Home Adventure Things to Do In Union Station Chicago From Shopping, Sightseeing, And Fun

Things to Do In Union Station Chicago From Shopping, Sightseeing, And Fun

by Tayebah Malik
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Union Station in Chicago is a stunning example of architecture and design. Built in 1925, it blends neoclassical and Beaux-Arts styles with a grand entrance that showcases its impressive colonnade and grand staircase. The Great Hall, with its high arched ceilings and large Tiffany stained-glass windows, is a masterpiece of beauty and elegance. The station is a hub of transportation, connecting visitors and residents alike to trains, buses, taxis, and the “L” subway system. Today, Union Station is not only a functioning transportation center, but also a popular destination for shopping, dining, and events. The beauty and history of Union Station make it a must-see attraction in Chicago.

Things To Do In Union Station Chicago-A Guide For Everyone

Union Station in Chicago is a historic transportation hub and popular tourist destination, offering a wide variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Here are the 10 best things to do in Union Station and some insider tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Explore The Great Hall

The Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago is a historic railway station that was built in 1925. The building features a grand entrance hall with a large clock, marble flooring, and a sweeping staircase. The ceiling is adorned with ornate chandeliers, and the walls are adorned with sculptures and paintings. The Great Hall also serves as a hub for Amtrak trains and other modes of transportation, with various shops and restaurants located in the surrounding areas. It is a popular tourist destination and is considered one of the city’s architectural treasures.

Pro tip: Stop by the information desk in the Great Hall to pick up a map of the station and ask any questions you may have.

Places To Eat Near Union Station Chicago

Union Station is home to several restaurants, cafes, and food stalls. Try a classic Chicago-style hot dog from one of the many hot dog stands, or sit down for a meal at one of the sit-down restaurants. Some popular dining spots include Beaubien Restaurant, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and others. You can also find restaurants such as Harry Caray’s Tavern and Grahamwich, as well as fast-casual options like Qdoba Mexican Eats and Naf Naf Middle Eastern Kitchen. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, Union Station has something for everyone.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, consider visiting Beauregard’s, which offers upscale dining in a historic setting.


Shopping Near Union 

Union Station has several gift shops, including a store selling souvenirs and memorabilia related to the station and the city of Chicago. It is also called a popular shopping destination, offering a variety of stores to suit different tastes and budgets. From high-end retailers like Michael Kors and Brookstone to popular department stores like Macy’s, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit, a souvenir, or just a place to relax and grab a bite, Union Station is definitely worth a visit.

Pro tip: Check out the souvenir store for unique Chicago-themed gifts, such as keychains, mugs, and t-shirts.

Visit The Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge

If you’re an Amtrak guest, consider visiting the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge for a relaxing place to wait for your train. It is a premium lounge available to Amtrak passengers with a valid business or first-class ticket. It offers a comfortable, quiet space to relax or work, as well as a variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi, food and beverages, and power outlets. The lounge is located within Union Station, one of Chicago’s main transportation hubs.

Pro tip: Make sure to bring your Amtrak ticket and a valid photo ID to gain access to the lounge.

Take A Tour

Union Station offers guided tours of the station, including a tour of the Great Hall and the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge. It is also a historic train station and transportation hub. Guided tours of Union Station are not available, however, visitors are free to explore the station’s grand hall, concourses, and retail spaces on their own. The station also features dining options, shopping, and an Amtrak ticketing area.

Pro tip: Check the schedule in advance to ensure that a tour is available during your visit.

Check Out The Exhibitions

Union Station in Chicago is a historic transportation hub and a popular tourist destination. It offers a variety of exhibitions and displays, including permanent and temporary exhibits on its concourse and throughout the building. Some of the past exhibitions at Union Station have included “The Great Train Story” (a model train exhibit), “The Roman Empire: Power & People” (an interactive history exhibit), and “Jazz Masters: An American Art Form” (a music and cultural exhibit). 

Pro tip: Look for exhibitions showcasing local artists, which are a great way to learn about the cultural scene in Chicago.

Take A Walk Along The Canal

Union Station is located near the Chicago River, which is surrounded by a canal and pedestrian walkway. It is a popular tourist destination and offers scenic views of the surrounding area. It is a man-made waterway that runs through the heart of the city and connects several of its major waterways, including the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Visitors can walk or bike along the canal and enjoy its sights, sounds, and attractions, such as the many parks, restaurants, and cultural institutions that line its shores.

Pro tip: Take a stroll along the canal for stunning views of the Chicago skyline.

Visit The Stores

Union Station is home to several stores, including a newsstand, bookstore, and convenience store. It is a major transportation hub that houses a variety of shops and dining options. Some of the stores you might find at Union Station include newsstands, gift shops, clothing stores, and specialty food stores. You can also find restaurants and cafes that serve a variety of food and drinks. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or a sit-down meal, there are many options available to satisfy your cravings.

Pro tip: Check out the bookstore for books about Chicago and the Midwest region.

Museum Near Union Station Chicago

Union Station in Chicago is a historic train station and transportation hub, but it also serves as a destination for visitors looking to explore museums and cultural exhibitions. The station is home to the Chicago Architecture Center, which offers interactive exhibits and guided tours showcasing the city’s rich architectural history. The temporary exhibit space within Union Station also hosts rotating art and cultural displays. Additionally, the Harold Washington Library Center, located just a few blocks away from Union Station, is the largest public library in the city and features exhibitions on a variety of topics, including local history and contemporary art. Overall, Union Station and the nearby museums provide a unique blend of transportation convenience and cultural experiences for visitors to Chicago.

How To Reach Union Station Chicago

Union Station in Chicago can be reached by several modes of transportation:

By train: Union Station is a major transportation hub and one of the largest train stations in the country, so you can arrive by train from many places across the US.

By bus: Union Station is served by several bus lines, including the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and several regional and intercity bus companies.

By car: Union Station is located near several major highways and has several parking options nearby.

By bicycle: There are several bike racks and bike storage options available at Union Station for those who prefer to bike to their destination.

By foot: Union Station is conveniently located in the heart of Chicago and is easily accessible on foot from many nearby neighborhoods and attractions.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, Union Station in Chicago is a great place to visit, offering a variety of activities and attractions for tourists and locals alike. Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, or dining, there’s something for everyone at Union Station.

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