Guide to the Holidays in St. Louis: Events, Parties, and Attractions

The Polar Express Train Ride
Courtesy of The Polar Express

The holiday season is here and there are so many ways to get into the spirit in St. Louis. Whether you plan on picking out the perfect tree or hope to attend an annual event or tradition in Missouri this holiday season, you're sure to find something you and your family will enjoy doing together this year.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, there's something for everyone in St. Louis and the surrounding area, and if you're looking for ways to celebrate without spending money, there are plenty of free holiday events as well.

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Christmas Light Displays

Anheuser Busch Brewery

 Anheuser Busch Brewery

St. Louis has some wonderful Christmas light displays, from Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park to the Way of Lights in Belleville. Check out one or more this holiday season.

Even the Anheuser Busch Brewery will be all decked out for the holidays. The brewery offers free walking tours. The Kid Zone is the place where kids can take a ride on the Brewery Express train and enjoy a holiday classic movie on the big screen. Everyone can warm up at the Soup Bar after all the Christmas fun.

Dates: Mid-November to Early January

Locations: Various

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Winter Wonder Walk

Winder Wonder Walk

 St. Louis County Parks

See one of the area's most popular Christmas light displays at Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park. The park fills with more than a million twinkling lights and various holiday scenes throughout the Christmas season. Tilles Park's Winter Wonderland is a local legend and has been a favorite tradition for many years in the St. Louis area.

It's open every night of the week, but certain days are designated for exploring the area on foot, in your own vehicle, or in the Winter Wonderland carriage. Advance tickets are recommended.

Dates: November 22, 2019, to January 2, 2020

Locations: Tilles Park, 9551 Litzinger Road St. Louis, MO 63124

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Holiday Wreath Auction

Wreath presented at the wreath auction

Karen Fletcher

Local floral designers are showing off their best work at the annual holiday wreath exhibit. The wreaths are on display each day in Monsanto Hall. The exhibit is included with the cost of Garden admission. You also have the chance to own one of the featured wreaths by making a bid during the silent auction.

Dates: November 23, 2019, to January 4, 2020

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Polar Express Train Ride

Polar Express at St. Louis Union Station

St. Louis Union Station

The Polar Express train is coming to St. Louis Union Station. Kids can take a magical holiday journey featuring scenes from the famous book. Children will receive a souvenir gift, and hotel packages are also available.

Dates: November 29 to December 30, 2019

Location: Downtown St. Louis

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Gardenland Express Train Show

MIssouri Botanical Garden

 MIssouri Botanical Garden

It's all aboard for some holiday fun at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden kicks off its holiday season with its "Gardenland Express" annual flower and train show. The show features model trains that wind their way through a miniature landscape filled with flowering winter scenes. The display is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 a person in addition to the regular garden entrance fee. Garden members get in free.

Dates: November 23, 2019, to January 1, 2020

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Native American Holiday Market


Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site

For a unique holiday shopping experience, head over to Cahokia Mounds for Native American Market Days on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Dozens of Native artists will be selling their arts and crafts. Items include jewelry, blankets, paintings, books and more.

Dates: November 29 to December 1, 2019

Location: Cahokia Mounds

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Breakfast with Santa

Two little girls posting with Santa at the Magic House Dine with Santa event

Magic House 

St. Louis area children are invited to dine with Santa this holiday season. The St. Louis Zoo, Magic House, and other top attractions are all hosting Breakfast with Santa. Prices vary for each event, but they all include a meal, treats for the kids, and pictures with Santa himself.

Dates: Throughout the month of December

Location: Various

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Christmas Candlelight Tours at Daniel Boone Home

Christmas Candlelight Tour at Daniel Boone Home

 Google Images

Take a trip back to the 1800's this Christmas at the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Missouri. The Boone Home welcomes visitors for candlelight tours. Stroll through the historic property as thousands of candles light your way. There are nearly a dozen buildings decorated for a 19th-century Christmas. Tickets are $15 for adults at the door and free for children under 4 years old. A limited number of tickets are available and reservations are highly recommended.

