Commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and designed by architect Daniel Burnham (who also worked on New York’s iconic Flatiron Building), the station is a monument in its own right. It predates many of DC’s most recognizable landmarks, including both the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Following several major renovations in the 1980s and 2000s, the station’s central, vaulted concourse has never looked better.
In addition to being the first place many travelers encounter in Washington DC, Union Station also features on a range of sightseeing tours, including monument-themed excursions and bike tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
Union Station is home to dozens of shops and eateries, including coffee shops, bars, fast-food joints, and sit-down restaurants.
Before heading into the station, pause to admire the soaring Columbus Fountain located just out front, which was designed by American sculptor Lorado Taft in 1912.
The bulk of Union Square is wheelchair accessible, including restrooms, the ticket office, and waiting rooms.
How to Get There
Union Station connects numerous transit lines, including Amtrak trains, MARC and VRE commuter rail services, Greyhound and Metrobus, and the Metro’s Red Line. It can also be reached by taxi and car (there is a taxi rank out front and a paid parking garage on site).
When to Get There
Union Station is open to the public seven days a week. It is closed to those who aren’t traveling from 12am–5pm, though ticketed passengers generally have access as needed. Shops and restaurants inside the station maintain their own hours, so it’s worth researching specifics in advance.
Looking to pass an hour or two before your departure time, or in between journeys? Several of DC’s most important landmarks are located just minutes from the station by foot. Venture to the National Postal Museum, right next door, to learn all about the US Postal Service—from the Pony Express to today’s global shipping network. Major monuments like the Supreme Court, US Capitol, Library of Congress, and National Mall are also accessible from Union Station.
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- National Postal Museum
- Japanese American Memorial
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- Supreme Court of the United States
- Folger Shakespeare Library
- Library of Congress
- Ulysses S. Grant Memorial
- U.S. Capitol
- United States Botanic Garden
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Capital One Arena
- Capitol Hill
- National Gallery of Art
- National Museum of the American Indian
- National Portrait Gallery