Trip Planner:   USA  /  District of Columbia  /  Washington DC  /  Sightseeing  /  Library of Congress
Library of Congress, Washington DC
(4.6/5 based on 6,000+ reviews on the web)
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. For travelers who use our world travel planner, Washington DC holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Library of Congress and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A hidden gem. Absolutely beautiful inside-- murals, statues, architecture -- everything. A block away from Supreme Court, another hidden gem. Court has daily free tours by volunteers that are excellen...  more »
  • We visited the Library in conjunction with Congress, using the convenient tunnel linking the 2 sites. Whilst the kids (12, 10 and 6) were somewhat over touring by then, helpful staff sent us directly ...  more »
  • This is perhaps the most beautiful building in the entirety of Washington. One may not have this high on his or her list of attractions to visit but one should. I was blown away by the beautiful inter...  more »
Google
  • Simply the most beautiful place we visited in Washington DC. We got a tour, the best you can do, so you don't miss anything. Every paint, every phrase have an explanation. We got a library card to enter the main reading room. It was fascinating! Excellent place from construcción to history. They always have different galleries . We saw the Jefferson library, a wonderful collection of books. The maps of America was very interesting. This is a most visit place on Washington DC. Beautiful!
  • An amazingly impressive building. Self guided tours are easy and very informative. The art and architecture are absolutely beautiful. The Jefferson library is incredibly neat and worth spending some time examining.
  • The Jefferson building of the LOC is one of DC's underappreciated (by tourists) gems. It's gorgeously stunning on the inside and well worth a visit. Like all government institutions, it has the added benefit of being free. Take one of the tours. Shhhh.
  • Amazing architecture. The tours guide had said that when the British burned the original library during the war of 1812 in an "unprovoked attacked", it is said they started burning the "oldest and most priceless books". Really??!! I almost burst out laughing. How absurd! I explained to my kids later that this was not an unprovoked attack, but rather retribution for their attack on York in Canada. Also, I don't think they were that particular about which books caught fire first. Regardless of the historical spin doctoring, it's still a site worth seeing.
  • Beautiful building - a must visit for anyone interested in literature! Great exhibits on maps & pre-Columbian American as well.