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Library of Congress

Library, Historic Site, and Government Building
Southeast Washington, Washington
  • The experts at CNN and Michelin Travel & Lifestyle recommend this place
    • CNN
    • Michelin Travel & Lifestyle
  • Jeff C.
    "The Jefferson Library is amazing!"(12 Tips)
    Chad Y.
    "Don't forget a library card from the Madison building."(9 Tips)
    "Check the free tours every hour, totally worth it!!"(7 Tips)
    "Love the majestic and elaborate architecture of the building."(10 Tips)
171 Tips and reviews
  • books
  • tours
  • jefferson
  • architecture
  • library card
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  • CNN
    CNNApril 13, 2015
    The library houses more than 36 million books and printed materials, as well as more than 121 million maps, photographs and other items. Free guided tours are offered several times each day. Read more
  • Stacy
    StacyJuly 28, 2016
    My family and I visited a couple days ago, gorgeous! The lady guarding the main reading room was incredibly rude to us when we tried to enter. We were happy to wait in line. Be nice!
    Upvoted 3 weeks ago
  • Caleb H.
    Caleb HaysAugust 10, 2015
    Been here 25+ times
    Evening reading room access on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Enter through back door of the Jefferson building. If you don't have a reader card, they can help at the check-in desk to the M.R.R.
  • Daycation DC
    Daycation DCApril 12
    Beautiful architecture! Free tours throughout the day but get there early especially on the weekends. Don't miss Jefferson's library! Read more
    Upvoted Apr 12
  • Dee D.
    Dee D'AlessandroOctober 9, 2014
    What ever you do, make sure to see the Library of Congress in DC! Absolutely stunning building! Check out only one of 3 copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the only copy in north america.
  • Reaux P.
    Reaux PackardSeptember 26, 2014
    That we maintain a collection of our written history, as a culture, is so mind-bogglingly cool that it takes a bit to fully appreciate. How can I suggest just one thing to check out?
  • Rachel
    RachelApril 17, 2015
    Incredible architecture! Definitely worth checking out on a trip to DC!
    Upvoted 3 weeks ago
  • Armie
    ArmieAugust 6, 2013
    Been here 50+ times
    On the second floor, visitors can explore Thomas Jefferson's Library, featuring thousands of original volumes that provided the foundation for the Library of Congress & it's universal collections
  • Tripsetc T.
    The Largest Library in the World not under one roof getting there is a bit cumbersome however if you have easy access a membership is well worth it. They have any book you might think of.
  • Hannah L.
    Hannah LuddySeptember 8, 2016
    Informative tours and gorgeous artwork/architecture. Tip: researchers and students in the area can apply for cards to get access to the reading rooms for their research.
  • Chad
    ChadMay 27, 2016
    Awesome place, but If you're looking for the Book of Secrets or a secret library room that only the President has access to, then you spend too much time watching movies.
    HISTORYApril 1, 2010
    Created in 1800 the library is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution & the largest library in the world. In 1815 Thomas Jefferson sold his entire personal collection of books to the library
  • The Ritz-Carlton
    The Ritz-CarltonDecember 29, 2014
    When visiting on a weekday, make sure to go to the sixth-floor Madison Cafeteria for sweeping views of the National Mall without the crowds.
  • Morgan S.
    Morgan SawickiJanuary 22, 2014
    There are some great mini-exhibits in this building, which is largely used by researchers and ignored by tourists. Make sure to check out the 6th floor and basement.
  • Jose C.
    Jose CaballeroAugust 17, 2013
    If you really want to get a great, in-depth tour, try to get Tom Hoban. He's great!!
  • ✨#IamRomdelacrème✨
    Love the majestic and elaborate architecture of the building. Also, admired The Court of Neptune Fountain by Roland Hinton Perry right outside the library.
  • U.S. Capitol
    U.S. CapitolDecember 29, 2011
    Immediately after it opened in 1897, the Library of Congress was widely considered to be the most beautiful, educational and interesting building in Washington. Read more
  • Fresko
    FreskoJanuary 11, 2016
    If you want to get inside the actual library, you need a access card which is free to anyone, but will take a couple days to get it
  • Puck P.
    Puck PeijnenburgOctober 19, 2014
    Use the underground tunnel between the Capitol and the congress library. Than you don't need to go to an extra security check and more lines.
