15 Festive and Fun Holiday Events for Your Family This Holiday Season

As parents, we know the holiday season is the busiest time of year. But it's worth it to take a break from the decorating, shopping, wrapping, holiday parties and other preparations to make unforgettable holiday memories with your kids. Don't miss out on these St. Louis-favorite holiday events your whole family will love.

❄️ U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo

U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo is back for another beautifully lit season. Your family can stroll through the Zoo grounds surrounded by a million lights! Visitors will see twinkling light displays, enjoy fun photo opportunities, holiday carolers, Santa's woodland workshop, roaming entertainers, and lots more in this enchanting holiday wonderland.

Delight in brilliant, colorful light displays throughout the Zoo, including several new displays. A 40-foot lighted tree returns as a dynamic photo opportunity. Walk through two new tunnels with twinkling lights by River Camp and South Entrance. Other displays include Blizzard Boulevard, Campfire Corner, Trinket Trading Post, Gum Drop Grove, Snowy Savanna (new), Celebration City (new), Candy Cane Lane and more. Get more details at reserve tickets at stlzoo.org


❄️ Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar at Purina Farms

The Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar is a family-friendly event, especially for dogs and kids! This St. Louis favorite returns to the state-of-the-art Purina Event Center the weekend of Dec. 2-3 and offers fun for all ages, including a Kids' Activity Area and photos with Santa. Shop for the holidays from over 25 local retailers, offering a wide selection of holiday gifts and treats for everyone on your list. Entertain the kiddos at Jingle Bell Junction and burn off that puppy energy at Slobber Town. Don't forget to capture the magic of the season with Santa Claus! Admission is free and reservations are required. Make them at purinafarms.com 


❄️ Brunch with Santa and Fredbird

The biggest brunch of the season features Santa and Fredbird of the St. Louis Cardinals! The menu covers all the bases, and families get to take home photos of their kids with Santa and Fredbird. Additional activities for kids include face painting and balloon art and letters to Santa. Brunch with Santa and Fredbird is set for Sunday, December 3, and includes breakfast and lunch favorites, with a bottomless Bloody Mary bar and mimosas for grown-ups ($15), and admission to the Cardinals Museum for the whole family! Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar at Ballpark Village. Activities for kids open 45 minutes prior to reservation, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Make reservations are cardinalsnation.com.


❄️ Mercy Holiday Celebrations with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

You know it's the holidays in St. Louis when the St. Louis Symphony performs its annual Holiday Celebration. This celebration is so big that Santa himself stops by for a visit! Join conductor Stuart Malina and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to hear all of your favorite carols and sounds of the season.

Performances will be held at Stifel Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

And at Lindenwood University on Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 7:30 p.m., and take place at Lindenwood University's J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.

For tickets, visit slso.org


❄️ Winterfest

The magical sights of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation's Winterfest return to Keiner Plaza in downtown St. Louis this holiday season. Winterfest includes family fun, beautiful holiday lights, s'mores stations, ice skating and festive activities and fireworks, plus winter markets, special character visits and a New Year's Eve celebration. Winterfest is held Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 31, but daily from December 26-31. 

Winterfest hours are: Fridays from 4-8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.; Daily, December 26 - January 1 from noon to 8 p.m. Winterfest is closed December 25, and will close early at 6 p.m. on December 24. Winterfest is free to attend.

Special events include:

Visit archpark.org/winterfest for more details.

❄️ Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden (especially Family Nights)

More than a million lights will illuminate some of the Missouri Botanical Garden's most iconic locations, walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels providing an explosion of visual magic, and traditional candlelight village displays, festive drinks, s'mores and great photo opportunities will delight crowds of all ages. Wishing Trees, Snow Balls, and "Glowmen" will all light the night sky, and provide interactive fun for guests of all ages. Your family will love exploring the glowing snowman garden, magical light tunnels, interactive photo opportunities, s'mores, festive drinks and traditional holiday music. In addition to all the beautiful lights, Garden Glow offers singing, dancing, shopping and dining for the entire family. Plus, don't miss photo ops with Santa on Mondays and Tuesdays November 20 - December 12.

