The 25 Most Beautiful Old Train Stations in America

The rise of the automobile, the development of the interstate highway system, and the growth of the airline industry signaled the slow death of America's rail lines. But a handful of majestic stations from the golden age of train travel still stand as a testament to this bygone era. Scroll through for a peek at train stations throughout the United States that continue to captivate locals and tourists alike with their monumental spaces and architectural flourishes.

  1. Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio

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    Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio

    Passenger trains pull in just a few times a week to this 1930s-era terminal that now serves primarily as home to three museums, a theater, and a historical library. This Art Deco temple to transportation is much loved by architecture aficionados, who appreciate the delicate bas-relief carvings, dark green terrazzo fountain, and the massive clock that glows with neon light at night.

    Wikimedia Commons via Dacoslett

  2. Grand Central Terminal in New York City

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    Grand Central Terminal in New York City

    While you'll certainly want to look down when you're minding the gap between the train and the platform at this iconic Big Apple landmark, be sure to keep your head up as you pass through the main concourse. You certainly don't want to miss the famous celestial mural, a collaboration of artists and astronomers, that's emblazoned with familiar constellations like Orion, Taurus, and Gemini.

    Wikimedia Commons via Arnoldius

  3. Los Angeles Union Station in Los Angeles, California

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    Los Angeles Union Station in Los Angeles, California

    Just as Union Station consolidated passenger rail service from the Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Southern Pacific Railroads into one transit hub, its architecture blended Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival, and Art Deco into a singular style known as Mission Moderne. The classic California aesthetic is most evident in the 11,200-square-foot waiting area that features an arched entryway, six 3,000-pound brass chandeliers, and terra-cotta floors with decorative inlaid marble.

    Wikimedia Commons via Peetlesnumber1

  4. Union Station in Denver, Colorado

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    Union Station in Denver, Colorado

    Opened in 1881 as a train depot, Union Station has been reconceived as an intermodal transit station. After more than a decade of planning and construction, the complex now features a terminal building, a light rail station, an underground bus terminal, a hotel, and an open-air train hall. The Beaux-Arts-style arched windows, metal canopy, and ornate corbels and cornices proclaim their 19th-century architectural sensibilities in Denver's otherwise modern Central Business District.

    Wikimedia Commons via DarkShark0591 at English Wikipedia

  5. Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia

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    Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia

    Get a little taste of Europe in the one-time capital of the Confederacy when you visit this National Historic Landmark that dates back to 1901. Located on Main Street in Richmond, the radiant Second Renaissance Revival depot and its steeply pitched roof would look equally at home on a grand boulevard in 19th-century France.

    Wikimedia Commons via Jim from Richmond, Virginia

  6. Chicago Union Station in Chicago, Illinois

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    Chicago Union Station in Chicago, Illinois

    While all other intercity terminals in Chicago have closed, this one has been going strong for more than 90 years. Every day, some 140,000 commuters rush down the marble entryway steps and through the 110-foot-high atrium of the Beaux-Arts-style Great Hall, which is illuminated by a barrel-vaulted skylight.

    Wikimedia Commons via Velvet

  7. Union Station in Washington, D.C.

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    Union Station in Washington, D.C.

    More than 40 million people descend on this intermodal transit station each year, some relying on it as a stopover en route to Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, or New York City, and others simply admiring its timeless design. Architect Daniel Burnham drew inspiration for the station's concourse statuary from the Roman Baths of Diocletian, and for its facade from the Arch of Constantine.

    Related: 35 Strange But True Facts About America

    Wikimedia Commons via Capvideo

  8. 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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    30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia's main railroad station is a mélange of head-turning design. In the Art Deco concourse, a 95-foot-high coffered ceiling, a retro split-flap display, and grand chandeliers lend old-world elegance to everyday commuting, while a well-hidden bowling alley, hospital, and chapel turned mortuary add an element of mystery to a station that sees close to 30,000 commuters and other travelers on a typical weekday.

    Wikimedia Commons via Bohao Zhao

  9. South Station in Boston, Massachusetts

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    South Station in Boston, Massachusetts

    The largest railroad station in Greater Boston should be a stop on any self-guided architectural walking tour of Beantown. Though the clock on this Neoclassical-inspired depot echoes London's Big Ben, the eagle perched above and the New England-sourced granite blocks that make up the exterior put a distinctly American stamp on it.

    Wikimedia Commons via AK-Bino

  10. Sunset Station in San Antonio, Texas

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    Sunset Station in San Antonio, Texas

    The Baldwin steam locomotive on display at this Amtrak railroad station has been out of commission since the 1950s, and it's not the only feature of the San Antonio Sunset Station that's frozen in time. The 116-year-old depot gives a nod to Spanish missions of the 18th and early 19th century, with red clay roof tiles, stained-glass windows, and cast stone ornamentation.

    Related: 25 Tiny Towns to Visit for a Glimpse at How We Used to Live

    Wikimedia Commons via Tony Kent

  11. Santa Fe Depot in San Diego, California

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    Santa Fe Depot in San Diego, California

    The dome-shaped cupolas on many a downtown San Diego building take their inspiration from the domed campaniles that flank the arched entryway of the Santa Fe Depot. The Spanish-Moorish architectural influences continue indoors, with redwood beam ceilings and ceramic wainscoted walls.

    Wikimedia Commons via Ctorbann

  12. Union Station in Utica, New York

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    Union Station in Utica, New York

    A one-stop shop for the time-starved train commuter, Union Station offers eight Amtrak trains per day, a 15,000-square-foot marbled waiting room, a restaurant, and a barbershop for those last-minute trims. As if the interior weren't enough to impress, the Italianate-inspired granite exterior wows passersby with 13 bays along the front facade, painstakingly carved parapets, and soaring eagle sculptures.

