Kansas City Union Station use to be the center of life in the city and according to some records over two million people came through its door in one year. It was the epic center of travel by train across America. However, it lost its’ glory and was almost destroyed to make room for more modern development.
Kansas City has for decades been on a modernization craze and in order to do that, old building have to come down. Considering that the Union Station is a large piece of land that sit right between the Crown Center and downtown; it was one of the first of the radar of developers for land to use.
However, there was a moment to save the building because it hold historical value to the city and really to the nation. The battle to spare it from the wrecking ball is not an easy fight. At one point, the crane to do it was already on site.
At the end of the day, it was view as worth saving and there was a massive campaign to restore the facility back to its’ original condition. Several years and $250 million dollar later, it was reopened and became a cultural center for the residents of Kansas City.
What about Amtrak in Kansas City?
The primary focus on the Kansas City Union Station has always been people traveling on the train which is now ran by Amtrak. They still do have service to Kansas City and since 2002, it has been out of the Union Station.
It is considerably limited by most people’s views. However, it does link the city to major connections that you can go about anywhere you need to from there.
The primary link between Chicago and Los Angeles is the popular route that people who in Kansas City. The Southwest Chief runs down every day. The regional connection to St. Louis on the Missouri Runner is also becoming more popular mainly due to its price.
Amtrak does have a nice waiting room on the eastern wing of the Kansas City Union Station. It has the old vintage room of using the train that was probably popular back in the 1940’s when it was common to travel using this method of travel.
There is also a ticketing window on your way to the loading ramps. In my experience, someone is at the window from about six in the morning to until midnight. They can help you get a ticket to about anywhere in America as well.
Restaurants at Union Station
The glory days had many options to get a quick bite but today’s there is only really three of them in the Union Station. There is not much in the way of a cheap eatery anymore nor is there a convenient store on site.
When it was re-opened, there was a new restaurant with the old name that was iconic to its’ glory days. Harvey’s is a name people would remember from that are old enough. The new version of it is more a upscale place to being a date or a spouse than it is a diner to grab something on your way to the train to Chicago. According to reviews on Yelp, it is quite tasty but a little pricy.
The second option is Pierpoint’s. This is a proper steakhouse that is on the eastern side of the Grand Hall. The steak dinners are in the $25 range on average and there are discounted on wine every Sunday. While Harvey’s is more casual, it is our experience that Pierpoint’s is a suit and tie type of restaurant.
The final option is a small independent coffee shop called Parisi’s. It is opened early every day and it served premium Arabica beans from Ethiopia. They also have some pastries from their bakery that is all done daily and made with local products.
If you need more options for food, the Kansas City Union Station is connected with Crown Center that has many more options, including Parena’s Bread via an overpass called “The Link.”
Science City is worth checking out
The government has made a purposeful effort to make the Union Station a more cultural and educational center in modern times. Part of that is the development of Science City. This is a very hands on type of place where kids (and parents) learn new things about how things work in the world. It is also considered one of the 25 best science centers in America by several leading magazines.
Inside of this area, you can dig for dinosaurs, help scientists go lab tests and learn about America’s history in railroads. You would even be able to ride a bike that is on a cable over 30 feet in the air if you so choose. It is quite the interesting place to say the least.
The current cost of tickets for Science City is at $13.25 (plus tax). There is not a discount for Seniors or Disabled as well. However, they allow members of the Union Station to visit for free.