Library of Congress
Library of Congress
4.5
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Though the Library of Congress doesn't own every book ever published, it sure has most of them, with 532 miles of shelves and 115 million items, with 7,000 added each working day.
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Plan your visit
The area
Address
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest
How to get there
  • Capitol South • 5 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Shana M
    Lubbock, Texas8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tour guide not always needed
    This was not a great tour, but definitely handy for getting in and seeing many of the spots you might skip over. Because this was a combo tour, we didn't spend much time on any one thing...but that was ok too. I think I would recommend either starting earlier in the day or just doing one place at a time.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 15, 2023
  • flo220
    New York City, New York349 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Self guided tour of the Thomas Jefferson building is very interesting
    We love libraries and how could we miss the national one? Entry to the Thomas Jefferson building (the only one you can get to) is free but you do need to make advance reservations. We were there when kids were in school and tourism was low so it was easy to get reservations and then we got right in. No guided tour but you walk around yourself following their map and see the beautiful building, the main reading room and more.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 27, 2023
  • Miss Savvy Travels
    Palm Bay, Florida178 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Grandest Library of them all!
    I was looking for something to do after our work obligations for myself and a few coworkers and because the Library of Congress is open Thursday evenings until 8 pm, this was chosen. I had NO idea when I picked this (because it was free and open) that is was going to be so grand! It was also raining so we stayed longer than planned, opting not to go explore the monuments of the National Mall in the rain. We reserved our free tickets online, some of us reserved them just a couple hours prior. We arrived, went through security and realized we were more in a museum than a library. The feel of the architecture and arches, marble, columns and intricately decorated spaces was breath taking. We went into several of the reading rooms and while we were more browsing everything, some of my coworkers did opt to get library passes which are good for two years and allow for certain benefits. If you plan to return more than once, I recommend getting the card. I have been impressed by the NY Public Library, and this is on that level of architectural quality. This being the largest library in the world, housing some very unique collections certainly holds them all significantly. It feels huge, and creates the feeling of awe. I do have a blog where I write about visiting in more detail, giving tips and traveling tricks for DC and itinerary building help. My link is in my bio if you are planning a trip there soon and want more information. I appreciate affordable stops and high-quality experiences! After we did walk to Mr. Henry's for dinner and it was a short walk through a lovely area.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled on business
    Written August 6, 2023
  • David H
    Bury, United Kingdom1,634 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not to be missed
    Of all the sites that I visited in DC, this was the most impressive. Entry is free, via timed ticket. Once inside, the building is full of ornate and opulent all and ceiling decorations. There is also the chance to see the Congress seating area. So glad that I decided to visit this wonderful building.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 17, 2023
  • ItchyFeet
    Camarillo, California10,829 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing and awesome, must see!!
    We visited almost every museum, the Capitol building, all the monuments, and the Library of Congress was definitely the highlight of our trip. We had no idea what to expect, and we were completely amazed and awestruck by the architecture inside the building. It’s the only place in this country where are you can see anything that closely resembles something you might see in Europe. The paintings on the ceilings and walls with the intricate detail were simply amazing. If you are there at 2 PM, you are able to go into the actual Library of Congress, but they keep the line moving at a quick pace, but you are allowed to take photos. After you see the Capitol building you walk through the hall to the Library of Congress and I would definitely suggest that you take the time to do this!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 30, 2023
  • Elisabeth C.
    London, United Kingdom14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don't Miss The Library of Congress On Your DC Tour
    This is a must-see in DC. The building itself is absolutely incredible, but make sure you ask the guides for information. They will share so much that will open your eyes as to what the Library of Congress really is- the world's research library. Try to get there before 3pm so that you are able to walk through the reading room. If it's closed, you can see it from above, but it's special to be able to walk through it as well.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 31, 2023
  • Raintree_Thailand
    Bangkok, Thailand4,182 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The most impressive building in Washington!
    The entire Library of Congress is incredibly impressive. The Main Hall is superbly ornate, but the entire building is adorned with art, mosaics, statues, and architecturally appealing craftmanship. An added treat was to see an authentic Gutenberg Bible from the mid-1400s... one of only 21 complete copies still in existence today.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 7, 2023
  • MrMrsHappyR
    Liverpool, United Kingdom1,435 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful
    Stunning huge building across from the Capitol Building. We managed to scan the barcode while on the Capitol Building tour. Well worth a visit. Has an impressive green dome on the top and an incredible library section. Also holds the famous Gutenberg Bible
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 10, 2023
  • Schyler C
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Friday Morning Tour
    This tour was much more than my partner and I had expected! You do need to schedule a timeslot online to enter, but the tour is self guided and free. You can enter the research library which is still active and the architecture is amazing. They also have Thomas Jeffersons Personal Library which is very cool!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 25, 2023
  • Freedom37641188431
    Long Beach, California20 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Gorgeous and impressive! Go at lunchtime if possible.
    We found that the place really thinned out around lunchtime. It is a gorgeous place to visit. The women in the family seemed to enjoy this much more than the men. It had a timed entry but we arrived an hour early and got in with no problems. There is an overlook into the reading room, so even if it is not open to the public, you can see it. I loved all the beautiful ceilings. You'll spend less than one hour. Then go next door to see the Supreme Court. After that you can eat lunch at Union Station down the street, or visit the Capitol Visitor's Center (but I suggest you get a tour through your State Representative's office to avoid the lines).
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 4, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles9,161 reviews
Excellent
7,177
Very good
1,594
Average
329
Poor
43
Terrible
18

