Winter Survival Guide

 

Turn your days from dreary to cheery with these 25 St. Louis winter to-dos.

For the best places to sled, check out ALIVE's sidebar here. We also have you covered for the best fireplaces around.

 

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4/ Take a Class

Putting yourself out there to learn something new can be daunting‰ÛÓwhich is where the wine at Pinot’s Palette comes in. It’s BYO on the liquid courage, but everything else is supplied, right down to the painting’s theme, from holidays to pets to Zen blossoms (314.736.6403, Webster Groves). Other times, putting yourself out there to learn something new is totally sweet. On the third Thursday of the month, Sweetology hosts a girls’ night out that’s equal parts decorating class and socializing. Bring your sweet tooth and money for the bar (314.736.4800, Clayton). It can also be savory, as in Kitchen Conservatory’s “Lobsters and Champagne” class on Dec. 28. Or quasi-athletic, like the pizza-throwing class on Jan. 19 (314.862.2665, Clayton). And sometimes, it’s all about trust. The online description of the popular Planter’s House Mixology Workshops says it all: “Taste spirits. Taste cocktails. Shake cocktails. Stir cocktails. Create cocktails. Bring home your very own bar kit.” And really, what more do you need to know when you’re putting yourself in the hands of an expert mixologist and proprietor extraordinaire like Ted Kilgore? (314.696.2603, Lafayette Square).

5/ Warm Up

The ambiance alone warms the heart‰ÛÓand that’s even before the traditional British afternoon tea service is set out at the London Tea Room. There are sandwiches, scones, croissants and petit fours, but the real star, of course, is the tea. Call ahead for reservations, and leave plenty of time afterward to stop in at the retail side, which offers scores of options: traditional flavors, in-house blends like the famous Naughty Vicar and hard-to-find specialties like post-fermented leaves that are earthy and musky (314.241.6556, Tower Grove South). The caffeine fix at Kitchen House Coffee comes with a side of homey warmth, thanks to the owners’ desire to combine their urban garden philosophy with small-batch beans from local roasters Stringbean and Blueprint (314.732.0009, Compton Heights). It’s a similar story at Restituo, where the front room resembles a well-loved living room and the coffee is served in mugs handcrafted by the owner (Shaw). Then there’s the inspiring story of Chronicle Coffee’s owner, Jason Wilson, who focuses on community building at his two coffee shops and is now a major local roaster (multiple locations, chroniclecoffee.com). At Sump, proprietor Scott Carey has a long-standing love for beans and brewing, to the point that every cup is a work of art (sumpcoffee.com, South City).

6/ See a Show

Stay in the holiday spirit a little longer at the Lemp Mansion Dinner Theatre’s “Harm for the Holidays,” an interactive whodunit from Jest Murder Mystery Company, which has been in the murder-mystery business for more than a decade. “Harm” runs until Jan. 3, followed by a decidedly springtime production about a garden club gone awry, “Muuurder in Maaay-bury,” Jan. 9-April 25 (314.664.8024, Benton Park). The conversations about race, love and family inspired by “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” are as apt now as ever. Although multiracial couples aren’t as unexpected as they were in 1967 when the award-winning film came out, the underlying themes still resonate. The Rep presents a new adaptation Jan. 7-Feb. 1 (314.968.4925, Webster Groves). Lighten the mood at the Peabody Opera House Jan. 13-18 with the laugh-out-loud musical satire “The Book of Mormon,” which juxtaposes serious themes like war and religion with South Park-style humor (800.745.3000, Downtown).

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Saint Louis Art Museum

10/ Shop Till You Drop

You can never have too many sweaters this time of year, but if you’re getting tired of your same old selection, Skif International can help. Knits are designer Nina Ganci’s bread and butter, and it’s easy to see why. Though you can buy her artistic creations online‰ÛÓand customers from around the world do‰ÛÓthe workshop-meets-retail-space is an experience you won’t want to miss (314.773.4401, The Hill). For the inside scoop on undiscovered shops around St. Louis, sign up for a tour with The Shopping Co. Customizable itineraries ensure that you’ll be at stores you like, whether your taste favors designer boutiques or resale. Owner Diana Ford is partial to a couple of spots‰ÛÓshe’s part of the ownership team at The Vault by Women’s Closet Exchange, Purple Cow and Clique‰ÛÓbut her mission is to showcase the best the city has to offer, whatever your personal style (314.537.0963, shopcotours.com). And while it’s still sweater weather, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about spring. That’s the thinking behind the Beauty Buzz at Neiman Marcus on Feb. 21. The event features mini lessons on spring tips and tricks for cosmetics and skin care at beauty stations around the store. Plus, it benefits scholarships for the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis (314.567.9811, Plaza Frontenac).

11/ Grab a Toddy

Winter’s magic elixir, otherwise known as the hot toddy, originated in Scotland, so it’s safe to assume that Scots still have an edge when it comes to the tasty tradition. The Scottish Arms is a good place to start exploring variations on the warm drink, featuring whiskey, lemon and honey (314.535.0551, CWE). Another classic coldweather destination is the inspiration for the Alpine Afternoon at Planter’s House. Their version of the hot toddy is anchored not with a traditional dark spirit like whiskey, but with gin‰ÛÓspecifically, Citadelle Reserve gin, paired with sorrel, yellow Chartreuse, Cardamaro, honey, lemon and hot water (314.696.2603, Lafayette Square). It can get plenty cold down in the Southern hemisphere too, and Sanctuaria’s Grove Toddy puts a Latin spin on the hot cocktail with 4 Roses bourbon, brown butter sage, Big O, Punt e Mes, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup and cloves (314.535.9700, The Grove). A much richer, more decadent drink is the hot buttered rum at Dressel’s Public House. From a base of brown sugar and butter, it’s flavored with rich spices, dulce de leche and whipped cream (314.361.1060, CWE).

12/ Get in the Game

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get the blood flowing. Maybe it’s a Monopoly game (the Legend of Zelda version) or Yahtzee (“The Walking Dead” version) at The Wizard’s Wagon on Mondays and Thursdays (314.862.4263, The Loop). Or perhaps it’s joining the St. Louis Board Game Night community at CafÌ© Ventana every other Saturday (314.531.7500, Midtown). Another popular gathering spot, Stone Spiral Coffee House, is the site of bring-your-own game nights on the fourth Tuesday of the month (314.335.7388, Maplewood). If your friendly competition extends to a loser-buys-the-nextround bowling matchup, head to the Pin-Up Bowl. The eight-lane bar and restaurant is a favorite destination for casual games, often with a DJ to boot. If you’re looking for a little more serious competition, they have leagues, too (314.727.5555, The Loop). Team camaraderie is also a big part of the draw down the street at Blueberry Hill, where the dart league is in its 42nd year (314.727.4444, The Loop). Taking your game outdoors isn’t always an option over the winter in St. Louis, though you may find a pickup soccer game at Forest Park’s Langenberg Field on Tuesdays around 6pm if the weather is nice enough. One of the exceptions is the Steinberg Rink broomball league (think hockey in street shoes, with brooms). Although the official eight-week season is wrapping up, you can rent the rink for your own game (314.361.0613, Forest Park).

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The Ready Room

15/ Bundle Up

Welcome winter with open arms at The Loop Ice Carnival, Jan. 16-17, when the eclectic six-block stretch of Delmar Boulevard fills with frosty fun-lovers partaking in food, drink, races and familyfriendly activities. The same chilly breeze that nips your nose keeps the bald eagles happily soaring above their winter homes along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Get the best tips on viewing their majestic flights on Jan. 3 at the (heated!) Audubon Center at Riverlands (636.899.0090, West Alton, MO). After hearing about where to look and how to spot the eagles, cross the river into downtown Alton for a festival that includes ice sculpting and wildlife photography. More eagle-themed events happen Jan. 17-18 on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge and Jan. 25 at Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton (greatriverroad.com/eagles). After the eagles call it a night and the stars come out, Wash U’s Crow Observatory is the place to be when the Physics Department opens the rooftop on clear nights, Monday through Thursday from 8-10pm (314.935.6250, Wash U). And with more than half a million lights, the second-annual Missouri Botanical Garden Glow is already among our region’s favorite man-made nighttime spectacles. Book tickets online before it closes for the season on Jan. 3 (314.577.6100, Shaw).

16/ Storm the Stage

St. Louis’ long history of destination music clubs is alive and well, thanks to entrepreneurs like Tim Weber, who co-owns the Old Rock House. Weber books across genres from bluegrass to rock for 250 concerts a year (catch the mountain hillbilly soul of Sturgill Simpson, Feb. 2), featuring national tours, DJ sets and local artists (314.588.0505, Downtown). The Grove’s rep as a music go-to started with venues like The Gramophone, where one night might feature bluesy Devon Allman and The Tungsten Groove, and the next might be DJ Mahf spinning a funk-soul-hip-hop mix. Be sure to check out Open Mic Night every Monday at 7:30pm (314.531.5700, The Grove). Newer to the scene is The Ready Room, a custom-built, midsize space where bookings alternate from metalcore to electro-pop (314.833.3929, The Grove). Over in Midtown, The Firebird‘s small size and low ticket prices make it the perfect place to experiment with a new sound, from New Orleans swamp rock to space-psychedelia to dance-infused dream pop (314.535.0353, Midtown). And of course The Pageant, now in its 15th year, has the clout to draw tours like Bush and The New Pornographers. And it’s still a great place to catch breakout artists like Hozier, Feb. 24, and local favorites like The Urge and Jake’s Leg (314.726.6161, The Loop).

17/ Support Our Teams

Start practicing your “Let’s Go Blues” chants now in preparation for big games against the Red Wings and the Blackhawks, with Detroit in town on Jan. 15 and Chicago here on Feb. 8. They’re among the 14 home games the Blues play in January and February‰ÛÓproviding plenty of chances to bleed blue (314.622.2551, Downtown). No tickets? No problem. Ballpark Village is the place to be for watch parties featuring local pro teams, as well as university favorites like Mizzou. After catching the official watch party for the Rams’ final game of the regular season, Dec. 28 at Seattle, take a look online at the schedule for bowl and playoff games. If it’s baseball you’re craving, the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up, Jan. 17-19, has what you need. The nonprofit event supports the team’s youth-centered community foundation and offers player autograph sessions (they sell out early), Q&As and other fan-friendly activities (314.345.9000, Downtown).

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Saint Louis Art Museum

10/ Shop Till You Drop

You can never have too many sweaters this time of year, but if you’re getting tired of your same old selection, Skif International can help. Knits are designer Nina Ganci’s bread and butter, and it’s easy to see why. Though you can buy her artistic creations online‰ÛÓand customers from around the world do‰ÛÓthe workshop-meets-retail-space is an experience you won’t want to miss (314.773.4401, The Hill). For the inside scoop on undiscovered shops around St. Louis, sign up for a tour with The Shopping Co. Customizable itineraries ensure that you’ll be at stores you like, whether your taste favors designer boutiques or resale. Owner Diana Ford is partial to a couple of spots‰ÛÓshe’s part of the ownership team at The Vault by Women’s Closet Exchange, Purple Cow and Clique‰ÛÓbut her mission is to showcase the best the city has to offer, whatever your personal style (314.537.0963, shopcotours.com). And while it’s still sweater weather, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about spring. That’s the thinking behind the Beauty Buzz at Neiman Marcus on Feb. 21. The event features mini lessons on spring tips and tricks for cosmetics and skin care at beauty stations around the store. Plus, it benefits scholarships for the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis (314.567.9811, Plaza Frontenac).

