Families skate on the ice rink in downtown St. Louis during Winterfest.

The Best Events for Holiday Fun in St. Louis

Friday November 3, 2023

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 jolly train rides to spirited pop-ups 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

Enjoying holiday fun in St. Louis, a family roasts marshmallows during Winterfest.

November 18

Ushering in the holiday season, the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights also opens Winterfest in downtown St. Louis. The free, family-friendly event features festive holiday performances by local talent, photo opportunities with local mascots, real reindeer, vendor booths, the lighting of The Salvation Army Tree of Lights 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 the Gateway City.

November 18 to December 31

In downtown St. Louis, Kiener Plaza goes into overdrive for the holidays. Hosting Gateway Arch Park Foundation’s Winterfest from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31, the park fills up with fan favorites such as ice skating, s’more stations and igloos positioned under 100,000 twinkling lights. The festivities kick off with the annual Winterfest 5K and Kids Fun Run, which are the only routes through Gateway Arch National Park that support the park. Every Friday, children ages four to nine can ice skate for free, courtesy of the St. Louis Blues, while the sounds of holiday-themed karaoke serenade onlookers. Princesses and superheroes also visit Winterfest, and a family-friendly New Year’s Eve fireworks display will mark the end of the celebration. Get energy for all activities from the fantastic lineup of food trucks – plus, those 21 and older can stop by Pour Decisions for a signature cocktail. Let the fun begin!

November 23

Celebrating its 39th year, the 2023 Ameren Thanks-For-Giving Parade will feature festive parade units, including musical floats and displays, dance groups, drumlines and marching bands from the St. Louis region. As always, Santa Claus will also attend the festivities to wish everyone a happy holiday season.

Holiday Performances to Celebrate the Season

A performer break dances during a performance of ‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil.
‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil

November 21 to December 23

In this mile-a-minute, laugh-out-loud, hip-hop remix of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Hip-Hop Past, Present and Future. As they show Scrooge the path of rhythm and redemption, will he throw off his selfish chains and get down to the beat? Q Brothers Christmas Carol mixes everything from reggae to rock, taking this beloved story of love, forgiveness and Christmas spirit to the next level. Performed at the National Blues Museum, the rap-fueled musical is best enjoyed by those 12 and older.

November 25 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.

November 29 to December 10

‘Twas the Night Before… is Cirque du Soleil’s first Christmas show. Inspired by lines from the classic poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, the production tells the story of a jaded young girl who rediscovers the magic of Christmas. A festive flurry created especially for families, ‘Twas the Night Before… features thrilling acrobatics, lovable characters and a soundtrack of Christmas favorites reinvented by Cirque du Soleil.

December 1 to 16

In the spirit of the season, the Emmy Award-winning U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America will perform a family-friendly concert with all your favorite holiday songs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also lead a rendition of “Christmas Is Coming,” originally performed by John Denver and the Muppets. The holiday concerts will take place across the region on select days from Dec. 1 to 16.

December 8

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s IN UNISON Chorus will turn up the heat this holiday season with its soulful stylings. This year, A Gospel Christmas will be performed at Stifel Theatre.

December 9 and 10

Home Alone in Concert is back by popular demand! The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Jason Seber, will perform John Williams’ iconic score live to the hilarious and heartwarming holiday classic at Stifel Theatre. This is one experience that the whole family can share.

December 13

Spend an intimate acoustic evening with country stars Lady A, Kimberly Perry and Jackson Dean during Santa Jam at Stifel Theatre.

December 13

The sound of Kenny G’s saxophone is as iconic as his curls. Hear it live on Dec. 13, when the acclaimed musician brings The Miracles, Holidays & Hits Tour to The Factory. Since the release of his first holiday album in 1994, Kenny G’s holiday music has been a staple of the season, and Miracles: The Holiday Album remains one of the best-selling holiday albums of all time, 30 years later. “Our annual holiday shows have come to mean so much to me and my band,” Kenny G says on his website. “We truly look forward to playing these classic melodies and sharing the joy of the season with you all.”

December 17

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. 17. The rock opera is a completely updated presentation of the unforgettable, multi-generational holiday tradition, featuring enduring fan favorites alongside TSO’s greatest hits.

December 20

Do you remember the first time you heard the Christmas sounds of Mannheim Steamroller? You can relive the experience in December when they bring their annual holiday tour to The Fabulous Fox. “I want to thank our fans for making us part of their holiday tradition,” Chip Davis, founder and creator of Mannheim Steamroller, says. “We often see multigenerational families join us, and we can’t wait to see them again this holiday season.”

December 23

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

Holiday Fun for All

People cheers with warm drinks at The Chalet, a holiday pop-up bar at Le Méridien St. Louis Clayton.
The Chalet

Until December 31

Enjoy cozy luxury at The Chalet perched on the sky-high deck of Le Méridien St. Louis Clayton. With exclusive indoor-outdoor experiences, it serves as the ultimate winter escape. At the outdoor pop-up bar, try your hand at curling for $50 per hour, gather around a fire pit and savor seasonal bites and sips such as goat cheese truffles, barbecue pork sliders, warm mulled wine and smoky hot chocolate. Wooden pergolas, twinkling lights, heat lamps and blankets also add to the allure. The Chalet pop-up bar is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 31. Note: Chalet Fridays are $15 per person, but tickets include live music and s’more kits. If you want to transport your closest companions to a swanky alpine resort – without the fear of losing your luggage – book The Chalet Experience. Offering access to a private indoor room for 10 people, an outdoor patio and the pop-up bar, the two-hour experience also includes curling rink rentals, two bottles of Champagne and your choice of 10 beers.

