Guide to Thanksgiving in St. Louis: Restaurants, Events, Things to Do

Lights at Missouri Botanic Garden

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After you've had a bounteous Thanksgiving feast of turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy, corn casserole, dinner rolls, coffee, and pecan or pumpkin pie, you might feel too stuffed to do anything. However, St. Louis offers so much to do on Thanksgiving Day, it would be a shame to miss out. If you still have some energy after all that cooking and gorging, these fun things will help you digest and work up an appetite for the next day's leftovers.

01 of 08

See Christmas Lights

Lanterns at Missouri Botanic Garden

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On Thanksgiving Day, you can get an early look at two of St. Louis' most popular holiday light displays. After a long day of being inside watching football, cooking, and eating, it's a fun way to get out of the house and walk off that huge meal.

Every year in November, the Missouri Botanical Garden debuts its Garden Glow spectacle, a dazzling light show centered around the diverse flora and plants in the garden. Garden Glow is open on Thanksgiving Day starting at 5 p.m., just as the sun is beginning to set and the lights can be fully enjoyed. Apart from the illuminated displays, there are also s'mores and festive drinks to enjoy—if you can continue eating after the turkey meal.

Santa's Magical Kingdom located in Eureka, Missouri, right next to the Six Flags amusement park, is another light show that can't be missed. It opens each year in mid-November and is open on Thanksgiving Day from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. This spectacular event features over 1 million lights, and you can enjoy them while riding on Santa's train or a wagon tour.

02 of 08

Run in a Turkey Trot

Man stretching on street

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There are races and fun runs held across the country on Thanksgiving Day, which is a great way to work up an appetite before the afternoon feast and to also support local charities on this day of giving. Turkey Trot STL offers four different events in the St. Louis area: in downtown St. Louis, St. Charles, Arnold, and Eureka. Each race includes a 5K as well as a 0.5-mile mile fun run for kids under 12.

Proceeds from all events go to Food Outreach, an organization that provides meals and support to men, women, and children living with cancer or HIV/AIDS.

03 of 08

Eat Out

Breakfast food items on table

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Whether you're looking for a casual dinner or an elegant meal, several St. Louis restaurants are open to serve you on Thanksgiving. You can dine on pancakes and other diner delights at Uncle Bill's or order up a gourmet feast at Boundary at the Cheshire Inn.

There are also many restaurants in the St. Louis area that offer special Thanksgiving fixed menus or buffets. It's best to call ahead and make a reservation, as there are limited places on Thanksgiving to dine out and available options fill up quick.

04 of 08

Get a Head Start on Holiday Shopping

Caucasian woman shopping in clothing store


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Many St. Louis area stores are open on Thanksgiving Day if you want to get a jump on Black Friday shopping. The St. Louis Galleria will be open in the evening and you can head to some of the open stores like Macy's, Target, and Old Navy to get your head start on the holidays and maybe score some deals. However, the stores will be jam-packed so prepare yourself for the crowds.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Go Ice Skating

Steinberg Stating Rink in Forest Park

Trip Savvy / Deborah O'Brien

After getting your fill of turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie, head over to Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park to work off some of those calories. During Thanksgiving, the rink is open for extended hours, which should give you more time to arrange your visit. Be aware that the ice rink is cash only, so come prepared and bring enough money if you plan to rent skates.

06 of 08

Hang Out at Blueberry Hill

St. Louis Area Mourns Death of Chuck Berry
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Blueberry Hill is known for its live music, particularly the Duck Room, where Chuck Berry, a St. Louis native and the father of rock 'n' roll, played countless times. Blueberry Hill is a St. Louis favorite and landmark in the Delmar Loop in University City. If you want to get a drink on Thanksgiving night, the bars at Blueberry Hill will be open.

07 of 08

See a Movie

Older couple in front of theater

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The night of Thanksgiving is a popular time to go to the movies in the St. Louis region. After a big meal, it can be refreshing to sit in a dark room and let the latest blockbuster ignite your imagination. St. Louis area theaters, including AMC and Marcus Wehrenberg, will be open on Thanksgiving.

08 of 08

Try Your Hand at the Casino

Roulette table in casino

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Whatever your game, you can play it on Thanksgiving in St. Louis, where casinos carry on the riverboat gambling tradition. Local casinos, including Lumiere Place, River City, Hollywood, and Ameristar, are open if you and your Thanksgiving companions want to try your luck.

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