Library of Congress, Washington DC

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
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Library of Congress Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
8,411 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • To view, some of the actual documents that helped develop our country is inspiring. Leave your library card at home. This place is well protected and guarded.  more »
  • Which did we love more Library of Congress of National Archives? Hard to say, but this is a MUST SEE! Schedule your arrival so you can take the free guided tour. The average tourist will miss the hist...  more »
Google
  • Lovely building on Capitol Hill. The entrance is free and you can enjoy the grand architecture inside and outside. Don't miss out in the impressive fountain just under the entrance stairs by the main road. On The ground floor you'll find one of the first bibles printed in Latin. Also the secretaries office. Take the stairs and go to level 2 to see the library hall from the balcony.
  • This is a must see in Washington DC. We waited for the free tour hoping it would take us into the reading room. It doesn’t go anywhere that you can’t explore on your own and unless you have specific questions I would skip this tour. They only send about 15-20 people with each guide but there is no easy way to tell who was assigned so it would be easy to just tag along with a guide group. I would recommend getting your library card so you can go into the reading rooms. You have to go to a lower floor (just ask, everyone was super helpful) and provide photo id. Large bags are not allowed so plan to check them at coat check or leave them with a member of your group and take turns looking around. Your library card is valid for 2 years so you can look at their online books too.

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
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Washington DC

View all >
4.6
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.8
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.4
Duration: 1​h

Museums in Washington DC

View all >
4.6
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.5
Duration: 1​h 30​min

Side trips from Washington DC

3.4
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.8
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.9
Duration: 1​h 30​min
4.9
Duration: 1​h 30​min

Historic Sites in Washington DC

View all >
4.7
Duration: 1​h 30​min
4.6
Duration: 2​h 30​min
4.4
Duration: 30​min

Hidden gems in Washington DC

5
Duration: 2​h
4.8
Duration: 1​h
4.6
Duration: 1​h

Nearby attractions in Washington DC

4.8
Duration: 30​min
4.5
Duration: 1​h
3.8
Duration: 1​h
4.7
Duration: 1​h