A love letter to Union Station

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano
Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
Union Station.
Photograph: JulieAndSteve/FlickrUnion Station.

Dear Union Station,

It’s been a while. I try to take the Gold Line, but lately I’ve been spending more time in my car and, well, I’m sorry, because yesterday I walked through that quatrefoil-covered archway and into the entrance hall, and you took my breath away.

Where do I even begin? The stately old ticket lobby with its floor-to-ceiling windows. The earthtone waiting room, dotted with cushy leather chairs, bisected by a runway of marble tiles and capped with faux wood beam ceilings. The Spanish-style courtyards, trimmed with jacaranda trees and Art Deco touches. And—I hope you don’t mind me talking about your age—for a 75-year-old, you’re looking pretty damn good.

Everyone tries to tell us we’re addicted to our cars—we can talk about this some other time—but you singlehandedly prove that our wanderlust predated the freeways. Once inside that Mission Revival facade, you make me ask, “Where are we going next?” even if I know the answer is as mundane as transferring to the Red Line. I steal a glance at your Streamline Modern signage and think of all the places you can whisk me away to: Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano, Lancaster—maybe let’s hold off on that one.

Who else in this city manages to both strive for progress—plans for a new passenger concourse, high speed rail, more on-site performances and a gastropub—and preserve history quite like you? You still hum with activity, which I chalk up to your approachable but sumptuous demeanor. You’re not a top-hat-and-coattails kind of train station; you’re classically Californian, both sophisticated and down-to-earth. Maybe you don a fedora if you’re feeling fancy.

I have to come clean, though: I’ve let my eyes wander upon other buildings. I swear, none of those others compare to you; you’re at the top of my list. I know, I know, it’s demeaning and degrading to assign you some sort of rank, but you deserve every piece of praise. They just don’t make them like you anymore.

Adoringly yours,


P.S. Shut up, just shut up. You had me at “all aboard.”

Looking for more of the city's architectural gems? Check out the 30 most beautiful buildings in Los Angeles.

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