Dates: December 6 -7 and December 13-14, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Location: Daniel Boone Home, Defiance

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Christmas in Old Town Florissant

Florissant marks the holiday season with a Christmas celebration in historic Old Town. The festivities begin with the arrival of Santa Claus at just after 2 p.m. and end with the lighting of the town's Christmas tree at 5 p.m. There are also crafts, cookies and holiday music throughout the afternoon.

Dates: December 7, 2019, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Location: Florissant City Hall

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Home for the Holidays

The small town of Elsah, Illinois, is known as the "village where time stood still." Elsah's historic charm is certainly on display during the holidays. Visitors can tour homes decorated for Christmas, do a little shopping, and attend the lighting of the village Christmas tree.

The $15 homes tour entry ticket includes a carriage ride and music at the two Elsah churches.

Dates: December 7, 2019, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Elsah, IL

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Ice Skating at Steinberg Rink

Bring out your ice skates and take a spin at Steinberg Rink in Forest Park. If you don't own your own skates, you can rent them there at the rink. This large open-air rink is part of the quintessential holiday experience, and they even offer lessons for those who want to go skating but don't know how.

Dates: November 15, 2019, through March 1, 2020

Location: Steinberg Rink, Forest Park

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Taste of Chocolate and Holiday River Walk

Santa's Chocolate Express

 Santa's Chocolate Express

Celebrate the season at the Taste of Chocolate and Holiday River Walk in Grafton. Businesses along Main Street will be offering special promotions, music, and entertainment, while the Grafton Winery serves up all kinds of chocolate treats. Tickets are $9 in advance and $10 at the door.

Dates: December 7, 2019, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Grafton, IL

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Cookie Spree on Cherokee

Santa and Krampus

Cherokee Antique Row 

It's a sweet shopping experience along Antique Row on Cherokee Street. Stores will be serving Christmas cookies to shoppers. There's also live music and holiday entertainment.

Dates: December 7, 2019, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: South St. Louis

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Soulard Holiday Parlour Tour

This is the 44th year for the Holiday Parlour Tour in Soulard. Take a walk through historic homes decorated for the season. The event also includes a holiday bazaar, food, and music. Tickets are $28 in advance and $35 at the door.

Dates: December 7-8, 2019

Location: Soulard, South St. Louis

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Kristkindl Markt

Christmas Decor

 Visit Hermann

Hermann, Missouri, is known for its German heritage, and it really shows through during the holidays. Visitors can buy crafts, decorations, food and more at a traditional German Christmas market called a Kristkindl Markt. There are two markets set-up on back to back weekends, the first one at Stone Hill Winery followed by the Hermannhof Winery.

Dates: December 7-8, 2019 (Stone Hill) and December 14-15, 2019 (Hermannhof)

Location: Stone Hill Winery Pavilion and Hermannhof Festhalle, Hermann

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Symphony Holiday Concerts

St. Louis Symphony

Dan Dreyfus

The St. Louis Symphony is celebrating the holidays with a series of special concerts. The 2019 season includes "The Nutcracker," a holiday jazz show, "Holiday Magic" by the St. Louis Children's Choir, the always popular Mercy Holiday Celebration, "Home Alone" in concert, and much more.

Dates: Select dates through December 22, 2019

Location: Powell Symphony Hall

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Holiday Brass Concerts

Holiday Brass Concerts

 Scott Porter

The Holiday Brass Concerts are an annual tradition for many in St. Louis. The concerts will be at Manchester United Methodist Church on Woods Mill Road.

Dates: December 2-3, 2019

Locations: Manchester United Methodist Church, West St. Louis County

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Supper With Santa

Supper with Santa at the Missouri Botanical Garden

 Karen Fletcher

Have Supper with Santa in the Butterfly House at Missouri Botanical Garden. Escape the cold from outside and celebrate Christmas inside this tropical conservatory. The cost is $20 per person for Garden members or $25 per person for non-members. Crafts, cookies, and a souvenir are included. Space is limited and reservations are required.

