50 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002-4211
AVERAGE USER RATING
Contact:+1 202 289 1908
Open Hours: Station: 24 hrs, Shops: 10a-9p M-Sa, noon-6p Su
The elegant Main Hall with its vaulted ceiling more than 90-feet high and marble floors is reminiscent of the days when ... More
The elegant Main Hall with its vaulted ceiling more than 90-feet high and marble floors is reminiscent of the days when railway travel was fashionable. This beaux-arts building, opened in 1908, fell into severe disrepair in the 1940s. It underwent a monumental restoration project and reopened in 1988. Restaurants, including an international food court, and more than 100 specialty shops draw visitors. Its proximity to the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capitol make it a perfect midday stop for lunch. Still a working train station, Amtrak has service from here to all points in the country. Credit card acceptance varies from store to store.
But how do I get to my Amtrak train? Where are the ticket counters? I hoped for a map of the station itself. I am somewhat disabled and walk with difficulty. I will be taking a taxi to the station, but what do I do then? Are there porters? carts? wheelchairs available? ticket counters in sight? signs to the ticket counters? waiting rooms? Help!!!
I looked for over an hour online, and found no station map. How does an organization like AMTRAK provide effective service when a traveler is going into a very complex building like Union Station with no clue of how to navigate to a specific destination. What a stupid way of doing business.
Why isn't there a station map? A layout of this place that is so wonderful and spacious? What good is it if you can not find your way around? I was looking to catch the VRE for a few bucks, instead because I could not find the right terminal I ended up buying a Amtrak ticket for triple the amount? Maybe that is what they want? Greedy bums!!!
The boarding areas for trains are an obvious afterthought for this station. As a frequent rail traveler, it infuriates me that unlike other major train stations, Union Station so often treats rail riders as the second targeted group, behind tourists looking for food and clothes. Kudos for recent additions to track schedules and train departing gates, but Amtrak still needs to find ways to control the boarding process. Boarding a train in DC must be a similar experience to what cattle went through boarding trains in Kansas City, circa 1880.
Union station is a very refined and sophisticated shopping area with great stores and a very nice atmosphere. Someone with fine taste would enjoy it but it really is for anyone. I guess the best time to visit is spring or summer. Plus, Godiva chocolates has a store there....yummmmm!
The Metro takes you to the front doors. There are two entrances. One takes you downstairs to the food court. It is like a usual Mall food court.
The other takes you upstairs where you have, once again, two choices. You can select the door straight ahead and go to more food counters such as The Corner Bakery, (our favorite). You can take the door to the right and shop on both sides of the hall. Our favorite is on the right, by the front door. It is a chinese store called Muse. The owner keeps a constant change of items, so each visit holds different surprises.
The eyes go up to the high decorative ceiling as you walk into one of the halls upstairs. This building was carefully designed to express a welcome to travelers and visitors that enter. The grand layout expresses the vast American landscape from "sea to shining sea." Every turn in the halls brings a new vista. This structure is definitely not a "microwave instant" design that newer buildings in the District are prone to show. Union Station was well thought out over time to bring out the character of America.
The staff at stores and food kiosks are friendly and helpful. Our experience is always fun. We recommend it to others. It is worth the time and money. Tell the shopgirl at Muse we sent you!
Pamela and Isabel
This one of the most beautiful places in DC! The shopping is unlike your average mall, different stores. The America Resturant and Pizzaria Uno are two great places to eat, I'm unsure of their price ranges, but whatever the cost, the food is worth it!! I was really amazed by it because it was so big & beautiful, so much more than what I had imagined!
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