Boston Public Library, Boston

#10 of 330 in Things to do in Boston
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. Arrange your visit to Boston Public Library and discover more family-friendly attractions in Boston using our Boston road trip tool .
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Boston Public Library Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
3,378 reviews
  • This really is the heart of Boston, architecturally and culturally. Even if you don't go inside, the outside has viewers in awe! The perfect spot for a photo op.  more »
  • The library, itself a great example of period architecture, contains over two dozen commissioned murals in three locations in the original building. The main stairway has Chavannes work, dedicated to ...  more »
  • Without a doubt one of the best libraries in the world, to not miss, is located in a very touristic point of Boston. Whenever I am in this city I get a moment to spend, take a break from hiking and recharge the bottle of water, also free wifi allows me to connect me and go over the route to go,
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  • Great place to spend some time with a book or just do your work. It is huge, have 2 good cafes inside to give you a continuous dose of caffeine (if required). Great collection of books, i traversed through the history and religion section and was amazed. Along with it there are some very nice paintings and murals. If you want to take a stroll you can cover the place easily in less than an hour.
  • BEAUTIFUL SPACE. I come here all of the time to study and read. There are numerous different areas to work in depending on what noise level/vibe you like. One of the most gorgeous public libraries I have been to. Highly recommend as a study spot or just to walk through if you are visiting town.
  • What a gift this library is! Modern meets traditional in this blend of quiet study area to entrepreneurial business busy-fest. The main entrance along Copley Square into the older section of the Library is chock full of history and meaning in every corner, every little edge. Even the stairs carry meaning in them, as you feel the indent of the marble steps meant to aid in your footsteps up and down them. The reference section is a long row of tables with old-school lamps along with a delicate sense of silence aiding study. (Be mindful of your personal belongings here because there are some "tourists" who can easily walk away with them.) The more modern area has an internet cafe with Boston Public Radio done live on certain days, making the media you see and hear almost have a social component. Really cool to see people speaking on the radio about the local issues impacting the city and the state. In that more modern renovated version of the library is a business center in the basement, perfect for resources for college-seeking people and entrepreneurs. The librarians at the business center there are extremely knowledgeable and provide information seeking resources as public service and public resource. I will say, again, that when you speak to the librarian at the business center, and do so with respect, you will begin to understand just how amazing people can be, and how we can work together to share knowledge for the common good!
  • One of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever visited. The details of the ceilings, the sculptures, the mosaics, all those old books and wooden shelves everywhere, plus the kindness of the staff... Amazing place.
  • This place is enormous. About half of the library is historic featuring murals and ornate ceilings in almost every room. The other half is a lot more modern and intended to be functional. If I lived downtown, I think I might be here almost daily. Apart from the cultural aspects of this space, the location is great. Additionally, the Boston Public Libraries (BPL) offer a ton of services, such as free or discounted attraction passes to nearby museums and aquariums. If you are a resident of Boston and not a member of BPL, you should join and support literacy!

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