Dates: December 13-15, and 20-22, 2019, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Christmas Carols in the Garden

Carolers in the Garden

 Mary Lou Olson

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a beautiful sight any time of the year, but during the holidays you can also enjoy the sounds of the season during Old Time Christmas Music in the Garden. Musicians will perform throughout the Garden, and Santa will make an appearance to listen to the wishes of children. Carols in the Garden is included with the Garden admission.

Dates: December 7, 2019, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Gingerbread 5K Run/Walk

The first Saturday in Belleville is the annual Gingerbread 5K Run/Walk. After your morning trek, you can explore the downtown area by checking out the shops and restaurants and collecting cookies. You'll need to register for the walk where you'll be given a bag for your cookie collection.

Dates: December 7, 2019

Location: Belleville, IL

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Christmas at the Cathedral

Cathedral Concerts

 Cathedral Concerts

Celebrate Christmas at the beautiful Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End. Christmas at the Cathedral concerts feature the St. Archdiocesan Choirs—both adults' and childrens—and Orchestra, performing holiday classics.

Dates: December 7-8, 2019

Location: Central West End

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Hometown Holiday Concert

Northwinds Concert Band

 Northwinds Concert Band

The Northwinds Concert Band performs its annual holiday concert at the Florissant Civic Centre Theatre. The band will bring to life the music from the classic Christmas animated movie, "The Snowman," as well as other timeless holiday favorites.

Dates: December 15, 2019, 3 p.m.

Location: Florissant

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Lafayette Square Parlor Tour

Tour some of St. Louis' finest Victorian homes all decked out for Christmas. The tour begins at Park House at 2023 Lafayette Avenue. All eleven of the homes on the tour are within walking distance, but there is also a trolley to shuttle visitors between homes.

Dates: December 8, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: South St. Louis

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KMOX Holiday Radio Show

A live performance by your favorite radio personalities from KMOX. Each year, the station puts on an old-time, live radio play for the holidays.

Dates: December 16, 2019

Location: Sheldon Concert Hall

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St. Louis Ballet's Nutcracker

St. Louis Ballet performing The Nutcracker

St. Louis Ballet

The Nutcracker comes to the stage at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The classic Christmas ballet is one the whole family can enjoy. On December 18, 2019, catch the matinee performance for a special narrated edition of the performance, geared towards younger audience members to help them understand the play.

Dates: November 29 to December 1, 2019, and December 18 to 23, 2019

Location: Touhill Performing Arts Center, North St. Louis County

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Chanukah at the Botanical Garden

Chanukah celebration at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Tom Incrocci

Experience the traditions of Chanukah at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden will host "Chanukah: Festival of Lights" beginning on the first day of Chanukah. The celebration begins with the symbolic lighting of the menorah, followed by Jewish music and dancing. There is also a traditional marketplace where shoppers can buy Chanukah items. Admission is included with a Garden ticket.

Dates: December 22, 2019, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Christmas Candlelight Concert

Bach Society of St. Louis 

The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra performs its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert at Powell Symphony Hall. The evening features Poulenc's Gloria with soprano soloist Michele Kennedy, a candelight processional, and "The 12 Days of Christmas" by The St. Louis Children’s Choirs and Webster University Chamber Singers.

Dates: December 10, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Powell Symphony Hall

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Holiday Pops Spectacular

The Compton Heights Concert Band is joined by Hugh Smith, Robert Ellison and Gina Galati for its annual Holiday Pops Spectacular. The concert will include an upbeat program of holiday favorites and Christmas classics.

Dates: December 22, 2019

Location: The Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade, 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Saint Louis

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Kwanzaa: First Fruits

 Kat Niehaus

Celebrate African traditions at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This year's Kwanzaa celebration will include music and storytelling. There will also be a boutique selling Kwanzaa crafts and jewelry. Kwanzaa is a seven day holiday that takes its name from the Swahili term meaning "fruits of the harvest." The celebration is at the Garden's Ridgway Center. Admission is included with a ticket to the Garden.

Dates: December 30, 2019, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden