Santa’s helpers throughout St. Louis have been working their magic for months – testing bulbs, hanging lights and building displays – to spark joy for families this holiday season. As soon as November rolls around, the entire region flips the switch to light up dazzling displays that will wow even the grinchiest of visitors. Add in some holiday tunes, kids’ activities and tasty treats, and these light displays become enchanting experiences you and your little ones will never forget.
Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park
Sit back, relax and take in the magic of the season at one of the region’s most beloved light displays. Each year, 75 acres of Tilles Park become home to more than 100 displays of festive characters and winter scenes. Stay in your car for the show or snuggle with loved ones in a horse-drawn carriage as you meander under the canopy of lights. Those with a more adventurous spirit can bundle up for a walk around the park on select evenings in November and December and be rewarded with incredible photo opportunities and the chance to purchase desserts, hot chocolate and other beverages to enjoy on your stroll.
Winter Wonderland is open Nov. 24 through Jan. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission prices vary depending on how your family chooses to travel through the display. Learn more at winterwonderlandstl.com.
Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park
Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden
Now through Jan. 8, the Garden dresses up in its holiday best with millions of lights and stunning seasonal displays. Grab some hot cocoa and an ooey-gooey s’more while you wander the awe-inspiring grounds for a night of special entertainment, music and Christmas-card ready photo opportunities. Santa Claus will even fly his sleigh in from the North Pole for visits on select nights throughout the event’s run.
And if you're bringing the whole family, check out Garden Glow Family Nights when kids' tickets are just $3.
The Garden Glow is open every night (except Christmas and Christmas Eve) from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission prices vary by date. For more information, visit glow.missouribotanicalgarden.org.
Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights
Get a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays with your favorite people and your favorite beer. For the past 36 years, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery has set the scene for a winter wonderland that appeals to parents as well as their kids. In addition to traditional light displays, this year’s festivities include a state-of-the-art light show and 22-foot-tall digital holiday tree. Visit the world-famous Clydesdales before popping into the expanded Kids Zone where your little ones can take a train ride and party the night away with Munchkin DJ Radio. And if you want to upgrade your experience, book a private fire pit for marshmallow roasting or cozy up in your personal igloo for an additional fee.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights runs Thursday through Sunday from Nov. 26 to Dec. 30. Prices start at $10 for general admission. Book your reservation today at budweisertours.com.
Brewery Lights at the Anheuser Busch Brewery in Soulard
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo
U.S. Bank Wild Lights has become a holiday tradition for countless St. Louis families. And each year, it just gets bigger and better! Lit by a million twinkling lights and dazzling illuminated animal exhibits, the event features wintry tales around the campfire, live holiday carolers and costumed characters, and fun photo opportunities. New this year is the Meet Me in St. Louis Zone, which comes complete with a 15-foot arch and firework-style lights. And as always, kids can also enjoy favorite activities like the Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, Sea Lion Sound tunnel, and “The Polar Express” in the Zoo’s 4D Theater.
U.S. Bank Wild Lights will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 26-28, Dec. 1-5, Dec. 8-13, and Dec. 15-30 (though closed Dec. 24 and 25). Ticket prices range from $10 to $13 depending on the dates, and reservations are required. Monday, Dec. 13 is Sensory-Friendly Night at Wild Lights and features sensory maps, quiet areas, and trained Zoo staff to assist individuals with sensory needs.
Get your tickets before they sell out at stlzoo.org
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Celebration of Lights in O’Fallon, Mo.
The Celebration of Lights is a holiday event that truly brings the community together. Since 1991, organizations, churches and businesses have funded and designed holiday displays to light up Fort Zumwalt Park. Guests can drive through the illuminated route or see the sights from their seat in a horse-drawn carriage, tractor-pulled wagon or city train car. In addition, the park will host Old-Fashioned Holiday Strolls on Dec. 6 and 7., which include holiday music, visits with Santa and a colorful fireworks display.
The Celebration of Lights starts Nov. 26 and continues through Dec. 30. All tickets must be purchased in advance, and prices vary. For more details, visit ofallon.mo.us.
Holiday Lights at Grant’s Farm: Drive-Through Experience
Experience one of St. Louis’ most iconic family attractions like never before! Drive through the historic grounds of Grant’s Farm and be mesmerized by both amazing light displays and a menagerie of animals, including resident yak, camels and llamas. Your visit also includes a view of Inspiration Hill, a tour of the North Pole via the famous Tiergarten, and new this year, a peek at the Busch Family Estate House decked out in festive lights. The night concludes with a magnificent 50-foot illuminated tree and a grand finale at the farm’s historic main gates.
Holiday Lights at Grant's Farm is open on select nights through Jan. 2 and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Reservations are required. Tickets are $39 and $49 depending on the date. Learn more and get tickets at grantsfarm.com.
Holiday Lights at Grant's Farm
Way of Lights at The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
Every Christmas, Our Lady of the Snows sparkles in millions of white lights that guide guests to the little town of Bethlehem. Along the way, your kids can visit the petting zoo, climb up for a ride on a camel or pony, and check out the LEGO® brick display in the Visitor’s Center (stop by on Family Nights for special discounts every Tuesday!). Enjoy performances from area bands, choirs, puppeteers, and dancers, and take part in the annual holiday wreath auction. During Way of Lights, The Shrine will be also be collecting canned goods to help support the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
The Way of Lights runs through Dec. 31 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. There are no festivities on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day although the outdoor light displays will remain open. Admission is free, but for a $15 donation, you can receive a Build-A-Bear™ plush animal while supporting the Shrine’s work. Discover all the details at snows.org.
Holiday Night Lights in Wentzville
Experience the joy of the holidays at Rotary Park in Wentzville as you travel by car or carriage ride through a one-mile light display that features large illuminated scenes and tunnels of twinkling lights. Holiday Night Lights also offers sleigh hayrides where your family can sip hot chocolate and munch on cookies around the bonfire before climbing up for a ride. On Dec. 13, stroll the event site during the Holiday Night Lights Walk-Thru and visit the Kolb Building to see decorated trees from local businesses and organizations, enjoy refreshments, and get your picture taken with the big guy himself whose reindeer stand right outside. If you miss the walk-thru, you can catch Santa on various Saturdays during December.
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL
Children's activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, mask-making and educational workshops. In conjunction with the festival, the Saint Louis Zoo will have special activities focused on a different African animal each day.
Schlafly Art Outside is a three-day invitational art fair featuring affordable art from more than 60 artists based in the St. Louis region. Enjoy quality art, tasty food, local brews and live music. There will also be a Kids Corner sponsored by Artists First with hands-on art activities at this family-friendly festival.