St. Louis offers so many fun things to do with kids during wintertime! It’s one of our family’s favorite places to go for a day trip or a whole weekend! From magical holiday light shows to epic children’s museums and unforgettable wildlife encounters to exciting outdoor winter sports, there are so many fun things to do in winter in St. Louis for any family!
In no particular order, here are our recommendations for what to do in St. Louis in winter for families!
- 1. Go Ice Skating
- 2. Delmar Loop Ice Carnival
- 3. See a show at The Fabulous Fox Theatre
- 4. Magic House
- 5. Winterfest at Kiener Plaza
- 6. Enjoy a Christmas Light Show
- 7. Hidden Valley Ski Resort
- 8. Endangered Wolf Center
- 9. Science Center
- 10. Get Lost in Wonder at the City Museum
- 11. Kimmswick Old Fashioned Christmas Festival & Cookie Walk
- 12. Explore St. Louis Union Station
- 13. Alton Eagle Ice Festival
- 14. Lone Elk Park
- 15. St. Charles Christmas Traditions
1. Go Ice Skating
This is a tradition we have done every winter for a while. There are several places to ice skate in St. Louis, but our favorite is Steinberg Ice Skating Rink in Forest Park.
Steinberg is an outdoor rink, so we always have to bundle up, but we prefer the vibe here much more than an indoor rink!
There is seating outdoors as well as indoors. There are big viewing windows inside, so anyone who isn’t skating can still watch! They also have a café with hot chocolate.
Outdoors, there’s a fire pit where you can warm up and sip your hot chocolate while watching the skaters.
A favorite for the kids in our family is the bumper cars on ice!
- General Admission: $10/person
- Skate Rental: $6
- Dates and hours of operation can be found here
- Coin-operated lockers are available
- Skate aids are available for an extra cost
2. Delmar Loop Ice Carnival
This is something we haven’t tried yet, but I think would be one of the most fun things to do in winter in St. Louis! This coming January 20th, celebrate the season at the Loop with their Ice Carnival! On Saturday the 20th, from 11 am – 7 pm, come to the Delmar Loop to see 40+ ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations!
They also feature fire performers, stilt-walking characters, and ice ballerinas! Get a face painting, roast marshmallows, and join in the scavenger hunt for prizes!
3. See a show at The Fabulous Fox Theatre
If you haven’t been to the historic Fabulous Fox, you need to see a show there at least once! The theater opened for the first time in January of 1929 and is still showing ‘The Best of Broadway’ today.
Some of this winter’s shows include Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Twas the Night Before, Disney’s Aladdin, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, the Nutcracker Ballet, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, and Disney Princess: The Concert.
If you don’t think your kids can sit through a show (it’s recommended that kids are 5 years and up, unless the show specifically says it’s suitable for toddlers), consider a walking tour. The Fox is a grand palace-style theatre, and is 5 stories high!
Walking tours are done on Saturday mornings at 10 am and cost $10/person (ages 2 and under are free!) It takes 90 minutes to complete and includes a brief organ performance.
4. Magic House
The Magic House in St. Louis is a perfect place for families to spend a winter day indoors!
It’s a not-for-profit, hands-on children’s museum and my kids love it! Some of the exhibits include the Jack and the Beanstalk 3-story climbing area, a bubble room, a kid’s construction zone, and a children’s village complete with a grocery store, a fishing pond, and a pretend restaurant.
Don’t miss a photo op at the electricity ball – make all your hair stand on end!
The Magic House also has a changing exhibit, and now through January 15, it’s “Scooby Doo Mansion Mayhem”. My kids will definitely love that, so we plan to go before it ends!
Holiday events include Cocoa and Cookies with Santa on December 8th and 22nd, as well as visits with Santa on select days in December.
The Magic House is probably one of my kids’ favorite fun things to do in winter in St. Louis!