  • della C.
    della CurtisJanuary 4, 2013
    The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 151.8 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves
  • C-SPAN
    C-SPANJuly 19, 2011
    It would take 60,000 yrs to go through all the books in the Library of Congress, at 1 book per day. Check out C-SPAN’s “Library of Congess” documentary. Clip from the documentary here on YouTube. Read more
  • Nathan K.
    Nathan KunickiNovember 29, 2014
    There's a free tour a few times a day, which lasts an hour and a half and is fascinating. If you only have time for either the Capitol tour or this one, no doubt - take this one. Far more informative.
  • Erin N.
    Erin NoelOctober 9, 2016
    Jefferson library is a must see. Also look for the quotes on the walls, very inspirational
  • Stephanie F.
    Stephanie FryAugust 8, 2012
    If only passing through, or are pressed for time, make sure to visit the main hall! Absolutely gorgeous ceiling and walls.
  • Michelin Travel & Lifestyle
    The Library of Congress retains more than 145 million items filling the equivalent of some 745 miles of shelves! Free guided tours offered throughout the week. -- Green Guide Editor
  • boonlalala
    boonlalalaJanuary 22, 2014
    just can see the main room through the big glass unless you have a library card. fortunately the library card is free and it takes about 30 mins to have one
  • C-SPAN
    C-SPANJuly 19, 2011
    It would take you 24 years to see all the photos in the Library of Congress, at a photo per minute. Check out C-SPAN’s “Library of Congress” documentary. Clip from the documentary here on YouTube. Read more
  • Lenny G.
    Lenny GalloJuly 22, 2016
    Definitely worth the trip if your a fan of books and beautiful architecture. They do have everything.
  • Now Owl
    Now OwlApril 12, 2011
    Hang out at the picnic tables at the top of the steps on the Independence/penn side. Grab a frozen yogurt from across the street and enjoy!
  • Philip W.
    Philip WangMarch 12, 2012
    one of the most beautiful buildings in the country (if not the world) and lesser known attractions in DC.
  • Lydia S.
    The building is a must see! There are wonderful gift shops and tour offered all day! Amazing building!
  • Josh L.
    Josh LefebvreJuly 22, 2013
    Any trip to DC wouldn't be complete without a stop here. The inside of the main hall is one of the most spectacular sights in the district.
  • Janna H.
    Janna H.March 28
    Catch a tour if you can. Really provides insights into the intricacies of the building's design.
    BROADSApril 29, 2013
    The library of congress happens to be the largest library on planet and one of our favorite hiding spots!
    NAACPDecember 2, 2010
    You can access the NAACP archives in the Manuscript Division, located in Madison 101. Also, make sure you check out the NAACP Online Exhibition at
  • WorldStrides
    WorldStridesApril 8, 2011
    Interesting fact: preserved at the Library are a draft of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s first drafts of his Gettysburg Address, and the papers of 23 presidents from Washington to Coolidge
  • Aaron S.
    Aaron SmithMay 13, 2015
    Going to the Capitol?! Take the underground tunnel! Most people miss it and you can skip security because you've already been cleared!
  • Tasha M.
    Tasha MajorMay 17, 2010
    The Jefferson building is covered in beautiful artwork that is dripping in symbolism. Take advantage of the free tours to really get the most out of this visit!
  • Joann T.
    Joann TyreeNovember 4, 2013
    Make sure you go online b4 trip to receive permission to enter reading room for research and fill out application for a Library of Congress library card.
  • Michael S.
    Michael StroudJuly 13, 2010
    One of the best interiors in DC. A must for history fans. Take the Metro to Capitol South and walk two blocks north to building. Avoid driving.
  • U.S. Capitol
    U.S. CapitolDecember 29, 2011
    Opened in 1980, measuring 500 feet wide and 400 feet deep, the Madison Building is the largest library structure in the world. Read more
  • Sam C.
    Sam CoturriApril 11, 2013
    Check out the graphic arts gallery. Downstairs away from the crowds. Amazing collection.
  • Alberto C.
    Alberto CarvalhoAugust 7, 2014
    You must have an invitation to get inside de reading room. You can get in a government office nearby
  • Christopher N.
    Christopher NettlesNovember 12, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    If you are conducting extensive research or well will be using materials for more than a short time, ask for a study shelf.
