6 Reasons Why January is the Perfect Time to Visit St. Louis

I’m not from St. Louis, but I chose to call St. Louis my home not once but twice!  I plan to continue to call this wonderful city my home forever.  So needless to say, I firmly believe that any time of year is a great time of year to visit St. Louis, but there is something special that can be said about January in St. Louis.

Like many Midwest cities, the weather in St. Louis can be somewhat unpredictable this time of year.  Some days it is 70 degrees, and sometimes it can be below zero.  There can be sun, or five inches of snow, but one thing is certain about this wonderful city, there will always be lots to do. 

1. Delmar Ice Carnival

Ice Carving Demonstration outside of Fitz's at the Delmar Ice Carnival in St. Louis, Missouri.
Ice Carving Demonstration outside of Fitz’s at the Delmar Ice Carnival in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Delmar Ice Carnival is on a half-mile section of Delmar Boulevard in the University City Neighborhood, known to St. Louisans as the Delmar Loop. 

During the Ice Carnival, this stretch of Delmar is filled with over twenty ice sculptures modeled to represent the small businesses and organizations that host the sculptures and sponsor the event.  There are carnival games, bowling with a frozen turkey, drink specials, and my favorite of all, Putt-Putt Pub Crawl.  Small Putt-Putt courses made completely out of ice! 

This is a really unique event and one that is absolutely not to be missed!

2. The Missouri History Museum

The Panoramas Exhibit at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri.  These large, black and white, rear-projected images are recreations of historic events as told in panoramic photos
The Panoramas Exhibit at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis

The History Museum is a great place to visit any time of year, but I find it particularly perfect on the icy cold winter days.  The History Museum is always free and has beautifully curated exhibits. 

Right now, they have their Panoramas exhibit, which highlights historic panoramic photos that give a peek into what life was like during the time it was taken.  The details they were able to get out of these hundred plus year old photos really lets you look into the eyes of every individual person in the photos.  If Panoramas is no longer showing, there is bound to be another great exhibit to see at the Missouri History Museum. 

3. Sledding at Art Hill

(if you’re lucky enough to catch some snow!)

Art Hill in Forest Park in St. Louis Missouri on a frigid winter day.  The Art Museum overlooks the Grand Basin which is completely covered in ice.
Art Hill on a Frigid winter day. No snow in St. Louis right now, but there is lots of snow and ice!

You’ll have to be lucky enough to catch a snowfall in St. Louis in order to experience this one, but if you do, you’ll never forget it.  Art Hill, the large hill leading up to the St. Louis Art Museum, is the most perfect place in St. Louis to go sledding. 

If you find yourself there, you’ll be joined by hundreds of others taking advantage of the rare opportunity.  Once you’ve reached the bottom, be ready for a tough hike back to the top.  The hill is steep (which is what makes the sledding part so fun!) but when it’s covered in snow and possibly ice, the hike up can be very challenging. 

4. SLAM Underground

The St. Louis Art Museum on a peaceful day.  Beautiful sunset artwork in a bold gold frame.
A completely empty exhibit during SLAM Underground. The perfect time to get a glimpse at exhibits that are typically crowded on a normal day.

If the stars truly align, you might be able to attend one of the Art Museum’s SLAM Underground Events when you’re done sledding!  SLAM Underground is a party at the Museum, held on the last Friday of every month, that invites Young Professionals to take advantage of later hours, and learn more about the featured exhibit or theme. 

With a signature drink, crafts, and vendors like caricature artists, photo booths, or contortionists to name a few. There is something for everyone at the St. Louis Art Museum during their Underground nights.  This is also a great time to take advantage of the later hours and look at the other exhibits the museum has to offer.  Most people who attend SLAM Underground are in the Grand Hall or one of the highlighted exhibits, leaving the other exhibits almost completely deserted.  This is the perfect time to get up close and personal with some of your favorite art.

5. Sweet Tooth Tour

Our Sweet Tooth Tour Ticket on Manchester Road in Maplewood, Missouri.

Call me biased, but I love all events that are held in Maplewood.  The Sweet Tooth Tour is the first of three annual “crawls” that Maplewood Hosts.  (The Coffee Crawl and Prost, a beer crawl, are their other two prominent events.)

At the beginning of the Sweet Tooth Tour, you are given a ticket, which you take to all participating vendors.  They give your ticket a stamp, and in return you get a treat.  The treats you are able to redeem with this ticket are not small tastes, but full sized treats!  Things like cupcakes, slices of pie, biscotti, donuts, and cookies. 

Tickets cost $23, and get you access to 15+ full sized treats.  Jason and I typically split a ticket so we don’t get burnt out on the sweets, and we have no problem splitting the portions of treats.

6. Eagle Watching

A rescued Bald Eagle on a perch in the Audubon Center in Alton, Illinois, helping visitors to learn more about the bird.
A Bald Eagle rescued by the Wildlife Bird Sanctuary on display at the Audubon Center. A handler educates visitors about the Eagles we will soon be spotting.

January is one of the best times of year to watch the eagles migrate.  Eagles travel along the river ways, making the St. Louis area a prime viewing spot!

While it is possible to see eagles anywhere in this area, we find we have the best luck just north of St. Louis in Alton, Illinois.  This rural area is near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri River, making it a high-traffic zone for these birds of prey. 

You can also pay a visit to the Audubon Center at Riverlands (we make this our home base when we go Eagle Watching.) The volunteers and visitors here are more than happy to share their excitement and bird watching tips with you to help you catch a glimpse at one of the Eagles in the area.  As with anything in nature, patience is key, so be sure to bring lots of snacks and water.

After a day of Eagle watching, head into the heart of Alton and you can grab a bite to eat at our favorite spot in Alton, the Old Bakery Beer Company.

On top of all my favorite places to be in St. Louis this time of year, there are always tons of breweries, restaurants, and bars that make it a must-see destination any time of year. 

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