Located conveniently near the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Crown Center, the World War I Monument, and the Crossroads District is the historic Kansas City Union Station. It is full of history, beautiful architecture, and it is definitely worth the stop to marvel at the grandeur of this iconic Kansas City building.
Built in 1914, Union Station at the height of its use accommodated hundreds of thousands of people each year; not only was it a rail hub, it also had a restaurant, cigar shop, barber shop, and railroad offices. Closed in the 1980s, Union Station was neglected with frequent talk of demolition, however in 1996 a bi-state initiative was passed that would fund restoration which was completed in 1999.
In addition to being a stop along the Amtrak rail and as a part of the renovation, Union Station has several exhibits within the building. These include a permanent exhibit on the American railway system, dedicated space for traveling exhibits, a planetarium, Science City: an interactive science center, and an active theater district. Union Station also has several shops and restaurants, and event space available for rent. As a kid I remember visiting both the planetarium and Science City, which are perfect family-friendly attractions.
The Grand Hall in Union Station is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the building with its 95-foot tall ceiling, three 3,500-pound chandeliers, and a six-foot wide clock hanging in the central arch. If you happen upon the space during the weekend, you’ll find a wedding party or two snapping photos!
Parking: On the west side of Union Station is a four level parking garage. There is a fee for parking based on how long you’ll be visiting. Limited parking is also available in front of the building on Pershing Street.
Tickets: If you’re interested in just checking out the architecture, there is no cost to enter the building. Both the permanent and traveling exhibits have a fee; the ticket prices vary based on the exhibit you’re interested in visiting. I’d check the Union Station website for exact pricing and to purchase online ahead of time to avoid a wait.
Hours: Union Station itself opens up at 6:00AM every day and closes at midnight; each exhibit hosts its hours and day on an individual basis (similar to the ticket pricing). Checking the website for hours will be your best bet.
Being such a piece of Kansas City history, and because it is located just across the street from the World War I Monument, I thought Matt would enjoy the architecture and beauty of the building itself. Union Station is truly a beautiful restored building with interesting exhibits, a cultural and educational hub, and a wonderful Kansas City icon.