  • Chris R.
    Chris RichardsDecember 30, 2014
    Controversially I find the interior (outside the reading room) a bit comical. Great Dome though.
  • Jared P.
    Jared PhilippeNovember 22, 2010
    Get your reader card from the Madison building room 140 to gain access to the main reading room. The buildings are connected by an underground walkway (take the elevator to the Ground level).
  • Greg G.
    Greg GordonJanuary 13, 2015
    Plan to spend time here. This place is gorgeous and full of wonderful things to see and experience
  • Daniela K.
    Daniela KJuly 21, 2012
    Be sure to check out the "mer-horses" at the fountain in front.
  • &
    You think you have a lot of images. Go to . They have a "my pictures" file that is immense. Everything from Ansel Adams Photographs to Baseball Cards to Cartoon Prints.
  • @cry_baby95
    @cry_baby95June 22, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    If you're impressed with the library just in general, you should definitely check out the restrooms, they're very nice.
  • bryan r.
    bryan rudinDecember 2, 2009
    Check out the basement. Take the elevator down to the bottom floor, and you'll be in a sub basement of the Library. Dont worry, you're allowed to be there! Wander the passages to find the office wh
  • Vincent B.
    Vincent BoucherFebruary 3, 2014
    The Building is P H E N O M E N A L !!! The Jefferson collection and the Gutenberg Bible are a treat !
  • Hostelling International
    Library of Congress free tour - fantastic architecture and interesting history. - Suzanna (USA)
  • Melissa M.
    Melissa ManleyJuly 27, 2013
    Be sure to get a Tom for your tour guide. He is amazing.
  • Katie W.
    Katie WillardJune 21, 2015
    Look into actually taking a tour. Or get a membership. Otherwise it involves a lot of aimless wandering around.
  • Paulo M.
    Paulo MarzionnaJuly 13, 2013
    Take the free guided tour. It is definitely worth it!
  • The Hill is Home
    The Hill is HomeJanuary 21, 2012
    It’s free to visit and the perfect place to ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aww’ out of town visitors.
  • C-SPAN
    C-SPANDecember 14, 2010
    Check out this video of Mark Dimunation, Chief of Rare Book & Special Collections at the LOC, discussing The Federalists Papers. Read more
  • Ankush S.
    Ankush SaxenaFebruary 15, 2013
    The home of an endless amount of historic books and classic newspapers.
  • M Squared Real Estate
    M Squared Real EstateAugust 20, 2011
    The main reading room is known as the Sacred Room, and is absolutely stunning.
  • Denise L.
    Denise LeeApril 13, 2012
    Take a tour. They give out awesome little ear pieces so everyone can hear!! So great.
  • Michael L.
    Michael LambertJanuary 6, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Awe-inspiring architecture. Wonderfully pleasant staff.
  • Jacob F.
    Jacob FordAugust 9, 2014
    Featuring the nation’s best and most plentiful drinking fountains.
  • Rice L.
    Rice LiuJune 4, 2015
    They have pretty much every book you'll ever want to read
  • Julie G.
    Julie GerdesMay 24, 2010
    Absolutely gorgeous and gaudy architecture- great for a cold day in DC, when you just want to wander around indoors.
  • Silvio S.
    Silvio SantosFebruary 26, 2013
    Opened from 08:30 to 16:30 from monday to saturday. Free entrance
  • Travel Channel
    Travel ChannelNovember 15, 2010
    In the Library of Congress, the tattered diary of Dr. Frederick Cook provokes one of exploration’s fiercest debates: who was the first person to actually reach the North Pole?
  • Sandro D.
    A must see! Amazing architecture
  • Bill R.
    Bill RuvinskySeptember 25, 2013
    Watch "National Treasure 2" to see some cool scenes filmed at the Library. There is also a special feature on the DVD about the Library
  • Aaron S.
    Aaron ShackelfordDecember 16, 2015
    Loved it. 150 million articles of knowledge at your discretion.
  • Cassy A.
    Cassy AmmenFebruary 24, 2011
    The Main Reading Room provides reference services in the humanities and social sciences. Access provided to millions of items. Please visit
  • Jorge H.
    Jorge HerreraAugust 27, 2015
    The building is a marvel of North America. You will not find another place full of symbols and beauty to this magnitude elsewhere.
