions from around the world. Savor warm chestnuts roasted over an open fire, witness the pageantry of global Santa figures dressed in the cultural attire of their home countries and listen to timeless melodies sung by Victorian carolers. Mixing yuletide nostalgia and contemporary fantasy, this free, family-friendly event shouldn’t be missed.

LIT: A Christmas Pop-Up Experience

November 25 to December 23

Molly’s in Soulard presents LIT for the fourth year in a row. The immersive Christmas pop-up experience includes outrageous décor, a holiday-themed menu, costumes, music, photo opportunities and more. Reserve your seat today.

Pajamas and Pancakes with Santa Claus Cruise

November 26 to December 17

Santa Claus is coming to the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch. You’re invited aboard the festively decorated boats, where you can enjoy a kid-approved breakfast, holiday-themed crafts and lighthearted games. Dress in your best pajamas, as there will be plenty of photo opportunities with Santa. Cruises are on select dates from Nov. 26 through Dec. 17, and reservations are required.

21st Annual Maplewood Christmas Tree Walk

December 2

From costumed carolers to horse-drawn carriages, the Maplewood Christmas Tree Walk radiates holiday spirit. After the grand lighting of the tree and the arrival of Santa, visitors can sip hot chocolate while visiting the local small businesses that define the Maplewood neighborhood of St. Louis. Grab a good read at The Book House, indulge in gourmet chocolates at Kakao Chocolate or shop for an assortment of products at Mystic Valley. Storefronts will be decked out for the season, and many businesses will also offer live entertainment, complimentary refreshments and special discounts throughout the evening.

Brunch with Santa

December 11 & 18

Casa Don Alfonso’s beloved Brunch with Santa returns this holiday season. The restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis will host Santa and Mrs. Claus during a festive brunch service on Dec. 11 and 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $55 a person. Featuring an exquisite menu and kid-friendly buffet, guests of all ages can enjoy face painting and visits with Santa by the fireplace, creating memorable and heartwarming holiday traditions.

A John Waters Christmas

December 14

Are you ready for your eyes to pop out of your head? John Waters will do that to you. He’s back, with Christmas lunacy throbbing in his veins. The show at The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art GalleriesJHHa will be a combustion of Christmasly incorrect kindling that will encourage you to knock over your tree and stomp on your presents. Note: This show contains adult themes, and you must be 18 or older to attend.

12 Bars of Charity

December 17

This year marks the 10th annual 12 Bars of Charity event, which features a friendly competition between eight local charities. The charities are divided into “teams” and assigned a team color; the largest charity team, with the most sign-ups, gets a $1,000 prize. All you have to do is sign up for the charity team that you want to join. Once at the event, you will have the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want. Participating venues include The Armory, Ballpark Village, Budweiser Brew House, El Burro Loco, Salt + Smoke, Sports & Social St. Louis and Tin Roof. 12 Bars of Charity is a great opportunity to get family, friends and co-workers together around the holidays for a super fun event that gives back to some of the best local organizations.

Want more holiday fun? Check out these festive holiday light displays in St. Louis, where falling snowflakes, dancing candy canes and sparkling trees will delight the whole family.

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