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20 Free Holiday Events in the St. Louis Area

Celebrate the Season Without Spending Money


It's really easy to spend a lot of money during the holidays. All of the food, decorations and gifts can add up quickly. But, there are ways to enjoy the Christmas season in St. Louis without ruining your budget. Here are the best free holiday celebrations in the St. Louis area for 2013.

If you don't mind spending a little cash, these popular holiday events are worth the price of admission.

1. Alton Christmas Tree Lighting

Get in the holiday spirit at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Alton. Everyone gathers at Lincoln-Douglas Square for caroling and the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Visitors can enjoy free cookies and hot chocolate, and free pictures with Santa. The event is held each year from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
November 22, 2013
Alton, Illinois

2. Macy's Holiday Festival of Lights

Photo by J.P. First, courtesy Christmas in St. Louis

There's plenty of free fun at the Macy's Holiday Festival of Lights in Downtown St. Louis. Kiener Plaza is the place to be for the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree and light display. The celebration also includes a visit from Santa Claus and fireworks. The event runs from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.
November 22, 2013
Downtown St. Louis

3. St. Peters Tree Lighting & Holiday Movie

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season in St. Peters with the annual tree lighting and free holiday movie. The event begins at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. There will be musical performances, a visit from Santa and a showing of The Santa Clause.
November 22, 2013
St. Peters

4. AB Brewery Lights & Celebration

Anheuser-Busch celebrates Christmas each year by decorating the brewery complex near Soulard with thousands of lights. This year, you can also enjoy live music, fire pits, and free samples of AB products on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Enter at the Tour Center at 1200 Lynch Street.
November 22 - December 28, 2013

5. Way of Lights

Photo courtesy of Our Lady of the Snows Shrine

The Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville is one of the area's biggest Christmas light displays and it's free! (see pictures of the display). More than a million lights are used to tell the story of Jesus' birth. The Way of Lights is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission to view the lights is free, but there is a small charge for the laser light show, camel rides and other attractions. Donations are also accepted.
November 22, 2013 - January 3, 2014
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Belleville

If you don't mind paying admission, here are some other great holiday light displays to check out.

6. Lebanon, IL Winter Wonderland

The Metro East community of Lebanon, Illinois, hosts a free Christmas light display in Horner Park. Colorful lights and hand-painted scenes are used to create a Victorian style holiday show for the whole family. The drive through display is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
November 22 - December 31, 2013
Horner Park, Lebanon, IL

7. Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade

For thousands of St. Louisans, Thanksgiving begins downtown at the annual Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day parade. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons and more make their way down Market Street beginning at 8:45 a.m.
November 28, 2013
Downtown St. Louis

8. Historic Holiday Traditions

The Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis will be decked out in Victorian style for the holidays. This year's decorations will be unveiled the Friday after Thanksgiving.
November 29, 2013
Downtown St. Louis.

9. Christmas Traditions Festival

Celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way on Main Street in historic St. Charles. You'll see carolers and beautiful decorations every weekend as you make your way down Main Street. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, shops and restaurants stay open until 9 p.m. to accomodate holiday shoppers.
November 29 - December 24, 2013
St. Charles

10. Francis Park Tree Lighting

Join residents and visitors in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood for the lighting of the Francis Park Christmas tree. The towering tree is located along Nottingham Avenue near Childress. The event is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
December 1, 2013
South St. Louis

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