The Winter Holidays in St. Louis – Things to See & Do

Photo credit: Melinda Smith

We are on our second-in-a-row snow day at VdM, so it’s time to start planning some winter family activities. Some of St. Louis’ best destinations get gussied up with lights and sparkle this time of year, ready for festive celebrations! Read on for ideas for your family in the coming weeks.

Outdoor Fun

Take the family sledding at Art Hill in Forest Park, Crestwood Park in Crestwood or any of these awesome sledding hills in and around St. Louis. You can do this for free and for as long as there’s snow on the ground.

Art Hill in Forest Park
Image courtesy of Riverfront Times

Ice skaters can head downtown to Winterfest Ice Rink in Kiener Plaza. On Kid/Family Sundays, you’ll be joined by characters like Snow White and Elsa. Winterfest Ice Rink also has a great new year’s eve celebration. Lace up your skates now through January 26.

Winterfest Ice Rink in Downtown St. Louis

For more outdoor ice skating, check out Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park through March 1.

Union Station and the Aquarium Grand Opening

Union Station opened as a train station 125 years ago and has reinvented itself many times since. This year Union Station completes an extensive renovation including the brand new St. Louis Aquarium. The Aquarium opens December 25 and is sure to be a fantastic experience!

St. Louis Aquarium in Union Station – Opens December 25

The new Union Station also offers a glimpse into St. Louis history in the Grand Hall, a giant Ferris wheel, a carousel, a ropes course, mini golf, several delicious restaurants and, during the holiday season, The Polar Express Train Ride. Purchase tickets to experience the magic of the classic children’s book through December 30.


Colorful and bright, elegant and tasteful and (ahem) flashy and full of character—there’s no shortage of holiday light displays in this town.

Drive, walk or take a carriage ride through Winter Wonderland in Ladue’s Tilles Park, an extravagant light display put on by St. Louis County Parks. Purchase tickets now through January 2.

Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park in Ladue

In St. Louis Hills, drive or walk through Candy Cane Lane—a neighborhood transformed by its residents into a fun, kitchy and beautiful winter wonderland. To round out the tradition stop at Ted Drewes on Chippewa first. The entrance to Candy Cane Lane is right behind it. No tickets are required, and the lights are up through December 31.

Candy Cane Lane in St. Louis Hills

Many more gawking-at-lights opportunities are available, including Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo through December 30, the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL through December 31 or Celebration of Lights in O’Fallon, MO through December 30.

Missouri Botanical Gardens

One more light display that cannot go unmentioned is Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Gardens through January 4. This is an awe-inspiring display that transforms the already beautiful garden grounds into a truly magical place.

Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Gardens

In addition to Garden Glow MOBOT has a calendar full of winter holiday events. On December 22 there’s a traditional Jewish holiday celebration, Chanukah: Festival of Lights. There will be dancing, music and a menorah-lighting ceremony.

Chanukah: Festival of Lights at MOBOT

For train and/or flower lovers, MOBOT hosts the Gardenland Express Train and Flower Show, with model trains traveling through a miniature holiday scene, through January 1. Also on MOBOT’s calendar is the Holiday Wreath Display and Auction through January 4 and the Victorian Christmas through December 29.


Each year Saint Louis Ballet treats audiences of all ages to The Nutcracker at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL, and it is a beautiful production every time. This year you can relive (or start) this tradition with your family from December 18 through 23.

The Nutcracker at the Touhill

Another annual tradition is the St. Louis Irish Arts Holiday Concert. Musicians, dancers and singers from St. Louis Irish Arts put together a festive, traditional show that the whole family will love. December 21 at Sheldon Concert Hall.

St. Louis Irish Arts Holiday Concert

And More…

There really are so many things to do with your family this season in St. Louis. Here’s a list of a few more:

Winter Getaway and Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at the Missouri History Museum – December 27 through 31

Home Alone in Concert with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall – December 20

Holiday Dreams: A Spectacular Holiday Cirque! at the Family Arena – December 22

Information courtesy of,,,