State Library of New South Wales

State Library of New South Wales

State Library of New South Wales
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Top ways to experience State Library of New South Wales and nearby attractions

The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Central Business District
The Sydney Central Business District is abuzz with energy. Power brokers run to and from high rise buildings and after-work drink places, high-end shoppers tour venues like the QVB, and fine diners frequent the many celebrity chef restaurants. For a dose of culture, walk to the NSW Art Gallery, or visit the Sydney Museum. To escape the hustle and bustle, reconnect with nature at the Sydney Botanical Gardens or picnic lunch at High Park. No matter your interest, be sure to check the full calendar of events hosted by the city, from the Sydney Festival in January to October’s Good Food Month at Hyde Park.
How to get there
  • Martin Place • 4 min walk
  • St James • 6 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,641 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly Under-Rated - Australia’s Oldest Library & Free Art Gallery
    The historic NSW State Library, Australia’s oldest library, is a highly under-rated spot. There’s a lot to love here and it's free. In particular, the art gallery, with its crowded portrait gallery and landscapes of early Sydney, is worth visiting. Portraits of newly wealthy colonial families and serious men in stiff, formal poses. sit alongside a portraits of a young, teenage Queen Victoria. Another interesting picture captures Billy Blue, a Jamaican convict who was who was transported for stealing sugar in London and later became harbour watchman and the official ferryman for the north shore. Blues Point, on the harbour, is named after him. Interactive screens allow you to choose a painting, click on it and read the background story. We also had a bit of fun, trying to identify the locations of some of the very early Sydney cove scenes. Seeing the changes between then and now kept us occupied for some time. The Library holds a number of free temporary exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibition, ‘For All Time: Shakespeare in Print’ and another, displaying the winners of the Walkley Awards for Press Photography. The Mitchell Library Reading Room with its three floors of endless books, criss-crossed staircases, stained glass windows, skylight ceiling and hallowed atmosphere is worth a peek before you leave. As we entered, we stopped to look at the foyer floor, which has a large marble replica of an 17th century map of Australia by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Other features include the two bronze statues of the explorer Matthew Flinders and his intrepid cat, Trim which stand outside the Library (see separate reviews). Facilities include a cafe, bookshop, bathrooms, free wifi and guided tours. There’s also a rooftop bar which recently opened but it has limited hours and it wa sclosed when we were there. Overall, the State Library is probably of more interest to locals than tourists. It’s unlikely to make it onto many tourists’ itineraries, but if you are near Hyde Park or the Macquarie St side of the Botanic Gardens, then it is well worth a stop. It’s a 10 minute walk from Circular Quay.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 9 December 2023
  • CasandraTP
    Sydney, Australia1,094 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of Sydney’s gems
    Not just a fabulous library, it holds some amazing exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibition of Shakespeare in print as the library owns copies of the first 4 editions along with some other very important books. The is also a Shakespeare Room which is full of everything Shakespeare. Exhibitions change regularly so I do come every 6 months, currently there is also a photography exhibition on war, another one on photo journalism plus more. The best part is it is all free. It really is a must go to venue.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 13 January 2024
  • Pumpkin20
    Bathurst, Australia355 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic
    We were having a morning walk to the Botanical Gardens & and saw the advertisement for an exhibition of war photographs. What a fabulous find! We had never been to the library, now it’s on our list to check what may be on for our next visit. Beautiful building & more beautiful on the inside. Do yourself a huge fan and pay a visit, you won’t be disappointed!!!
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 February 2024
  • Joe L
    Detroit, Michigan152 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t miss it!
    Lots to see in several exhibition spaces. The Shakespeare Room ceiling is worth gawking at, and so are the library doors. Ned Kelly’s armor was on display, and there was a special exhibition of awesome Hebrew manuscripts. The Magellan floor map is a beautiful work of art. And it’s a good place to people-watch.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 March 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles551 reviews
Excellent
329
Very good
189
Average
27
Poor
2
Terrible
4