11/ Grab a Toddy

Winter’s magic elixir, otherwise known as the hot toddy, originated in Scotland, so it’s safe to assume that Scots still have an edge when it comes to the tasty tradition. The Scottish Arms is a good place to start exploring variations on the warm drink, featuring whiskey, lemon and honey (314.535.0551, CWE). Another classic coldweather destination is the inspiration for the Alpine Afternoon at Planter’s House. Their version of the hot toddy is anchored not with a traditional dark spirit like whiskey, but with gin‰ÛÓspecifically, Citadelle Reserve gin, paired with sorrel, yellow Chartreuse, Cardamaro, honey, lemon and hot water (314.696.2603, Lafayette Square). It can get plenty cold down in the Southern hemisphere too, and Sanctuaria’s Grove Toddy puts a Latin spin on the hot cocktail with 4 Roses bourbon, brown butter sage, Big O, Punt e Mes, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup and cloves (314.535.9700, The Grove). A much richer, more decadent drink is the hot buttered rum at Dressel’s Public House. From a base of brown sugar and butter, it’s flavored with rich spices, dulce de leche and whipped cream (314.361.1060, CWE).

12/ Get in the Game

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get the blood flowing. Maybe it’s a Monopoly game (the Legend of Zelda version) or Yahtzee (“The Walking Dead” version) at The Wizard’s Wagon on Mondays and Thursdays (314.862.4263, The Loop). Or perhaps it’s joining the St. Louis Board Game Night community at CafÌ© Ventana every other Saturday (314.531.7500, Midtown). Another popular gathering spot, Stone Spiral Coffee House, is the site of bring-your-own game nights on the fourth Tuesday of the month (314.335.7388, Maplewood). If your friendly competition extends to a loser-buys-the-nextround bowling matchup, head to the Pin-Up Bowl. The eight-lane bar and restaurant is a favorite destination for casual games, often with a DJ to boot. If you’re looking for a little more serious competition, they have leagues, too (314.727.5555, The Loop). Team camaraderie is also a big part of the draw down the street at Blueberry Hill, where the dart league is in its 42nd year (314.727.4444, The Loop). Taking your game outdoors isn’t always an option over the winter in St. Louis, though you may find a pickup soccer game at Forest Park’s Langenberg Field on Tuesdays around 6pm if the weather is nice enough. One of the exceptions is the Steinberg Rink broomball league (think hockey in street shoes, with brooms). Although the official eight-week season is wrapping up, you can rent the rink for your own game (314.361.0613, Forest Park).

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13/ Hop on the Beer Bandwagon

We mean that literally. The St. Louis Brewery Hop offers Saturday and Sunday craft beer tours that take participants behind the scenes at companies like Perennial Artisan Ales, 4 Hands, Urban Chestnut, Square One, Schlafly, Ferguson, Six Row, Second Shift and Kirkwood Station (314.541.6985, stlbreweryhop.com). Then there’s Girls’ Pint Out, the local chapter of a 5-year-old national nonprofit organized by and for women who love beer. Its happy hours and other events migrate around town (facebook.com/stlouisgirlspintout). For an educational experience that stays in one place, belly up to the bar at Square One’s Beer and Spirit School the first Saturday of the month to learn about brewing, distilling and the raw ingredients that go into both (314.231.2537, Lafayette Square). If you can’t make it to the bar for Cicero’s Beer School (the spring session starts in January on Wednesdays), you can gain the same knowledge via podcasts of past classes (314.862.0009, The Loop). Finally, if you’d like to take a stab at the brewing process without a big investment, J2 Brewing in Chesterfield has you covered. Spend three hours getting started, and soon your own brew will be ready for bottling (636.536.9455, Chesterfield).

14/ Lend a Hand

No matter which cause you choose to support, make winter the time to help those in need. Food Outreach relies on everyday folks to make meals from scratch, then package and store them for delivery to men, women and children living with HIV/ AIDS or cancer. Volunteer slots are available for other services too, including food prep, meal delivery, manning the nutrition center or serving hot lunches on Mondays (314.652.3663, Midtown). The lives of animals transitioning through the Humane Society of Missouri wouldn’t be the same without the dog walkers, kennel enrichment volunteers, foster care families and adoption ambassadors who pave their paths to forever homes. Volunteer educators also share info with more than 24,000 students each year about the importance of responsible pet care (multiple locations, hsmo.org). Angels’ Arms couldn’t have opened 10 foster homes in 10 years without the support of thousands of volunteers. They repair. They paint. They rake leaves. They plan birthday parties. They donate. They fundraise. They do office tasks. And they do so much more for the more than 300 children the organization serves to date (314.842.8400, South County). Not sure where you fit in? There are countless other volunteer opportunities across the region to match every skill set and interest. Find your perfect fit (and a new way to battle winter boredom) among more than 4,700 local listings at volunteermatch.org.

