Library of Congress, Washington DC

4.6
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 .
Create an itinerary including Library of Congress
map
Library of Congress Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7,525 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • The Library of Congress building and tour was the highlight of our trip to DC! The building itself is beautiful , the history of this building is amazing. All docents were top notch knowledgeable and ...  more »
  • The interior is arguably one of the most beautiful in DC; the central hall and the reading room are the highlights. The Weissmuller maps, the first to depicts America with its name is a treasure of hu...  more »
  • The library is too beautiful. Well worth walking, or better yet ride out there to visit her.
    View original
Google
  • Great site to visit. Several very well done exhibits which include a discussion of the US involvement in WWI and Thomas Jefferson's library. The exhibits rortate so check the website to see what's current. The main lobby of the building is gorgeous with numerous symbolic and metaphorical statues, friezes and murals. It is quite beautiful. The second floor mezzanine / balcony has kiosks to help visitors decrypt the images and symbols. The lobby is quite beautiful and you can easily spend 30 minutes gawking. The main reading room and the children's reading rooms are well regarded. If you are performing research you can obtain a "reader's" library of congress card. Make sure you bring a driver's license or passport. You can save time by filling out the application on line. In person it takes less than 5 minutes to apply. Card issuance takes 5-10 minutes if there isn't a long line. We found the card processor to be unnecessarily curt. All other staff were gracious and polite. There are quite a few interesting trinkets at the gift shop. Copies of the constitution and Declaration of Independence are great gifts for middle age children.
  • This is my favorite place in D.C. The artwork and architecture both inside and out are awe-inspiring, and the collections are a fantastic way to spend an hour (or several). Bookworms especially will love the quotes engraved on the walls, Jefferson's library and overlooking the researchers.
  • Very amazing and absolutely incredible but honestly wasn't the highlight of my tour. If you really appreciate sculptures and books it is the place for you! Yet it isn't the most lively of places.
  • Had an amazing experience while visiting the library. Definitely a place like no other I have I ever seen. If you ever find yourself in DC and are on a time limit this is a number one place to go. During my visit, a priceless exhibit collection on Maya and Aztec civilisation was on display and lovely docent Judy made it even more informative and interesting. The collection is a must visit for any ancient history buff.
  • If you go to the Capitol first, there is an inside walk way to the library that takes 5 min. The library itself is gorgeous! A must see. You don't need a reservation or a tour, you can explore on your own. Definitely wait in line to see the reading room. It's beautiful. There's other exhibits like early maps, Jefferson's library, and the Gutenberg bible.

Plan your trip to Washington DC

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Washington DC by other users

46 days in United States, Cuba & Toronto BY A USER FROM LATVIA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 56 days in United States, Mexico, Central America & Canada BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in United States BY A USER FROM CROATIA February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: April, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, teens, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, teens, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 38 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: May, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans