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Tis the Season…Holiday Events in St. Louis

2013 November 21
by Becky

Photo via 

I’ve been sorting through all the holiday events and realizing this is going to be tough…how many times can a kid see Santa without getting completely confused? St. Louis has so many holiday events happening, it’s just one more reason to be impressed by this fabulous city.

We’re going to be surrounded by lights, jolly fat men, and family fun all holiday season! These are some of the top events, let me know about any of your favorites I may have missed!

Steinberg Skating Rink @ Forest Park November 16 through February 28
Skate outside in the gorgeous setting of Forest Park! Ethan’s a little too young this year, but Stu’s quite the skater (from his roller blading days) and I know he’ll have our Little Man out there next year. Grab hot chocolate or pop across Kingshighway for lunch in the Central West End after an nice long skate.

Gardenland Express Holiday Flower & Train Show @ The Missouri Botanical GardenNovember 21 through January 1
Take the kids to see over 900 feet of track winding through a miniature holiday landscape made up of holiday decorations and plant life. After seeing a similar display at the US Botanic Garden in DC last year, I know it will be a hit with Ethan and we’ll be stopping by for sure. Trains and Christmas just go together! Cost is $5/person or free for members. Check the website for dates and times.
Update: We saw this after the Garden Glow. I wouldn’t make a special trip for only the trains, but they are really cute.

Santa vs. The Snowmen @ St. Louis Science CenterNovember 22 through December 31
This one’s a little silly, but sounds super fun! This movie about snowmen “waging war” on Santa will be playing on the Omnimax Theater ginormous screen. The animation looks adorable and story-line hilarious…too bad Ethan is terrified of the place. We tried to see a butterfly movie there and it was a huge failure involving tears. Cost is $6/adult, $5/kids, unless you have free passes from your membership.

Missouri Botanical Garden Glow – November 23 to January 4
You need tickets to this event, and I’m sure the good dates and times sell out fast. While I’ve never been, it sounds like a blast! We were there to weeks ago and noticed them already decorating for this event. Lights everywhere. Tunnels, garlands, trees strung up to the max. We’re going on the members only night to beat the crowds! Admission varies per date, but it’s fairly reasonable, under $20/person.
Update: We went to this and it is amazing. 

Macy’s Festival of LightsFriday, November 22
This event is known to “kick off” the yuletide season with the lighting of the huge Christmas tree in Kiener Plaza, holiday characters, and fireworks. Sounds very…uh…festive! And since we will be in town that weekend, I’m sure we will make our way down to the chaos that is a downtown parade. Ethan will love it.

Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park – November 27, 2013 – January 1, 2014, 5:30 – 9:30pm
For years I’ve been hearing about the holiday display at Tilles Park. This year we will be heading over to check it out by carriage, through a display of “one million” lights. Cars are welcome to drive through too, but not on Saturdays. Carriage rides run around $65/four people.

Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade – Thursday, November 28, beginning at 8:45am
Celebrating its 29th year, the parade festivities will begin at the corner of Washington Ave and Fourth Street in downtown St. Louis. Over 130 floats, displays, marching bands, animals, giant helium balloons, and Santa will head south and turn West on Market Street, ending at 10th. I never thought I’d say it, but we are parade people. Kids and parades just work together! And St. Louis knows how to put on a good one…it seems like every weekend there’s one going on somewhere in town!

U.S. Bank Wild Lights @ The Saint Louis Zoo Weekends, November 29 through December 30
Just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun at the zoo! With so many indoor attractions, it’s still an almost weekly stop for us. The new Monsanto Discovery Room alone is worth a visit! But soon much of the zoo will be covered with thousands of lights making it an enchanting winter wonderland of fun. Check the website for times…they get confusing!

Historic Holiday Traditions @ The Old CourthouseNovember 30 through January 4
For something different this season, check out the festive events at the beautiful downtown courthouse. These free events include many musical performances, authentic Victorian decorations, costumed performers, dance instruction, and more. Groups like Clayton Strings and St. Louis Irish Arts will be featured. So many events at different times and days throughout the season, check the website for details.

Dinner with Santa @ The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House – November 30 and December 1, 7, 8, 14 & 15, 4:30pm – 7pm
We’ve learned that special events at the Butterfly House are worth the drive, and I think this event sounds like another winner! Eat a pasta dinner then decorate some cookies, drink hot chocolate, get a picture with Santa, and take the family on a night time butterfly hunt through the Tropical Observatory. Other attractions include face painting, a photo booth, story time, and ornament painting. Tickets are $15/adults, $8/kids. MOBOT members get a $2 discount.

Perennial Holiday Party + Open House December 5, 5pm – 8pm
If you aren’t familiar, Perennial is this incredible local organization (for which I serve on a committee) that specializes in taking found/used/trashed items and turning them into very cool art, furniture, and fashion pieces. I’m sad we won’t be in town for their holiday party and open house, but I hope to send as many friend their way as possible…your mind will be blown! The event will feature several pop-up shops, Perennial’s sale goods, tea from the Re-trailer, and guests will be able to do some crafting of their own. The cost? Free! But make sure to check out their classes and membership options…they have  class to meet everyone’s interests!