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Illustrations by Misty Manley. Art direction by Amanda Dampf.

1/ Be a Bookworm

The average American adult reads five books a year. For a New Year’s resolution that comes before the end of the story, vow to up your count this year. One sure way is to check out public discussion groups. Those held through bookstores and libraries can add new insights and ideas to your literary experiences. They can also expose you to titles you never would have picked up on your own. For example, there’s the Great Novels of the 22nd Century group at Left Bank Books and St. Louis Public Library Central Branch’s Urban Book Club. One of the region’s newest clubs, also hosted by Left Bank, is #FergusonReads. As every member knows, deciding what the group reads next can be quite the undertaking. One option is Book Club in a Bag from St. Louis Public Library. It includes 15 copies‰ÛÓwith 200 titles ranging from recent bestsellers and mysteries to nonfiction and classics‰ÛÓplus discussion suggestions, author bios and online resources (slpl.org). St. Louis is also a central stop for many national tours‰ÛÓnot to mention scores of local authors. If you loved Samantha Shannon’s bestseller “The Bone Season,” for example, you probably already know about the sequel, “The Mime Order.” But did you know she’ll be at Left Bank Books on Feb. 11 (314.367.6731, CWE)

2/ Culture Yourself

There are just a few more weeks to bundle up and indulge in the kitschy fun of visiting the 250 birthday cakes dotting the region to celebrate St. Louis’ 250th birthday‰ÛÓand to catch the exhibit “250 in 250,” highlighting the city’s story, through Feb. 15 at the Missouri History Museum. While you’re there, don’t miss a unique compilation of documents and artifacts in “The Louisiana Purchase: Making St. Louis, Remaking America,” featuring loans from the National Archives as well as pieces from the museum’s own collection, many of them displayed together for the first time (314.746.4599, Forest Park). Then, as now, the city’s immigrant community strongly influenced its food, neighborhoods and culture. To hear that diversity in action‰ÛÓand maybe pick up a new hobby‰ÛÓcheck out one of the many local Foreign-Language Meetups in Arabic, Turkish, Italian, Mandarin, German, French or Portuguese. Get your Argentinean tango on from the seats at Dance St. Louis’ presentation of “Tango Buenos Aires,” Jan. 30-31, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (314.534.6622, UMSL). Or, head to the World Chess Hall of Fame to witness “Living Like Kings” to explore the ways hiphop and chess intersect in art, music, dance and culture through April 26 (314.367.9243, CWE).

3/ Catch a Screening

The Moolah Theatre’s cozy couches are a perfect place to bask in the glow of the silver screen while snuggling up to watch a hot new release like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” scheduled to open Feb. 13, or “Unbroken,” a real-life story of undaunted courage during World War II, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, now playing (314.446.6868, Midtown). But there’s also something to be said for the heartwarming effects of nostalgia too, and Webster University’s year-long film series, “A Century Through Cinema,” nails it with award-winning classics like James Dean’s iconic teen alienation film “Rebel Without a Cause” on Jan. 16 and George Lucas’ 1973 story of rock ‘n’ roll culture, “American Graffiti,” on Feb. 20 (314.968.6900, webster.edu). The thought-provoking Community Cinema Series at the Missouri History Museum leads off 2015 with “shocking stories of gender inequality and vulnerability” in the two-part documentary “A Path Appears” on Jan. 7. Then in “American Denial,” screening Feb. 4, filmmakers explore the disconnect between Americans’ stated beliefs and their unconscious attitudes about race. A panel discussion follows each film (314.746.4500, mohistory.org).

