Holiday Fun in St. Louis
As the holiday season approaches, we are rounding up all of the holiday festivities and memories for you and your family to cherish in St. Louis. From parades, train rides, light displays, live entertainment, shopping and much more, St. Louis has a variety of classic holiday experiences that families have enjoyed for generations. Once again St. Louis is offering up an abundance of holiday magic that begins with the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights and winds down as the New Year begins. Here are only a few events you’ll want to attend this time of year.
Classic Events to Welcome in the Season
Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights (Nov. 23) – Bring in the Christmas spirit right by attending the Festival of Lights! Look out for performances by the Salvation Army Brass Band, Metro Edge Figure Skating club, and Triple Threat from Stages Academy just to name a few. There will be angel baked cookies served with milk, special appearances, ice skating, and tree lights along with fireworks! This event is jam packed with fun getting us ready for the holiday season. Join us at 4pm til 8:30pm at Kiener Plaza to have a good time!
Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 28) – Celebrating its 35th year, the 2019 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade will step off at 8:45 a.m. from 20th Street and Market Street and proceeds east towards Broadway in Downtown St. Louis. The parade will be broadcast live on KMOV-TV Channel 4! This emmy award winning parade is worth the early morning trip. There is expected to be over 130 parade units including musical floats, displays, giant helium balloon figures, and marching bands from all around the St. Louis region! As tradition follows, Santa Claus will be there at the end of the parade to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. Gather the family to enjoy this special event!
One of the most enchanting things about this time of year is all of the captivating lighting displays. There are so many options in St. Louis that will fill your spirit with wonder and joy.
Way of Lights (Nov. 22 – Dec. 31) – Families from across the region will once again flock to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows for the annual Way of Lights Christmas display. This unique display features a mile-and-a-half drive of over one million lights and displays that include life-size biblical statues taking visitors on a journey to Bethlehem.
Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park (Nov. 22 – Jan. 2, Closed Christmas Eve) – Don’t miss your chance to see one of the most popular Christmas light displays in the area. For over 30 years, Tilles Park in St. Louis County has been making memories for families across the region with its Winter Wonderland. The park is filled with millions of twinkling lights and various holiday scenes.
Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden (Nov. 23 – Jan 4; Exhibit Closed Dec. 24 and 25) – Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden at night surrounded by a spectacle of unique light installations. Hundreds of thousands of lights will adorn some of the Garden’s most iconic locations including the Climatron®, Kaeser Memorial Maze, the Central Axis and Tower Grove House. Walkways will be transformed into an explosion of visual magic, while more traditional displays will delight crowds of all ages.
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo (Select Nights, Nov. 29 – Dec. 30) – Visitors are invited to walk through the world-renowned Saint Louis Zoo and take in a wonderland of spectacular light displays.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights (Nov. 22 – Dec. 30) – Experience the wonder of the Budweiser Clydesdales, s’mores roasting on an open fire, thousands of twinkling lights and one monumental display of holiday spirit.
Santa’s Magical Kingdom (TBD) – Millions of lights and dozens of holiday scenes fill Jellystone Park near Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka. You can see Santa’s flying reindeer, travel through the Candy Cane Village or visit the Waterfall of Lights. After seeing the lights, head over to Kringle’s General Store for a little holiday shopping.
Gracing the Stage
Theaters and concert halls across St. Louis come to life during the holidays, with magical performances that are sure to delight young and old. Here’s just a sampling of the many performances that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker (Nov. 20 – 21) – Moscow Ballet brings the Gift of Christmas Tour to the Fabulous Fox Theatre with Great Russian Nutcracker performances bringing holiday magic to life and creating unforgettable memories for all ages.
35th Anniversary Mannheim Steamroller Christmas (Nov. 23) – Join the celebration as Mannheim Steamroller makes history again – Celebrating 35 years of holiday magic as they bring their annual holiday tour to the Fabulous Fox Theater. Experience the performance of the #1 Christmas music artist in history and for the first time ever, hear the entire album that started it all, LIVE – “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas!”
The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Nov. 26) – A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is back and better than ever. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music. A unique and joyful event, this evening-length production is performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, who opens the show with a short set.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze (Nov. 29 – 30) – Raved by the New York Daily News and the Washington Post, the Cirque Dreams Holidaze electrifies the 2019 season with is reimagined live family holiday spectacular. Featuring unforgettable performances his critically-acclaimed extravaganza is both a Broadway musical and new Cirque adventure wrapped into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family!
15th Annual Christmas at the Cathedral (Dec. 7 – 8) – The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis will host the Tenth Annual Christmas at the Cathedral concert, featuring the Archdiocesan Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, Handbell Choir and Orchestra, featuring Christmas classics both old and new.
Saint Louis Symphony’s Mercy Holiday Celebration (Dec. 13 – 15) – The holidays would not be complete without taking in a performance of the Saint Louis Symphony’s Mercy Holiday Celebration concert at Powell Symphony Hall. Enjoy a concert full of timeless holiday classics and, of course, a special visit with jolly ol’ St. Nick!
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical (Dec 19) – The beloved tradition that continues to capture the hearts of children and their families everywhere comes to the live stage for the first time ever in this all-new musical and premiere stage production. Don’t miss The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical at Stifel Theatre on December 19.
Sing! An Rish Christmas with Keith & Kristyn Getty & Friends (Dec 20) – Join Ireland’s own Keith & Kristyn Getty, known for modern hymns and carols such as In Christ Alone, for their eighth annual tour of Sing! An Irish Christmas at Stifel Theatre. As featured on Public Television to over 45 million households, the Gettys are joined by their band of virtuosic instrumentalists fusing Celtic, Bluegrass, Americana, Modern and Classical music along with cultural dance and the choral sounds of the holiday.
