To make the most of winter in St. Louis, people sled down Art Hill in Forest Park.

Activities to Make the Most of Winter in St. Louis

Wednesday December 20, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

Winter is a great time to visit St. Louis – that’s snow joke.

Throughout the season, the region is abuzz with fun activities for the whole family. Whether you want to lace up your skates, strap on your skis or bundle up for wild animal encounters, we can almost guarantee that you’ll have a good time.

Here are seven of our favorite activities to make the most of winter in St. Louis.

Ice Skating

People of all ages ice skate at Winterfest in downtown St. Louis.

Both shaky skaters and seasoned professionals enjoy taking laps around the ice rinks in St. Louis. Nestled in the sprawling acres of Forest Park, Steinberg Skating Rink is the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest. Glide around the festively lit venue and then snuggle up with hot chocolate by a fire pit. For a more rustic experience, head to Brookdale Farms in Eureka, where you can enjoy the natural setting while practicing your spins. While you’re there, refuel at the Sugar Shack, which offers hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, hot cocoa bombs, jelly donuts, boozy shakes and more. Until Dec. 31, an ice rink will also dominate Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis as part of Winterfest.

Eagle Watching

A wintering bald eagle hunts in the Missouri River.

After the trees have lost their leaves and the brush has thinned, you’re more likely to see eagles in St. Louis. Approximately 20 miles north of downtown St. Louis and three miles west of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Fort Belle Fontaine is a prime eagle-watching spot. The former U.S. military base sits on 305 acres of parkland, where you can hike four miles of trails through peaceful upland prairies and beautiful wetlands to look for eagles. For another exciting eagle-watching experience, visit the old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which spans the Mighty Mississippi on the north edge of St. Louis. The pedestrian bridge has a dramatic 22-degree bend at the middle of the crossing, making it easier to spot eagles and other birds.

If you’re in town on Jan. 6, 2024, head to the Alton Eagle Ice Festival, which celebrates the return of wintering bald eagles to southwest Illinois in grand fashion. At FLOCK Food Truck Park, enjoy eagle-watching shuttle tours, food, drinks, DJ tunes, live ice-carving demonstrations and fire pits with s’more kits. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can also meet a majestic bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary. The National Great Rivers Museum, another site of the celebration, will offer talks by eagle experts, spotting scopes that give you a chance to view eagle nests, eagle-themed crafts and other family-friendly activities. If you want to see even more birds of prey, stop by the Audubon Center at Riverlands, where you can embark on a guided bird hike, or take a tour of the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower, where you can spot bald eagles from 50, 100 and 150 feet in the air!

Skiing and Snowboarding

A skier hits the slopes at Hidden Valley in the St. Louis region.

Believe it or not, St. Louis has a thriving ski scene. Located in Wildwood, approximately 30 miles west of downtown St. Louis, Hidden Valley is a winter playground for adventure-seekers from near and far. The resort has two peaks and 16 trails as well as state-of-the-art snowmaking machines to create the perfect base when Mother Nature has warmer plans. Ski and snowboard rentals are available, and Hidden Valley also boasts the largest snow-tubing hill in Missouri. The Polar Plunge Tubing Park offers guests an opportunity to soar down the snowy hill without a care in the world.

Owl Prowls

The World Bird Sanctuary hosts Owl Prowls during winter in St. Louis.

Walk on the wild side at the World Bird Sanctuary. Dark winter nights are the perfect time to join one of its Owl Prowls, where you can meet the amazing birds that fly by moonlight. Held on select evenings from November through March every year, Owl Prowls offer an exciting opportunity to learn more about the intriguing life of owls from a local naturalist. Come face-to-face with live owls, take an easy night hike across the grounds and try to call to an owl in the wild. Hoot. Hoot.


During winter in St. Louis, people sled down Art Hill in Forest Park.

Sledding on Art Hill in Forest Park is a rite of passage for St. Louisans and a must-do winter activity for visitors – if you’re here at the right time. After it snows, people of all ages haul their sleds to the hill in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum, get in position and let gravity do its thing. At the top, take a moment to enjoy the panoramic view of the park, and don’t forget to bail before you reach the Grand Basin at the bottom. If you’re in the mood to explore after sledding, stroll along one of the park’s picturesque walking trails.

Wolf Howls

At the Endangered Wolf Center, Mexican gray wolves howl.

A lone wolf howling to the moon is a popular winter motif, and the Endangered Wolf Center aims to eliminate some of the mystique. During its Wolf Howls, you’ll learn about wolf communication. Education coordinator Jimmy Parsons can imitate each howl, and you might be lucky enough to hear the wolves howl back. You can also take a deep dive into the Endangered Wolf Center’s astounding legacy, as it’s spent 50 years working to dispel the negative imagery of wolves and promote the conservation of Mexican wolves and American red wolves, among other endangered species of canids. The evening event includes a half-mile walk near canid habitats and light refreshments, too.

Hockey Games

Jordan Kyrou throws a puck into the stands at a St. Louis Blues home game.

Winter in St. Louis wouldn’t be complete without cheering on the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. You can watch an action-packed hockey game with some of the best fans in sports and, in between periods, grab hearty fare from local eateries, including barbecue from Sugarfire Smokehouse and burgers and fries from Hi-Pointe Drive-In, at the arena’s concession stands.

To see a full list of events happening this winter in St. Louis, check our events calendar.