Make Magical Memories in St. Louis This Holiday Season

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Shimmering light displays, a rousing holiday parade, heart-warming theatrical performances and stirring musical concerts multiple the magic of the holidays in St. Louis with lots of memories-in-the-making says the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.

Macy's Festival of Lights

Holidays are for making happy memories, and few places rival St. Louis for holiday memory-making material.

Shimmering light displays, a rousing holiday parade, heart-warming theatrical performances and stirring musical concerts multiple the magic of the holidays in St. Louis with lots of memories-in-the-making.

Here is a sampling of the magical holiday moments waiting for you in St. Louis. To see more, visit explorestlouis.com.

Macy’s Festival of Lights officially kicks off St. Louis’ holiday season on Nov. 22 when, with the flick of a switch, Kiener Plaza is drenched in colorful holiday lights. The festivities begin at 4 p.m., and are capped off with an exciting fireworks display. Entertainment on the Main Stage and in the Christmas Village will include Moscow Ballet Nutcracker St. Louis Dancers, Salvation Army Brass Ensemble, Grand Center Arts Academy Show Choir, the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association, Muny Kids, Show-Me Sound and Rivertown Sound Quartet.

The Midwest’s best holiday parade--the 29th Annual Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade--hits the streets of downtown St. Louis at 8:45 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 28. Think colorful floats, marching bands, familiar storybook characters and high-stepping equestrian units with an appearance by Santa himself.

Get a jump on your holiday shopping and spend an entire fun-filled day at the family-friendly Holiday Magic show Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at America’s Center where the activities include full-scale carnival rides, entertainment and hands-on arts and crafts projects for the kids.

Visitors to the Missouri Botanical Garden will delight in the Gardenland Express Nov. 23-Jan. 5, 2014 (closed Dec. 25). G-scale model trains zoom through a miniature landscape of living plants in a display surrounded by more than 500 poinsettias and other flowers. Stick around for an evening stroll through the magical Garden Glow when thousands of lights illuminate the Garden’s iconic buildings, walkways become sensory light tunnels and traditional candlelight village displays radiate light. (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 5)

Does your child want to spend some quality time with Santa? Sign him or her up for Breakfast With Santa the world-renowned Saint Louis Zoo weekly on Saturday and Sunday from Dec. 7 to Dec. 22 or Dinner With Santa, Dec. 20-23. Kids who attend get a photo with Santa, a gift and a visit from costumed characters.

Lights, lights and more lights

Colorful light displays permeate the holidays with a festive feel, and they abound in St. Louis. Here are some ways you can experience them:

  • Kick back and relax on Nov. 16 when Taubman Prestige Outlets, one of St. Louis’s two new outlet malls, holds its first annual tree-lighting ceremony. The Muny Kids, TeamSTAGES and Ashleyliane Dance Company will entertain, and a special visitor from the North Pole will drop by.
  • Take a leisurely drive through the 28th Annual Winter Wonderland in Tilles County Park Nov. 27-Jan. 1, 2014 (closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) and be enchanted by the mile-long display of colorful lights, festive holiday scenes and favorite characters. Or clip-clop through the park in a carriage ride on a Saturday night when Winter Wonderland is closed to vehicular traffic and reserved for carriage rides only.
  • Meander through U. S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo, a holiday wonderland of spectacular light. Wild Lights is open Nov. 29-30, Dec. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-23, & 26-30.
  • Get in a holiday mood early at Santa’s Magical Kingdom at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park where millions of sparkling lights, animated scenes and dazzling special effects are bound to get you in a holiday mood. The display kicks off Nov. 15 and runs nightly through Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Partake in the 44th Annual Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in nearby Belleville, IL Nov. 22-Jan. 3, 2014 where more than a million twinkling lights and electro-art displays portray the true Christmas story along a mile-and-a-half route. Other activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, tree and wreath displays, camel rides, indoor laser show and interactive children’s village.

Musical mood-setters

Looking for a musical mood-setter? Check out these upcoming performances:

  • Ninth Annual Christmas at the Cathedral, Dec. 7-8 in the timeless splendor of Cathedral Basilica Saint Louis. The concert includes performances by the Archdiocesan Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, Handbell Choir and Orchestra.
  • A Christmas Carol at the Fox Theatre in Grand Center, Dec. 5-8. What would the holidays be without a visit with Scrooge, Tiny Tim and his family.
  • 2013 Pandora Jewelry Presents Martina McBride: “The Joy of Christmas” Tour, at the Fox Theatre on Dec. 13. The country music star goes holiday in a concert that includes holiday classics and hymns, a 12-piece band with a string section and a video screen depicting scenes of the season.
  • Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Dec. 14-15 at Powell Hall in Grand Center. In a first, the St. Louis Symphony performs the sounds of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas with Chip Davis’ modern symphonic arrangements of holiday songs.
  • Christmas Candlelight Concert by the Bach Society of St. Louis at Powell Hall, Dec. 17. The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra will perform and then will be joined by the University of Missouri St. Louis University Singers for John Rutter’s energetic Gloria.
  • ELF The Musical at the Fox Theatre in Grand Center, Dec. 17-29 (no performances Dec. 24-25). This tale of a misfit Elf is sure to brighten your day.
  • Donny & Marie Christmas at the Scottrade Center, Dec. 18. Shades of the 1970s! Donnie and Marie are back with a show that blends holiday songs with a nostalgic look back on their careers.
  • Holiday Celebration, a St. Louis Symphony holiday concert at Powell Hall featuring the Symphony and the Holiday Festival Chorus, Dec. 20-22. The show includes carols and other holiday music, and Santa will pay a visit.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Scottrade Center, Dec. 23. What’s been described as an “American progressive rock band” brings you the final performance of “The Lost Christmas Eve.”

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