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Union Station is the primary transportation hub in Washington, DC, notable for its impressive architecture and plentiful shopping opportunities.
The station’s white-washed facade and glimmering main hall add some grandeur to traveling through DC. Union Station is one of the capital’s oldest buildings, and it actually precedes many of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
Of course, Union Station DC is more than just another beautiful building. Union Station is Washington DC’s main train station, serving over 5 million passengers per year on Amtrak lines, MARC and VRE (Virginia Railway Express) commuter rails, and the city Metro lines. This is also where you’ll find the main Greyhound bus station in Washington DC, making it a one-stop-shop for travel out of DC.
In this complete guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about traveling through Union Station in Washington, DC.
50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
The station is only accessible to ticketed passengers between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM.
Washington DC’s Union Station is located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE. The main entrance to the station is right on Columbus Circle in the NoMa neighborhood. The station is also near Stanton Park, East End, and the H Street Corridor.
Once you hop off your train or bus, you’ll be within walking distance of some of the city’s most famous attractions, including the Capitol Building and the National Mall.
The most convenient way to get to Union Station is on the Red Line of the Metro. Simply take the Metro to the Union Station stop, and the escalators will lead up to the main concourse level.
Several local transit buses and the DC Circulator also stop at Union Station, so you can easily get to the train station without a car.
Taxi service is available just outside of the Main Hall entrance of the Washington DC train station. You can reliably catch a taxi between 8 AM to 1 AM at the taxi dispatch, but may need to call a service if you’re seeking a ride in the middle of the night.
Union Station is about 6 driving miles from Ronald Reagan Airport (DCA), and a taxi or rideshare would take about 15 minutes in normal traffic.
You can also hop on the Red Line of the Metro to Gallery Place, transfer to the Yellow Line, then ride 6 stops to DCA.
Alternatively, take a train operated by the VRE (either the Fredericksburg or Manassas Line to Crystal City) then transfer to the Blue Route train from Crystal City to the airport (about 3 min). Note that these trains operate less frequently and are not available on weekends.
Dulles International Airport is about 30 miles from Union Station, and driving (or Ubering) the full distance can easily take 45 minutes to an hour.
One of the fastest ways to get from Union Station to Dulles Airport is taking the bus. Virginia Breeze provides bus service to the airport from the Washington DC Bus Terminal, located in the Union Station Parking Garage.
It is even cheaper to take the Metro from Union Station to Dulles Airport. Take the Red Line to Metro Center, and transfer to the Silver Line towards Ashburn. Then get off at the Dulles Airport Station in Virginia. The whole trip takes over an hour, but the fare is only a few bucks!
Washington’s Union Station is in a prime location, whether you have an entire afternoon to explore or just a quick layover before your next adventure.
The Christopher Columbus Memorial Statue sits just outside the station’s main entrance and marks the beginning of the Lower Senate Park, part of the U.S. Capitol grounds. From there you can continue into Upper Senate Park and check out the United States Capitol building, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court — all within a 20 min walk from Union Station!
Parking is available right next to DC’s Union Station at the Union Station Parking Garage (USPG), located at 30 Massachusetts Ave. The garage is open 24 hours a day. Rates vary but start at $11 per hour or $25 for the full day.
Free WiFi is available at Union Station. Service is provided across the entire station and the connection is reliable in most areas.
Amtrak offers temporary baggage storage at Gate A in Union Station. Ticketed Amtrak passengers will pay $10 per item, while unticketed customers will pay $20 per item. Items can be stored for a maximum of 24 hours.
There are dozens of quick food options inside DC’s Union Station, including McDonald’s, Chipotle, Potbelly Sandwich, Shake Shack, Blue Bottle Coffee, and more. There are also plenty of sit-down restaurants and bars near Union Station.
There are a few Amtrak waiting rooms located at the station's northern end. There is also a premium lounge, ClubAcela, open to select Amtrak passengers. First Class or sleeping car passengers or those who purchase a single-day lounge pass.
Union Station provides wheelchair-friendly waiting rooms, ticket offices, and restrooms. There are also elevators on each level and handicapped parking spots available outside the station.
Public restrooms are available at DC’s Union Station. There are three men’s and three women’s restrooms on level G, including outside the Amtrak waiting rooms at Gates A and G. However, these restrooms do not have a great reputation, so pack your hand sanitizer.
There is a large Walgreens on Level B of Union Station. You can stock up on snacks and drinks before a long train or bus ride, or grab any other essentials you may need. There are also tons of retail stores around the station, from makeup stores to clothing, jewelers, and gift shops.
