The most amazing part of the holiday season…2nd to Christmas presents of course, are the holiday lights in St. Louis!
2017 Holiday Lights!…So Romantic, So Fun, So Festive!!
One of the best light displays in St. Louis is of course the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights. It is part of Christmas in St. Louis and features the Salvation Army Tree of Lights located in Aloe Plaza. The opening day is November 18th from 3-8pm. There will be performances by Salvation Army Brass Band, carols sung by the St. Louis Carols Association, carriage rides, the tree lighting ceremony, fireworks, Winterfest skating rink in partnership with the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, and more.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Light Display can be viewed every night from November 16th through December 30th from 5-10pm. In addition to viewing thousands of holiday lights, there are opportunities to take photos with the Clydesdales, beer sampling, fire pits, an ice rink, and S’mores. Visitors can drive by the historic Brew House, the Clydesdales stable, Bevo packaging facility, and along Pestalozzi St. to check out the holiday lights. Head over early for a tour of the brewery or dine at The Biergarten.
Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. This well known holiday light display kicks off November 17th and runs through December 31st. If you’re looking for a romantic occasion, you can ride through this light show on a horse-drawn carriage. There are also community performances, Christmas tree display, wreath display, Lego bricks display, a petting zoo and more! This is definitely one of the best places to visit during the holiday season.
Never Enough Lights in St. Charles County: A neighborhood light show where you can tune your radio in to listen to a synchronized song list while driving through. And there’s no admission (although there is a donation box in which all donations will be given to the Hope Ministries Food Pantry). It’s just spirited holiday goers decorating their homes for the love of the season and allowing us to enjoy their creativity. Begins November 23rd at 5pm each night and runs until January 1st.
The Tilles Park Winter Wonderland in West County is open November 22nd through December 30th. Another popular light display made even better by a romantic horse drawn carriage ride through a dazzling winter wonderland. The display is open 5:30-9:30pm daily, except Saturdays, which are for carriage rides only (advanced reservations required). There is a fee to drive through this light display: $10/car and prices vary for the carriage rides. It is not open on Christmas Eve.
Wentzville Holiday Night Lights is a one-mile light display in Rotaty Park featuring scenic holiday tunnels with twinkling, flashing lights. It opens Friday, November 24th. You can drive through Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 5:30-9:30pm. Beginning December 18th the display is open daily through December 30th (except Dec 25th). Admission is $8 per vehicle (up to 6 people) and $1 per additional person. On November 18th, be one of the first to enjoy the lights in The Turkey Dash 5K or one-mile fun run. On December 4th, bundle up and take a walk through the display.
The St. Louis Hills neighborhood puts on a great light display as well. It’s the 6500 block of Murdoch and it’s known as Candy Cane Lane. This holiday display begins Sunday, November 26th with The Hills’ Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Party in Francis Park. There will be carriage rides, carolers, and special appearances. Sure you could drive through this light display, but I think this one would be better seen with a group of friends, some hot cider, and a festive stroll down Candy Cane Lane.
Christmas Wonderland in Alton, IL may be a little farther than some want to travel, but this holiday light show boasts more than 3 million lights including a cascading waterfall! And your children can visit with Santa in the Enchanted Forest and play with the animals in the petting zoo. This light festival begins November 24th and is open from 5-9pm on weekends and 6-9pm on week nights. Cost is $7/car. Santa will be there through Christmas eve.
Celebration of Lights at Fort Zumwalt in O’Fallon, MO attracts more than 8,000 vehicles each year with an amazingly enchanting light display. The light display begins November 24th with shows starting at 6pm daily (except Monday). Take the train, wagon or sleigh hayrides through the lights on Mondays(reservations required). Cost per vehicle is $7 on Tuesday or $10 Wed-Sun (bring a canned good Wed-Sun and receive $1 off). This light display also offers carriage rides…and train rides and sleigh rides, plus an old fashioned holiday stroll on Dec 11 & 12 – this walk-through is $3 admission.
While there are clearly plenty of light displays where you can stay in your warm car and still enjoy the holiday festivities, sometimes you have to suck it up, bundle up and endure the chilling Winter weather to view some spectacular sights. And what better place to go than the St. Louis Zoo and Botanical Garden.
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo: This colorful, enchanting light display is November 24th-December 30th and is open from 5:30-8:30pm every Friday-Sunday until December 30th. Starting Nov 29th, they will be open Wed-Sunday. There is a $8 fee to attend this holiday attraction on weekdays, $10 on weekends, however, it includes other activities such as fireside stories, live performances, and rides, and is well worth the visit!
Santa’s House in Belleville, IL is a holiday staple. You will find Santa’s House officially open for business on November 24th. Kicking off Belleville’s holiday festivities is the Santa Parade at 10am on November 24th down Main St. Then at 5:45pm, the official lighting of the fountain and holiday-sing-a-long will begin. Santa’s House will then be open for business weekdays from 6-8:30pm, Saturdays 12-5pm & 6-8:30pm and Sundays from 12-3 & 3:30-6:30pm (check website for closings and odd hours). Come out and visit Santa, see the fountain lights, and check out the decorated shop windows in downtown Belleville.
Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden: The Botanical Garden’s annual light display opens on Saturday, November 18th and is open from 5-10pm through January 1st (closed Christmas Eve and Day). It’s $18 for adults and $10 for children (non-members), but there are bargain nights and family nights which reduce the cost of both adults and children. Garden Glow features hundreds of thousands of lights which transform the Climatron, Kaeser Memorial Maze, Central Axis, Tower Grove House and other iconic Garden locations into a winter wonderland. In addition to the lights, Garden Glow includes expanded installations, more family photo opps, specially priced Family Nights, and Dine & Glow, a fixed-price menu of comfort foods served in Sassafras until 8 p.m.
There is also Santa’s Magical Kingdom in Eureka near Six Flags. As of Nov. 17th, it is open at 5:30pm every day until January 7th (including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day). If you have little ones, it will be well worth the drive to see the looks on their faces. It’s like Disney World in December. You can drive through ($22/family vehicle) to capture the dazzling light display that includes a waterfall, the Elfland Village, Gingerbread house, Santa’s mailbox for kids to drop off their letters to Santa and much more! If you don’t want to drive through, you can take the Santa Express train or an old fashioned wagon ride (select dates and times). You can also stop at Kringle’s Store on the way out to get photos with Santa to remember the fun.
While I can guarantee I haven’t hit every light festival, I have done my best to give you the most fun, festive, and romantic displays that St. Louis has to offer you. If you haven’t yet joined in the St. Louis holiday spirit, Get it Together! It’s time!
Brought to you by Mills Apartments Photo credit: Kate Zaidova – Unsplash