Inspired by the towering stone walls of the medieval French fortress in Carcassonne, architect Theodore Link designed the magnificent St. Louis Union Station in the late 1800s. Once one of the world’s busiest passenger rail terminals but no longer in operation, the landmark is home to the AAA Four Diamond St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, which completed a massive transformation several years ago. With a nod to its history, some guestroom floors are designed and furnished with a railroad theme. The building is as spectacular and ornate on the inside as it is on the outside. The historic Grand Hall, home to a stylish bar, serves as its centerpiece with a 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling, gold-leaf accents, Romanesque arches, and stained-glass windows.
The hotel is not far from a host of downtown attractions, including the Gateway Arch, National Blues Museum, and Ballpark Village, which features restaurants and entertainment venues next to Busch Stadium. But just steps from the hotel in the Union Station complex, several not-to-miss experiences include the St. Louis Aquarium, home to a 250,000-gallon shark habitat and other fish and animal encounters, and the St. Louis Wheel, a 200-foot-high observation wheel with 42 enclosed gondolas that provide amazing skyline views. There’s also miniature golf, a ropes course, carousel, and more.