Via Unsplash.

With winter break just a few short weeks away, the SIUE community cannot wait for this semester’s finals to be over and done with. When the time comes, and the snow starts to fall, here’s where you can celebrate the holiday season. 


Winter Market

This weekend, downtown Edwardsville will be home to the Winter market. Artists and artisans, baked goods and much more will be offered at stands for anyone attending. Several businesses in the area downtown will also be hosting open houses for any curious members of the public to look within. Despite the outdoor venue, masks and social distancing will be enforced, and due to the colder weather of the season, the city of Edwardsville is reminding anyone attending to dress warmly.


The Winter Market is from 9 a.m - 12 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 in downtown Edwardsville. All this information can be found on the city of Edwardsville’s website. For more information, visit the parks department’s website.. 


Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park

 Located in St. Louis, Steinberg Skating Rink will once again be open. Skating admission is $10, and skate rentals are $5. Also available are bumper cars on ice, which is $15 and includes a 10-minute ride. It opened on Friday, Nov. 19 and closes for the season on Monday, Feb. 28. Hours for normal skating are Monday through Thursday 1-9 p.m., and bumper cars are 2-9 p.m.. The hours for weekends for skating are 1-11 p.m. and for bumper cars 2-10 p.m.. Hours will change beginning the week of Christmas to 11 AM for skating and 11:30 am for bumper cars during the week and closing at 11 p.m. for skating and 10 p.m. for bumper cars. 


The exception to this is New Year’s Eve.  And, if you’re wanting to go skating on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, or New Years’ Eve and Day, the rink will be open. Steinberg Skating Rink is located in Forest Park, 400 Jefferson Drive, in St. Louis. 


Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park 

St. Louis County Parks is hosting its 36th annual  Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park. It officially opened for the season on Nov. 19 and will be open every day through Jan. 1 The hours of operation are 5:30-9:30 p.m.. The only day that it will remain closed is New Year’s Eve. Most days are vehicle and carriage only with only two walk nights in Dec. 6 and 13th. For those driving vehicles, fees can be paid on-site, but credit cards are not accepted. Those wanting to pay in advance or pay with a credit card can purchase tickets through Metrotix


Vehicle fees are based on the size. Family vehicles are $15, limousines and vans are $30, commercial transport vans are $60, and tour buses are $135. If you plan on walking, prior registration and ticket purchase are required. Tickets can be purchased on Metrotix. Desserts, hot chocolate, and other beverages are available for purchase on-site. 


Carriage rides are also available. Purchasing tickets online at Metrotix is suggested. However, there is a small number of walk-up rides available every night. The prices vary by the size of the carriage. The Snowflake carriage holds six people for $110, the Candy Cane carriage holds nine people and is $160, and finally, Santa’s Sleigh is $17 a person and holds 24 people, which can include people from other groups. Tilles Park is located at 9551 Litzsinger Road, in  St. Louis.


Holiday Lights

If you’re looking for a date idea involving scenic, wintery lights, there are several options in the area. Uptown Alton’s Rock Springs Park on College Avenue is home to an annual lights show, with a $7 admissions fee for most vehicles, and $1 per person for vehicles with more than 10 passengers The lights turn on at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 6 p.m. during weeknights, and the park is closed at 9 p.m. every night. 


If you’d rather not drive through a light show for the holidays, there’s the Christmas Village in Bethalto. In the Bethalto Arboretum, there’s Mr. and Mrs. Claus for younger visitors, and, in Bethalto Central Park, there’s a paved path with plenty of lights to walk through and admire. The Christmas Village is open daily until 9 p.m.


For more information on either of these events, visit the Rivers and Routes website.

 Or maybe, you want to see individual homes with holiday lights, rather than parks and trees. The city of Edwardsville has you covered, with its Tour of Lights. Follow the tour route (located on their website) in your own vehicle and drive through town, viewing homes submitted by the people who decorated them to be on the tour. 



 The Gateway Arch Park Foundation is bringing back Winterfest. This year it includes ice skating, holiday lights, music, along with igloos that can be reserved. Winterfest began on Nov. 20 but will continue until Jan. 2. The hours of the ice rink at Kiener Plaza are Fridays 4-8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 12-8 p.m., and Christmas Day from 2-8 p.m.. Skate rentals are $12 for adults, $7 for children 3-15. Guests are allowed to skate for free if they bring their own skates. 


Igloos are available for reservation. It includes two hours in a heated igloo that overlooks Kiener Plaza, along with a $50 food and drink credit to JR’s Gourmet at the Winterfest Cafe, up to six skate rentals and one car can park for free. Igloos are available Fridays 4-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 2-8 p.m.. They are also available during the extended holiday weekend, Dec. 27-31. The cost is $250. Tickets can be purchased at Gateway Arch. 


Wildey Theatre’s Interactive Movie Showings

 Christmas movies are always a big part of this time of the year for some. The Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville has a different way to enjoy these films, featuring help from the Curtain’s Up Theater Company. Wildey Theatre is hosting several different interactive versions of different Christmas movies for three weekends in December. 


Starting on Friday, Dec 3, Curtain’s Up Theater Company will be performing “A Christmas Story” at the Wildey until Sunday, Dec. 5, with matinees on Sunday and Saturday. The same format is given to “White Christmas”, starting on Thursday, Dec. 9. For more information, visit the Wildey Theatre’s website.


Music of the Season in Concert

There’s a wide range of different places to go hear holiday songs this month. At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16, Chicago-based band The Empty Pockets has their “Holiday Show Spectacular” at the Wildey Theatre. And, at the same time the next evening, nationally-known singer Erin Body performs. More information and tickets can be found on the Wildey Theatre’s website.


”For those who want a more cultured holiday experience, there’s Opera Edwardsville’s upcoming concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 in Dunham Hall on campus. Tickets can be found on Opera Edwardsville’s website.


New Year’s events

With how this past year has been, almost all of us are looking forward to 2022. If you’re looking for somewhere to ring in the new year, there’s many options in the area. On the night Dec. 31, there’s The Michael Johnson Band performing at Chez Marilyn in Alton, a karaoke party at 3rd Chute II in Alton, a masquerade ball at the Bella Vista Winery in Maryville, and plenty other events at bars in town. However, for those who always dread staying up until midnight on the 31st, there’s a party from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at Milo’s Tobacco Road in Edwardsville, and the Edwardsville Children’s Museum is hosting a “New Year’s at Noon,” for younger partygoers. 


If your New Year’s plans are at someone’s place (or even your own), there’s always the option to watch the ball drop in Times Square. You can watch a livestream of it on or, or see any number of national news sources cover the many performances that night online as well.


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