The Holidays at St. Louis Union Station
If you have young kids (or not) enjoying the Polar Express experience is a bucket list item. There are many experiences all over the country and probably one close to home, but the holidays at the St. Louis Union Station will probably beat them all. The St. Louis Union Station Entertainment Complex and its historic hotel is truly a magical experience, but during the holidays they really go all out. If you and your family are looking for a fun and festive long weekend away, plan a trip to celebrate the Holidays at St. Louis Union Station including a ride on The Polar Express Train Ride where the experience takes you through the magical story of a boy. Learn more about this important St. Louis holiday tradition.
Check out other fun things to see and do while you are in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Polar Express Train Ride
There is no better way to get into the Holiday spirit than jumping on a real train ride and heading to the North Pole. What better place to catch a train to the North Pole than at the historic St. Louis Union Station? You will journey to the North Pole where your children will receive a keepsake present. The Polar Express Train Ride at St. Louis Union Station is an enchanting holiday experience that captures the spirit of the beloved children’s book and movie. Set in the historic and beautifully restored Union Station, this magical train ride takes passengers on an unforgettable journey to the North Pole.
The beautifully decorated trains are festive, and the atmosphere is filled with excitement and anticipation. The train departs from the St. Louis Union Station train park and begins its adventure to the North Pole, with the characters from the story coming to life. The entire experience is filled with singing, dancing, stories, and more. The conductor and chefs spend the entire time interacting with your children. Hot chocolate is served, just like in the book, and cookies are passed around to create a truly immersive experience. Monte and Amelia loved every moment of this experience.
As the train chugs along, the scenery outside the window transform into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights and snow-covered landscapes. Finally, the train arrives at the North Pole, where Santa Claus himself (you may see Mrs. Claus too!) awaits with a special gift (the first gift of Christmas) for each child and shares the real meaning of Christmas. The train ride returns back at the St. Louis Union Station train park.
Note: While waiting to board the train head to the North Pole Village which is a tent (that is heated) filled with fun activities for the kids. They even had the movie The Polar Express playing as well.
Magical Meals in the Grand Hall
The Grand Hall at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel is gorgeous. Enjoy a delicious meal while interacting with Polar Express characters before jumping on The Polar Express Train Ride. The Grand Hall is decorated with lights, trees, and holiday treats. You will not want to miss The Polar Express 3-D holiday light and music show that is displayed on the ceiling of the Grand Hall. The Grand Hall offers an amazing dinner menu all year-round. The Magical Meal is offered on select nights of the Polar Express rides in buffet style. They offer a buffet for adults and one buffet specifically curated for children.
The magic does not end with just a train ride to the North Pole. Take it a step further and book one of St. Louis Union Station’s hotel packages (part of the Curio Collection by Hilton) which include a decorated suite, gifts, tickets, and more. Packages vary and sell out quickly, so book soon! You can also book a room that overlooks the St. Louis Aquarium at St. Louis Station. When we stayed they were just finishing up the final touches of the aquarium but we could see the sea otters from our room.
The Wheel at St. Louis Station
All of your holiday fun does not stop at the Polar Express. Jump on The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station. This Ferris wheel is 200-foot-tall St. Louis Wheel and is open all year round. Take a ride to the very top and enjoy beautiful views of St. Louis, Missouri. You will not want to miss this iconic ride. You will definitely want to ride once during the day and once at night. Both are magical experiences! During the holiday season, you can catch several light displays throughout downtown St. Louis.
The Soda Fountain
The Soda Fountain at Union Station is an experience of its own. They offer simple lunch items such as a Chicago Dog, cheeseburger, tuna melt, and onion rings but their shakes are to die for! We indulged in some of their booze shakes while the kids were in heaven sipping and eating their Cotton Candy Shake. They do not mess around.
The Train Shed
The Train Shed is another great place to eat at the St. Louis Union Station. They offer draft beer with 12 rotating taps, creative cocktails, unique and delicious foods (the Stuffed Spuds are to die for!) and the decor is fun. They did not offer a children’s menu but were very flexible when ordering for the kids. It was a great spot to grab dinner before The Polar Express train ride.
Carousel, Playground, and Mini Golf, Oh my!
The green space near the St. Louis Ferris Wheel offers a fun playground, mini-golf, and a carousel. This is a great place for fun and play. They also offer a station where people can grab a hot cocoa or an adult beverage and yes, you can bring all of the above onto the Ferris Wheel. This area is filled with so much fun (sometimes live entertainment) and walking distance from your hotel room and aquarium.
Fire and Light Show
Catch a seat at a “hot” spot in the center of the St. Louis Union Station for the fire and light show. The music show features an open fire, 100-foot-long waterfall with 50 nozzles that spray water 40 feet down into the lake. Lights will turn the water into a variety of glowing colors accented by the icicle lights decorating the surrounding trees.
This area is filled with so much fun and walking distance from your hotel room and aquarium.
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station must be on your list when you make a visit. Put on your antler ears or Santa hat and spend your day exploring and enjoying hands-on activities at the St. Louis Aquarium. This 120,000-square-foot aquarium offers animal encounters, over 60 sharks and rays, and 13,000 freshwater and aquatic animals. The aquarium is filled with fish and sharks, but also tons of hands-on experiences.
St. Louis Ropes Course and Mirror Maze
After exploring the St. Louis Aquarium soar 3-stories up and walk around the St. Louis Ropes Course. This fun rope course is filled with more than 90,000 cubic feet of climbing space and 30 obstacles. This mom got a bit nervous, but Monte loved it! You may want to explore the Mirror Maze before lunch! This fun maze is a reimagined experience from the 1904 World’s Fair filled with interactive experiences and more.