5. Winterfest at Kiener Plaza
The Gateway Arch Foundation’s Winterfest runs from November 18th to December 31st in Kiener Plaza, near the St. Louis Gateway Arch. In the plaza, they put up an igloo village, where you can rent an “igloo” (a.k.a. a heated dome seating 4 people). It’s a little bit pricey to rent a dome (starting at $200), but it would be an awesome experience!
If the dome isn’t in your budget, don’t worry! There’s a lot more to do! A temporary ice skating rink is constructed, and on Fridays, kids (ages 3-15) skate free!
There are also s’mores kits available for purchase for $15 which come with enough ingredients for 4 s’mores at the fire pits.
On select days, your kids (and you!) can enjoy meet and greets as well as photos with princesses and superheroes.
We haven’t attended the Winterfest yet, but we really think it would be fun!
6. Enjoy a Christmas Light Show
During the holiday season, one of the best things to do in St. Louis during winter is to see a light display! St. Louis is the home for some of the best Christmas light experiences out there! We have been to a few, so here are some of our recommendations.
St. Louis Zoo Wild Lights
On select nights, starting at the end of November and running throughout December, the St. Louis Zoo hosts Wild Lights. From 5 pm to 8:30 pm, walk around the zoo and enjoy the light displays and holiday-themed areas.
Admission (from $11 to $18 per person) includes free parking, Wild Lights, Penguin & Puffin Coast, Insectarium, 4D Theater, and the carousel.
Aside from the lights, families can purchase s’mores kits and do free winter crafts. Note that the only animals available for viewing during Wild Lights will be the penguins and puffins and the creatures inside the Insectarium.
Each holiday season, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts Garden Glow. This season, Garden Glow runs from November 18th to January 6th (Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
The botanical garden transforms into a magical show of nearly 2 million lights!
Grab a hot chocolate and walk through the gardens enjoying magical displays on the water, on land, and light shows cast onto buildings.
Enter a life-size snow globe, walk through a light tunnel, and stop to take photos at the many photo ops available.
Buy your tickets in advance because entry is timed, and tickets sell out! Also, FYI, Wednesdays from November 22nd to December 13th, children’s admission (ages 3-12) are just $5! Check that ticket page as well for “Merry and Bright Bargain Nights” on select weeknights!
Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Brewery
Anheuser-Busch hosts Brewery Lights each holiday season with over 1 million Christmas lights. Each night, there is a 10-minute light show, a parade with performers, floats, and the famous Clydesdale horses.
Kids will love finding their way through the ice maze! Guests over the age of 21 will receive a complimentary beer!
Brewery Lights runs November 18th to December 30th, 2024 and parking is included with the ticket price. Tickets are $12+ and should be booked in advance because they always sell out!
Other places to see holiday lights in St. Louis
- Holiday Lights at Grant’s Farm
- Tilles Park Winter Wonderland
- Wonderlights at World Wide Technology Raceway
- Santa’s Magical Kingdom at Jellystone Park in Eureka
7. Hidden Valley Ski Resort
Did you know you can go skiing in St. Louis? At Hidden Valley Ski Resort, it doesn’t matter if there is no snow to be found anywhere else in Missouri. They make their own snow by pumping up to 6,500 gallons of water per minute through 100 snowmaking machines!
This winter wonderland offers skiing for all levels, as well as ski lessons.
For those who aren’t into skiing, snow tubing is another fun option! At Hidden Valley’s Polar Plunge Tubing Park, no experience is necessary. They provide the tubes and there is a conveyer to take you back to the top! For those not participating, there’s an area at the base with a fire pit and café where they can sit and watch the fun.
Tickets must be purchased in advance!
8. Endangered Wolf Center
Did you know there is an endangered wolf center near St. Louis? Located in Eureka, Missouri, the Endangered Wolf Center is committed to the conservation of wolves, foxes, and painted dogs.
Families can book a visit for an hour-and-a-half-long educational tour. This includes a classroom setting as well as a guided tour of the habitats, where you will see several species of wolves, as well as foxes and painted dogs.
Additional add-ons include the “Animal Trainer Experience” and the “Enrichment Experience”.
