The holiday season is here and there are so many ways to get into the spirit in St. Louis. Sure, you may want to pick out the perfect tree or sip hot cocoa by the fire, but below are other events just begging to become an annual holiday tradition. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, there’s something for everyone this holiday season. Have your own holiday event, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Christmas Light Displays:
Santa’s Magical Kingdom
It takes quite a while to see the 35 acres of Christmas lights at Santa’s Magical Kingdom in south St. Louis County. Millions of lights and dozens of holiday scenes fill Jellystone Park in Eureka. You can see Santa’s flying reindeer, travel through the Candy Cane Village or visit the Waterfall of Lights. For even more fun, take an old-fashioned wagon ride through the display. After seeing the lights, head over to Kringle’s General Store for a little holiday shopping. Santa’s Magical Kingdom is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20 per car, van, truck, or SUV.
Nov. 18, 2016- Jan. 8, 2017
Jellystone Park, Eureka
AB Brewery Lights
Anheuser-Busch has improved and expanded its holiday light display near Soulard. AB celebrates Christmas each year by decorating the brewery complex with thousands of lights. This year, you can also enjoy live music, fire pits, and free samples of AB products Thursday through Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Enter at the Tour Center at 1200 Lynch Street.
Nov. 17, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017
AB Brewery, South St. Louis
Way of Lights
The Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville is one of the area’s most popular Christmas displays (see pictures of the display). More than a million lights are used to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. You can drive through the display or take a carriage ride. There’s also a laser light show, camel rides, an indoor Christmas tree display and an interactive play area for the kids. The Way of Lights is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to view the lights is free, but there is a small charge for the laser light show, camel rides, and other attractions. Donations are also accepted.
Nov 18, 2016 – Dec 31, 2016
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Belleville
Another option for holiday lights in the Metro East is the Winter Wonderland of Lights in Lebanon, Illinois. Colorful lights and hand-painted scenes are used to create a Victorian style holiday show for the whole family. The drive through display is set up at Horner Park in Lebanon. That’s about 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Winter Wonderland is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Nov. 18, 2016 – December 31, 2016
Horner Park, Lebanon, IL
Hundreds of thousands of lights will decorate the Missouri Botanical Garden for the holidays. Walk through the light display, then take in the Victorian Christmas decorations at Tower Grove House. Garden Glow also has live holiday music, snacks and shopping. Garden Glow is open most evenings during the Christmas season from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. General admission is $16 for adults and $10 for children, $3 for children on Wednesday nights. The price for adults increases to $18 after December 15. Watch a preview, here.
Nov. 19, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Missouri Botanical Garden, South St. Louis
Winter Wonderland: Tilles Park
For 30 years, employees with the St. Louis County Parks Department have turned Tilles Park into a Winter Wonderland. You can drive through the display, but the best way to see the lights is by horse-drawn carriage. Winter Wonderland is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., except for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Cars are welcome Sunday through Friday, but Saturdays are reserved for carriage rides. Admission is $10 per car. Tickets for carriage rides are available through MetroTix, and vary depending on the size of the carriage.
Nov. 23, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Tilles Park, St. Louis County
Go a little wild this holiday season with Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo. If you’ve never been to the zoo on a winter evening, this is a real treat. Walk through the exhibits as they come alive with more than 500,000 lights. Kids can hear holiday stories and adults can do a little shopping at the Holiday Zootique. Wild Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for Zoo members and $8 for non-members during the week; $9 and $10 respectively during the weekend. Children under two get in free.
Wednesday through Sunday Nov. 30 – Dec. 4, Dec. 7 – Dec. 11, Every night through Wednesday Dec. 14 – Dec. 23, Every night through Monday Dec. 26 – Dec. 30
St. Louis Zoo, Forest Park
Each year, Alton’s Rock Spring Park twinkles with more than two million lights during the holiday season. You’ll see cascading waterfalls, lighted trees and dozens of magical displays. Kids can also visit Santa in the Enchanted Forest or get up close with goats, llamas and other animals at the petting zoo. Christmas Wonderland is open Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $7 for cars and small vans, or $1 a person for vehicles with more than 10 people. You can also take a carriage ride through the display.
