Portland: Historical Quick Stop- Union Station

After my walk on the Waterfront/Esplanade I took a quick detour and visited Union Station a couple blocks down. For many it’s probably not a stop worth going out of your way for, but I certainly enjoy stopping by when I’m nearby since it’s a beautiful building.

Union Station is where Amtrak departs from. My grandparents would always take the train to visit so I have an attachment to it from waiting for the Empire Builder to come in from Chicago! Amtrak’s Cascades Line that goes north-south in Oregon/Washington can be a nice alternative to driving for getting down to places like Eugene and Salem and up to Seattle. I took it many times when I was in college for short weekend trips. You can sit and get work done, relax, and grab food and walk around whenever you need to. In addition Union Station is right near the Greyhound Terminal and now is next to a light-rail stop for the MAX Yellow and Green Lines, so it’s become a transportation hub for Portland.

Construction on Union Station was finished in 1896 and the original plans would have made it the largest train station in the world at the time. A smaller plan was chosen however, but with a signature 150-ft clock tower. This tower now has the iconic “Go By Train” sign that lights up as part of the Portland skyline every night. The building is covered in red brick and it’s a beautiful building from the outside. It was extensively rebuilt in 1996 and they’re currently in the process of renovating the outside again, however the work was only only somewhat noticeable and I’m excited to see it after completion.

On the inside you enter the grand waiting room that’s covered with marble and has a beautiful ceiling with a lot of architectural details and cool lights. You definitely feel like you’re a part of a lot of history. I’ll let the pictures speak to the rest for Union Station.

Visiting Union Station is definitely a quick stop if you’re not taking the train somewhere, but I enjoy stopping by when I’m close to take some pics and enjoy the historic architectural detail of the inside. If you have an interest in train stations or architecture and are close-by (perhaps after following my Waterfront/Esplanade trip) then you should stop by and check it out!


The iconic Go By Train sign
My favorite feature of the interior
The waiting room

Union Station- 800 NW 6th Ave Portland, OR

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