At 15 years old, I went on a school trip to Spain. One day, the chaperones gave us permission to freely roam Barcelona by ourselves, and so a few of us set out to find the Museu Picasso. With just our high school Spanish and a guidebook, we descended into the metro, only to realize we had no idea how to get to our destination.
It took us a while to make sense of the metro map. We lived in a small town far from any major cities with train systems, and this was the first time any of us had seen such a colorful, confusing map. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by subway maps and can spend hours looking at them, imagining what each stop is like. Here are a few of my favorite metro / subway / underground maps.(Can't get enough subways? Check out our other post on the best subways in the world!)
As my first subway map, this holds a special place in my heart. My friends and I were so proud of ourselves for finding our way!
Image source: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona
New York Subway
New York City has the most complex subway system in North America. My grandfather lived far out on Long Island and - after my Europe experience - my parents finally let me take the train into NYC.
Image source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Washington, D.C. Metro
This is the closest metro system to my current home. Anytime I have to go to Washington DC, I drive to the nearest metro station and take the train in. No downtown driving for this girl!
Image credit: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
I haven’t been to Tokyo, but this map is so colorful it makes me smile. If I stare at it long enough, I expect a picture to pop out, like the stereographic images from the 1990s.
Image credit: Tokyo Metro
Simple: It has rectangles!
Image credit: ExploreMetro
I like the Beijing rectangles, but get even more excited about the Moscow circle. If I were there, I’d be tempted to just keep going round and round all day.
Image credit: Moscow Metro
Do you have a favorite metro system? Tell us about it in the comments below.