Learn about why the wild needs wolves and why they’re so much more than the stereotypical scary predator.
9. Science Center
The Science Center is one of the best things to do in St. Louis this winter for kids, and it’s free! This non-profit, hands-on science museum has so many fun exhibits!
Learn about dinosaurs, earth science, space, energy, and so much more with all the hands-on exhibits and activities!
Visit the Omnimax Theater for one of several shows and walk across the Skybridge (and look through the floor down to the Interstate!) to the Planetarium! Experience a flight simulator and learn about agriculture and where our food comes from. There’s so much to do here, you can spend an entire day.
Note that the Science Center is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Although admission is free, the parking lot fee is $15 per vehicle.
10. Get Lost in Wonder at the City Museum
If you have never been to the “weirdly wonderful” City Museum in St. Louis, you are missing out! This is the most unique and fun playground you may ever see!
Explore slides that span several stories, caves you can crawl through on hands and knees, treehouses, rides, and so much more!
Just be careful not to lose your kids! There is a “Toddler Town” area for smaller children!
11. Kimmswick Old Fashioned Christmas Festival & Cookie Walk
From December 1st to December 3rd, visit the historic town of Kimmswick for their annual Christmas Festival. Get in the holiday spirit listening to the carolers singing holiday songs.
Shops and restaurants will have extended hours, and Santa will be available to visit at select times!
The “Cookie Walk” takes place from November 30th to December 3rd, and requires advanced ticket purchases. It includes a holiday cookbook as well as a gift bag and a map showing the locations where you can get samples of “sweet treats” throughout town.
The town is lit with luminaries, and entertainment includes carolers and carriage rides.
12. Explore St. Louis Union Station
There is so much to do at St. Louis’ Union Station! If you can, purchase tickets for the Polar Express train ride before they sell out! Read more about our experience on the Polar Express here!
If you don’t get the chance to experience the Polar Express ride, don’t worry, there is definitely more to do!
Visit the St. Louis Aquarium to see sharks, touch starfish and other sea creatures, and see the blue lobster!
For the more daring families, try the ropes & zipline course!
Outdoor attractions include the carousel, Ferris Wheel, and Fire & Light show. Inside the Union Station Grand Hall, don’t miss the light show!
Grab lunch or dinner at the Soda Fountain or a treat at Cookies & Cupcakes.
13. Alton Eagle Ice Festival
Celebrate the bald eagle’s return to Southwest Illinois this winter at the Alton Eagle Ice Festival.
The festival is a free public event, taking place on Saturday, January 6th from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be a free eagle “meet and greet” with a chance for photos with the eagle.
There will be food trucks, face painting, and s’mores stations, as well as ice carvers and live music.
For $15/person, you can take a 90-minute eagle-watching shuttle tour. You can purchase tickets for the tour here.
14. Lone Elk Park
Lone Elk Park is a wildlife management area in St. Louis. They offer a drive-through experience to see elk, deer, and bison.
The animals here can be viewed year-round, but they are wild animals and the park can’t control what area the animals will be in during your visit!
The park also offers a visitor’s center, hiking trails, and picnic shelters.
15. St. Charles Christmas Traditions
If you want to feel like you stepped into a Christmas movie, St. Charles Christmas Traditions needs to be on your list!
From November 24th to December 24th, you can experience the magic and nostalgia at this St. Charles festival. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? You can get those here! Learn about the history of the Christmas tree tradition, get photos with a Victorian Santa Claus, and take a horse-drawn carriage ride down the street.
On Wednesday evenings, Main Street transforms into the streets of London in the 1840s, bringing Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol to life.
My family hasn’t been to this event yet, but I’ve been hearing about it, and it’s #1 on my list of things to experience very soon!
There are so many fun and festive things to do in St. Louis in winter for families of all kinds! I hope we inspired you to try a new adventure or start a new holiday tradition!
What to read next:
- Tour the St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park
- All Aboard the St. Louis Polar Express
- Tips for a Memorable Visit to the St. Louis Zoo
- 17 Entertaining Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids
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