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. 17) – Bring in the Christmas spirit right by attending the Festival of Lights! This event will be MC’d by Marissa Hollowed and Cory Stark from KMOV. 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, free skating, and tree lights along with fireworks! This event is jam packed with fun getting us ready for the holiday season. Join us at 3pm til 8pm at Kiener Plaza to have a good time!
Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 22) – Celebrating its 34th year, the 2018 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. 16 – Jan. 1) – 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. 21 – Dec. 30, 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. 17 – Jan 1; 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 (Nov. 23 – 25, Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, Dec. 5 – 9, 12 – 23, & 26 – 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. 16-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 (Nov. 16 – Jan. 6) – 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.
14th Annual Christmas at the Cathedral (Dec. 1 – 2) – 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.
A Magical Cirque Christmas (Dec. 4) – A holiday entertainment blockbuster set to dazzle audiences of all ages. Featuring the best talent from around the globe, A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS has it all – jaw-dropping magic, breathtaking circus acts, and the most angelic voices singing your favorite Christmas carols. Be transported to the golden age of entertainment by the mind-blowing talents, stunning costumes, comedy and more.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 6) – 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.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage (Dec. 6) – Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage is a fresh take on the timeless classic that gives the audience a completely new way of experience in the storyline as portrayed by real actors who maintain the integrity and spirit of each peanuts character.
A Christmas Carol (Dec. 6 – 9) – This fully-staged musical version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, has become a Yuletide tradition. The performances features a spirited ensemble of 23 performers who bring Dickens’ fable of redemption to life on a magical set created by noted designer James Othuse. A full array of timeless carols such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Away In a Manger” and “Here We Come A-Wassailing” are interwoven within the classic story of a tight-fisted, middle-class merchant Ebenezer Scrooge and all the beloved characters from Dickens’ 1843 novel.
Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical (Dec. 13 – 16) – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical returns to St. Louis for the first time since 2011 when it takes the stage at Stifel Theatre. THE GRINCH broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway during its holiday engagements at the St. James and Hilton theatres in New York. Since then, more than 1.5 million theatre-goers across America have been delighted by this heartwarming holiday musical, which The New York Times praised as “100 times better than any bedtime story”.
Home Alone In Concert (Dec. 14 – 15) – 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.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Dec. 22 – 23) – The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL.
Saint Louis Symphony’s Mercy Holiday Celebration (Dec. 21 – 23) – 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!
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. 9 – 11) -Make the season merry and bright with the Saint Louis Art Museum at Winter Celebrations. This weekend of performances, art activities, and festivities is inspired by the warmth of the season and traditions from around the world. See groups like Afriky Lolo and St. Louis Osuwa Taiko, decorate cookies with your little ones, hear traditional stories from other cultures and much more during this special two-day festival.
Polar Express Train Ride (Nov. 16-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. 9) – 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. 7) – 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. 1) – 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. 9 through Feb. 28 – with extended holiday hours, Nov. 21 – 24 and Dec. 21 – Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – Midnight) – 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.
Shaw Park Ice Rink (Nov. 23-Feb. 18 Select Days) – Ice skaters from across the region will once again flock to Shaw Park this year to enjoy one of the few remaining outdoor ice rinks in the area. The rink offers a wonderful backdrop with the downtown Clayton skyline and the long-standing oak trees in Shaw Park.
Winterfest (Nov. 17 – 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.
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 both St. Louis Premium Outlets® and Taubman Prestige 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