Elizabeth J
Mills River, NC69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
We had time for one tourist attraction during our recent trip to DC and had never been here before so decided on it. I knew the reading room was beautiful, but I wasn't expecting such impressive architecture throughout. The displays were impressive--Gettysburg address and other Lincoln items, a Gutenberg bible, etc. There was a family festival going on with Appalachian music which made it a little sensory overload at times but it was good to see the local families enjoying the space. You need a timed entry but it's super easy to do. Afterward, it was interesting to take the tunnel to the Capitol Visitor's Center. Highly, highly recommend.
Written June 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nel
London, UK222 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
Beautiful building and well worth going in for a look around. It won’t take long to get round you can be in and out within the hour. Unfortunately the gift shop was closed when we were there.
Written June 3, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BateyBoy
Cardiff86 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Unless you're really into the contents and history of the library, it's OK if you're in the area but not something I'd make a special trip to visit. Some of the security staff are particularly rude and aggressive.
Written May 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jay
Phoenix, AZ155 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Friends
The Library of Congress offers a close look at some historical and rare books. You are able to get a free Library of Congress library card if you wait in line and have photo ID. It's a cool walk around, but honestly you don't need to spend a lot of time here. I would rate this a high 4, I just think that it can be a bit difficult to navigate. I'm not sure I would visit again, but I did enjoy it.
Written May 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

moodblu
West Valley City, UT1,436 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We went to the Library of Congress on our US History Tour. We entered through an underground passage from the Capitol. I would have like to have seen the main reading room of the Library of Congress better. We had to view from a mezzanine through a glass barrier that was set back quite a ways from the marble railing. One lady in our group could see pretty much nothing looking down as she was very short. I was intrigued with the detailed décor and the quotes about books and learning throughout the building. I was amazed to see an original Gutenberg Bible there—the first great book printed using moveable metal type in a mechanical process. This was a milestone turning point in bookmaking. I could have happily spent more time in the building if our tour schedule had allowed. We were able to see the amazing Thomas Jefferson Collection and hear the history of how he’d helped rebuild the Library’s books back up after the burning by the British in the War of 1812. We also had some time in the exhibit galleries adjacent to the Jefferson Collection. I recommend this building for anyone interested in books and research, or looking to see some very nice artistic architecture.
Written May 4, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kate S
173 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
The Library of Congress areas that you actually get to see as a tourist reminded me greatly of Rome with its frescos, mosaic floors, paintings, etc. It is very elaborate. You only get to actually see the library from a windowed room above it, but it looks like an amazing place to study! Throughout the time we were there, we also got to see some exhibits on photographs and Thomas Jefferson's private library. You will need timed entry tickets, but they are free.
Written May 3, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cheekytiki
Detroit, MI119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Definitely a must see when visiting DC. This was my favorite building in the city. Beautiful interior and architecture. There were QR codes that you could scan and listen to a self guided audio tour which was neat.
Written April 27, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tannerinasia
Calgary, Canada104 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
The most beautiful interior out of any building I saw in DC. Really colourful and impressive. It was really annoying that I had to scan a QR code and and put in my info right before entering, but atleast there was no line. I went on a weekday so maybe that's why there wasn't many people there.
Written April 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Enrique G
Mexico City, Mexico27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
The library is a really beautiful place that has a lot of history in its walls and collections. It is a great way of getting to know a little about american culture.
Written April 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alireza123
Tehran, Iran1,355 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We as a group of friends visited the library . It is a must see of dc.
Largest library in the world. Fantastic building.lots of things to learn.
It takes less than two hours.
Always there is a queue for entrance which takes 40 min. You should took free ticket online in advance.
Written April 7, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Library of Congress, Washington DC

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