Los Angeles Union Station (800 North Alameda Street, 90012) has just been named one of the most beautiful train stations in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, which confirms that even if you aren’t taking at train to LA, you should at least pop in and visit.
Union Station is named so because it used to house three different railroad companies inside one building. The location for the building was chosen because it was close to El Pueblo, the original heart of the city as well as the newly built City Hall and the existing train tracks. Unfortunately, this was also the site of the town’s China Town and meant the Chinese inhabitants of the area where forced out. Union Station opened on May 3, 1939 and had an opening celebration that lasted for three days!
The station’s busiest time was during World War II with soldiers moving between Southern California and other destinations across the county. It had restaurants, a post office, a barbershop, and even a jail! Sadly, as air travel and freeways brought popular alternatives to traveling by train, the station’s use declined.
Walk through the gorgeous Art Moderne (also known as Streamline Moderne) style waiting room. Stop and have a cocktail at Traxx if you feel so inclined. Be sure to check the original ticketing hall to the right of the main entrance doors. As you go outside, you’ll see Union Station was built with many Spanish Colonial Revival elements with it’s red tile roof, smooth white plaster walls, and arched windows.