The St. Louis area has many things do to during the winter, indoors and out! The area is lucky to be cold enough each winter to be able to provide outdoor winter things to do. So do you like ice skating? Snow sledding? Downhill skiing? Or maybe you want to be indoors, away from the cold. Then a concert or a holiday performance or a visit to one of the area's many museums is right for you. Indoors or out, St. Louis has it all!
What is more fun than ice skating in the winter? Our cold and somewhat snowy winters allow many outdoor skating rinks in the area to operate from November through February during most years. The Steinberg Skating Rink is located in Forest Park and is thought to be the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Midwest. Steinberg is open everyday and offers open public skating all day long, which means that you can skate as long as you want, no time limits! For snow skiing in the St. Louis area, Hidden Valley Ski Resort is the place to be. They have over 300 skiiable acres and a ski lift to get you to the top. And whether there is half an inch or 6 inches of snow on the ground, Art Hill in front of the St. Louis Art Museum is the BEST place for snow sledding! Sioux Passage Park, located in Florissant Missouri, is designated as a "Winter Sports Area" and allows snowmobiling, sled riding and cross-country skiing.
Some things to do in winter will certainly center around the holidays. The holiday season begins with the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade held in Downtown St. Louis. Floats, large balloon characters and of course Santa can all be enjoyed by young and old! Going to a special holiday concert or performance at the Fox Theatre or Powell Symphony Hall will put anyone in the holiday spirit. Care for a Winter's night drive? Holiday light displays can be found at Tilles Park in St. Louis County or at Jellystone Park Resort in Eureka. A pretty sight is Anheuser-Busch Brewery all lit up for Christmas! Another fun place to be in the winter for the holidays is the St. Louis Zoo which is open during special evening hours for their seasonal lights display called "Wild Lights" beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and running thru December 23rd. Historic St. Charles gets all dressed up for the holidays! In December, the city puts on a month long Christmas Festival called "Christmas Traditions" which is a group of actors that act out the traditions of Christmas, from the Sugar Plum Fairy, to Carolers, to Father Christmas on the streets of Historic St. Charles. St. Louis hosts an annual event called First Night. First Night is held on December 31 and is a family orientated event that rings in the New Year.
Cardinal baseball is over. The Ram's football season is winding down. But, the St. Louis Blues Hockey team are still playing strong all winter long! A night at the Scottrade Center for a St. Louis Blues Hockey game is full of high speed play action and a lot of fun for the whole family. Mardi Gras also happen during the winter. St. Louis hosts one of the biggest Mardi Gras Festivals outside of New Orleans in the nation. Most of the festivities are held in the Historic Soulard Neighborhood. Families might want to attend the more kid friendly Beggin Barkus Parade rather than the more adult themed Mardi Gras Grand Parade. The Fete de Glace, or Festival of Ice happens each winter in January on the streets of Historic St. Charles and involves chain saws and blocks of ice.
One of the best times for night sky viewing is during the winter. Cool, crisp nights with less humidity allows the stars and planets to shine brightly. The James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center hosts every first Friday of the month a free public telescope viewing and a program in the Planetarium's Orthwein StarBay called "The Sky Tonight." And while you are there, visit the rest of the free exhibits at the Science Center. Another place for night sky viewing is at the observatory located at Pattonville Heights Middle School which holds one or two free public viewing sessions a month throughout the year. The St. Charles Parks Department and the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri host a weekly public star show on every Friday that it is clear at Broemmelsiek Park. Broemmelsiek Park is a perfect location for star gazing since it is farther away from city lights and pollution that tend to hinder an observer's sight of the stars and planets.
If you are a bird watcher, then you must go to the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary-Rivers Project located in West Alton Missouri during the winter! Flocks of birds, such as bald eagles and trumpeter swans, come to the Mississippi River during the winter to find food in the river's free flowing waters. The Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary has an excellent observation area for viewing these beautiful migratory birds. There are many other places along the Mississippi River for bald eagle watching including the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, along the Great River Road, the Melvin Price Locks and Dam and Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois.
And for those who just can't wait for winter to be over, maybe a trip to the Garden will help! Visit the Missouri Botanical Garden for their Orchid Show that features hundreds of beautiful orchids in bloom. This annual event takes place during February and March in the Garden's Orthwein Floral Display Hall.
See below for more St. Louis Winter Things To Do and for more information.