6177 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112
The best hotel for the holiday season in the STL? The Moonrise Hotel is a quirky, vibrant spot in St. Louis’s funky Delmar Loop neighborhood, where you’ll find unique opportunities to shop for handcrafted, vintage and fair trade gifts. The Moonrise’s easy access to major highways and all of the attractions of Forest Park will be important to you if snow creates bad road conditions, and if you’re totally snowed in, the hotel is within walking distance of some of the city’s best ethnic restaurants, clubs, galleries and events. The hotel’s Eclipse restaurant specializes in locally sourced, seasonal and organic ingredients, and will be open to serve a feast on Christmas Day.
St. Charles Christmas Traditions
230 S. Main St.
St. Charles, MO 63301
St. Charles is where St. Louisans head to celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas. The city’s cobblestoned Main Street, lined with gas lamps, is luscious in the snow. Costumed characters wander the streets and interact with visitors, including carolers, historical Santas from around the world and characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Roasted chestnuts and other traditional nibbles are available, and the shops stay open late into the evening, selling one-of-a-kind gifts and holiday decor. Special events are scheduled for weekends, visit the website for a schedule.
Related: A Day In Lafayette Square
Way of Lights
National Shrine of Our Lady Of The Snows
442 S. Demazenod Drive
Belleville, IL 62223
The most iconic Christmas celebration in the St. Louis area is across the river to the east. Millions of sparkling white lights recreate the Biblical Christmas story, complete with wise men, the town of Bethlehem, shepherds in the field, angels on high and a lush nativity scene in an outdoor grotto. At the Visitor’s Center, enjoy hot chocolate, a petting zoo and live camel rides. Inside the Center, there’s a display of Christmas trees and live entertainment like puppet shows, carolers and more.
Chanukah: Festival of Lights
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
On December 6, from noon until 4 p.m., you are invited to celebrate (or learn about) Chanukah at the city’s beautiful Botanical Garden. This is a traditional celebration that will delight attendees as they will be able to witness the sights and sounds of Israeli music and dance, bask in the glow of a menorah-lighting ceremony and shop for authentic Chanukah souvenirs provided by local vendors. If there’s snow on the ground on that day, be sure to also visit the extensive Japanese Garden. Snow is considered a flower in this four-season garden, which is absolutely breathtaking any time of year.
Fabulous Fox Theatre
527 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
The Fabulous Fox Theatre lives up to its name. The restored historic building is a tribute to opulence and Orientalism in the American Heartland, and it’s a lovely place to catch a holiday show. This year, the theater will host Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas concert (a local tradition) along with live, staged performances of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Christmas Story.” St. Louis is building up an entire arts district around the Fox Theatre, so you’ll have no trouble finding a meal before your show.
Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com