Just 15 minutes from the St. Louis International Airport, you’ll find all the makings of a memorable Christmas break—plenty of good food and family fun for all types of interests. Because you’re stumbling upon this little-known gem, holiday rates, such as at the city’s Ameristar hotel and casino, start at a reasonable $149 nightly.
1. Sustainable dining makes its mark at Prasino, located in the city’s Streets of St. Charles, a burgeoning mixed-use district. Serving up farm-to-table freshness with a flavorful flair, the restaurant locally sources up to 85 percent of its produce. Reclaimed wood and repurposed cardboard lanterns also set up diners for a warm yet sophisticated eco-friendly atmosphere (prasino.com).
2. Holiday tales come to life during Christmas Traditions, which is a month-long festival along the city’s festively decorated historic Main Street. During the season, more than 40 costumed characters, ranging from the Sugar Plum Fairy to Ebenezer Scrooge, roam the brick-lined streets, playfully interacting with visitors. Kids are challenged to collect all the character trading cards.
3. Nostalgia of comes along with a slice of coconut cream pie at the Mother-in-Law House Restaurant on Main Street. Open since 1981, the house converted into a full-service restaurant transports guests back to their matriarch’s dining table with down-home entrees such as fried chicken, liver and onions and their world-famous, made-fresh-daily pie (motherinlawhouse.com).
4. Feeling like you need to work off all your holiday indulgences? This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 238-mile Katy Trail, which runs through the city of St. Charles. Rent bikes or head off on foot down the famous recreational trail—one of the nation’s longest rails-to-trails conversions.
5. Beer giant Anheuser-Busch is based in neighboring St. Louis, so the region is quite hopped up. But the excitement behind Missouri’s wines and wineries is also making its way through the grapevine. Vino lovers can embark on the Missouri Wine Country Trail from St. Charles via the Katy Trail or by car, starting with the city’s own Little Hills Winery (littlehillswinery.com
Words: Nina Hemphill Reeder