Union Station’s Grand Hall Light Show to Debut on National Train Day

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The Grand Hall at St. Louis Union Station is awe inspiring. In fact, I think one could easily sit for an hour, head tilted back, examining every nook and cranny, every detail, and never tire of it. Truly the front door to a booming city for half a century, the history witnessed and the people passing through the Grand Hall is remarkable to contemplate.

St. Louis Union Station Grand Hall historic{The Grand Hall at Union Station c. 1909}

{Union Station (far right) was once much more a central part of the city – image c. 1927}

So when word that the renovated Grand Hall by Lodging Hospitality Management would feature video projections and voice overs by John Goodman and Joe Buck, it seemed like a real downgrade, and an expensive one at that. What could be less reverential, less appealing, and more hokey than Goodman’s glowing face welcoming you to his hometown?

Ultimately, success is always in the details. If the preview video produced to promote the light show, and a couple short videos first posted by Fox2now are any indication, the light show may give even more reason to sit and stare at the ceiling. And yes, it’s still a bit cheesy, but also impressive. I mean, people cram into a hotel in Memphis to watch ducks walk into an elevator (actually, friends of those ducks may make a St. Louis hotel lobby their home soon, but that’s another story), surely this has more entertainment value than that.

If you’re curious to see more, you don’t have to wait long. The Grand Hall opens to the public tomorrow, May 10. The light show will play every hour on the hour beginning at 11am and running through at least 5pm. It’s part of the National Train Day festivities (view schedule of events here PDF).

And there’s more – according to Feast, the Grand Hall restaurant opens with a “1940’s railroad station” menu. The Grand Hall Market opens as well, featuring a 1920s themed Starbucks and gift shop. The restaurant will be open 4pm to 1am, and the market 6am to 10pm daily.

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  • Mike F

    Good lord! Looking at that historic picture, and all I have to say is: What the H happened to our beautiful City?!

  • jhoff1257

    I don’t know about this. I’ll wait to see it in person, but it seems pretty gaudy for a place like Union Station.

    • Presbyterian

      I saw it tonight. It was kind of Vegasy, but I have to admit I was wowed. The zwickel probably helped, too. Granted, this is probably not for the MFA crowd, but it definitely will be a crowd pleaser.

      • Mike F

        Mmmmm, UCBC!

  • Presbyterian

    I think perhaps that ‘laser light show’ means something different from when I was a kid.

  • DanieljSTL

    Heard on the radio this morning that Phase 2 will include a Legoland or something of the sort. Trains will be coming and going once again, too, which I think is long over due.

    • Ryann

      Trains (I pray Amtrak desires to come back) will bring traffic through to see the light show and then people will start talking about it. But Amtrak needs more than just stl to kc and Illinois, we need to go to Indianapolis and Memphis to get high traffic in the station!

      • Adam

        Not Amtrak. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be privately-operated excursion trains.

        • Ryann

          That is what i have heard also. But I think it would benefit everyone if Amtrak were to come back because the location is much better for travelers to get to, the current station is pretty small and doesn’t really have a terminal, its like a glorified metro link platform and it would bring business to the underrated Union Station (I just went there tonight, it really is a nice place to go.) Sadly, I don’t think this will happen in the near future. But i still hope haha!


    WOW!!! Now that really makes you proud of St Louis. MY God, it looked like the wall graphics at Comcast Center in Philly. Can’t wait for this to open and for the world to see…

    Now, what’s the plan fir the rest if the station? Ant word?

    • Presbyterian

      200-foot ferris wheel outside. Family entertainment inside where the shopping is now. Plans still sound like they’re in the earlier phases.

      The hotel rooms will be fully renovated this summer. Lobby opens tomorrow.