Christmastime in the St. Louis region is filled with things to do and see, some of which don’t include shopping! If you know the right places to look, you can have a magical time with little out-of-pocket expense.
A short drive down Market Street in downtown St. Louis will give you some Christmas lights. In past years in Kiener Plaza, you could view the Salvation Army Tree of Lights, a “moving” waterfall, ice skaters and Santa and his reindeer up in the trees. One of the buildings downtown used to turn off its lights in the form of a Christmas tree – be careful, but keep an eye out for this one. The downtown Macy’s at the St. Louis Centre (601 Olive Street) has window decorations.
Nineteenth Century Holiday Traditions at the Old Courthouse Museum – Downtown St. Louis The Old Courthouse has a wide variety of holiday programs, such as a dance workshop, 1860 ball, Fiddlers and Bob Kramer’s Marionettes.Open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. All events are free.
Take a short drive from downtown on Highway 55 to Arsenal Street and there you’ll find Anheuser-Busch. You can drive through their light display and even circle around a color-light-changing tree (it’s red! it’s white!) It’s a very peaceful drive.
If you don’t want to head south, head west on Highway 40 or 44 to the “Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo“. Exhibits and crafts for the kids. Tickets are $4 for Zoo members and $5 for non-members. November 26-28, 2010; December 3-5, 10-12, 17-23 & 26-30, 2010
An “old fashioned” Christmas can be found in St. Charles, off Highway 70 West approximately 35 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Weekends in December find Father Christmas’ from all over the world handing out “collector cards” to the kids (and adults if you want!). The Snow Queen, Jack Frost, a Sugarplum Fairy and Carolers wander Main Street. Stop in the shops, get a bag of fresh roasted chestnuts (don’t forget to get his ‘card’), have lunch or just enjoy a carriage or trolley ride. November 26 – December 26, 2010
If you want a slightly modern Christmas, Kirkwood has quaint shops (such as an all Irish store and a fair trade shop) and dining. Off of Highway 270 and 44 on Lindbergh, Kirkwood is home to the Magic House, a hands-on children’s museum where on Sunday, December 12, you can have a pancake breakfast with Santa. Cost: $18 per person (includes all-day admission to The Magic House), $15 for members. Kirkwood is home to an outdoor Christmas Market & Gingerbread Shoppe – open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. You can skate with Santa at the Kirkwood Ice Arena on December 18th from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Brass Concerts – Manchester United Methodist Church
Concerts are December 7, 2010 at 10:15 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $21 for adults or $19 for students and seniors.
Forest Park Activities
Pointsettia Show – The Jewel Box in Forest Park, west of Downtown St. Louis. Admission is $1 but you can get in for free Monday and Tuesday before noon. The Jewel Box is located at the intersection of Wells and McKinley in Forest Park.
The Missouri Botanical Garden (aka Shaw’s Garden) has several holiday festivities this year. Most are included with the cost of admission.
Holiday Wreath Auction November 20, 2010-January 2, 2011
Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House November 23, 2010-January 2, 2011
Gardenland Express November 24, 2010-January 2, 2011
Chanukah: Festival of Lights November 28, 20110
Holiday Trimmings at the Kemper Center December 1, 2010-Januaary 3, 2011
Holiday Nights December 2, 9, 16, 2010
Breakfast with Santa December 4-5, 2010
Christmas Carols in the Garden December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2010
Story Tray Tram December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2010
Kwanzaa: Firs First Fruits December 29, 2010
Classical Christmas Music – Sheldon Concert Hall
Songs of the Season, Clarion Brass and The Sheldon Chorale: Yuletide Reflections all perform holiday traditions. December 5 – December 21.
Christmas at the Fabulous Fox
The Nutcracker: December 2-5, 2010
A Christmas Carol: December 9-12, 2010
Mannheim Steamroller: December 18, 2010
Cirque Dreams Holidaze: December 21-29, 2010
Symphony Holiday Concerts – Powell Symphony Hall
The St. Louis Symphony is celebrating the holidays with a series of special concerts, beginning December 11, with Michael W. Smith. You can also enjoy some of the best songs of the season at A Gospel Christmas featuring Wintley Phipps and the Symphony’s IN UNISON Chorus, and the Symphony’s Holiday Celebration concerts featuring favorite carols and holiday classics. December 11-19, 2010
South of St. Louis down Highway 55 is Kimmswick, Missouri. Enjoy more quaint shops and some good eats at the Blue Owl.
North of St. Louis along the Great River Road is Godfrey, Illinois. Godfrey’s Snowflake Festival is December 3, 2010 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in Glazebrook Park at 1401 Stamper Lane. The free, old-fashioned festival features carriage rides, caroling, hot cocoa and pictures with Santa.
Gingerbread Walk Downtown Belleville, Illinois
Take a special holiday walk along Main Street in Belleville, Illinois on December 11, 2010. Buy a gingerbread cookie bag at the start of the walk, then stop at up to 36 stores along the way and get a different cookie to fill your bag. The cost for the walk is $3 and cookie bags are $8.
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Belleville, Illinois
More than a million lights are used to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. You can drive through the display or take a carriage ride. There’s also a laser light show, camel rides, an indoor Christmas tree display and an interactive play area for the kids. Open from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Admission to view the lights is free, but there is a small charge for the laser light show, camel rides and other attractions. Donations are also accepted. November 19, 2010 – January 2, 2011
Roaring River State Park – Bald Eagle Viewing
For something unique this Christmas, plan a bald eagle watch. This is only available on the third Saturday of a month in winter, so make reservations early.
In and around St. Louis, Missouri in the wintertime can be great fun. Explore new places or visit old familiar ones. Happy holidays!