“Washington's busiest and best-known”
Today Union Station is again one of Washington's busiest and best-known places, visited by 32 million people each year and has many shops, cafes and restaurants. Passenger services include Amtrak’s high-speed Acela Express, Northeast Regional, and several of Amtrak's long-distance sleeper trains (including, among others, the Capitol Limited, Crescent, Palmetto, and Silver Service trains); the MARC and VRE commuter railways, linking Washington to Maryland and Virginia, respectively; and the Washington Metro Red Line. From Union Station Amtrak also operates long-distance service to the southeast and midwest, including many intermediate stops to destinations like Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Miami. Over 13,000 passengers boarded or detrained Amtrak services daily in FY2011.
Great variety of shops and restaurants. Convenient travel pit-stop, easy to transfer to or from the Metro to MARC or Amtrak trains. Beautiful architecture and great acoustics!
I highly recommend flying in and out of Baltimore (BWI) and taking the MARC train into Union Station. It's a 35 minute, $7 ride, and the airport shuttle takes you right to the station for free.
Visited mid-May 2012. Even if you are not traveling to/from Union Station, it is worth the visit for the architecture alone. It's easy to get absorbed in the busy atmosphere of the commuters, the shops and the restaurants, but take a moment to appreciate the history and beauty of this building. Although there are no guided tours available, you can visit the website (http://www.unionstationdc.com) for fascinating historical facts and anecdotes.
We visited Union Station in order to take our young son (obsessed with trains) for his first "real" train ride. You can't go wrong because this is the quintessential train station - multiple tracks, arrival/departure boards, ticket counters - the works. For $9 ea, we took the afternoon VRE passenger train to Franconia, VA. This is not a metro-type train. The conductor comes and punches your tickets and takes pictures with incredibly excited 3 year olds. Once we arrived in Franconia, we crossed the platform and took the metro back to Union Station. A round trip for a few dollars and priceless memories.
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