The Great Hall features 110-foot walls, a vaulted skylight, statuary, oversized wooden benches and connecting lobbies, staircases and balconies. The Great Hall has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including The Untouchables, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Chain Reaction,ER and Early Edition
Originally, Union Station had a head house building containing the Great Hall –surrounded by Adams, Jackson, Clinton and Canal streets – and a concourse building directly east between Canal and the Chicago River. In the 1930s, the air rights over the tracks north and south of the concourse building were sold for buildings that formerly housed the Chicago Daily News and main post office. In 1969, the concourse building was razed for the construction of two more office buildings above the tracks and platforms. Consequently, the head house building remains the only part of Union Station that rises above ground level. In 1991, a major $32 million renovation of the passenger facilities was completed.
During World War II, more than 100,000 passengers a day were using the huge terminal. Nowadays the building handles about half that number, primarily commuters using six different Metra lines – the Milwaukee North and West, the North Central Service, BNSF Railway, Heritage Corridor and SouthWest Service – but also passengers traveling on intercity Amtrak trains. The station is owned by the Chicago Union Station Company, a subsidiary of Amtrak.
From Union Station you can easily transfer to Chicago Transit Authority buses, and subway and elevated trains are within easy walking distance. There are vending machines in Metra’s ticket lobby that dispense CTA transit cards and visitor passes. The station is also close to other transportation services like taxis and intercity buses.
Union Station offers a complete food court, open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to midnight, featuring national food chains and local favorites. Other amenities include a newsstand, a flower shop, restrooms, ATMs, two bars and a game room. There are also public phones and an Amtrak Police office.
The waiting room doors are open from 5:30 a.m. to 12:40 a.m. daily. Metra ticket agents are on duty from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
The station has ten entrances: Two on Clinton Street, two on Jackson Street, three on Canal Street, two on the Chicago River walkway and one on Madison Street.