Sixteen of the Tube's best-known stations have been given listed building status.
They include two of the busiest stations in central London - Oxford Circus and Covent Garden.
Also included is St John's Wood - used by thousands of fans attending matches at Lord's cricket ground.
The early 20th century red facades of Belsize Park and Russell Square and the art deco style of Arnos Grove and Sudbury Town stations are also recognised.
All the stations have been given Grade II listed status by Heritage Minister John Penrose on the advice of English Heritage.
Mr Penrose said: "Millions of people pass through London's Underground system every day, with little thought for the historic design and architectural features that are right under their nose as they hurry to catch their trains.
"Tube stations are great examples of the capital's hidden heritage."
He added that any redevelopment plans would have to take the sites' heritage value into account.
English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said: "The London Underground not only set the standard for progressive transport systems, but has displayed a remarkable commitment to quality and consistency of design.
"The stations awarded listed status today are as valuable to London's architectural story as many more-famous buildings like the Houses of Parliament."