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Library of Congress

Indoor Free
School Trip, Educational, Cultural, Historical, Touristy
101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC
URL: Library of Congress  Phone: 202-707-5000

Activity Overview

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

Things to See & Do

The Library of Congress offers many exciting activities on site and online! Entrance to the Thomas Jefferson Building is free, and open to the public. You may participate in a guided tour or a gallery talk, or take a self-guided tour of the building and the exhibitions.

Today's Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 158 million items includes more than 36 million cataloged books and other print materials in 460 languages; more than 69 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.

Walk the underground tunnel over to the Capitol Visitors Center - this is a fun way to get over to the Capitol Building, and a way to stay cool during the hotter months if you are visiting during the summer.

Take a guided tour (although you must set this up in advance with your congressional office). Tours are conducted from the downstairs visitors gallery. You can see the same areas on a self-guided tour, or you can try to jump onto an existing one.

Library of Congress Insider Tips

  • Visitors do not need tickets or reservations to enter the Jefferson Building or to visit the new Library of Congress Experience. For tour availability, please check at Orientation Desks.
  • The Library is a fun and interesting place for kids and families! Go on a family tour, or visit the Young Readers Center. Visit their Kids & Families page for more information about kid-friendly activities.
  • Getting there by Metro: The closest Metro stations are Capitol South (Blue/Orange Line ' a 2 block walk) or Union Station (Red Line ' a half-mile walk).'
  • Parking: The Library does not provide parking. Limited metered and two-hour zoned parking are available in the surrounding neighborhoods. Public parking lots are also available, with the largest being at Union Station.
  • Photography: Photographs are allowed in the Great Hall areas of the Jefferson Building. You may not take photographs in three areas: the Bibles Corridor, the exhibitions where original collections are on display; and the Main Reading Room overlook.
  • Research: Please inquire at the Ground Floor Information Desk for information about doing research at the Library. Only researchers may enter the Library's Reading Rooms.

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Have fun with great ideas on things to do for travel, daytrips, nearby, or at home...

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