Home Alone In Concert (Dec. 20 – 21) – Experience the beloved 1990s box office hit, Home Alone In Concert, on the big screen with the SLSO performing John Williams’ charming and delightful score live. See what antics eight-year-old Kevin McCallister comes up with when he is accidentally left behind from family vacation.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 26) – Music and the holiday spirit come alive again during the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, The Best of TSO and More” a larger-than-life performance complete with symphonic-rock music, grandiose light displays and spectacular effects.
The Nutcracker (Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 and Dec 19-23) St. Louis families flock to the Touhill every holiday season for the area’s most dazzling Nutcracker. The cast of professional dancers from Saint Louis Ballet swells with guest actors and dancers and the talented students of the ballet school. With striking sets, gorgeous costumes, beautiful dancing and magical effects, Saint Louis Ballet’s The Nutcracker has established itself as the one to watch. Now – there are even more opportunities to attend with Thanksgiving weekend previews as well as December performances.
Seasonal Happenings & Family Fun
Chanukah: Festival of Lights (Dec. 2) – A traditional Jewish holiday celebration that includes festive Israeli music and dance, a menorah-lighting ceremony and Chanukah merchandise provided by local vendors and the Garden Gate Shop.
Winter Celebration (Dec. 14 – 15) – Make the season merry and bright with the Saint Louis Art Museum at Winter Celebrations. This family-friendly extravaganza of performances, art activities, and festivities is inspired by the warmth of the season and traditions from around the world. Drop in for performances by community groups, art activities with your little ones, and much more during this special two-day festival.
Polar Express Train Ride (Nov. 29-Dec. 30) – All aboard for The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station! Visitors to St. Louis this holiday season can book a trip that’s bound to create a Christmas memory they will treasure forever-a journey to the North Pole via the Polar Express.
Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour (Dec. 8) – Experience a glimpse of early Christmas holiday traditions and modern holiday collections of one of the largest collections of Victorian homes in the country.
Holiday in the Park (Nov. 23-Jan.1) – This holiday season Six Flags St. Louis becomes a magical winter wonderland featuring thousands of colorful lights throughout the park, show stopping performances to get you into the Holiday spirit, and personalized meet-and-greets with Santa and his helpers.
Augusta’s Candlelight Christmas Walk (Dec. 6) – A corridor of over 1,500 glowing luminaries welcomes visitors to the Augusta’s Candlelight Christmas Walk with sights, sounds and smells of ‘Christmas yesteryear’ in charming Augusta, Mo.
Grinchmas (Dec. 7) – Not to let Santa have all the fun this Holiday Season the Grinch will be out spreading holiday cheer and joy and to help raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children on Saturday. For a $7 donation, participants can get their photo taken with the Grinch. Those who bring a toy donation can get a photo taken for only $5. Joining the Grinch will be the clowns from Moolah Shriners, who will offer free face-painting and balloon animals.
Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park (Nov. 15 – March 1) – Always a holiday and seasonal favorite is a visit to Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park. It is the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest and is open to the public every day of the week, including holidays.
Winterfest (Nov. 23 – Jan. 1) Enjoy ice skating with a view of the Arch. Public skating is open Thursday through Friday, from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m and Saturday and Sunday, from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. The rink will also be open Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, as well as every day between Christmas and New Years Day.
The Loading Dock Ice Rink (Nov. 23 – March 8) As the waters begin to freeze at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, the Loading Dock Ice Rink offers a place like no other to enjoy winter right on the riverfront. The Ice rink is located inside the historic Boatworks building adjacent to The Loading Dock.
St. Charles Christmas Traditions (Nov. 29 – Dec. 24) This annual month-long festival celebrates the holiday season. See the legendary Christmas figures and listen to the singing of carolers along the festively decorated brick lined streets. Enjoy the santa parade, marshmallow roast, candlelight reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” roasted chestnuts, a gingerbread village and more.
Central West End Window Walk (Dec. 7, 14 & 21) The Central West End Window Walk is a month-long celebration, with holiday fun each Saturday in December. Visitors are invited to stroll amidst elegantly decorated windows, while shopping at boutiques and enjoying seasonal libations and delicious meals at local restaurants. Visitors can also enjoy FREE holiday festivities, including carriage rides, ice carvings, carolers, s’mores, gift wrapping, pictures with Santa, live music, street performers and more!
Purina Farms Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar (Dec. 14-15) The Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar is a family-friendly event especially for dogs and kids! This St. Louis-favorite returns to the state-of-the-art Purina Event Center the weekend of Dec. 14-15 and offers fun for all ages, including a Kids Activity Area and photos with Santa. Admission and parking are free, and no reservations are necessary.
Finding the Perfect Gift
The St. Louis area has some of the finest neighborhood boutiques and shops for holiday giving, from The Loop to Washington Ave. in downtown, or the quaint shops in Maplewood, Ferguson, Cherokee Street, Webster Groves, Kirkwood and old town St. Charles. If you’re searching for home furnishings, you must shop at IKEA St. Louis. The luxurious Plaza Frontenac provides the wonders of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus and other high-end shops. Bargain hunters won’t have to look far, Chesterfield is home to St. Louis Premium Outlets®, offering yet another great shopping experience for residents and visitors to the region. Gift shops within St. Louis’ renowned attractions and museums (many open free of charge) are treasure troves of great shopping. The Old Courthouse, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum and the Thomas Sappington House Museum not only offer an incredible selection of unusual gift items, but a quick tour of the museums’ galleries provide a refreshing break from the holiday shopping hubbub.
To see a full listing of all the wonderful holiday events taking place in St. Louis this holiday season, visit explorestlouis.com/events