Make Your Plans Now to Enjoy St. Louis Holiday Classics

Monday October 17, 2016

By Explore St. Louis Guest

For more information, contact:

Anthony Paraino at 314-992-0654, or

Kiara Bryant at 314-992-0614

For Immediate Release


Holiday Celebrations Across St. Louis Begin With Annual Festival of Lights on Nov. 19

 ST.LOUIS (Oct. 17, 2016) – The wonders of the holiday season are nearly upon us, and Explore St. Louis is your gateway to all the magical events and experiences that await you and your family in St. Louis. From parades, train rides, light displays, live entertainment, shopping and much more, St. Louis has a variety of classic holiday traditions that families have enjoyed for generations. Once again St. Louis is packed with holiday fun that begins with the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights and concludes with the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium.  Here’s just a sampling of the events you’ll need to put on your calendar.

Classic Events to Welcome in the Season

The always anticipated Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights (Nov. 19) in Aloe Plaza across the street from historic Saint Louis Union Station, helps ring in the holiday season with musical entertainment, children activities, vendors,  and fireworks that follow the annual lighting of the Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights.  Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 24) takes to the streets of downtown with over 130 parade units, including musical floats, displays, giant helium balloon figures, local marching bands and an appearance by Santa Claus to wish everyone at Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.  Prior to the parade, runners of all ages will be hitting the streets for the annual Hungry Turkey 5K.  These events are all hosted by the Christmas in St. Louis organization in partnership with Ameren Missouri and the City of St. Louis.

Twinkling Lights

The annual Way of Lights Christmas display (Nov. 18-Dec. 31), at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows takes visitors on a biblical journey with a mile-and-a-half drive of over one million lights.

For over 30 years, Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park (Nov. 23-Jan. 1, Closed Dec. 24 and 31) has been  one of the most popular Christmas light displays in the area, celebrating the joyous season with various holiday scenes.

Visitors are invited to walk through the world-renowned Saint Louis Zoo and take in a wonderland of spectacular light displays at U.S. Bank Wild Lights (Nov. 25-27, Nov. 30-Dec. 4, Dec. 7-11, 14-23, & 26-30).  At the Garden Glow lighting exhibit (Nov. 19-Jan 1; Exhibit Closed Dec. 24 and 25) at the Missouri Botanical Garden, visitors will be surrounded by a spectacle of unique light installations as lights will adorn some of the Garden’s most iconic locations.

Even more lights will be on display at other locations in the St. Louis area, including the Christmas Candlelight Tour (Dec. 2-3 and 9-10) at the Historic Daniel Boone Home & Heritage Center, the fabulous Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights (Nov. 17-Jan. 1), and the kiddos will not want to miss a drive through Santa’s Magical Kingdom (Nov. 18 - Jan. 8) in Jellystone Park near Six Flags St. Louis.

Gracing the Stage

The magic of the holidays continues with the sounds of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Scottrade Center on Dec. 4. A special showcase of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite will be performed by the Jazz St. Louis Big Band at Jazz at the Bistro (Dec. 19-21). For two evenings, The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis will present a special concert of Christmas favorites with the Twelfth Annual Christmas at the Cathedral (Dec. 10-11). The whole family will love seeing Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox in Grand Center on Nov. 30. Ambassadors of Harmony will rekindle the joy of the holidays with Sounds of the Season (Dec. 9-11) at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  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 on Dec. 16-18.

Seasonal Happenings & Family Fun

The Missouri Botanical Garden welcomes the Chanukah: Festival of Lights (Dec. 18) with a symbolic lighting of the menorah, followed by Jewish music and dancing.  The annual Kwanzaa Celebration returns to the Saint Louis Art Museum on Jan. 1 with culture, performance and the tradition of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The Santa Express Train Ride featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas will depart from St. Louis Union Station during the most wonderful time of year (Nov. 18-Dec. 30).  Six Flags St. Louis’ becomes a magical winter wonderland featuring thousands of colorful lights and thrilling rides as Holiday in the Park begins Nov. 25-Jan.1. The Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour will take place Dec. 11, showcasing a dozen of one of the largest collections of Victorian homes in the country decorated for the holiday season.

A corridor of over 1,500 glowing luminaries welcomes visitors to the Augusta’s Candlelight Christmas Walk (Dec. 2 & Dec. 9) with sights, sounds and smells of ‘Christmas yesteryear’ in charming Augusta, Mo.

Always a holiday and seasonal favorite is a visit to Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park (opens mid-Nov. through Feb. 23 – with extended holiday hours, Nov. 23 - 26 and Dec. 16 - Jan. 7, 10 a.m. – Midnight). Enjoy outdoor skating with the wondrous backdrop of the downtown Clayton skyline and the long-standing oak trees at the Shaw Park Ice Rink (Nov. 25-Feb. 26).

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.

Game of the Year

St. Louis hockey fans have waited years for this game, as the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will come to Busch Stadium on Jan. 2 featuring the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.  Even if you can’t get tickets to watch these classic rivals battle it out on the ice at the ballpark, there are a plethora of fan activities to help celebrate this amazing event and the St. Louis Blues 50th anniversary season.

To see a full listing of all the wonderful holiday events taking place in St. Louis this holiday season, visit

Explore St. Louis is the driving force behind St. Louis’ $5 billion convention and tourism industry, the official destination marketing organization of St. Louis City and County and operator of the America’s Center Convention Complex.

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