Nov. 25, 2016- Dec. 27, 2016
Rock Spring Park, Alton
Celebration of Lights
Celebration of Lights is a holiday light display held at Fort Zumwalt Park. Each scene is designed and funded by local organizations, churches and businesses. Started in 1991, the event attracts more than 10,000 vehicles each year and more than 10,000 individuals during the Old-Fashioned Holiday Stroll. Celebration of Lights is openSunday, Tuesday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., and Monday are for train, wagon and sleigh-hayrides by advance reservation only. Admission is $10 for cars and $15 for large vans. Tuesday is discount night where all cars, vans and non-commercial vehicles are $7.
Nov. 25, 2016- Dec. 30, 2016
Fort Zumwalt Park, O’Fallon, MO
Holiday Night Lights
Holiday Night Lights is a drive through display set up each year at Rotary Park in Wentzville, Missouri. The display takes you through a mile-long wonderland of twinkling lights. Holiday Night Lights is open from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Nov. 25 through Dec. 15 Thursday through Sunday and open daily after Dec. 15 (except for Christmas Day). Admission is $8 for cars with up to six people, and $1 per person for vehicles with seven or more people.
November 27 – December 30, 2015
Rotary Park, Wentzville, MO
Holiday Festivals and Events:
Holiday Wreath Auction
Local floral designers are showing off their best work at the annual holiday wreath exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The wreaths are on display each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit is included with the cost of Garden admission. You also have the chance to own one of the featured wreaths by making a bid during the silent auction.
Nov. 19, 2015 – Jan.1, 2017
Missouri Botanical Garden
It’s all aboard for some holiday fun at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden is kicking off its holiday season with its “Gardenland Express” annual flower and train show. The show features model trains that wind their way though a miniature landscape filled with winter scenes and surrounded by poinsettias and other flowering plants. The display is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 a person.
Nov. 19, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017
Missouri Botanical Garden
Make the season merry and bright when you visit the Saint Louis Art Museum on December 9-11 for Winter Celebrations! The Saint Louis Art Museum’s gift to you is a weekend of festivities for family and friends inspired by the warmth of the season and cultures near and far. You’ll find performances and art activities that are the traditions you love, and new experiences to delight and surprise. Discover wonderful works of art on your scavenger hunt and see our magical tree. It’s a weekend of joy!
Dec. 9 – Dec. 11, 2016
St. Louis Art Museum
Dinner with Santa
Meet costumed characters Rudolf, Frosty and Jolly Old Saint Nick during dinner. Knowing that it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays without gift giving, Santa will present a treat to children and admission to Wild Lights with free parking for the whole family.
Dec. 16 – Dec. 19, 2016 at 5 p.m. & 7 p.m.
St. Louis Zoo
Holidays at Union Station
The happiest season of the year is going to be bigger and better than ever at St. Louis Union Station. Fourteen new attractions and experiences will create the biggest holiday hot spot in the Midwest. Train rides, hotel packages, spectacular decor, North Pole Village activities, ice skating and the new Fire & Light show provide something for the entire family. Watch a preview, here.
Nov. 18 – Dec. 30, 2016
St. Louis Union Station
CWE Window Walk
The kick-off festivities, held on Saturday, Dec.3 , will feature a day-long party with family themed events from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Activities and entertainment include ice sculpting, live holiday music, trolley rides down Euclid to visit our neighbors at Central West End LIVE, including kids’ crafts, a s’mores station and music by the St. Stephens Protomartyr Choir, the WashU After Dark Choir, and Sweetie and the Toothaches, a tree-lighting ceremony, and much more. Also on Dec.3, merchants will hold “open houses” where customers can receive special offers, drinks and holiday treats. Select retailers will offer 20% off your entire purchase.
Dec. 3, 10, & 17, 2016
Central West End
The RFT’s Holiday Spirits
RFT’s Holiday Spirits: A swirl of spirits, specialty cocktails and merriment! Don’t miss the RFT’s Holiday Spirits, which features a variety of spirits from local, regional and worldwide distilleries. Guests will enjoy winter-themed cocktails, light bites, a live band, DJ and much more. General admission tickets ($20) include a commemorative glass, hors d’oeuvres and unlimited craft cocktail tastings from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets $30.
Dec. 3, 2016
Home for the Holidays
The small town of Elsah, Illinois, is known as the “village where time stood still.” Elsah’s historic charm is certainly on display during the holidays. Visitors can tour homes decorated for Christmas, do a little shopping and attend the lighting of the village Christmas tree.
