Union Station Washington DC is the first place many people experience America's capital city. A transportation hub, mall, and attraction wrapped into one, Union Station is an exciting place to visit. Just five blocks from United States Capitol, Union Station welcomes rail passengers as a Metro Station and Amtrak hub. However, not every visitor to the historic depot comes by train; more than 30 million people visit this full-service retail center every year.
Even though the depot serves a very practical purpose, it's also a place of beauty with an interesting history. This white beaux-arts building has been standing since the beginning of the twentieth century. Also showing elements of Classical design, Union Station Washington DC was designed by Daniel Burnham, who previously turned fire-ravaged Chicago into a world-class city. As happened with many rail stations, time was not kind as more and more people began traveling by air. A major transformation began in the 1980s with the arrival of the Union station stores and restaurants.
After this ambitious undertaking, the facility was restored to its former glory. In the years since, it has become one of the most popular attractions in Washington DC. Shopping enthusiasts can explore two levels of retail space occupied by a variety of upscale shops. You'll find boutiques, clothing stores, gift shops, and souvenir stores among the list of Union Station shops. Some have familiar names, while others are unique to the retail center.
When the weather is warm, the shopping opportunities expand with the Outdoor Market. You can take the escalators near the First Street Metro Station and make your way to the West Carriage Porch. These outdoor complements to the Union Station stores include all that you'd expect from a farmer's market, including fresh produce and fresh flowers. You'll also find organic items, tempting desserts, and jewelry. If you're staying at one of the hotels near Union Station DC, you can make a quick stroll to the market and pick up breakfast or some snacks to bring with on the day's adventures. Some of the hotels are so close you can walk there and relax in your room within minutes.
You also could venture into Union Station Washington DC at meal time. With fine restaurants, casual eateries, and a food court, the depot offers a cornucopia of meal and grazing options. You'll find places where you can linger over coffee or enjoy a romantic Saturday night meal under the roof of Union Station. The casual cafes are a great place to fuel up before you walk from Union Station to any of the nearby attractions. Just across the street, you can explore the surprisingly fascinating world of the National Postal Museum. Six more blocks will lead to the Folger Shakespeare Library. When you add in a ride on the Metro, you won't be far from any of the cool attractions in town. If you just want a quiet place to relax, you could hop in a taxi or make the short walk to any of the hotels near Union Station DC.
There are several hotels near Union Station that are worth considering. A five-block walk away, the Capitol Hill Suites is one of the most modern hotels in the city, even though its history stretches back more than two centuries. All of the 152 suites at renovated boutique hotel offer more space than a typical hotel room, while many of rooms features full kitchens. One of the Historic Hotels of America, the Phoenix Park Hotel, offers 150 welcoming guestrooms as well as all of the modern conveniences—all within a block of Union Station. Just two blocks away, the Washington Court Hotel offers a variety of vacation packages that take guesswork out what to do in such an exciting city.
Union Station is included on several tour company's itineraries, and several begin right at Union Station. Within in a few steps of the door, you can step aboard a trolley, bus, or some other form of transportation and start exploring the city right away. Many of the tours will even drop you off at one of hotels near Union Station DC, so you don't have to worry about traffic, parking, or any other transportation headaches. When it's time to go home, you can return to Union Station for a train to New York, Boston, or connections to about anywhere in America.