Originally intended as a small reference library, the Library of Congress now contains the largest collection of books in the ... More
Library of Congress
Originally intended as a small reference library, the Library of Congress now contains the largest collection of books in the world, with 100 million items, including a Gutenberg Bible, first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The splendor of the magnificent Main Reading Room is worth the visit, but you should also browse the many excellent collections and exhibits in the library's three buildings. Its collections are available for research to adults 18 and older.
This was a surprise. When we went there I was not expecting the place to be so beautiful. There were cheribs (sp) babies on the banisters going upstairs. There is gold on the ceiling tiles. Gutinburg bible is housed there, but no pictures. The designs and the paintings were outstanding. They have tours each days and they explain everything to you. They have elevators for those who need them. Then to look down a the main reading room and see the statues of famous men of history, law, medical, lit. It was a great experience and will worth the time. And if your smart you can get a library card from the Library of Congress.
If you have about two hours to burn come here and take a guided tour (free, but you may have to wait a while to get a guide). It takes about an hour and a half, you learn a ton, and this place is gorgeous! Also, for lunch check out the library's cafeteria across the street. A little pricey, but tons to choose from, and when you see the prices at other restaurants you'll realize it's totally worth it.
We arranged for a tour of the Library of Congress through our senator's office, and it was one of our best experiences in Washington, D.C. Only a tour guide can explain all of the history and architecture/art of this magnificent place. After the tour there were several exhibits that we viewed on our own (and thoroughly enjoyed), including the Bob Hope exhibit.
One of the most beautiful interiors of any in DC area. Exhibits are well done and very informative. Souvenir shop usually has some great bargains. Must stop for any visit. Next door is the Supreme Court - go there after this.
I am surprised this is not higher on the list. This really is my favorite building in D.C. The tour that they offer is wonderful, and really give you a chance to learn some really interesting things about the building's gorgeous architecture. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone coming to Washington.
This building doesn't receive the word-of-mouth it deserves. I was delighted that my wife and I decided to tour the Library. It's just across the street from the Capitol building and far more impressive. After visiting both, I would advise people with limited time to just completely skip the Capitol and go here instead. There are few people taking tours, no lines, and a knowledgeable guide greets guests every hour. Our particular tour guide made the experience a highlight of our vacation. She was funny but still conveyed the weight of this national asset. After nearly an hour in which the details of the frescoes, mosaics, and statuary were explained, we saw some of the most beautiful baroque decor and one of the most important pieces of Western history, the Gutenberg Bible. We were then free to explore on our own and view exhibits of precious obejcts from the archives. The only disappointment is not being able to snap a picture of the gorgeous central reading room, but photography is encouraged almost everywhere else.
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