Union Station's Free Tree Lighting Has Tunes and a Cookie Bar, Too

One of the sparkliest spots in town is "on track" to deliver cheer.

Union Station

What to Know

  • Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m.; the tree lighting is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
  • Kingston Ska Collective and Grupo Bella will perform
  • Guests are invited to savor complimentary cocoa and treats from the cookie bar

Gazing out the window of a train is a time-honored way to while away an hour.

You'll likely spy cars, buildings, other trains, and people, too (waving at these passersby isn't obligatory but it is always pretty nice).

We're looking for a bit of zazzy spectacle during our ride on the rails, in short, whether it is a lovely vista, picturesque cityscape, or handsome storefronts.

But spectacle can be enjoyed near the rails, and you don't even need to buy a train ticket to enjoy it.

Look to Union Station, that elegant icon of Alameda Street, the go-go hub of humans hurrying to find their platform or pausing to hobnob with a friend over a meal or drink.

One of the landmark's lightest and brightest spectacles traditionally begins to catch our eyes, and capture our festive fancies, when Thanksgiving has concluded and the Christmas season has commenced.

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And on Tuesday, Nov. 29, that means a grand tree lighting, one that is open and free to the public.

Make for the pretty South Patio around 6:30 for the evening affair. The tree gets to twinkling at 7:15 p.m., but there is a lot to savor, including the sounds of Kingston Ska Collective and Grupo Bella, complimentary hot cocoa, and a cookie bar.

Illustrator Joey Mason will be there to sketch the shimmery scene and give art fans the opportunity to watch the creative process, live and in person.

As for admiring the 35-foot fir alongside the Union Station tower? True, the top of the Christmas tree never rises higher than the stately square-ish structure, but capturing both together in a single snapshot is tradition.

The tree and the tower make a striking duo, a pairing that simultaneously feels razzle-dazzle-y and regal.

It's a twinkly and clock-topped twosome you can admire throughout the holiday season. But if you want to be there at the flicking of the switch, board a train, or another conveyance, and be at Union Station on November's final Tuesday evening.

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