20 Reasons to Love Winter in St. Louis

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The most wonderful time at Tilles Park.
6. Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park -- It's schmaltzy as hell and one great gigantic cluster#%@, but the acres and acres of lights that transform Tilles Park into Winter Wonderland is something every St. Louisan should endure experience at least once.

7. Sledding on Art Hill -- Nothing is more quintessential of a St. Louis winter than climbing up Forest Park's Art Hill and pointing your toboggan toward the bottom. Just be sure to bail out of the sled before you reach the Grand Basin. That is, unless you're into the following...

8. Polar Bear Plunges -- Nothing is quite as invigorating as jumping into an open body of water in February. Fortunately, there are at least two "polar bear plunges" in St. Louis (one at Lake Saint Louis, the other in Maryland Heights) that benefit Special Olympics. ('Cause, you know, you have to be a bit special to want to do this.)

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9. Fish Fry Fridays -- Head straight from Mardi Gras to the dozens of Catholic parishes around St. Louis that offer cheap eats, great community and cheap beer every Friday during Lent.

10. Global warming -- Last winter was the sixth warmest on record in St. Louis and tied records for the fewest days (4) in which the temperature did not hit at least 32 degrees. Expect more of the same in coming winters. (The four warmest winters nationally have all come since 1991.) The good news, though, is that you can still dress in your stylish winter wardrobe in St. Louis, you just don't have to worry about freezing your ass off when doing so.

11. Fireplace at Babe's Tavern -- We've already said how we love bars and restaurants that have outdoor fires in the winter. The same, though, is true for those with working indoor fireplaces. Babe's Tavern in south St. Louis (3215 Ivanhoe; 314-647-3436) is one such watering hole. So, too, is the bierskellar at Schneithorst's in Ladue (1600 South Lindbergh; 314-993-4100).

12. Schlafly Winter ESB -- The brewmeisters at Schlafly serve up distinct beer to celebrate all seasons and holidays (Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale, Christmas Ale, Summer Lager, etc.), but our favorite may be the Winter ESB (a.k.a. Extra Special Bitter). The weather outside may be frightful, but this toasty, hoppy beer will having your insides feeling all warm and fuzzy.

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Slide into the Loop this January.
13. The Loop Ice Carnival - You know what they say. Got lemons? Make lemonade. The same can be said with frozen precipitation. Got ice? Make ice sculptures! But that's not all you can expect at Ice Carnival in the Delmar Loop, which always tends to come during the coldest, bleakest days of winter (this year's event is January 18 and 19). Enjoy s'mores, snowball fights and -- our favorite -- the human dog sled races.

14. The Climatron at Missouri Botanical Garden -- Winter weather have you down? Take a short trip to south city. MoBOT's Climatron is a balmy and humid 85 degrees year-round. Walk among the waterfalls, palm trees and tropical plants, and it's like you're in the rainforests of Costa Rica -- for one-thousandth the price.

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