Oyster Locals: Exploring Union Station

My latest Oyster Local blog post is up. This time I am exploring Union Station. Who knew there is so much to do at Union Station!


A few weekends ago, I rediscovered the wonder that is Union Station in Washington, D.C. when I took my family to visit for National Train Day, a fun annual event featuring a scavenger hunt and educational exhibits.

The beautiful Beaux Arts-style building, completed in 1908, is a magnificent site to behold: The towering vaulted ceiling is adorned with over 70 pounds of gold leaf, and when light streams in through the arched windows, it’s momentarily blinding. The building, located on Massachusetts Avenue at Columbus Circle, was designed to be a gateway to the capital city, and it’s certainly an impressive entry point. Today, a whopping 25 million people visit Union Stati0n each year — more than any other tourist spot in D.C.

Union Station is a short walk away from tourist attractions like the Capitol, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, and the National Mall, as well as hotels, like the Washington Court Hotel, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, and The Liaison Capitol Hill. It’s also the departure point for a number of sightseeing tours: Gray Line, Old Town Trolley, DC Ducks, and Tourmobile.

Whether you are spending time waiting for your train or stopping at Union Station for a bite to eat, you will find restaurants and stores to suit everyone. Union Station is home to over 130 shops and restaurants, which are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. See a breakdown of them below.


  • Five restaurants are available for regular dining or private functions — America, B.Smith’s, Center Cafe Restaurant, Pizzeria Uno, and Thunder Grill
  • A myriad of casual dining establishments, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options including: Au Bon Pain, Johnny Rockets, Corner Bakery Cafe, Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Great Wraps, Kabuki Sushi, Mamma Ilardo’s Pizzeria, Panda’s Rice Bowl, and Salad Works.
  • Visiting D.C. via Union Station, but missing an item?

    • Accessorize — Street level concourse — scarves, costume jewelry, handbags, and accessories
    • Andrew’s Ties — Street level concourse
    • Verizon Wireless — Street level concourse — Cell phones, accessories, and wireless communications services
    • Claire’s — Street level concourse — accessories for girls and women
    • Lids — Street level concourse — hats from college and pro teams.
    • The Body Shop — Street level concourse — bath and body products
    • Cell Phone Accessories — Mezzanine level
    • Tschiffely Pharmacy — Lower level food court — Pharmacy, drug store and convenience items

    Something broken?

    • Optical Images — Mezzanine level — One-hour eye glass service and eye exams by appointment
    • Cobbler’s Bench Shoe Repair — Lower level food court — Shoe repair and accessories as well as key copying
    • Fast Fix Jewelry Repair — Lower level food court — Watch, clock, and jewelry repair; batteries and watch bands replaced and repaired

    Travel Assistance

    • Traveler’s Aid – Street level concourse — Assists travelers
    • Travelex — Street level concourse — Wide range of money services including foreign exchange, wire transfers, money orders, and more
    • U.S. Postal Service — Street level concourse — Full service post office (does not have money orders)

    Got cash?

    • Citibank — Street level concourse — Citibank Branch location with all banking services typical of Citibank branches
    • Adams National Bank — Lower level food court

    In need of pampering after a long day of travel?

    • Art of Shaving – Street level concourse — Men’s shaving accessories and 2 barber chairs
    • Creative Hands Chair Massage – Mezzanine level — chair massage by licensed and insured masseurs
    • Eyebrow Threading Mezzanine level — Specialty kiosk providing eyebrow services and accessories

    Need something to read?

    • Barnes & Noble Booksellers — Street level — Books, magazine, bookmarks, greeting cards
    • Fantom Comics — Street Level — Comics of all varieties and subjects
    • FYE – Street level concourse –electronics, tapes, movies, DVDs, DVDs, CDs, ipods, and accessories
    • Hudson News — Lower level food court — Newspapers, magazines, books, snacks, and convenience items.
    • Hudson News — Street level Gate C and Gate K — Newspapers, magazines, books, snacks and convenience items

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