Trip Planner USA  /  Massachusetts  /  Boston  /  Sightseeing  /  Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library, Boston

Categories: Landmarks, Libraries, Traveler Resources, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.7/5 based on 2,400+ reviews on the web
A book haven with more than 8.9 million books, Boston Public Library is the second-largest library in the United States after the Library of Congress. The library has 1.7 million rare manuscript holdings, including a handful of Shakespeare's quartos and a copy of the First Folio. Consider spending some time with a book in the McKim Building, soaking up the silence under a domed ceiling. Boston Public Library is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, Boston Edition.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • Oldest public library, I believe, very ornate and a huge edifice, I got lost, but I get lost easily. Lots of people come and use this facility, although I don't know how they can concentrate with all ...  read more »
  • The library of Boston is a very nice building located on Copley Square. Its architecture and interior decoration are impressive. There is even a mural of the french painter Puvis de Chavannes. You can spend a nice time in the inner courtyard. There is a cafeteria and a restaurant. Admission is free.
    show original
  • Our Museum of Science corner suite of the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel overlooked the Boston Public Library. I love visiting libraries whenever I see them in my travels. This one did not disappoint! Lo...  read more »
  • After a 4 hour flight delay to get here, we arrive rather late, we actually ran to our hotel to drop our things and ran straight here. It is hands down the most beautiful library I have ever sat eyes on. I watched my boyfriend almost shed a man tear as it has always been his dream to go here. It's a lot bigger in person than I ever imagined! Please take time out of your day to visit here!
  • Worth a visit to this incredibly beautiful library, which is more like a museum. It's free and open to the public, and as far as I could tell, no issues with pictures as well, though I recommend turning off flash since there are legitimate people working and studying in the library. The murals and paintings that decorate the walls of the library are amazing to view, especially the Holy Grail quest. There is also a rare books collections which is accessible to the public. All free and definitely worth it.
  • Gets very bothersome to see tourists here at a library just here to take photos and nothing more. There are alot of resources. I spend alot of time at this library. I think movies should have a $1 rental fee like in Rancho Cucamonga.
  • Sooo many books! I love the new renovation. It's so beautiful! It seems much more complicated at first but their organization is actually really helpful. I would LOVE to live in this library. :)
  • Teddy Roosevelt said, "I am a part of everything that I have read." So of course when I found myself in Boston for a weekend getaway, I knew I had to step in the oldest public library in the States. Founded in 1848, it is the third largest public library in the U.S. with over 20 million items. We walked through the historic McKim Building, which is the "face" of the Boston Public Library (BPL). The McKim Building contains the library's research collection including many rare books and manuscripts, even early editions of Shakespeare. It is known for the famous Bates Hall reading room, its courtyard, and its Renaissance Revival architectural features. The main staircase (with twin lions flanking each turn of the stairs) is gorgeous, with its triumphal arch, marble steps, and rich yellow wall coloring. There are lots of colorful mural paintings, lavish embellishments like monumental inscriptions, and sculptures. Bates Hall is the epitome of a reading room. High arched and grilled windows, coffered ceilings that remind me of a basilica in Rome, and rows and rows of tables with green traditional incandescent banker's lamps. In its vastness and grandeur, you can't help but stop all conversation when you enter. The room evokes tranquility and a duty of silence. Remember to visit the courtyard too. The open-air courtyard is based on the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, designed in the style of a Renaissance cloister with an arcaded promenade. In the middle of the courtyard, there's a fountain with a bronze statue ("Dancing Bacchante and Infant Faun" by Frederick William Macmonnies). It is perfect for relaxing, reading, studying, and talking with friends. There's a restaurant that overlooks the courtyard called the Courtyard Restaurant, which offers an afternoon tea service. In the summer, the courtyard holds free concerts. BPL offers free daily tours to the public by trained volunteer guides. These tours last about an hour and if you have less than 8 people in your party, you don't need a reservation. If you're in Boston, I highly recommend a visit to the BPL.
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 3​h
Visit for 2​h 30​m
Visit for 1​h 30​m
Visit for 3​h
Visit for 1​h 30​m
Visit for 1​h 30​m
Visit for 1​h