Old world architectural beauty meets modern day innovation at Union Station in Washington, DC. Washington Union Station is a major train station, transportation hub, and leisure destination for both tourists and DC locals. The station first opened in 1907, and today it is Amtrak’s headquarters with annual ridership of just under 5 million passengers.
Union Station has a storied past. At the height of its traffic, during World War II, as many as 200,000 passengers passed through the station in a single day, but after the war the station deteriorated quickly to keep up with demand. Much of its elegance was lost in hasty repairs. In addition, train travel declined greatly as cars became the favorite transportation choice for the general American public.
Luckily, in the 1950’s station owners had the foresight to begin searching for alternative uses for this beautiful building, which prevented it from being destroyed entirely. But decline continued. In 1981 after part of the ceiling collapsed from disrepair and neglect, Congress passed the Union Station Redevelopment Act to preserve this historical gem. When the station reopened for business in 1988, it was home to a new food court, shopping mall, and movie theater.
Today, Union Station remains a working railroad station complete with ticketing services, baggage areas, terminals, and waiting rooms. It is visited by 40 million people each year and has many shops, cafes, and restaurants. For any architecture lover, this beautiful building is a DC must see.
From the ACHA host hotel, Union Station is a quick 15-minute metro ride on the Red line toward Glenmont exiting at the Union Station stop. For more information, visit the Union Station website.