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18/ Let the Kids Bounce Off the Walls‰Û_ Somewhere Else

They will, literally, at the two locations of BounceU. Drop-in open bounce sessions are available throughout the weekend, but the most important sanity-savers are the parents’ night out drop-off sessions one Friday a month (multiple locations, bounceu.com). At City Museum, the kids are more likely to be inside the walls‰ÛÓcrawling through tunnels, climbing staircases or navigating all kinds of obstacles, including the brand-new outdoor castle (314.231.2489, Downtown). Younger kiddos can get their motors running at the Museum of Transportation’s Creation Station, with first-come, first-served timed entry slots Tuesday through Friday mornings and the first and third Sundays of the month. It’s a hands-on way to introduce kids ages 1 to 5 to the many modes of transportation (314.965.6885, Valley Park). Interactive exhibits with a scientific focus are the theme at Myseum. The attractions, designed to hold the attention of kids ages 2 to 12, run the gamut from magnets to plasma tubes to microscopes and musical instruments (636.220.7930, Town and Country). A sure cure for cabin fever is a trip to the Magic House. This winter’s special exhibit, open until Feb. 1, ties into the well-loved “Magic Tree House” series. Three historical jaunts inspired by the books take children to Plymouth Rock, a Civil War hospital and a pioneer schoolhouse (314.822.8900, Kirkwood).

19/ Discover a New Hobby

Unless your hobby is tracking startups with ties to St. Louis, you might not be familiar with Dabble, a fast-growing service that brings together teachers and students for an impressive array of classes, from making kombucha to restoring furniture to appreciating single-malt Scotch (dabble.co). At Perennial, the passion is all about transforming trash into treasure. They partner with businesses, organizations and individuals to offer classes in creative reuse‰ÛÓ giving a whole new meaning to the term DIY (314.832.2288, Carondelet). The fiery furnaces at Third Degree Glass Factory beckon especially strongly on cold days. Get close to them with a glassblowing lesson of your choice. Start with a half-hour class shadowing an expert before immersing yourself in the art with an eight-week course or the five-hour intensive session, where all the info is packed into a shorter timeframe (314.367.4527, The Loop).

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20/ Take a Me Day

Winter have you feeling a little off? Shift your energy state with a class at the new Swan River Yoga studio on Cherokee Street, where you’ll be welcomed at instructor Jill Duncan’s dynamic Bhakti Yoga Flow class, filled with devotional, energy-balancing and rejuvenating practices for the five layers (koshas) of the body: physical, mental/emotional, breath, intuition and spirit (314.640.7142, Benton Park). If your inner fire responds better to pampering, The Spa at the Four Seasons is a sure thing. Enjoy a foot soak featuring fresh herbs, the warmth of a thermal back exfoliation and volcanic heat pack, a massage using cinnamon and clove oil or a tingling crystal facial massage (314.881.5800, Downtown). To pamper yourself in the comfort of your own home, throw a Blissoma party. Guests receive a complete, self-applied facial, as well as ingredient education about the creative, all-natural line of skincare products (314.802.7687, blissoma.com). And who says men don’t need pampering too? The new Notch salon in The Grove offers everything from beard oil treatments to deluxe shaves (314.764.5113, The Grove).

21/ Become a Wino

Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Wine” has it right: Drinking it is a communal activity. One of the most popular events for partaking in the fruit of the vines with other oenophiles is the Hermann Wine Trail’s Chocolate Wine Trail, Feb. 21-22. With seven stops offering wine-and-chocolate pairings, it’s a steal at $30 per person‰ÛÓwhich is why it sells out early every year (573.486.2744, hermannwinetrail.com). If you want to stay closer to home, you can still gain some basic knowledge with the right restaurant’s wine flights. At Robust Wine Bar, a local pioneer in using categories to educate consumers about wine, sommeliers plan out the flights and servers are happy to discuss your preferences as you consider your options (multiple locations, robustwinebar.com). For a more structured learning atmosphere, consider a class. Wine shops like The Wine Merchant regularly offer intro-level primers on wine in general, specific regions and grape varietals. And because wine is meant to be shared, they also offer classes around planning parties, hosting meals and pairing foods (314.863.8262, Clayton). Connoisseurs will appreciate classes like The Wine and Cheese Place‘s recent Syrah class, where the bottle prices for the samples ranged from $90 to $280 (314.727.8788, Clayton).

