Spend the Holidays at St. Louis Union Station

The Polar Express is a beloved holiday tradition for our family, and it may be for your family too. The well-worn pages of the book tell the story of being read countless times over the years. We watch the movie in our PJs with hot cocoa and cookies and have little jingle bells that we hang on the tree each year.

This year, since our family is on the “good list,” we decided to take it to the next level with a Polar Express-inspired train ride. Santa’s Express train leaves out of historic Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri. Union Station has been transformed into a winter wonderland called the North Pole Village that will be sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

Where to Stay in St. Louis
We chose to stay the night at St. Louis Union Station – Curio Collection by Hilton. We were able to walk right over to the North Pole Village from the hotel in less than 5 minutes. With so much to see and do at Union Station, we were glad to be able to quickly return to our room and have a relaxing night afterwards. Staying at St. Louis Union Station sets the stage for the holiday magic to come with its classic towering Christmas trees, dazzling red and green lights, and the holiday 3D light show in the Grand Hall.

Christmas activities in St Louis - 3D light show at St Louis Union Station hotel
The 3D light show at St. Louis Union Station is spectacular!

The Holidays at Union Station
Upon check-in to the hotel, we were provided with a map to the Holidays at Union Station event. Being first-timers, we thought it would be a good idea to scope out the area and activities before our Santa’s Express boarding time to get our bearings. We found that the event was well-organized, with the check-in area prominently located at the entrance to Union Station and the boarding area nearby.

We had time to grab a hot cocoa and cookie and check out some of the fun activities before our journey. We went to the Elf Academy where you can color a picture and visit with one of Santa’s elves, played Peppermint Putt Putt, and snapped pics with the big guy himself, Santa!

Christmas actvities in St Louis - Story time with Mrs. Claus
Listen to a story told by Mrs. Claus while you enjoy your hot cocoa and cookie. After the story, she signs autographs!

Santa’s Express Train Ride
Santa’s Express train ride on the North Pole Railway lasts 45 minutes and includes a visit from Santa on the return trip. The dress code is festive Christmas pajamas; they’re not required but definitely add to the fun. After our train ride, we checked out the ice skating and tubing in Glacier Park and watched the holiday Fire and Water show on the pond.

Our trip on Santa’s Express this year was definitely a memorable experience that helped us to get in the holiday spirit and see the wonder and excitement of Christmas through our children’s eyes. The North Pole Village is open Wednesdays through Fridays, from 3 pm to 10 pm through December 19, then daily 3 pm to 10 pm through December 30. For tickets and a full list of all activities and special events, visit Holidays at Union Station.

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Rachel and her family received complimentary tickets to Santa’s Express train and Holidays at Union Station activities so she could share her experiences with you. All opinions are her own.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Rachel S. Are you interested in traveling to St Louis? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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