Train Your Sights Upon Union Station's Tree Lighting

Choo-choo for the south patio for all of the bulb-bright doings.

What to Know

  • Free
  • Nov. 30 (with additional concerts on Dec. 8, 15, 22)
  • The Union Station Holiday Festival is on Saturday, Dec. 2

Ponder deeply, for a moment, exactly what you see when you step off a train.

An obvious first sight? You will 100% spy other travelers rushing to and fro, checking boards, checking phones, checking watches, checking tickets, maybe all simultaneously, which is no small feat.

You'll see newsstands and places to buy coffee, another 100% kind of deal in a bustling train station.

But as for those pine-pretty, festively appointed details of the season? The baubles and lights and trees? Aren't those for malls and historic houses and big hotels and ice rinks?

Well, no, not if you're Union Station, a lofty (but not full of itself) landmark that likes to do it up, with a bit of grand dazzlement, when December hoves into view.

And do it up, the station shall, beginning on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 30, when its giant tree goes aglow for the first time in 2017. 

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That's not the only Christmas-type doing coming up at the Alameda Street-based structure, though, not by a long shot (or a long rail, if you prefer in this case). In fact, the Nov. 30 happening will officially kick-off Union Station's Cocoa Concerts, a series of Friday-night carol-laden events that are free, free, free.

We do love to see the word "free" in December, and we're definitely not alone in that.

Well, do show up at the station with cash for your cocoa — there will be a Cocoa Bar, complete with Elftenders (yes, Elftenders) — but as far as listening to the line-up of live performances? Don't sweat the scratch: It's gratis.

Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra and the All-American Boys Chorus will both sing on Nov. 30, but there are more raise-the-vibe acts to come in the weeks ahead, so stop looking at your ticket/watch and look at the Union Station web site.

Things to know? There's no Cocoa Concert on Friday, Dec. 29. Cross that off.

There will be crafty to-dos at each show, and stuff for kids to participate in, too.

And as for the Union Station Holiday Festival? That'll be a nine-hour affair on Saturday, Dec. 2, and there shall be artisanal vendors vending all sorts of good-to-give presents.

Like booking a train ticket, and maneuvering through a station, there's a lot of information to take in regarding Union Station's big December doings, including dates, who is on the stage, the times, what'll be there, what's to drink, what's to do, and everything, everything, everything.

But if you choo-choo away from this post knowing that freeness reigns, as far as entry to the events, and historic cheer shall be high, thanks to the building's notable 1939-a-tude and Spanish-Mission-Art-Deco-movie-star-ish quality, you're good.

Still though: Pick, choose, plan now, just like you would with any train trip.

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