From its beginnings as a French trading post on the Mississippi River, St Louis has been a magical place to visit at Christmas. From family-friendly activities to brewery tours, here’s our pick of the best ways to spend Christmas in St Louis.
The Polar Express
This year the magic escalates a few notches as an exciting excursion joins the holiday line-up to enthral young and old alike. For the first time ever, THE POLAR EXPRESSâ„¢ makes St. Louis’ Union Station a stop on its national itinerary. Trains will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights right up until 28th December. The train will also run on Christmas Eve. Adults and kids alike will adore reliving Chris Van Allsburg’s classic Christmas book to the movie soundtrack aboard a real train headed for “the North Pole.” Adding to the fun, they’re encouraged to wear pyjamas on the 40-minute journey culminating with a visit from Santa who gives the children their first gift of Christmas in St Louis.
St Louis Lights
During the holiday season, St Louis is awash with twinkling holiday light displays. One of the most stunning is at Anheuser-Busch Brewery, where more than a half-million dazzling lights outline the Germanic-style red brick buildings. This year those aged 21 and over can sample their favourite beers along the walking tour route. The season-long activities begin on 20th November and continue every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through 4th January, 2015.
Another half-million holiday lights greet visitors to the Missouri Botanical Garden, where familiar scenes take on a new look in the expanded Garden Glow. Visitors will love the splashes of colour that burst forth from the beloved gardens, established by Englishman Henry Shaw in 1859. Garden Glow runs from Wednesday-Sunday 22nd November – 18th December and nightly from 19th December – 3rd January, 2015.
Santa‘s Magical Kingdom
The little ones will love Santa’s Magical Kingdom in Jellystone Park Resort in nearby Eureka, MO. The drive-through park features flying reindeer, a village of elves, a shimmering 300-foot waterfall that flows from the sky and other magical scenes. Kids can visit Santa in his workshop, ride the Santa Express train or take an Old-fashioned holiday wagon through the kingdom. The fun takes place from 14th November – 4th January, 2015.
One of the coolest places to totally immerse yourself in Christmas in St Louis is the Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park. Motorists meander the park bedazzled by a million twinkling holiday lights and go from one incredible display featuring favourite characters and festive scenes to another, 30 in all. The event runs from 26th November – 1st January, 2015.
Manheim Steamroller performs its brand of holiday music at the fabulous Fox Theatre from 9th – 11th December; Trans-Siberian Orchestra presents its rock opera The Christmas Attic at Scottrade on 26th December; St. Louis Symphony performs several holiday concerts throughout the season at Powell Symphony Hall and St Louis Ballet performs The Nutcracker at the Touhill Performing Arts Center from 18th – 23rd December.
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Have you spent Christmas in St. Louis? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Kathie Sutin