It’s been almost two years since my last visit to Los Angeles, a trip I accidentally over-planned to the point where I had three times as much stuff to do as I did time to do it. So today I’ve returned for a few nights in an attempt to cross a few more of those items off the list.
But my first stop was actually a new item for me: Union Station. I’d become interested in the grand train stations of yesteryear during my Ameritrip2019 excursion on Amtrak. Many of these classic stations are named “Union Station” since they served a group — or union — of different passenger train services, like the one in LA still does today.
As it happens Union Station was the closest stop to my Airbnb on the LAX Flyaway “express” bus — which in reality has to share the same clogged freeways with everyone else.
The bus stops at a bus area behind the station. A short walk down a ramp leads into the newer half of the station, with the LA Metro’s subway downstairs, and both the regional Metrolink as well as Amtrak and Amtrak California on the outdoor upstairs level.
The main passageway continues straight into the old part of Union Station. Unsurprisingly it’s the most interesting part of the complex, the uniquely beautiful interior in particular.
The building was completed in 1939, combining the Mission Revival style with Art Deco — a combination that sounds objectively terrible on paper, but the designers somehow fit it together perfectly. It’s worth noting the LA City Hall was designed by the same team.
Today the old half of the station is mostly waiting areas with shops, cafes, and a pair of outdoor courtyards. Still, my favorite feature in today’s 98F weather was a little more modern — the air conditioning.