Library of Congress, Washington DC

#9 of 434 in Things to do in Washington DC
Government Building · Library
With nearly 7,000 books added to its collection every day, Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, established in 1800 to prove to the world that the United States was a cultured country. The library's nearly 850 km (530 mi) of shelves hold 32 million books and 61 million manuscripts. Boasting the largest rare book collection in North America, the library also houses one of only three remaining vellum copies of the famous Gutenberg Bible. Dedicated to organizing information from the past three centuries, this institution preserves approximately 1 million newspaper issues, 500,000 microfilm reels, 5 million maps, 3 million sound recordings, and nearly 15 million prints and photographic images. Start your quest for knowledge at the visitor center, where you can arrange for a guided tour of the reading rooms. Arrange to visit Library of Congress and other attractions in Washington DC using our Washington DC holiday planner.
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9,007 reviews
  • The Library of Congress is like no other building I've been in either in the US or abroad. The colors in the ceiling, the statues, the mosaics and even the floor are elegantly dedicated to learning...  more »
  • We went expecting just a library and it’s much more of a museum. The architecture and detail in the decor was mesmerizing . Definitely worth the stop. You do need timed entry passes at this time .  more »
  • It is a very interesting place. I would recommend that you arrive at the entrance right as it opens. The lines usually “backs up” about 30 minutes after it opens, so arriving there early may save time. It is right across from the United Sates Capitol, too. Just down the street is the United States Botanical Gardens as well. Overall, a very nice place with very informative exhibits.
  • This is such a beautiful building! The architecture is very ornate and awe-inspiring. From the fountain out front to the marbling inside, this building is amazing! It's free to visit and the museum is very informative. They have numerous artifacts from our nation's history and beyond. You will not be disappointed when you visit. Unfortunately, in order to enter the actual library you need to make an appointment. I completely understand that as it allows the library to be an actual library and not become a tourist trap. Please visit this beautiful place.

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