November 7 to December 30

Decked out in glittering decorations, Up on The Rooftop will make you feel merry and bright. The holiday pop-up bar at Three Sixty atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark offers seasonal drinks and small plates among the extravagant décor. Spoiler alert: You’ll find everything from presents to reindeer hanging from the ceiling! While you’re here, enjoy mushroom arancini, smoked salmon chips and birria tacos, and wash it all down with a festive cocktail befitting the scene. Our go-to drinks include Gingerbread Zombie (overproof Jamaican rum, gingerbread cordial, pomegranate, grapefruit and lime), Noggy & Nice (Kentucky bourbon, Hennessey, eggnog and black fig syrup) and Polar Espresso Martini (peppermint vodka, cold-brew coffee, crème de cacao and oat milk). Bottoms up!

November 7 to December 31

The Train Shed at St. Louis Union Station has been transformed into a glittering holiday retreat. With wall-to-wall bling, The Sleigh Shed puts the excess of the holidays on full display. During their visit, guests can enjoy creative cocktails such as Sleighcation (double-aged dark rum, coconut rum, hazelnut liqueur, allspice dram, cream of coconut, lime and Angostura bitters) and Just Beclaus (vanilla vodka, Aperol, Abricot du Roussillon liqueur, cream, simple syrup, lemon and egg white), alongside appetizers and desserts. Don’t wait – gather a group, secure a table and lose yourself in this wonderland of whimsy.

November 17 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.


November 24 to December 23

Outrageous décor, Christmas costumes, themed menus and holiday tunes – this is LIT, a seasonal pop-up experience at Molly’s in Soulard. As you embrace the festive atmosphere, enjoy one of the 12 drinks of LITmas, including Partridge in a Pear Tree (Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh pear purée, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon and a Champagne float), Melted Snowman (Licor 43, Disaronno, RumChata and cream) and Mistletoe Kiss (Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, rosemary simple syrup and white cranberry juice). If you’re looking for an elf-size drink – in other words, a full-size shot – try Gingerbread Man with Bird Dog Gingerbread Flavored Whiskey and RumChata or Caramel Apple with Licor 43, DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker and Smirnoff Kissed Caramel. For food, order a variety of small bites, from Cajun shrimp dip to fried crab cakes and cheesy polenta bites to bacon-jalapeño Rangoon.

November 24 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.

November 24 to December 30

’Tis the season to get blitzed, and Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village has a holiday pop-up bar that yule love. The unforgettable experience includes brilliant décor, spruced-up photo ops, festive food, cheerful cocktails and themed events such as Naughty and Nice Singles Jingles and an ugly sweater party.

November 24 to December 31

Thirteen stories above the Grand Center Arts District, All I Want: The Queen of Christmas Pop-Up will take over the rooftop bar at Angad Arts Hotel beginning on Nov. 24. Dazzling visitors with its glitzy aesthetic, the pop-up experience will make you feel like you’re in a bona fide Christmas music video, complete with champagne and silver decorations, white fur accents and festive photo opportunities. Coinciding events such as All I Want for Brunchmas: A Very Carey Holiday Tribute (Nov. 26) and an adoption event with Stray Rescue of St. Louis (Dec. 10) will keep the joy pumping through the hotel until New Year’s Eve. While you’re here, savor a seasonal cocktail – or two. The Clausmopolitan will brighten your day with lemon and basil vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec and lime, while the Peppermint Twist will warm you from the inside out with peppermint vodka, Kahlúa and heavy cream.

November 24 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.

November 25 to December 16

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. 25 through Dec. 16, and reservations are required.

December 1

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, shop for an assortment of products at Mystic Valley or stock up on exclusive oils and vinegars at vomFASS. Storefronts will be decked out for the season, and many businesses will also offer live entertainment, complimentary refreshments and special discounts throughout the evening.

December 7

At The Magic House’s final adult play date of the year, you can enjoy appetizers, cocktails and holiday cheer. As you eat, drink and release your inner child, take photos with Santa and play in the museum – which will be decked out for the holidays. Reservations are required; ugly sweaters are optional. You must be 21 or older to attend.

December 7

Time to wine down at Winslow’s Table. On Dec. 7, beverage and retail director Kara Flaherty will host a wine class that spotlights regional pairings. The class includes wine tastings, small bites and tips for entertaining with the option to purchase featured wine from the cellar afterward. Flaherty will also share some great wines to keep in stock for the holiday season – plus, bottles that make great gifts for your loved ones.

December 10

The annual parlor tour in Lafayette Square is too special to miss. Participants of the Holiday Parlor Tour will be invited into 11 festively decorated homes on the self-guided walking tour. Unique in its history and character, every home reflects the diversity of the neighborhood’s residents. Ticket holders can also enjoy carriage rides in the park and trolley stops around the area. See – special!

December 16

This year marks the 11th 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 Armory STL, Ballpark Village, Budweiser Brew House, El Burro Loco, The Garage STL, The Honky Tonk STL, Molly’s in Soulard, Salt + Smoke, Sports & Social St. Louis, Tin Roof, The Boom Boom Room and The Over/Under Bar & Grill. 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.