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Boston Public Library

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 700 Boylston St, At Copley Sq., Boston, MA 02116-2813
Phone Number:
+1 617-536-5400
09:00 - 21:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 13:00 - 17:00
Mon - Thu 09:00 - 21:00
Fri - Sat 09:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: No

On the National Register of Historic Places, the library opened in 1852 as...

On the National Register of Historic Places, the library opened in 1852 as the first free, publicly-supported municipal library in America.

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Book In Advance
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USD 35.00*
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Boston Freedom Trail to Copley Square Walking Tour
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USD 35.00*
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Copley Square to Downtown Boston Freedom Trail Walking Tour
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USD 95.00*
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Bustling Back Bay Pedicab Tour

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 2,801 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1639
  • 537
    Very good
  • 54
  • 9
  • 3

From the outside, you see the history of Boston; one part is very old and the other, new and of modern design. But the inside is the best part. I could spend weeks in there... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
South Pole
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2,801 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 2,242: English reviews
South Pole
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

From the outside, you see the history of Boston; one part is very old and the other, new and of modern design. But the inside is the best part. I could spend weeks in there. I'll go in looking for one thing, and become distracted by other offerings. Special collections, periodicals and of course books of all types. The truth... More 

Thank rijames99
Howe, Texas
Level Contributor
135 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

One of the most beautiful buildings (at least the older part is). The paintings were exquisite!. What a wonderful history they have preserved here. We went in to see John Adams' presidential library and never found it. they need to do a better job with their signs to guide you.

1 Thank SLP94
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

The modern addition is superb to already amazing public space. There is also a cafe. Great central location

1 Thank Dana A
Belchertown, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Magnificent library, architecturally stunning structures. Two remarkably different buildings both Rich in resources. Pictures show front foyer and courtyard fountain of original McKim building and Children's Library in newer Johnson building.

Thank Nanci98
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
758 reviews
299 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 792 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW via mobile

This is my second visit to the Library and it's just so stunning. Go there even if you don't need to do any reading or research. It's so majestic.

Thank Canberra_Traveller
Level Contributor
58 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

This library is grand in every sense of the word, from the architecture, to the art and to the Italian style atrium/courtyard. The interior spaces of the library wings are a marvel to behold. Feels more like a museum.

Thank Ersun U
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

We attended the Shakespeare exhibition which was perfect for two English teachers but the whole building is just lovely, a great example of something really being properly utilised by the community as well as a handsome piece of architecture.

1 Thank laura j
Level Contributor
56 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Boston's Public Library is truly beautiful. It is located in a very central part of the city, meaning you should definitely stop in and check it out when in the area. I particularly enjoyed the reading room that was lined with old school bankers lamps. A nice free sight to visit.

Thank Andrew S
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

The mere mention of the word "library" might make some people cringe, relative to memories of their home town library which might have been lacking in variety, availability and charm. Boston's BPL is the nation's largest free-lending library offering something like 7,000,000 books, not to mention DVDs and CDs. It is a two-part library, with older (McKim) building having been... More 

1 Thank Christopher S
London, UK
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Situated on Copley Square, the Boston Public Library is an ideal place to visit on a rainy day, as we did. It's hard to believe this is a functional library as it's grand enough to be an art gallery or museum. The grand facade and ornamentation on the outside continues on the inside with beautiful 19th century murals and design.... More 

Thank DrunkLove

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Questions & Answers

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over a year ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?

Staying in Back Bay

Neighbourhood Profile
Back Bay
Wander around this quintessential neighborhood in the heart of Boston for high-end shops, restaurants, and the feeling of city bustle. Its most identifiable skyscrapers, the Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower, are highlights of the city skyline. Visit Newbury street to explore unique and trendy boutiques – as well as every other kind of store imaginable – all housed in beautiful brownstone buildings. In nice weather, restaurant patio seating is packed with Bostonians and tourists alike soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the food. Commonwealth Ave offers a beautiful stroll down residential tree-lined streets. Keep walking towards the Charles River and enjoy a beautiful view by the water. In warmer months, people run and bike on paths running along the esplanade, and sail and kayak on the Charles River. Boylston street, also full of shops, bars, and restaurants, is the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Head towards Copley Square and check out the Boston Public Library, which is particularly beautiful from the Dartmouth street entrance.
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