Looking down the front gallery at Union Station in Washington, DC, towards the Postal Museum.

Union Station is one of several stations in Washington, DC, that serve as transportation hubs. Like other “union” stations, several train companies together built the station as a shared terminal. Today, Union Station serves Amtrak, MARC, VRE, and Metro (Red line) trains.

It’s easy to think that the city’s downtown area is big, but Metro stations are every few blocks. Five of them are close to the National Mall. The Capitol and Supreme Court aren’t too far from Union Station. Even though the station isn’t in the middle of the city, it’s close enough that you can walk from there to many of the sites Washington is famous for. Tour buses include the station on their routes, so you can hop on and avoid the walk during the height of summer.

Now days, the station is a destination as well as a hub. It has a large number of shops and restaurants. Many of the original architectural elements still in place, so it also serves as a museum.

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James Smith