Dec. 3, 2016
Christmas in Old Town Florissant
The festivities begin at 2 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall with seasonal music. The Tree Lighting at the end of the activities concludes the day. Santa Claus will arrive at city hall at 2:15 p.m. and welcome all children to visit him. You can also make a craft, decorate a cookie donated by Helfer’s, have your face painted by the Valley of Flowers Queen and her maids Let Cookie the Clown make your very own balloon sculpture Listen to a Christmas story Listen to wonderful seasonal music. And of course have cookies and cocoa Shops will be open along rue St. Francois with regular business hours. So come early before the event to have lunch and shop!
Dec. 3, 2016
Skate with Santa
Santa Claus will be lacing up his ice skates and taking a spin at Steinberg Rink in Forest Park. You can skate with Santa from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Skating fees are $7 a person and $6 for skate rental.
Dec. 3, 2016
Steinberg Rink in Forest Park
The Taste of Chocolate and Holiday River Walk
Celebrate the season at the Taste of Chocolate and Holiday River Walk in Grafton. Businesses along Main Street will be offering special promotions, music and entertainment, while the Grafton Winery serves up all kinds of chocolate treats. Tickets are $9 in advance and $10 at the door.
Dec. 3, 2016
Soulard Holiday Parlour Tour
This is the 41st year for the Holiday Parlour Tour in Soulard. Take a walk through historic homes decorated for the season. The event also includes a holiday bazaar, food and music. Tickets are $25.
Dec. 3 & 4, 2016
Purina Farms’ Pet-acular Bazaar
Come shop, celebrate, and commemorate the season at our annual kid- and dog-friendly festival at the indoor Purina Event Center from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Dec. 3 & 4, 2016
Purina Event Center
All is Calm
You have many entertainment options for the Christmas season, but limited time. Make time to see Peter Rothstein’s All Is Calm. This acappella musical is inspired by the soldiers on both sides of World War I who laid down their guns and embraced their fellow men rather than fight on Christmas Day. It’s a moving story beautifully presented by Mustard Seed Theatre, which brings it back for a fourth (and final) year in a row. Tickets are $35.
Dec. 9 & 10, 8 p.m.
Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre
Lafyette Square Parlour Tour
Tour some of St. Louis’ finest Victorian homes all decked out for Christmas. The tour begins at Park House at 2023 Lafayette Avenue. All eleven of the homes on the tour are within walking distance, but there is also a trolley to shuttle visitors between homes. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. Children younger than 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.
Dec. 11, 2016
KMOX Holiday Radio Show
A live performance by your favorite radio personalities from KMOX. Each year, the station puts on an old-time, live radio play for the holidays. Tickets are $11.20 to $50.
Dec. 12, 2016
Sheldon Concert Hall
Kwanzaa Holiday Expo
Better Family Life is hosting a Kwanzaa Holiday Expo for local families. You will be treated to a shopping experience where you can purchase unique items and support many local businesses, but it’s more than just shopping. It’s a holistic celebration of African American culture where you’ll find great entertainment, opportunities to watch some thought provoking and entertaining films, hear engaging speakers, learn about Kwanzaa, eat some great food and take your children to a safe space where they can engage in culturally inspiring activities.
Dec. 17, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. & Dec. 18, noon – 6 p.m.
Better Family Life Cultural, Educational and Business Center
Chanukah at the Botanical Garden
Experience the traditions of Chanukah at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden will host “Chanukah: Festival of Lights” from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 18. The celebration begins with the symbolic lighting of the menorah, followed by Jewish music and dancing. There is also a traditional marketplace where shoppers can buy Chanukah items. Admission is included with a Garden ticket.
Dec. 18, 2016
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis Ballet’s Nutcracker
Gen Horiuchi’s version of The Nutcracker, on the vast Touhill stage, incorporates spectacular effects such as glitter, smoke and pyrotechnics plus new choreography each year to keep this holiday classic fresh. A magical adventure that’s appropriate for all ages, The Nutcracker features the talents of Saint Louis Ballet’s professional company along with students from the Saint Louis Ballet School – and special surprise guests in the comic role of Mother Ginger. Glorious dancing, Tchaikovsky’s classic score — a holiday tradition in Saint Louis since 2000!
December 16-23, 2016
Touhill Performing Arts Center
Missouri Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker
Missouri Ballet Theatre is performing the classic Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, at the Edison Theatre at Washington University. Dozens of local children are participating in the performances. Tickets are $35.
Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 17 , 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18, 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Edison Theatre, Washington University
St. Charles Christmas Traditions
When it comes to capturing the sweet, nostalgic essence of Christmastime in America, few places do it better than St. Charles’ Historic Main Street. Experience the magic for yourself at St. Charles Christmas Traditions, a month-long celebration of holiday cheer. Shop and dine along the red-brick streets, say hello to the strolling characters, and allow the festive carolers to lift your spirits. This is the perfect place to begin your own holiday tradition with your family, complete with a gingerbread village, chestnut-roasting and a host of Santas from around the world. Go on — get merry!
Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, 2016
Historic Main Street, St. Charles
JCC Family Hanukkah Celebration
The Jewish Community Center is hosting a Family Hanukkah Party this holiday season. This event is designed for families with children ages five and younger. The celebration includes Hanukkah songs, crafts, storytelling and a menorah lighting.
Dec. 25, 2016
Jewish Family Community Center
Kwanzaa: First Fruits
Celebrate African traditions at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This year’s Kwanzaa celebration will include music and storytelling. There will also be a boutique selling Kwanzaa crafts and jewelry. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday that takes its name from the Swahili term meaning “fruits of the harvest.” The celebration is from noon until 4 p.m. at the Garden’s Ridgway Center. Admission is included with a ticket to the Garden.
December 28, 2016
Missouri Botanical Garden
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
This brand-new Trans Siberian Orchestra show has to be seen to be believed. The story is about a runaway girl who takes refuge in an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve, and meets the Ghosts of Christmas…
Dec. 4, 2016
St. Louis Symphony Holiday Concerts
The St. Louis Symphony is celebrating the holidays with a series of special concerts including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and A Gospel Christmas with Richard Smallwood. Then, there are the popular Holiday Celebration concerts featuring favorite carols and holiday classics.
Dec. 3-18, 2016
Holiday Brass Concerts
The Holiday Brass Concerts are an annual tradition for many in St. Louis. The concerts will be at Manchester United Methodist Church on Woods Mill Road. Concerts are Monday, December 5, at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and Tuesday December 6, at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $26 for adults or $25 for students and seniors.
Dec. 5 & 6, 2016
Manchester United Methodist Church
Jazz St. Louis Holiday Jazz Concerts
Jazz St. Louis features Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O (Dec. 7 & 8), A Very Manly Christmas feat. Jim Manley’s Mad Brass & Rhythm (Dec. 9 & 10), Tim Warfield’s All-Star Jazz Christmas (Dec. 14 & 17), and Jazz St. Louis Big Band plays Ellington’s Nutcracker (Dec. 19 & 21).
Dec. 7 – 21, 2016
Jazz at the Bistro
Christmas at the Cathedral
Celebrate Christmas at the beautiful Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End. Christmas at the Cathedral concerts feature the Archdiocesan Adult Choir, Orchestra, Children’s Choir and Handbell Choir performing favorite holiday songs. Tickets are $24 to $49.
Dec. 10 & 11, 2016
Hometown Holiday Concert
The Northwinds Concert Band performs its annual holiday concert at the Florissant Civic Centre Theatre on December 8, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.
Dec. 11, 2016
Florissant Civic Centre Theatre
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular is a holiday show like no other. It’s an extravaganza of high-flying acrobats, aerialists and holiday cheer. The performances are choreographed to music from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $28 to $88.
Dec. 15, 2016
Mitzi MacDonald & Keltic Reign
A memorable Celtic music experience in a uniquely set Christmas Kitchen. Experience a special visit from a Scottish Santa, and everyone is invited on stage to partake of tea and homemade cookies during the performance! All proceeds going to Join Hands ESL. Please bring an unwrapped toy, or teen gift. They are also collecting non-perishable food items and gently used winter wear.
Dec. 20, 2016
Sheldon Concert Hall
Christmas Candlelight Concert
The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra performs its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert at Powell Symphony Hall. The evening features selections from Magnificat by John Rutter with solos by soprano Emily Birsan. Tickets are $30 to $75.
Dec. 22, 2016
Holiday Pops Spectacular
The Compton Heights Concert Band is joined by Hugh Smith, Robert Ellison and Gina Galati for its annual Holiday Pops Spectacular. The concert will include an upbeat program of holiday favorites and Christmas classics. Tickets are $30 to $75.
Dec. 23, 2016
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