Winter Break 2021 in St. Louis


Written by: Ezinne Arizor, International Student & Scholar Advisor, DSO

As global worries about Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19, increase, many international students may be wondering where that leaves them. Should you travel home? Stay in St. Louis? Cancel all plans and distance from everyone? Well, the OISS recommends caution.  Pay attention to the news, your local consulates, and your home country’s travel policies to determine what actions to take this winter. The OISS will also be sending out emails as we receive updates, so be sure to check your inbox as well.

In light of recent circumstances, we encourage you to look into what you can do locally over the winter break, while staying safe and healthy during the pandemic. Last year, we recommended staying indoors with hot chocolate to watch American classic holiday films such as Elf, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, or The Nightmare Before Christmas. This year, we want to add to those suggestions. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), A Christmas Story, and The Polar Express are all great American Christmas holiday films! 

In addition to indoor activities, there are some outdoor activities that you can do while masked and social distanced from others:

Sledding on Art Hill – If we get heap of snow this year, grab a sled and head out to Art Hill at the front of the St. Louis Art Museum to take part in the time honored tradition. Be sure to bundle up and mask up!

Steinberg Skating Rink – If you have never been ice skating before, winter break is a great time to try it out! You can visit their website to see other events and book tickets.  

US Bank Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo – From November 26 through December 30, 2021, visit the St. Louis Zoo at for night an experience the glow of over 1 million lights! Although the zoo normally has free admission, this event does have a fee and masks are required indoors.

Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden – From November 13, 2021 through January 8, 2022 the Missouri Botanical Gardens hosts the Garden Glow, another beautiful light sprinkled show among the plants!

For other light themed outdoor holiday activities, visit the Explore St. Louis webpage on holiday light displays!

The OISS hopes you stay cautious and safe this winter break. For any activities you choose to do outside your home, we strongly encourage you to mask up and stay socially distanced. No matter what activities you decide to partake in during this winter break, remember that health and safety should be prioritized first. In the middle of a pandemic, any activity you choose to do inside or outside of your home should take your health and safety into consideration. If there is any risk to you or your household, reconsider your plans. You can read more about how to protect yourself when going out or during the holiday season in general on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.