The Garden Glow is open nightly from 5-10 p.m. through January 6, 2024. Closed November 23, November 27, and December 24-25. Visit on Family Nights on select Wednesdays, November 22 & 29 and December 6 & 13 for special $5 kids' admission (ages 3-12). Get more information and tickets at missouribotanicalgarden.com


❄️ Santa in Pajamas at Play Street Museum

Santa is coming to Play Street Museum for photos with kids, and reading to kids! Everyone is welcome to come dressed in their pajamas just like Saint Nick himself! Space is very limited so each child will have a chance to interact with Santa and have their picture taken. Each child will take home a gift from Santa too. Morning snacks will be provided. Santa in Pajamas at Play Street Museum is on December 16 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Register at playstreetmuseum.com


❄️ Weirdly Wonderful Holidays at City Museum

Step into a winter wonderland of joy and delight as City Museum transforms into a festive paradise from Thanksgiving through the entire month of December. From twinkling lights that illuminate the night to heartwarming encounters with Santa and his merry helpers, there’s something for everyone! At Weirdly Wonderful Holidays you'll find dazzling holiday light displays adorning the museum's historic facade, visits with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus.and more. All Weirdly Wonderful Holiday events are free with admission. Learn more at citymuseum.org


❄️ Chanukah: Festival of Lights at the Missouri Botanical Garden

This traditional Jewish holiday celebration includes festive Israeli music and dance, a menorah-lighting ceremony and Chanukah merchandise provided by local vendors and the Garden Gate Shop. The festival is included with Garden admission. Noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. More information: mobot.org


❄️ PJs and Pancakes with Santa Claus

Cruise the Mighty Mississippi on a replica paddlewheel riverboat with the jolly man himself this holiday season – Santa Claus. Come dressed in your favorite PJs and leave the cooking to the crew. Your family will enjoy a breakfast buffet, craft activities, views of downtown and the Gateway Arch, and a photo with Santa. 2023 Cruise dates and times:

  • Saturday, Nov. 25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 16 from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

More information and tickets: gatewayarch.com


❄️ Christmas at the Carousel

Kids can see Santa, make holiday crafts, take spins on the carousel, enjoy special entertainers, decorate cookies, and more at Christmas at the Carousel. Visit the St. Louis Carousel in Faust Park for Christmas at the Carousel on December 9 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. There will be a visit from a "very special person" too! Parents, be ready to take plenty of photos! The cost for Christmas at the Carousel is $15 per child in advance and $20 at the door. Adults are free.  Reservations can be made by calling 314-615-8344 or 314-615-8345. Christmas at the Carousel is held at the Carousel in Faust Park in Chesterfield. More information: stlouiscarousel.com


❄️ 2023 Kwanzaa Celebration at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Enjoy a day of culture, performance, and tradition during one of the region’s biggest Kwanzaa celebrations. Celebrated at the Museum for more than 20 years, the free annual Kwanzaa Celebration is presented in partnership with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter. This year’s theme is “Ubuntu: I am Connected.” Kwanzaa Celebration at the Saint Louis Art Museum is free and is set for Saturday, December 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get more information at slam.org


❄️ Breakfast with Santa at Eckerts

Join Santa for a meal on the farm! At Breakfast with Santa at Eckerts, your child can tell Santa their Christmas wishes, and Santa will have a special gift for each child.  Reservations for this special feast are suggested. Breakfast with Santa happens on Saturdays and Sundays through December 23 from 8 a.m. to noon. You can have your child's photo taken with Santa, and there will be face/hand painting and cookie decorating too. Cost is $25 per person. For reservations and more information: eckerts.com or call 618-233-0513.


❄️ Cocoa & Cookies with Santa at MADE for Kids

Celebrate the holidays at MADE for Kids and enjoy Cocoa and Cookies with Santa! You can take photos with Cocoa Santa and Mrs. Clause, create personalized gifts for family and friends and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Cost is $6 per person. Cocoa and Cookies with Santa will be held Friday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 22 from 5-8 p.m. at MADE for Kids, 5127 Delmar Blvd. Get tickets at magichouse.org

❄️ Story Time with Mrs. Claus and Santa at The Magic House

Get ready for a jolly good time! Mrs. Claus and Santa are making a trip from the North Pole! Join in the festive fun as you listen to Mrs. Claus read her favorite winter story, participate in hands-on holiday-themed activities and enjoy a special visit from Santa himself! Reservations are required to participate as this is designed to serve a smaller audience before we open to the public. After the program has concluded at 10:30 a.m., you are welcome to stay and play throughout The Magic House. Story Time with Mrs. Claus and Santa takes place December 5th - 15th, Tuesday through Friday, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. General reservations are $14 per person, Member reservations are $5 per person. Make reservations at magichouse.org


As always, check our Things To Do calendar for lots more family fun!


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Things to Do

Splash & Play at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center

Kids ages 0-5 can splash and play in the leisure pool at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center during Splash & Play sessions. Splash & Play is held every Monday and Wednesday in the summer through August 7. Older children, ages 6-1, are welcome when they are accompanied by an adult and a child age 0-5.


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