Joe L
Detroit, MI152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Lots to see in several exhibition spaces. The Shakespeare Room ceiling is worth gawking at, and so are the library doors. Ned Kelly’s armor was on display, and there was a special exhibition of awesome Hebrew manuscripts. The Magellan floor map is a beautiful work of art. And it’s a good place to people-watch.
Written 13 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PUMBRIDGE
London, UK2,076 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Sunlit splendour on the ground floor, then moody lighting for the basement and first-floor exhibition spaces at this friendly, welcoming library space. We fancied taking a breather in the rooftop bar, but it only opens at 4pm, mysteriously
Written 22 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pumpkin20
Bathurst, Australia355 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We were having a morning walk to the Botanical Gardens & and saw the advertisement for an exhibition of war photographs. What a fabulous find! We had never been to the library, now it’s on our list to check what may be on for our next visit. Beautiful building & more beautiful on the inside. Do yourself a huge fan and pay a visit, you won’t be disappointed!!!
Written 17 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mrdom
6,497 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Solo
I went there for interesting books when I was young, which isn't necessary now with the internet, but this was the first time I went to the free galleries and they are a real contender to the Art Gallery. A lot of portraits in the permanent collection but then more interesting Rodius ones on now plus the Shakespeare exhibit and others.
Written 23 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CasandraTP
Sydney, Australia1,094 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Not just a fabulous library, it holds some amazing exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibition of Shakespeare in print as the library owns copies of the first 4 editions along with some other very important books. The is also a Shakespeare Room which is full of everything Shakespeare. Exhibitions change regularly so I do come every 6 months, currently there is also a photography exhibition on war, another one on photo journalism plus more. The best part is it is all free. It really is a must go to venue.
Written 13 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom9,641 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Solo
The historic NSW State Library, Australia’s oldest library, is a highly under-rated spot. There’s a lot to love here and it's free.
In particular, the art gallery, with its crowded portrait gallery and landscapes of early Sydney, is worth visiting.
Portraits of newly wealthy colonial families and serious men in stiff, formal poses. sit alongside a portraits of a young, teenage Queen Victoria. Another interesting picture captures Billy Blue, a Jamaican convict who was who was transported for stealing sugar in London and later became harbour watchman and the official ferryman for the north shore. Blues Point, on the harbour, is named after him.
Interactive screens allow you to choose a painting, click on it and read the background story. We also had a bit of fun, trying to identify the locations of some of the very early Sydney cove scenes. Seeing the changes between then and now kept us occupied for some time.
The Library holds a number of free temporary exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibition, ‘For All Time: Shakespeare in Print’ and another, displaying the winners of the Walkley Awards for Press Photography.
The Mitchell Library Reading Room with its three floors of endless books, criss-crossed staircases, stained glass windows, skylight ceiling and hallowed atmosphere is worth a peek before you leave.
As we entered, we stopped to look at the foyer floor, which has a large marble replica of an 17th century map of Australia by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman.
Other features include the two bronze statues of the explorer Matthew Flinders and his intrepid cat, Trim which stand outside the Library (see separate reviews).
Facilities include a cafe, bookshop, bathrooms, free wifi and guided tours. There’s also a rooftop bar which recently opened but it has limited hours and it wa sclosed when we were there.
Overall, the State Library is probably of more interest to locals than tourists. It’s unlikely to make it onto many tourists’ itineraries, but if you are near Hyde Park or the Macquarie St side of the Botanic Gardens, then it is well worth a stop. It’s a 10 minute walk from Circular Quay.
Written 9 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

reeceyb
Chichester, UK1,655 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Very nice building to come and see and admire there is more to this than just silence and books there was a Shakespeare exhibition which was quite interesting
Written 17 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David Webby
Petersham, Australia416 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
This is an amazing place the Mitchell library plus the new wing connected by causeway the collection 8s always worth revisited plus the new changing exhibitions the old Mitchell building is stunning beautifully restored this houses the reference library l always enjoy coming here a hidden gem in Clued in you travels in sydney
Written 15 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ECWorld
Hong Kong, China2,720 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2023 • Couples
Nice thing about this library is that a good deal of space is reserved for exhibitions - there was a nice photo exhibition when we went there. The dome room is pretty impressive, and the library is a modern user friendly facility divided into a host of different areas. Worth a quick visit
Written 15 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Derrick Aw
Singapore, Singapore822 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Solo
Beautiful imposing colonial architecture.

I came for the exhibitions - note that some are permanent while some are time-bound. Specifically the pride revolutions exhibition was nice; i don’t think it is exhaustive but i guess it presented a fairly good overview of the LGBT developments over the years here.

I see many students studying in their great hall. I suppose that one gets greater mugging motivation when in the presence of other muggers?
Written 31 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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