  • Davide
    DavideDecember 7, 2015
    Check the free tours every hour, totally worth it!!
  • Dwayne K.
    Dwayne KilbourneSeptember 4, 2012
    Don't forget to sign up for a library card while you are here!
  • Ann O.
    Ann Osipova3 weeks ago
    very impressive 😁
    Upvoted 3 weeks ago
  • Ben D.
    Ben DrozOctober 12, 2011
    Bring your USB drive to use the super awesome scanner instead of the oldschool xerox
  • Island Bruin
    Island BruinJune 20, 2015
    Check out Thomas Jefferson's personal library on the 2nd floor of the Jefferson Building.
  • Tom S.
    Tom SakellAugust 26, 2013
    Leave itself twice as my h time as u think u should. Don't rush this experience
  • Ria S.
    Ria SweetRawFebruary 21, 2015
    Best Place to Read!!! 💋❤️😍😘💌
  • Kathy W.
    Kathy W.March 30, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    The tour guides need to speak louder; it's very frustrating when they're giving out great info and you can't here them... :-(
  • Nabil A.
    Nabil AhmedMay 4, 2012
    Been here 50+ times
    Is the administrative wing of the Library. There are two to three reading rooms.
  • Fabian
    FabianMarch 28, 2010
    There's an underground passage that connects to the US Capitol Visitors Center, its much faster than taking the sidewalk outside.
  • Fabian M.
    Fabian MoyaJanuary 18, 2015
    Most beautiful place I've been in my life.
  • Charlene S.
    Charlene SmithJune 22, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Reading Room survival kit: hand lotion, tissues, pencil, jacket (cold inside), snacks (but not for consuming there!)
  • Harjit
    HarjitMay 1, 2013
    Everyone should visit this place. Just wow!
  • David W.
    David WeathersbyOctober 15, 2016
    Amazing library and historical site.
  • Sandra R.
    Sandra RubinchikDecember 14, 2014
    I used to be sad I never got my Hogwarts letter. But then I found another institution with ornate corridors, reading rooms, and underground tunnels.
  • Christine L.
    Try to join one of the free tours.
  • Pablo M.
    Pablo ManriquezAugust 3, 2010
    The Librarians in the Hispanic Reading Room are extraordinarily helpful & thorough. Read more
  • Chad Y.
    Chad YelinskiSeptember 13, 2013
    Don't forget a library card from the Madison building.
  • Erika
    ErikaMay 23, 2015
    Amazing architecture!
  • David R.
    David RotensteinOctober 4, 2010
    Best researcher access: John Adams building. No tourists, rarely a line.
  • Charles E.
    Charles EdgeJanuary 14, 2012
    Swing by at Christmas time, it's fascinating!
  • Michele G.
    Michele GrosspietschAugust 5, 2011
    The cafe on the 6th floor has a great view!
  • Summer H.
    Summer HoyaMay 16, 2012
    "Step inside the Reading Room and have your mind blown!"- Michael, MSB'13
  • Cozmik
    CozmikAugust 26, 2013
    The cloakroom guy that worked today mumbles & when you ask him what he said he gets super rude with you. Another huge asshole who obviously hates his job and his mediocre life. You hold bags, woohoo.
  • Dora
    DoraJuly 21, 2010
    The Young Readers Center is located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Powered by
  • Gi E.
    Gi EdgingtonAugust 13, 2015
    A must when in DC!
  • Harjit
    HarjitApril 24, 2013
    Just wow! Magnificent and impressive.
  • Andy C.
    Andy CohenJune 28, 2013
    The most beautiful building I have ever seen.
  • de Dios Editores
    de Dios EditoresOctober 19, 2011
    “Todos los hombres del presidente”: Los periodistas pasan todo un día aquí para chequear los libros solicitados por la Casa Blanca. Intentan comprobar si hay una persecución contra los Demócratas.
  • Javila
    JavilaApril 2, 2015
    Visita obligada. El mirador superior es increíble y la biblioteca de Jefferson impresiona. Tiene wifi.
  • Nevelatte
    NevelatteDecember 3, 2014
    Бесплатная регистация, быстрая доставка книг, дружелюбный персонал! Только не заблудитесь в подземных переходах))
  • Zé Renato C.
    Zé Renato CellaAugust 23, 2015
    Sensacional! Tudo aqui é incrível.
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