Union Station: Washington DC (Trains, Parking, & More)

All About the Train Station, Shopping, and Restaurants

Washington Union Station
••• Travelpix Ltd / Getty Images

Union Station is Washington DC's train station and premier shopping mall, which also serves as a venue for world-class exhibitions and international cultural events. The historic building was built in 1907 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture with its 96-foot barrel-vaulted ceilings, stone inscriptions and expensive materials such as white granite, marble and gold leaf.

It is a beautiful building and its construction was a major milestone in the development of the core area of the nation's capital. (Read more about the history below)

Today, Union Station is the most visited destination in Washington, DC with over 25 million visitors a year.  You will find 130 stores at Union Station featuring everything from men’s and women’s fashion to jewelry to decorative arts to games and toys. The Food Court at Union Station is a great place to enjoy a snack or take the whole family for a quick and inexpensive meal. Full service restaurants include B. Smiths Restaurant, Center Cafe Restaurant, East Street Café, Johnny Rockets, Pizzeria Uno, Roti Mediterranean Grill, Thunder Grill and Shake Shack.

Sightseeing tours depart from Union Station for the Gray Line and Old Town Trolley.

Union Station is the rail station for Amtrak, MARC Train (Maryland Rail Commuter Service) and VRE (Virginia Railway Express).

There is also a Washington Metro stop at Union Station. Taxis are easy to hail from the front of the station.

50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 289-1908
See a map

Union Station is located in the heart of Washington, DC, near the U. S. Capitol Building and convenient to many hotels and tourist attractions.

Metro: Located on Metro’s Red Line.

More than 2,000 parking spaces. Rates: $8-22. The parking garage is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Access is from H St., NE.

Shops: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. -9 p.m. Sunday Noon – 6 p.m.
Food Court: Monday - Friday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., some vendor hours may vary.

History of Union Station

Union Station was built in 1907 as part of the McMillan Plan, an architectural plan for the City of Washington that was created to improve upon the original city plan that was designed by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, to surround public buildings with landscaped parks and open spaces. At the time there were two train stations that were located within a half a mile of one another. Union Station was built to consolidate the two stations and make room for the development of the National Mall. Read more about the history of the National Mall.  In 1912, the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain and Statue was built at the front entrance of the station.

As air travel became popular, train travel declined and Union Station began to age and deteriorate. In the 1970s, the building was uninhabitable and in danger of demolition.

The building was designated as a historic landmark and completely restored in 1988. It was transformed into a transportation terminal, commercial center and venue for special exhibits as it stands today. Future plans for improvements to the station continue to evolve.

To learn more about the history, read my book, "Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington DC," and view nearly 200 historical images of the city of Washington, Union Station and the region’s railroads.

Website: www.unionstationdc.com