The Best Things to Do in St. Louis, November 27 to December 4

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The Best Things to Do in St. Louis, November 27 to December 4
click to enlarge All the Santas will be in St. Charles this Friday. - COURTESY OF THE GREATER SAINT CHARLES CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
All the Santas will be in St. Charles this Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving, people of November. If you're looking for something to do with your visiting relatives, look no further.

1. Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving is a tough holiday to celebrate outside of the home. People expect to be feasted, and that's a tall order for a public event. The Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade is an interesting solution to that problem, opting instead for musical floats, giant helium balloons and a baker's dozen of high school marching bands from throughout the metro area. It's a great way to start your four-day weekend, especially if you can get the kids out of the house quietly so the partner who cooks can sleep in a little bit. The parade steps off at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, November 28, at Twentieth and Market streets ( and finishes with the arrival of Santa Claus, whose solemn duty it is to usher in the month of Christmas.

2. You Get A Nutcracker!
To satisfy the public's demand for The Nutcracker, Saint Louis Ballet opens its annual run of Tchaikovsky's most popular ballet on Black Friday — take that, big-box stores. The professional dancers of the company are joined by student dancers and special guests in surprise roles, and as always, the production will be bolstered by high-quality special effects and dazzling sets. Saint Louis Ballet presents The Nutcracker at 7 p.m. Friday and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (November 29 to December 1) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; The show continues at 7 p.m. Thursday, 2:30 and 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (December 19 to 23). Tickets are $25 to $72.

3. Ol' Christmas
This is a big year for St. Charles. Not only is it the 250th anniversary of the city's founding, it's the 45th anniversary of St. Charles Christmas Traditions. The streets of historic downtown St. Charles (South Main and Jackson streets, St. Charles; will be transformed into a Victorian town straight out of Dickens, complete with its own Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim. Keep your eyes open for the Sugarplum Fairy, some wandering Santas and the happy Italian Christmas witch, La Befana. While you're seeking out these festive friends, you can enjoy shopping, holiday carolers, a fife-and-drum corps and seasonal treats. St. Charles Christmas Traditions opens with a big brouhaha from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, November 29. The fun resumes from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday (November 30 to December 24). Admission is free.

4. Jingle Bell Cirque
Not everybody loves the 63 days of the holiday season — some of us need a Scrooge-busting shot of Christmas cheer to get in the mood to celebrate. That's where Cirque Dreams Holidaze comes in. The touring production features talented cirque artists and Broadway performers in a show that blends the best of Vegas glitz with Great White Way magic. Toy soldiers, penguins, reindeer and gingerbread people contort themselves, swing from rings and perform acrobatics while singers offer twists on favorite carols such as "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland." Cirque Dreams Holidaze is presented at 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday (November 29 and 30) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $25 to $109.

5. No-Dance Nutcracker
If you love Tchaikovsky's score but aren't really a fan of the ballet portions of The Nutcracker, the Saint Louis Symphony can help you out. The metro's best big band performs the orchestral version of The Nutcracker at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (November 29 to December 1) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard;, and there won't be a dancer in sight. Violinist/conductor Andrew Garms wields the baton for these special holiday performances, which include special $10 tickets for children with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket ($15 to $117.50).

6. Time to Get Wicked
The Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman musical Wicked remains the single most popular show (contemporary division) in St. Louis, so it's little wonder that the Fox Theatre would bring it back as a yuletide treat for audiences. Based on Gregory Maguire's novel of the same title, Wicked reveals how the green-skinned outsider Elphaba and the popular girl Galinda became friends, and then the enemies known as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, the Good Witch. The show is performed Tuesday through Sunday (December 4 to 29; no show on Christmas Day) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $49 to $229, and judging by past history, selling very quickly.
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