As winter sets in and the holidays approach, we’re rounding up all of the great holiday festivities and memories for you and your family to cherish here in St. Louis. From twinkling lights and festive décor to warm fireside chats and gingerbread houses, we’ve got everything you need to make this season bright.
St. Louis is well-known for its classic holiday experiences that families have enjoyed for generations. Some of these include attending parades, going on train rides, viewing light displays, enjoying live entertainment, doing some shopping, and much more. All of these activities help to make the holiday season special and memorable. The holidays in St. Louis are always special and this year is shaping up to be no different. The Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and New Year’s Eve is always a blast in the city. So be sure to check out these and other great events happening in St. Louis this holiday season! Browse our selection of holiday activities below and start planning your visit today!
Classic Events to Welcome in the Season
Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights
This holiday season, get into the spirit by attending the Festival of Lights! You’ll be able to enjoy live performances, special appearances, ice skating, tree lights, and fireworks all in one place. This event is guaranteed to get you excited for the holiday season ahead.
Ameren’s Thanks for Giving Parade
This St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition that is beloved by locals and visitors alike. The parade boasts over 130 different units, including musical floats, displays, giant helium balloon figures, and marching bands from all around the St. Louis region. The parade has won multiple Emmy awards and is definitely worth the early morning trip! Santa Claus is going to be at the end of the parade to make sure everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. This is a special event and you should gather the family to enjoy it.
There is something so enchanting about the captivating lighting displays during this time of year. There are so many options in St. Louis that will fill your spirit with wonder and joy. You’ll absolutely love driving around to look at all of the different lights people have put up. It makes you feel very Christmas-like at the same time.
Way of Lights
The Way of Lights Christmas display will once again attract families from across the region at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. This one-of-a-kind display features a mile-and-a-half drive with over one million lights and displays. Life-size biblical statues take visitors on a journey to Bethlehem, providing them with an unforgettable experience.
Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park
For over 30 years, Tilles Park in St. Louis County has been making memories for families across the region with its Winter Wonderland Christmas light display. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the most popular Christmas light displays in the area. The park is absolutely filled to the brim with millions of twinkling lights and various holiday scenes. Every inch of the park is covered in some kind of decoration, making it a magical place to be during Christmas time.
Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden will be holding a special event where visitors can come at night and see the beauty of the garden in a whole new light. With different light installations throughout, it’ll be a sight to behold. The Central Axis, the Climatron, and the Tower Grove House are the most famous locations in the Garden. Walkways will be transformed into visual attractions, and traditional displays will surprise people of all ages.
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo
Saint Louis Zoo visitors are in for a treat this holiday season! In addition to being able to see all of the amazing animals that call the zoo home, they will also be able to experience a wonderland of spectacular light displays. This is definitely an event that you won’t want to miss!
Holiday Lights at Grant’s Farm
Tune in your radio and twinkle into the night as you witness this exclusive light display at Grant’s Farm. Enjoy the show with loved ones from the comfort of your own vehicle. Reservations are required. Vehicles with children will receive a complimentary bag of festive goodies.
More than a million twinkling lights illuminate the Budweiser St. Louis Brewery for the annual Brewery Lights. Pestalozzi Street is transformed into a magical holiday experience with twinkling lights, fire-pits, and new VIP Igloos for groups of up to 8 guests. Strolling down the street, you’ll marvel at the transformation of the brewery into a winter wonderland.
Seasonal Happenings & Family Fun
St. Charles Christmas Traditions
This festival, which occurs annually and lasts for a month, celebrates the holiday season. The famous Christmas figures are visible and the singing of carols is heard on the streets. The Santa Parade is a great event for the whole family. You can enjoy the parade, roast marshmallows, have a candlelight reading, roasted chestnuts, a gingerbread village, and more. This event is sure to get you in the holiday spirit!
Central West End Window Walk
Visitors are invited to stroll through beautifully decorated windows while shopping and eating at local restaurants and boutiques. Whether you’re searching for that perfect gift or just looking to get into the holiday spirit, the Central West End Window Walk is sure to delight you. There are also a variety of FREE holiday events to attend, including pictures with Santa, live music, street performers, and carriage rides. Come on down and take advantage of what the holidays have to offer.
Santa Pictures at Plaza Frontenac
This holiday season, make your family’s Christmas even more special by paying a visit to the one and only Santa Claus! His helpers have been busy preparing for the big day and making sure that everything is just perfect. Be sure to get a few photos with Santa while you’re there – it’ll be a memory that you’ll treasure forever. To avoid disappointment, we recommend making a reservation in advance.
Pet Nights with Santa at Plaza Frontenac
Make sure to include your furry family members in the holiday fun this year with photos with Santa! To capture paw-fect holiday moments that you will remember for a long time, get the whole family together and pose with Santa Claus, both two-legged and four-legged. Be sure to make a reservation so that you can get a spot with Santa.
Santa Cares Day at Plaza Frontenac
Children of all spectrums of special needs and their families can experience a tradition of visiting and taking photos with Santa at a sensory-friendly event before the mall opens. Although reservations are encouraged, they are not required.
Polar Express Train Ride
This holiday season, take a trip to the North Pole that you’ll never forget by boarding the Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station. Imagine the look on your child’s face when they see Santa Claus himself stepping aboard the train to hand out the first gift of Christmas. This festive event is perfect for family and friends looking to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Augusta’s Candlelight Christmas Walk
As you walk down the corridor of over 1,500 luminaries, you will feel as though you have been transported back in time to Christmas yesteryear. The sights and smells of Christmas will be all around you, and the sounds of holiday music will fill the air. This is an experience that you won’t want to miss!
Not only will Santa be spreading holiday cheer this season, but the Grinch will also be too! To help raise funds, the Grinch will be taking photos with participants. Those who bring a toy donation can get their photo taken for only $5 – so spread some holiday joy and donate a toy today!
Holiday in the Park
Six Flags St. Louis is transformed into a magical winter wonderland during the holiday season, with 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. You’ll feel like you’re in a real-life snow globe when you visit!
Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park
A visit to Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park is always a holiday and seasonal favorite. It is the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest and is open to the public every day of the week, including holidays. This rink is a great place to take the family for an afternoon of skating and fun. And visitors can enjoy skating amidst the beautiful scenery of the park.
Downtown St. Louis comes alive during the holiday season! Enjoy festive activities like ice skating, admiring holiday lights, listening to holiday music, cozying up in igloos, browsing a winter market, and more. This year’s festivities will also include an annual New Year’s Eve celebration complete with fireworks.