The primary train and intercity bus station in Washington DC is Union Station, located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE. The main entrance to the station faces Columbus Circle. There are three levels at the station, all of which feature shopping and dining options. The train gates and waiting areas are located on the main level, level G. The Union Station Bus Terminal, where you’ll find Washington DC’s Greyhound bus station, is located directly behind the main station in the parking garage. Other major bus carriers also depart from this area.
Distance to United States Capitol Building
Distance to Washington Monument
Distance to the White House
Distance to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Distance to Ronald Reagan Airport (DCA)
Distance to Dulles International Airport (IAD)
The DC train station is one of the most bustling transportation hubs in the entire country, with connections spanning from NYC to Chicago and beyond. Whether you’re traveling by train or bus, you’ll likely enter DC via Union Station.
Union Station is one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the western hemisphere, second only to New York’s Penn Station.
There is an information desk directly in front of the train gates, along with a few small waiting areas and restrooms. Seating is tight at these waiting areas, so you may want to hang out at the Amtrak lounge (ClubAcela) while you wait for your train. Note that access to the lounge is not included in most standard fares, but you can use points or pay to access ClubAcela.
Luggage drop-off is not available at the DC train station, but there are uniformed Red Caps available to assist in baggage handling. Red Caps will help you get your luggage to the gate and load it onto the train - free of charge! Of course, tips are much appreciated.
There are 14 stops along this route with a total travel time of about seven hours. The line operates every day, with more frequent service between Monday and Friday.
There is no designated platform for the Acela line, so be sure to check the information screens at the station. Gate info is generally posted at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
The Amtrak Northeast Regional line connects Union Station to states along the East Coast, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
Trains on this line travel through Union Station 10 times a day every day of the week between 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM.
Amtrak’s Silver Service (including the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor) travels from NYC all the way down to Miami, stopping at major cities in the mid-Atlantic region, the South, and the Sunshine State.
The entire journey spans over 1,300 miles and takes about 28 hours from start to finish. Two trains on the Silver Service (one Silver Star train and one Silver Meteor train) travel through DC’s train station each day.
Silver Service trains do not have a specific train platform, so your ticket will not have an assigned gate. Check the information screens at the station for platform information.
This train only runs three days a week, with stops at Union Station on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
There is no designated platform for the Cardinal line, but gate info is posted on information screens shortly before departure.
Because of the long travel time (around 13 hours for the whole trip), a single train runs each way daily. Departures are typically in the morning so you can reach your final destination by the evening of the same day.
Like the other train lines at Union Station, the Carolinian is assigned a platform shortly before it arrives at the station. Check the information screens at the station for your boarding gate.
Service is available once daily on the Palmetto line (typically in the morning), though you could also take a Silver Service train for a later departure time going in the same direction.
Unlike the Cardinal line, the Capitol Limited service follows the historic B&O line through the Potomac Valley and Allegheny mountains. This means it stops in Pittsburgh and Cleveland along its route. Additionally, the line runs more frequently, with one daily train in each direction.
The Greyhound bus station in Washington DC is conveniently located in the Union Station Parking Garage (or USPG). The bus terminals are accessible via the mezzanine level of the main station. Greyhound buses usually depart from gates 1 through 7.
There is no ticket counter at the station, so make sure to purchase your tickets in advance on Wanderu. You can pick up will-call tickets at the station, for fares booked online.
BestBus also departs from the Union Station Bus Terminal, accessible from the mezzanine level of the main station.
This carrier typically departs from gate 30, but check signage and information screens for up-to-date info about where to board.
When traveling with OurBus from Washington DC, head to the Union Station Bus Terminal. From the main hall of Union Station, follow signs for the parking garage and buses.
This carrier usually departs from gates 14 and 15, but check the information screens and signage for updated info about your journey.
Peter Pan buses depart from gates 27 and 28 in DC’s Union Station Bus Terminal. Passengers can access the bus deck from the mezzanine level of the main station.
There is a Peter Pan counter near the gates, however its hours are limited on Thursday to Sunday.
Seating areas and other amenities are sparse in the bus terminal, so head back to the main station if you arrive early.
Washington Deluxe operates at various locations around DC, but their main bus stop is the Union Station Bus Terminal (sometimes referred to as Columbus Circle on tickets).
Washington Deluxe buses depart from gate 30, so look for the bus lane marked with “30” to line up for boarding.
Just like all the main bus carriers traveling in and out of Washington DC, FlixBus’ main stop is the Union Station Bus Terminal. When you arrive at the station, you can access the bus deck from the mezzanine level of the main station.
FlixBus generally departs from gates 5 through 8, and staff are available to direct passengers.
There are also waiting areas in the main train station, along with restrooms, tons of restaurants and shops if you arrive at the terminal early and need a way to kill some time.
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