Top Things to Do in December in St. Louis

Holiday Celebrations, Winter Events, and Special Exhibits

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
Thinkstock / Getty Images

There's no shortage of holiday events in St. Louis in December. Winter kicks into gear at the end of the month, while the average temperature hovers just above freezing. From Christmas light displays to free holiday celebrations, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the season. And when you want a break from the festivities, there are some great non-holiday events too. Check out the top things to do in St. Louis in December.

  • 01 of 11
    Santa arrives aboard the Polar Express
    Santa arrives aboard the Polar Express. Stan White

    December in St. Louis brings with it the joy of the season. There are concerts, special events for children, light displays, tree lightings, and much more. You can climb aboard "The Polar Express," which departs from St. Louis Union Station for a 45-minute adventure to the North Pole filled with magic, songs, and cheer. Or, you can go to the St. Louis Zoo and reserve a seat at breakfast or dinner with jolly old Saint Nick.

  • 02 of 11
    Polar Plunge at Hidden Valley Ski Resort
    David O'Brien

    Usually, December's weather is cold enough for skiing in St. Louis. The snow experts at the Hidden Valley Ski Resort are busy making snow and grooming the runs for opening day in mid-December. Hidden Valley offers daily skiing, plus special events like midnight ski and holiday parties.

  • 03 of 11
    Young boy at movie theater
    Getty Images

    Each year, local Marcus Theatres help out the Salvation Army food pantries by hosting the Cans Film Festival. Anyone who brings five cans of food to a Marcus Theater can see a holiday movie classic playing that day.  Also, all donors will receive a buy one, get one free voucher to return to see another holiday classic film any day for a designated week in December.

  • 04 of 11
    Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe in The King and I
    Getty Images

    In December, the Fabulous Fox Theatre features Rodgers and Hammerstein's production of "The King and I," the Nebraska Caravan Theater's production of "A Christmas Carol," "The Nutcracker" performed by the Moscow Ballet, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella."

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  • 05 of 11
    Saint Louis Art Museum
    Flickr/Creative Commons

    The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is hosting a Winter Celebration, a weekend-long, family-friendly event to learn about different winter holidays from all around the globe. The celebration includes art, music, and live performances. The museum staff is hosting crafts, such as making a seasonal card for those in need of cheer or making an art project based on cultural traditions from around the world.

  • 06 of 11
    Tawny owl
    Nick Jewell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Gear up for a night hike through the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park to see if you can call or spot an owl. "Owl Prowls" offer an exciting opportunity to learn more about the amazing life of owls. Hosted from November to March, a naturalist will teach visitors about owls and their unique calls. Then, you'll be guided through the grounds to find the wild owls in their natural habitat. Reservations are required; the event regularly sells out.

  • 07 of 11
    Busch Stadium
    Marcia Frost

    See a free movie on the 40-foot screen at Fox Sports Midwest Live! at Ballpark Village. The fun starts at 5 p.m. with movie-related activities. The movie starts promptly at 6 p.m. Saint Louis' Ballpark Village is a dining and entertainment district adjacent to Busch Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play in downtown St. Louis, occupying the site of the previous Busch Stadium.

  • 08 of 11
    Bald Eagle Preening
    All birds preen to keep their feathers in top shape. Ingrid Taylar

    December is the beginning of bald eagle spotting in the St. Louis-area. Every year, thousands of eagles build their winter nests along the banks of the Mississippi River. Pere Marquette State Park hosts a Bald Eagle Day in December. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., visitors will watch a short presentation, then take a guided drive through the park to view the wintering bald eagles. Reservations are required. Dress warmly and have a full tank of gas.

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  • 09 of 11

    Behold the Braggin' Rights

    Kim English, Missouri Tigers
    Getty Images / Ed Zurga

    Annually, the Missouri Tigers and the Illinois Fighting Illini square off for a basketball showdown at the Scottrade Center for the Braggin' Rights Game. It is a heated rivalry steeped in tradition with loud, passionate fans holding the hottest tickets in town.

  • 10 of 11
    Schlafly Brewery
    Wikimedia Commons

    Schlafly Brewery is celebrating its anniversary with a party for everyone including live music. The tap room will be selling beer at 1991 prices. 

  • 11 of 11
    Thomas Jefferson statue
    Danita Delimont/Getty Images

    For five days at the end of December, the Missouri History Museum is hosting a Winter Getaway. Bring your family to the museum for a fun-filled winter break from school. You can enjoy live music, movement workshops, make-and-takes, and a Noon Year’s Eve Party on December 31. Admission is free.