22/ Get Away

Snuggle up with someone special in front of the massive fireplace at the Pere Marquette Lodge‰ÛÓideally as snow is gently falling across the 8,000-acre state park. There’s a postcard-perfect view of the Illinois River from the great hall and from many of the rooms in the original 1940s-era guest wing. Best of all, the lodge is only an hour’s drive from St. Louis, making it a safe bet in iffy weather (618.786.2331, Grafton, IL). Nestled in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge resort makes the most of its wilderness setting. Stay in the lodge, the knotty pine cottages or the log cabins. From fireside massages to nighttime carriage rides, you can do as much‰ÛÓor as little‰ÛÓas you like (800.225.6343, Ridgedale, MO). If winter weather whets your appetite, make plans to check out Kansas City Restaurant Week, Jan. 16-25. Multi-course lunches are $15 and dinners are $33 at a wide variety of established and new restaurants, including some whose chefs have earned prestigious honors like James Beard Award nominations. Book your stay at the eco-friendly, innovative AC Hotel Kansas City Westport (formerly the Q Hotel), just minutes from the city’s main dining and shopping destinations (816.931.0001, Kansas City).

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Steinberg Rink

23/ Work Up a Sweat

Indoor exercise can get monotonous‰Û_ but only if you let it. Plenty of options exist for shaking up your normal winter workout. One of the most intense is Burn 1000, using treadmills set at a 30-degree incline, as well as floor work for interval, functional, core and athletic-based training in a group setting. The goal is to burn 1,000 calories in 60 minutes. Ready, set, go! (636.220.1010, Town and Country). If it’s motivation that’s lacking, a personal trainer at The Fitness Edge can make sure you set‰ÛÓand stick to‰ÛÓa fitness lifestyle that’s right for your goals, whether it’s avoiding seasonal weight gain or preparing for an upcoming sports season (314.993.3343, Creve Coeur). For a workout that’s pure fun, get your Latin groove on Sunday nights at Atomic Cowboy to a mix of salsa, bachata and merengue. The floor fills up by 9pm with a diverse group of dancers who share one common denominator: enthusiasm. For beginners, there’s a fast-paced instructional class at 6:30pm that emphasizes both footwork and salsa styling. Cost is the same $5 that gets you in to dance (314.775.0775, The Grove).

24/ Spice Things Up

Some dishes offer more than a tongue-tingling burn: They’re hearty, flavorful and spicy, all at once. Take the hot and sour soup at Shu Feng. The traditional Chinese dish adds the two required ingredients, vinegar (the sour) and pepper (the hot), in perfect proportion to a rich broth full of vegetables perfect for consuming on a windchilled winter day (314.983.0099, University City). When it comes to the “right” way to make pozole, a lot depends on who you ask and where they’re from. The Mexican stew consistently has hominy, almost always has red chiles and usually has pork, but beyond that you’ll find regional and family variations galore. Still, the version at Carniceria Latino Americano gets rave reviews from almost everyone for its spiciness, heartiness and authenticity (314.773.1707, Benton Park). The American equivalent has to be chili‰ÛÓand one of the best places to find it is the quintessentially American Blueberry Hill. It’s flavored with beer and coffee and packed with ground beef, kidney beans, green peppers and tomatoes. And it’s plenty spicy, so be sure to keep a beverage handy (314.727.4444, The Loop).

25/ Get Your Blood Pumping

The bright interior at Climb So iLL is a sight for winterweary eyes. The climbing gym welcomes everyone: first-timers who want to try the sport, serious students who want to learn techniques and longtime climbers looking to keep their conditioning until the outdoor season returns. Classes include an introduction to the fundamentals, as well as instruction in rope skills and movement (314.621.1700, Lafayette Square). But if the outdoors lures you no matter the season, Hidden Valley Ski Resort makes a perfect day-trip destination. January is Learn to Ski Month, which means midweek and package deals for ages 12 and up for novices and pros alike. If skiing isn’t your thing, there are tubing runs as well (636.938.5373, Wildwood). And winter wouldn’t be complete without lacing up your skates and taking some laps at Steinberg Rink, the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest and a picture-perfect place to enjoy a gentle snowfall. Whether for date night or a group outing with friends, it’s the quintessential winter to-do (314.367.7465, Forest Park).

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