Missouri is rich with rolling hills, historic monuments, and entertainment venues, so you can look forward to an unforgettable getaway during any time of year. When spending your Christmas vacation time in Missouri, get ready for spectacular light displays, festivals, and parades ideal for families. From the toe-tapping holiday shows in Branson to the Christmas tree displays near the St. Louis Arch, Missouri offers an abundance of activities and events. You can’t go wrong when choosing a Missouri vacation rental for a fun-filled Midwestern getaway.

1. St. Louis

st louis arch christmas
Source: Flickr/scott spaeth

As one of the largest metropolitan areas in Missouri, St. Louis is home to historical monuments, lush parks, and of course, the Arch. However, during the holiday season, this city lights up with displays and festivals to get your family in the Christmas spirit. Wander through Forest Park and Kiener Plaza to see the trees decorated with lights and ribbons or participate in the annual Garden Glow, located at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in the Tower Grove area of the city. Get your toes tapping with the Christmas music and productions hosted by the St. Louis Symphony or at the Fox Theater on Grand.

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2. St. Charles

downtown city street
Source: Flickr/Paul Sableman

Rich with history and an old-time feel, the city of St. Charles is home to cobblestone streets, specialty shops, and cafes and restaurants featuring meals fit for the holiday. Located just 40 minutes from downtown St. Louis, St. Charles is a mecca of entertainment for the Christmas season. Stop by the Kister Park Gazebo to steal a kiss from a loved one while viewing the Holiday Kissing Ball, which is a bundle of ribbon, holly, and mistletoe. Take a walk through the gingerbread village to see the creativity of the locals. The historic town also features carolers who stroll through Main Street amid the shoppers during November and December. While you’re on Main, include your furry friend in Christmas gifting with a swing by Canine Cookies N Cream Dog Bakery, offering dog-friendly cakes, cookies, candy, and other treats.

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3. Arcadia Valley

If you need to get into the Christmas spirit, celebrate the holidays in Arcadia Valley, located just 80 miles from St. Louis. This festive town hosts an annual Christmas in the Valley festival that begins in November and lasts through the holiday season. Time your trip right to see the Christmas parade each December that features homemade floats from local schools, families, and organizations. The parade route leads to the town’s center for a traditional lighting of the Courthouse light display. Spend your days shopping in the Christmas-themed shops in the downtown area, and plan for a visit with Santa each weekend. When you’re not relaxing in your vacation rental, stop by the Arcadia Valley Station to see the historic trains on display.

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4. Branson

christmas lights
Source: Flickr/Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Ozark Mountains offer cliffside vacation rentals or condos overlooking the river; however, at Christmas time, the bright light displays and entertainment is the main attraction at this popular vacation destination. Wander through the Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights and Village to get into the holiday spirit, or watch in awe at the light displays at Silver Dollar City. Beyond the carolers crowding through the historic areas of the city, take in some entertainment at Dixie Stampede or one of the Opry houses that host Christmas shows during November and December.

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5. Hermann

German building
Source: Flickr/Roland Klose

Hermann, Missouri, is a popular vacation destination for wine enthusiasts, with several wineries situated throughout the city. However, you can do more than just drink wine and relax when spending Christmas in Hermann. Join in the fun at the annual Kristkindl Mark, hosted by the Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce and Stone Hill Winery each December. Stroll through the historic downtown area to browse the German Christmas market and pick up a few gifts at the locally-owned specialty shops. Top off your trip with a visit to the town’s center to see the large Christmas tree display and manger scene before retreating back to your relaxing vacation rental.

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6. Lake of the Ozarks

Lakefront property is plentiful in the Lake of the Ozarks, but Christmas activities are also abundant with the city’s Enchanted Village of Lights display, featuring 200 animated Christmas scenes and colorful tree decorations. Brighten up your holiday with a trip to the Shrine of St. Patrick’s Festival of Lights at the lake that includes over 4,000 strings of lights on the grounds of the shrine. Drive through the display in the evening or stop in for the family activities that include reindeer petting and gingerbread house building. If you are visiting the first weekend of December, visit the Christmas on the Square festival, complete with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Take a load off after your day out with an evening meal at Baxter’s Lakeside Grille, offering seafood and classic American cuisine with windows open to a lake view.

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7. Kansas City

christmas nutcracker
Source: Flickr/Aaron Stokes

Kick off your Christmas celebrations near your Kansas City vacation rental with the traditional Plaza Lights Lighting Ceremony in Country Club Plaza. This entertainment district not only features colorful lighting displays, it is also a mecca for shopping and dining. Enjoy the extended hours of this shopping plaza to pick up gifts for the family. Unleash your little ones on niche shops such as vintage sportswear specialist Charlie Hustle and toy store wonderland Zoom, featuring a knowledgeable staff and 6,500 square feet of toys from puppets to trampolines just waiting for a place under your Christmas tree. When you’re ready, head over to Longview Lake Park for the Christmas in the Park celebration. This celebration includes nearly 200 animated figures, Christmas decorations, and 300,000 lights, ultimately dubbed a winter wonderland for locals and tourists. Just a few miles from downtown Kansas City, be sure to take part in the Fleming Park Christmas festival that hosts displays of Christmas customs dating back to French, German, and English settlers.

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