    Wikimedia Commons via Doug Kerr

  13. Union Station in New Haven, Connecticut

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    Union Station in New Haven, Connecticut

    At the New Haven Union Station, passengers delight in the airy, 35-foot-high waiting area. The decorative ceiling, ornate chandeliers, and graceful arched windows lend elegance to a quotidian commute.

    Wikimedia Commons via Grendelkhan

  14. Union Station in Worcester, Massachusetts

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    Union Station in Worcester, Massachusetts

    By day, Union Station serves as a hub for central Massachusetts commuters, but by night it is transformed into a lavish arena for private events. Its allure as an entertainment venue is no surprise given its opulent ceilings, stained-glass windows, and marble columns.

    Wikimedia Commons via CaribDigita

  15. Union Station in Portland, Oregon

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    Union Station in Portland, Oregon

    The Old Town Chinatown district of northern Portland is chock full of historic buildings, perhaps none so identifiable as the city's 1896 Romanesque Revival train station., which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The always-illuminated blue-and-gold neon "Go by Train" sign made its debut in 1948, went dark in 1971, and was then restored in 1985.

    Wikimedia Commons via Daderot

  16. J. Douglas Galyon Depot in Greensboro, North Carolina

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    J. Douglas Galyon Depot in Greensboro, North Carolina

    Build in 1927 as a replacement for the Southern Railway Depot, Greensboro's historic station features a sprawling interior mural depicting the Southern Railway as it stood in the 1920s. The exterior drew inspiration from the 19th Beaux-Arts design movement, evident in the arched entryway, the ornate lintel across the top of the three-story building, and its imposing ionic columns.

    Wikimedia Commons via Rtjacob

  17. Baltimore Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland

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    Baltimore Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland

    Although the front plaza of Penn Station faces such hallowed haunts as the Mount Vernon neighborhood and the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the main attraction on North Charles Street is the station itself. Passersby and passengers alike take shelter beneath the canopy of the Beaux-Arts granite-faced depot and inside the skylit concourse adorned with white marble walls.

    Wikimedia Commons via Irteagle102704 at English Wikipedia

  18. Barstow Harvey House in Barstow, California

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    Barstow Harvey House in Barstow, California

    Set against the majestic Mojave Desert, Barstow Harvey House accommodates not only an Amtrak station, but also two museums, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce, and additional city offices. Commuters who take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of the 1911 station can admire its regal colonnades and arcades, domed towers, and bold clay tile roof.

    Wikimedia Commons via Ron Reiring

  19. San Juan Capistrano Depot in San Juan Capistrano, California

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    San Juan Capistrano Depot in San Juan Capistrano, California

    Exiting the concourse and stepping onto the leafy courtyard of this station, you may well think your train was mistakenly diverted to an 18th-century Spanish Colonial mission. The red brick walls, domed tower, and decorative bells pay tribute to the design of the real Mission San Juan Capistrano just one block away. 

    Wikipedia Commons via Robert A. Estremo

  20. Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino, California

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    Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino, California

    One look at this monumental landmark on 3rd Street is enough to stop you cold in your tracks. After a fire burned down the original wood train station in 1916, the city invested the equivalent of $13 million to construct a more resilient Mission Revival-style replacement. The "new" station features a fireproof stucco exterior with a red tile roof and four triumphant domed towers flanking its central atrium.

    Related: From Bridges to Stadiums: 13 U.S. Icons That Are Falling Apart

    Wikimedia Commons via Oleknutlee

  21. Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center in Fort Worth, Texas

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    Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center in Fort Worth, Texas

    The waiting room of this transit hub, which officially opened in 2002, is soaked with sun and light thanks to a wealth of chandeliers and stained-glass windows. No less elegant, the exterior of the edifice is distinguished by a 70-foot-high tower with a four-faced clock. 

    Wikimedia Commons via David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA

  22. Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri

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    Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri

    Every inch of this 850,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts train station is enchanting, from its mansard roof to its marble floors. But the most dramatic feature of the historic transit hub, built in 1914, has to be the 95-foot-high coffered ceiling in the Grand Hall and the three 3,500-pound chandeliers that hang from it.

    flickr.com via smiteme

  23. Alvarado Transportation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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    Alvarado Transportation Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico

    The respectful Mission Revival design is reason enough to make a stop at this transit hub that occupies the site of a former railway station that burned down in 1993. The clay tile roof, spacious arcade, and grand clock tower authentically re-create the look and feel of an old Spanish outpost in modern-day Albuquerque.

    Wikimedia Commons via en.wikipedia.com

  24. Texas and Pacific Depot in Marshall, Texas

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    Texas and Pacific Depot in Marshall, Texas

    When you alight from a train in Marshall, Texas, you'll be welcomed by a cheery red brick edifice edged with pristine white trim and surrounded by a generous porch. The sole surviving building of 57 that once made up the Texas and Pacific Railway complex, the station is still staffed by ticket agents seven days a week.

    Related: 20 American Treasures to See Now Before They Disappear

    Wikipedia Commons via Nicolas Henderson from Coppell, Texas

  25. King Street Station in Seattle, Washington

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    King Street Station in Seattle, Washington

    Tourists visit Pioneer Square in Seattle to soak up a little history, visit the many local eating and drinking establishments, and check out the city's stately, Italianate train depot situated between South King and South Jackson Street. The footbridge that crosses the tracks is the ideal vantage point from which to appreciate the station's granite-and-brick facade, terra-cotta embellishments, and soaring clock tower.

    Related: 35 Tiny Towns That Attract Hordes of Tourists Every Year

    Wikimedia Commons via Joe Mabel

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