Holiday Window Walk @ Central West End – Saturday, December 7, 1pm – 7pm
I had to dig for this information after a tip from a friend, but it sounds like a blast! The ever charming Central West End will be transformed into an winter wonderland street festival as shop and restaurant owners go all out with their window displays. I saw something about Budweiser Clydesdales, music, drinks, food, and special discounts. Apparently celebrity judges are involved? Honestly, the CWE knows how to party, so just head on down.

Christmas On The HillSaturday, December 7, 12pm to 9pm
The last event we attended on The Hill was fantastic – sleepy and not over crowded, yet fun and family friendly. We love how everyone on The Hill knows each other, someone always shouting hello down the street and families making the rounds to the local businesses. I think we’ll head over to see what’s going on! Why do I think Italian food and some good music will be involved? They mentioned carriage rides and a Christmas Market on their website.

Breakfast with Santa @ The St. Louis Zoo December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, & 22
Enjoy a gourmet meal at the Zoo’s beautifully decorated Living World Building—apparently complete with china-set tables—surrounded by holiday characters and featuring a big entrance by Santa. Families can take complimentary photos with the Big Man and kids will leave with a treat from Santa’s bag of goodies. Parking is free! But reservations must be made and paid for in advance.  Dinner with Santa is available too, just click the link for details.

Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour – December 8, 10am – 6pm
How did I forget this event??! Beginning at Park House, take a tour of the fabulous townhouses in this charming neighborhood. One of the best houses? My aunt and uncles on Hickory Street! They were even featured in the Post Dispatch this year! I hope to be one of the many people oogling at all the beautifully designed homes that are so graciously opened up to the public. Get tickets online ($16/person) or buy at the event ($20/person).

Breakfast with Santa @ The Magic HouseSunday, December 8 & Sunday, December 15 (Members Only Day – Dec. 16)
Eat pancakes, play, make holiday crafts, and talk to the Big Guy in one of our favorite St. Louis attractions, the Magic House. From what we’ve experienced in the last nine months, this place has their act together for special events. Apparently kids get to watch a “master chef” flip the flap jacks! Several times are available each day, cost is $20/person for non-members, $15/person for members and includes breakfast and museum admission. Make reservations early!

Candy Cane Hunt @ Kirkwood Park Lion’s Pavilion – Saturday, December 14, 10am
We’ll be attending this event featuring, you guessed it, candy canes! Kids will be released to collect candy canes, some with special prizes attached! Arrive early to make a hunting bag and stay after for hot chocolate and pictures with Santa. Get there early, the hunt goes fast! $3/residents, $5/non-resident. Pre-registration is required.

Holiday Express Train @ Union Station – Friday, December 14, 1:30pm – 7:30pm
I cannot wait to see the look on Ethan’s face when we stroll up to this awesomeness! Not only will this train be covered with lights, it will be surrounded by the fabulous Union Station—not the shopping destination it once was, but still gorgeous.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas @ The St. Louis Symphony – December 14 & 15
To me, the holidays aren’t complete without Mannheim Steamroller. Whether these rockin’ compositions are playing along with a house with specifically timed lights or just playing on the radio, Chip Davis’s masterpieces gets my yuletide blood flowing. Powell Hall will host this event for the first time ever this holiday season. You’ll hear favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Deck the Halls” and many more.

Pet-Acular Bazaar and Breakfast with Santa @ Purina Farms – December 14-15, 11am – 4pm
This sounds like it’s right up our animal-lover alley! Over 40 local artisans will be peddling their wares, doggie demonstrations will be dazzling, and kids will enjoy bounce houses, train rides, puppet shows, face painting, and a coloring contest. Santa will be there for photos with your kids AND pets! That’s right, pets are welcome to this event. If you purchase advance tickets ($10/kids, $8/adults, under 2 is free), breakfast and crafting with Santa is offered at 9:30am each day.

Winter Break Puppet Shows @ Faust Park CarouselDecember 20 and 27 (Fridays) – 9:30am to 10:00am
I’ve always heard about the puppet shows at Faust Park but amazingly we’ve never been. Sure it’s a quite a drive out to Chesterfield, but we LOVE this park—the playground, picnic grounds, beautiful indoor carousel, and the Butterfly House are all right in one area and worth the travel time every now and then. We’ll be planning to hit up one of these puppet shows for sure, then riding the carousel for free! The cost is $6/person in advance, $8/person day of, includes a free carousel ride. Call 314-615-8383 for tickets.

5 Responses
  1. Barbara Kasten permalink
    November 23, 2013

    We stumbled upon the Central West End Holiday and Walk and Tree Lighting last year and it was amazing. We ended staying almost three hours. Trolley rides, charolers, lights, tree lighting, arts and crafts in covered tent, and all the normal CWE greatness. I think it is the first weekend in December.

    • Becky permalink*
      November 24, 2013

      Thanks Barbara! I just added it to the list…not a ton of info out there but the CWE knows how to put on a fun event so I’m sure it will be worth a visit on the 7th! We’ll be back in town so I hope we can stop by.

  2. Ashwin Kurup permalink
    December 12, 2013


    sorry to leave this as a comment but thought you may reply this way. I am 2 weeks post microdiscectomy and was wondering how you are doing. Can we please connect?



    • Becky permalink*
      December 12, 2013

      I’m doing great!! Sent you an email :)

  3. March 27, 2014

    I like the banquette seating information on this webpage.

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