Guide to the Holidays in St. Louis: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Find the Best Holiday Events, Christmas Lights, New Year's Eve Parties, and More

The holiday season is always a busy time in St. Louis. There's so much going on that it's hard to know where to start. Families will love taking in the impressive Christmas light displays, the free holiday events, the festive holiday shopping spots, and New Year's Eve parties throughout the midwestern city. Just make sure to plan your seasonal activities in advance, as events tell to sell out fast!

  • 01 of 07
    Wild Lights at St. Louis Zoo
    Photo by Roger Brandt, courtesy St. Louis Zoo

    A visit to a holiday light display is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. The cold weather, twinkling lights, and festive music really get everyone into a cheerful mood and make it feel like the holidays. Most local displays open each year around Thanksgiving and close in early January. Many also have carriage rides, gift shops and kids activities to entertain visitors of all ages.

    The holiday season kicks off in Downtown St. Louis with the Macy's Holiday Festival of Lights. Crowds gather at Union Station to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree and downtown light display. The evening ends with fireworks and the opening of the Winterfest ice skating rink.

  • 02 of 07
    Missouri Botanical Garden Caroling
    Photo courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

    The holidays are a great time to enjoy what the St. Louis has to offer. There are special events, community celebrations, concerts and plenty of ways to entertain the kids. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa, St. Louis has it covered. Some favorite activities include:

  • 03 of 07
    Way of Lights Grotto
    Photo courtesy Our Lady of the Snows Shrine

    Celebrating the season doesn't have to mean spending more money. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays on a budget. One of the area's most popular Christmas light displays, The Way of Lights, offers free admission, as does the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights. There are also dozens of other free events and celebrations if you're watching your pennies this holiday season.

  • 04 of 07
    pea-ridge.jpg
    Photo by David O'Brien

    Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine, or Balsam Fir? If a fake tree just won't do, head out to a St. Louis area Christmas tree farm. Many farms let you seek out and cut down the perfect tree. Others do the work for you offering a nice selection of pre-cut trees shipped in from near and far. Whatever you're looking for, local tree farms have a variety of options when you want a real tree for the holiday season. Pea Ridge ForestHeritage Valley Farm, and Christmas Traditions Tree Farm are among the many popular options.

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  • 05 of 07

    Go a little wild this holiday season with Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo. 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. on select nights between November 23 to December 30, 2018. Weekday tickets are $8 for Zoo members and $9 for non-members. Weekend tickets are $10 for Zoo members and $11 for non-members. Children under two get in for free. There is also free parking at the Zoo's north and south lots.

  • 06 of 07
    Girasole Italian Imports
    Photo courtesy Girasole Gifts & Imports

    In St. Louis, you'll find plenty of choices for holiday shopping. There are popular malls like St. Louis Outlet Mall (St. Louis Mills), Plaza Frontenac, and West County Center. Or make a trip to some of the smaller shops and boutiques in trendy neighborhoods like The Hill and the Central West End. No matter your taste or price range, there's a place to find something for everyone on your gift list.

  • 07 of 07
    New Year's Eve
    Photo by Patryce Bak, courtesy Getty Images

    Say goodbye to the holiday season and hello to the New Year at some of the top New Year's Eve parties in St. Louis. Many of the area's best attractions ring in the New Year with fun events for kids and adults. Whether you are looking for a quieter celebration or a big bash, you'll find plenty of options on New Year's Eve in St. Louis.