Saint Charles and St. Louis—less than 30 miles apart on opposite sides of the Missouri River—could bookend a weekend of holiday light festivals.
Christmas festival
Saint Charles, Missouri, Christmas Traditions festival
| Credit: Emily Lansche Katski/@dogwoodchannelcat

Their personalities are completely different, but the historic riverside town of St. Charles and the major metro of nearby St. Louis both offer plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions, in its 48th year, opens November 25, 2022, and runs Wednesdays through Sundays until December 24. Visitors can expect Victorian carolers, shopping and dining along historic Main Street, storytelling and holiday lights.

U.S. Bank Wild Lights fills the St. Louis Zoo with a million lights on select nights from November 25 to December 30, 2022. (Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.) In addition to seeing animal-themed light displays, you can buy s'mores to roast at a fire pit, ride on the Conservation Carousel, visit the Penguin & Puffin Coast, and hear holiday carolers roaming around the zoo.

Grant's Farm Christmas lights outside St Louis Missouri
Credit: Courtesy of Grant's Farm

The 2022 Holiday Lights at Grants' Farm offers a drive-through experience and—new this year—a walking tour on certain nights. Thursdays through Sundays, November 25-December 30, 2022. The route starts at Inspiration Hill (where you might see Clydesdales in the distance), goes through the German-style Bauernhof featuring a dazzling light show synchronized to holiday music, the Tiergarten decorated as the North Pole, and a light tunnel on the way to the Busch Family Estate, which will be aglow in gold. Tune in to holiday music on your radio. VIP experiences with firepits and breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus are also new offerings this year. 

Garden Glow Missouri Botanical Garden
Garden Glow
| Credit: Courtesy of Tom Incrocci/Missouri Botanical Garden

Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, celebrating its 10th year, runs November 17, 2022-January 7, 2023. A million lights twinkle and flash around the garden, illuminating landmarks like the greenhouse geodesic dome and water features. Look for hot chocolate, s'mores and other snacks to purchase along the Garden Glow path or buy Dine and Glow tickets for a full meal. Private firepits are also available for rental.

The Steinberg Skating Rink—the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Midwest—typically starts its winter season in mid-November and is open every day, including holidays, through the end of February.

In O'Fallon, about 35 miles west of downtown St. Louis, Fort Zumwalt Park is merry and bright with more than a million lights during the annual Celebration of Lights. Visitors can drive or stroll through the park, or, on designated nights, take carriage, train and sleigh rides. Open most nights November 25–December 30.