We adore this Amtrak station’s unusual shape as a semi-circular Art Deco edifice, with an impressive terraced water cascade in front made of concrete and green terrazzo. It was inspired by Helsinki’s Central Station and completed in 1933. An embedded Seth Thomas clock and a grand arch of windows make this a civic masterpiece listed as a National Historic Landmark. Inside is the Cincinnati Museum Center, mosaic murals, an Omnimax theater, and the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.
Here at Time Out, we adore trains and are glad more attention is being paid these days to railroad infrastructure. From commuter trains to excursions just for the joy of riding the rails, to the express train you take to your ski resort, or the slow ride to exult in fall foliage—or even to get some exercise on a rail bike—we are here to support and uplift our wonderful clanking iron horses on two rails.
Today, we’re focusing on the train stations themselves, those places where you can get out of the weather to wait for your train, or the edifice you gawk at through the window as you pull into the station. Some of these buildings are utilitarian, but others pull out the stops—no pun intended—to impress riders who either linger or chug past.
We appreciate this Amtrak website, Great American Stations, for its focus on the economic development opportunities involved in renovating and sustainably reusing older stations—and we love newer stations, too. Funny thing we noticed along the way: if a train station has the word “union” in its title, it’s usually gorgeous! Turns out that is no accident: a “union station” is one that services more than one railway, so its design benefits from two wallets joining.
Here’s our list of the top 21 (!) stations in the U.S. that we think are the prettiest.