WOW! Union Station is VASTLY different than my last purposeful visit here over a decade ago. Back then, I was waiting for a train to Chicago, and this great hall was pretty sketchy and dead with vast, unused areas.
This past Saturday, it was lively and wonderful. We even saw a classy-looking wedding party make their way through the great hall. The hall is outfitted with plenty of hard benches, cushy chairs, and loungy sofas for both passengers and patrons of the tenant businesses. You can even drink alcohol in this area if you bought it from the Terminal Bar. Immediately outside on the southwest part of the station, fountains shoot out of the ground for the kiddoes with even more seating available.
You don't have to hold a ticket to enjoy the station's offerings: boutique shops like the tiny version of the Tattered Cover bookstore, restaurants like ACME Burger & Brat Corp, the locally-owned Stoic & Genuine by James Beard Award winner Jennifer Jasinski, and Snooze A Daytime Eatery, a new hotel in the form of the Crawford, and other businesses like Milkbox Ice Creamery and Pigtrain Coffee Co. Two real shuffleboard tables are featured in the center of the hall.
One of my major disappointments is that the women's restroom is TINY. 6 stalls, 4 sinks, and hardly any room for people to maneuver, much less maneuver luggage if they're a train/bus rider or a hotel customer. I'd expect that for its foreseen popularity, Union Station would have doubled the restrooms in size.
Security is vigilant. While we were there, two guards stood over some unattended luggage as they waited for the owner to return. The owner never did while I was there, and the guards remained for at least half an hour.
I'm interested to learn what Union Station can offer during the holidays and hope it can hold a candle to Kansas City's - those flatlanders have a pretty darn nice station (with a HUGE, seemingly endless women's restroom to boot), and they deck it to the max during Christmas. It also has a few historic exhibits, which I did not find at Denver's.
Anyway, CONGRATS, Denver - we can be proud of our train stop now!
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