Inner City Stations
Union Station Information:
Union Station - Zone 1
Parking at this station is owned and operated by Union Station. Please visit the Union Station DC website for additional information.
Map of VRE platform entrance
Check out this station's yelp* reviews:
Wait, there are trains inside this mall??
Union station is ridiculous. I lost myself wandering from L'Occitaine to Godiva and Swarovski. Then I couldn't decide where to grab a bite considering it has everything from Roti to Pret A Manger to sushi to au bon pain.
It is clean and well lit with shopping and dining options galore. I wish it has better maps as to what leads where given there are a couple areas under construction but overall gorgeous and organized. I take the Marc train back and forth from Baltimore and have never had issues with delays.
I don't know what it is, but I am just such a fan of this station.
Maybe it's the high ceilings when you enter. Maybe it's the architectural detail that harks back to another era. Maybe it's the two-level restaurant in the center of it all. Or maybe it's the convenience of being just a few blocks from my mom's current home. Whatever it is, I know I like it.
I jump at the chance to train it up to DC whenever possible - not just for the stress-free travel, but also for the opportunity to once again visit Union Station. Sure, the wifi's spotty, and yes, it can be crowded (it is a train station, after all), but it's a breeze to navigate, it offers both sit-down and grab-n-go dining options, and it's a prime people-watching spot.
I can't ask for much more in a train station.
Obviously other Metro train stations cannot compare because Union Station is the only hub for Marc, Amtrak, VRE rail as well as Megabus, Boltbus, and Greyhound bus lines (aside from serving passengers traveling via the Metro Red Line). There are several floors of shops and restaurants galore. Over the years Union Station has improved drastically, gutting the minimally used post office and replacing it with a Pret a Manger. The basement-level quick-stop foods are varied--everything from Thai to Indian to cajun chicken and gritty Taco Bell and other fast food joints. Casual dining restaurants and high-end clothing and jewelry stores also are scattered throughout this massive place. I would call this a mall not just a transportation hub. I usually get lost in here though I've been to Union Station dozens of times.
Biggest negatives: they need more street entrances! Too much a mall. The platform arrangement here is confusing and inefficient.
Positives: good connection to the Metro, though with a couple thousand MARC riders connecting at once they could really use another escalator. Bus connections up above are not bad. Plenty of bike racks tucked away. Well preserved historic character. Centrally located.
You can pretty much get anywhere from here. Amtrak, WMATA, Greyhound, BoltBus, DC2NY, MARC and a few others all have terminals here. There are also several rental car companies and taxies lined up in front of the station.
If you've ever wanted to take a tour of DC on one of the open top double decker buses, you can buy tickets here. There is also a bus/boat tour that offers tickets here.
There is a food court on the ground level if you're hungry. There are also a few decent retail spots.
The bathrooms in the station suck. If you have to take a tinkle or something unmentionable, do it in one of the restaurants or wait till you get somewhere else.
If you're just a tourist passing through, check out the front of the station, you can get a nice pic of the capital, a cool statue, and the station. If you want to walk to the capital, it's only about 10/15 minute walk.
Love an active train station, but man is the signage difficult. Maybe it's just as a non-DC resident I'm not really familiar with all the different trains that are in and out of here. I almost missed the one I was supposed to take since it's track was all the way at the other end of the building and I could find no signage to that end. Luckily I did I find an actual human (!) at traveler's aid to direct me. Made it onto my commuter train with moments to spare. WHEW.
On previous trips I just wandered the shopping and restaurants here, so this was my first time actually using it for its intended purpose.