christmas at union station photos courtesy union station

Safely celebrate the holidays at Union Station

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The holidays may be quite a change of pace from years past, but Union Station in downtown St. Louis still has a slew of holiday attractions, events and other family-friendly fun lined up to make your holidays as merry and bright as possible while adhering to all recommended safety precautions.

The halls are decked throughout the entire complex – which was built in 1894 and was once the biggest and busiest train terminal in the nation – but the Grand Hall, which is debuting a holiday pop-up bar this year that runs through Dec. 31, may be the star of the show with its Instagram-worthy tree, lights and other holiday décor. The Grand Hall features a light show on the stunning 65-foot, barrel-vaulted ceiling every hour.

photo courtesy union station

The Grand Hall pop-up bar also offers a variety of new small bites and specialty cocktails, including the Coquito, a traditional, creamy coconut-based holiday drink similar to boozy eggnog; and a caramel hot toddy featuring salted caramel with cider and herbed bourbon served hot. There’s also Jingle Juice, a Christmas punch with citrus sugar, tropical fruit, spiced rums and orange-almond smash; Holiday Cheer featuring Old Tom gin with cranberry sauce and lime bubbles; and hot buttered rum, a seasonal staple with multiple rums, spiced sweet butter and toasted marshmallow whip served hot.

Don’t miss out on Pancakes with Santa with seatings beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 10:45 a.m. on select weekend mornings in December. If you still need some extra holiday festivity, check out the a la carte lunch, Lunch Under the Lights, on offer in the Grand Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 20. The Polar Express returns this year as a walk-through journey to the North Pole. The popular magical event runs daily through Dec. 30 with timed tickets to allow for ample social distancing.

photo courtesy union station

After you’ve had your fill of the attractions, stop by Soda Fountain to try the holiday Freak Shake. It’s made with Clementine's peppermint ice cream and is served in a 20-ounce take-home reindeer mug decorated with a gingerbread cookie man and a Christmas tree sucker and topped with reindeer corn. 

“Even if you don’t buy a ticket to one of the attractions, it’s still a great place to have a hot chocolate and walk around,” said Union Station’s Todd Hotaling. “We’re excited to be able to have something where people can still celebrate the holidays in a safe and responsible manner.”

three-sixty // photo by lauren healey

In addition to the sleigh-fuls of fun at Union Station, Three-Sixty, the rooftop restaurant and bar at the Hilton at the Ballpark just a mile down the road, is featuring Up on the Rooftop, a snow globe-decorated pop-up daily from 4 to 11 p.m. If you’re leaving the kids at home, take the elevator up to Three-Sixty to sip on specialty cocktails while keeping warm by a fire pit on the patio 400 feet above downtown St. Louis and enjoying 360-degree views of the skyline. No reservations required.