Are you ready to get your twinkle on? Grab some hot cocoa, download the holiday tunes and put your kids in the car–it’s time to take a drive through some of St. Louis’ best Christmas light displays! (updated for 2016)Every year we celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with trip to a couple of these festive light shows. There’s something for everyone! Some shows are completly free and other will cost you by the carload. Check the details on your favorite display, because most of these offer special nights with walking tours, carriage rides, hay wagons and trains! If you start now, you might just see them all!
Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows, in Belleville, IL.
Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, 2017
It’s huge, it’s awesome, it’s all about Christmas…and it’s free! OK, you should give them a donation on the way out, but you can pay what you can.
The Way of Lights also has camel rides, a petting zoo and indoor activities. Camel & Pony rides are $6, food for the petting zoo critters is a buck.
Nov. 16-Dec. 30, 2017
This freebie is becoming my family’s favorite light show! I know a glorified beer fest isn’t for every family, but you should seriously give it a whirl. The folks at A-B put on an awesome show–and the staff are always super friendly. Parents will appreciate the beer sampling, and you can buy the kid’s a couple s’mores to roast over an open fire while you warm up. You can ride a tram around the display or walk it. Make sure you stop by the historic Clydesdale stable to get a photo with a horse! There’s an ice skating by the bottling plant, and you can take care of some holiday shopping for the beer lovers and St. Louis fans in the gift shop. They’re still serving snacks in the Biergarten–for $6 you can get one of five offerings: chili, brats, pretzels, toasted ravioli or chicken tenders.
It’s open for walking on Thursday through Sunday, from 5:00-10:00 pm.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you can drive through the display, but there’s no actives.
Nov. 18-Jan 1, 2017
They’re lighting up the whole garden again, and boy, is it’s something to see! Lucky for us, they’ve also reduced the ticket price and added a Family Nights with $3 tickets for kids, and reduced prices on select Bargain Nights. Regular admission is $18 for adults and $10 for kids, and of course members get a discount. Check out the garden’s website for all the sparkly details.
Also new this year: your ticket includes the Garden Express Railroad!
Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2017
Bundle up the kiddos for a stroll through the St. Louis Zoo after dark! They’re open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on select nights (check the calendar for details). Tickets are $7 for Zoo members and $8 for non-members on weekdays and $2 more on weekends. Children under two get in free. There is also free parking at both of the Zoo’s lots. Save time by getting your tickets online! The Penguins, Sea Lions and Insectarium will be open during Wild Lights!
Nov 22–Dec. 30, 2017
This gem is run by the St. Louis County parks department. You can drive through, or ride in a horse drawn carriage! The Winter Wonderland is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., except for Christmas Eve (they’ll be closed then). Cars are welcome Sunday through Friday, but Saturdays are reserved for carriage rides. Admission is $10 per family car (more for big vans and tour buses). Tickets for carriage rides are available through MetroTix, and vary depending on the size of the carriage. Cash only at the door for everyone else.
Nov. 24-Dec. 27, 2017
More than 3 million lights have been strung through Rock Spring Park for their annual Christmas Wonderland lights display. There’s cascading waterfalls, lighted trees and hundreds of light displays! Plus, kids can visit Santa in the Enchanted Forest until Christmas Eve. $7 per car. Open 7 days a week, from 6 to 9pm on weekdays and 5 to 9pm on the weekends.
Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2017
Drive through lights and holiday scenes set up in Fort Zumwalt Park. The display is open through Dec. 30, but closed on Christmas. Visit Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 6 to 9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 pm. $10 per family vehicle. There’s a Tuesday Night Special – $7 for all non-commercial vehicles, and on Wednesday through Sunday, bring a food pantry donation of canned or boxed goods and get a $1 discount per vehicle.
You can hop on a carriage, sleigh, hay wagon or train on select nights. Check out all the details here.
Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2017
This one mile light display in Rotary Park features large commercial scenes and tunnels with twinkling, flashing features that offer a thrill for everyone! The drive through is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13, then open daily through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Day). The drive-thru is open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. $8 per car, up to 6 people. (If you’ve wedged more than 6 in your car, it’s a dollar extra per person.)
There’s also a special walk-thru night on Dec. 5 from 5-8 pm. $3 per person in advance, $5 at the door.
Nov. 17- Jan. 7, 2018
Millions of lights in a converted campground! Ride a wagon or take your car. Runs 7 days a week, admission is $22 per car or $13 per person if you take their wagon. They opened November 14 and will go to January 8. You can visit Santa (and have a professional photo taken) in the gift shop.
Nov. 17 –Jan. 1, 2018
New! Lights at the Gateway Motorsports Speedway! Running nightly from 5pm – 10pm 7 days a week, including all Holidays. $20 per car when ordered on line, $25 at the door. Skip the line for $40 Dash Pass when ordered online.