Things to do in St. Louis this winter to make you feel like you’re in a Hallmark movie

Jaden Satenstein | Staff Writer

The air is cold. The chocolate is hot. And, as Lorelai Gilmore once said, “I smell snow.”

Winter has arrived early in St. Louis, and that means it’s time to think about fun winter activities to distract yourself from the frigid temperatures and, of course, add to your Instagram aesthetic. Here are some great ways to get off campus, bask in the season’s whimsical glory and, if the Hallmark Channel has taught us anything, maybe even have the ideal meet cute with the love of your life.

Trip and fall into the arms of the one that got away at Steinberg Skating Rink or Winterfest Ice Rink

Whether you’ve never skated before or you consider yourself the next Tonya Harding (sans scandal), ice skating at Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park or Winterfest Ice Rink by the Gateway Arch is the perfect way to celebrate the season. The Steinberg rink is open daily until Feb. 28, while the Winterfest rink is open daily Nov. 17-Jan. 1. Admission and skate rentals are each $7 at Steinberg and admission at Winterfest is free with a $12 skate rental fee. Stumble around the ice, sip on hot cocoa, warm up by the fire and plan to go after sundown for the most picturesque experience.

Take a stroll through some amazing light installations with your workaholic love interest who will learn to appreciate the more important moments in life through the magic of the season

Both the St. Louis Zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden have amazing light installations this winter. Wild Lights at the Zoo features over half a million lights forming animal-themed fixtures throughout the zoo. The event runs on select evenings Nov. 23-Dec. 30 and costs $9 on weekdays and $11 on weekends for non-members. Admission includes entrance into the Zoo, a ride on the Conservation Carousel and a ticket to the 4D Theater’s showing of “The Polar Express.”   

The Missouri Botanical Garden will illuminate its property with a million lights, featuring traditional holiday music, food and drinks. The Garden Glow lights will be on display Nov. 17-Jan. 1 at 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Prices are $16-$18 per person depending on the night. The Garden will also host a Festival of Lights to celebrate Chanukah from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. on Dec. 2 and a Festival of the First Fruits celebrating Kwanzaa on Dec. 26 from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

Sled down Art Hill with someone you think is just a regular student but will turn out to be foreign royalty

Sledding down Art Hill in Forest Park has been a St. Louis tradition since the 1904 World’s Fair workers used their folding chairs to glide down the hill after a particularly bad storm. Don’t have a sled? Try a baking sheet, plastic container lid, piece of cardboard wrapped in a trash bag, an air mattress or buy a cheap sled on Amazon.

Watch the city light up at the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights tree lighting and fireworks show in downtown St. Louis with that person you can’t stand before realizing you’ve actually been in love with them all along

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season by witnessing the Salvation Army Tree lighting in Kiener Plaza this Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. The lighting will be accompanied by live musical performances and a firework show at 8:30 p.m. The event takes place right next to
Winterfest Skating Rink, so skaters can also enjoy the lighting from the ice.

Shop for seasonal snacks and holiday gifts at a winter market with the increasingly charming person you hired to play your significant other in order to appease your family and friends

There are many winter markets taking place around the city in the next few months, providing countless opportunities for finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Stock up on handmade jewelry, candles and more at the Flowers and Weeds Annual Winter Bazaar on Dec. 1, or enjoy festive caroling while delighting in roasted chestnuts at the Holiday Market at the Boulevard on Dec. 16.