The Missouri Botanical Garden has become an essential stop on every St. Louisan's holiday agenda. This dome-shaped conservatory located in the Botanical Heights neighborhood glows during the month of December—hence the program's title, Garden Glow. The annual Christmas light display, consisting of an illuminated geodesic dome, debuted in 2012 and is now one of the most popular things to do in the Gateway City, beloved by people of all ages.
Dates & Admission
The Garden Glow display typically opens in mid-November and closes in early January. Viewing hours are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. between November 11, 2020, and January 2, 2021, but during this season, all attendees will require a reservation. Garden Glow is open on Thanksgiving Day, but closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. General admission is $20 for adults, $16 for Garden members, and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. There are also select Bargain Nights (between November 12 and December 17) which offer $2 off admission for adults. On Family Nights, children get in for $3 and adults get $2 off admission.
One million twinkling lights bring this botanical garden to life. They cover the Climatron (the dome), the Kaeser Memorial Maze (a labyrinth made from hedges), and other popular exhibits around the estate. You'll find the lawn covered with magical glowing bulbs and rainbow colors reflecting off the ponds. Every year is a little bit different, which keeps the locals coming back time and again. Walk through the display first, then head over to Tower Grove House to see a Victorian Candlelight Christmas display. There will be live music, food, festive drinks (like hot chocolate), shopping, and outdoor fire pits (with s'mores).
The Missouri Botanical Garden occupies 79 acres in what used to be called McRee Town, but is now more commonly known as the Botanical Heights neighborhood of St. Louis. Located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard just off I-44, it's roughly a 10-minute drive from downtown. The Missouri Botanical Garden borders Tower Grove Park, and in the summertime, is the site of Sauce Magazine's Food Truck Fridays.
The Garden has a free parking lot, but you can also get there by MetroBus via the stops on Shaw Boulevard at Tower Grove Avenue and Alfred Avenue.
Other Holiday Events at the Garden
Garden Glow isn't the only Christmas display at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Avid gardeners will enjoy the Holiday Wreath Display, in which more than a dozen local floral designers display their nature-inspired creations in Bayer Hall, able to be viewed on Garden Glow evenings. The wreaths are also on display online.
There's also the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show, where mini locomotives make their way along 900 feet of track through heartwarming holiday scenes, but in 2020, the event was canceled.