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Adventures at Union Station

This post is part 6 of our Wednesday Adventure Series. Each week we will highlight something different in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area, many of which will be options for part of your own BookCrossing Journey. With so many things to see and do, how will you choose?

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Union Station is one of the busiest places in Washington, D.C. You can find people coming and going from the Metro, Amtrak, MARC, and VRE as well as people sightseeing, shopping, working, and viewing a bit of history that dates back to its opening in 1907.

The red line Metro station area of Union Station looks like any other platform in the Metro system, with the same architecture and features. But you only need to leave the station area to be awestruck by the grandeur of Union Station itself. The Main Hall has an impressive design with great arched ceilings, beautiful artwork, and sculptures. Don’t forget to go outside and look at the front, with its grand facade that sits in an intersection designed by Pierre L’Enfant, who also designed the city plan of Washington. If you are interested in historic buildings you will be delighted to know that Union Station is on the National Register of Historic Places. Statues and plaques inside and out – including a large sculpture of Christopher Columbus out front – may captivate others, especially the members among us. (A list of nearby historical markers will be provided upon request.)

If you are looking for something to do near Union Station, we have a couple of suggestions for you. You can take advantage of the shopping within Union Station (there is a Barnes & Noble and a Fantom Comics for the book-lovers among us) and several places to purchase souvenirs, postcards, and other touristy items. If you have a bit of extra time you only have to cross 1st Street to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum(free admission) where one highlight is sending a postcard from their own metering machine. (Bring small change with you for the stamp.)

Union Station is not only a wonderful place to visit, but its central location has made it the site of a few BCinDC meetings. The food court and numerous other small restaurants are great places to sit and chat for a while enjoying the company of BookCrossers. The only downside is a few security officers who do not understand BookCrossing have asked us not to advertise the free books in any way. It is also to be noted that the cleaning staff is diligent and wild released books may end up in the trash.

Union Station will be the starting point for our Extreme Early Bird activity on Thursday, which you can register for now. After getting something to eat on your own in the food court at 5:00 PM, we will meet in the Main Hall at 6:45 PM to board our tour bus just outside the front doors. From there, we will take a moonlit tour of the Washington, D.C., monuments.

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