Washington Union Station
50 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC, USA
www.unionstationdc.com - 1-202-289-1908
Washington Union Station Reviews
A Railway Station and More Oct 04, 2008
Union Station in Washington, DC, recently celebrated the centennial of its compeltion. Since 1908 the railway terminal has served as a transportation hub for the national’s capital. Upon exiting the station, the sight of the US Capitol looming at the opposite end of Delaware Avenue remains as imposing a vista today as it did in 1908.
Today, Amtrak intercity trains and Virginia Railway Express and MARC (Maryland) regional commuter trains utilize the station. Washington is the southern anchor of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services to Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Other Amtrak destinations from Union Station include Chicago, New Orleans, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA, and Florida. Local transportation from the centrally located station is provided by Metro subway, Metrobus, and taxis.
Various sightseeing tour services, including the Grey Line, Tourmobile Old Town Trolley, and DC Ducks, depart from the station. If you want to book a sightseeing tour of Washington, the best way to go about it is to go to Union Station and choose from among the variety of offerings. Most of the tour services offer hop-on, hop-off arrangements that enable you to spend as much time as you want at an adn then ho on the next tour bus to the next atraction. They are also a convenient way to obtain tickets for the US Capitol building tour.
The station also houses retail and restaurant space, a food court, and a multiplex cinema. These features make it a popular destination for local residents and students studying at universities in the District. You can shop at a range of stores, from one selling vintage political memorabilia to boutique specialty, clothing and toy stores. Tourists will find the food court a good place to find something it eat while busy touring the capital city. (Please see my separate review of the Food Court at Union Station.)
The station was designed by architect Daniel Burnham in the Beaux-Arts style. Union Station replaced two older stations, one of which was located on the National Mall. (Train tracks ran across the Mall in those days.) It was designed to be a grand and monumental public space and is characterized by a series of three great vaulted ceilings running the length of the building. (The Grand Concourse, still intact, is said to have been inspired by the Baths of Diocletian in Rome. Much later, the Washington Metro was influenced by Union Station’s barrel vaults in the design of its own subway stations.) Another distinctive design feature is the legion of Roman Centurion sculptures that surround the building inside and out. The sculptures were executed by Louis St. Gaudens.
Presidents through Eisenhower used the station for their presidential trains. If you are interested in architecture, I recommend seeing the station whether you are taking train or not. Take a look at its exterior and its interior spaces. You might recognize the Grand Concourse from its use as a background for films and TV shows set in Washington.
When railway passenger traffic decreased in the 1960s, the attempt was made to turn the station into a National Visitor Center in time for the 1976 Bicentennial of American Independence. The conversion was not a success and the building lay abandoned (and leaking) for some years while Amtrak trains of the period used a temporary structure erected behind the station. (That structure was derisively referred to as the “Amshack”). In 1981, the decision was made to restore Union Station and bring it back into use as it was intended. A public-private partnership was formed to lease space to house restaurant and retail operations. Revenue from commercial activity would support restoration and maintenance of the grand building. The renovations began in 1986 and Union Station reopened in 1988.
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Jan 02, 2008
They have everything put into that place dress shops to food courts nail and hair shops you can get almost anything you want when traveling through on your way somewhere else and the building itself is a work of art the gold floors and walls are great
Part of the list My Favorite Places In Charleston S.C.
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