If you love books and great architecture, the Library of Congress is a must-see when visiting Washington DC. For tourists, the library's main attraction is not its endless collection of books, but its fascinating special exhibitions as well as the extravagant architecture of the Jefferson Building. As a result, the Library of Congress provides free tours of the Jefferson Building. Also, visitors can pick up a self-guided tour brochure at the west entrance and tour the building on their own.
At the entrance to the Main Reading Room are the Library's most-prized possessions: the Giant Bible of Mainz and the Gutenberg Bible, both made in Germany in the mid-1450s. The library also has many rotating exhibits on American history and culture on the second floor. To truly appreciate the size and magnificence of the Library of Congress, one must travel up the grand staircase to the Arcade. From here, visitors can look down into the Great Hall or look up at the beautiful mosaics that adorn the walls and ceiling. With more than 18-million books and more than 4.5-million maps, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.
Public Tours: For individuals and families.
Schedule: Monday to Saturday at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm*.
No 3:30 pm tour on Saturdays. Also, the first tour is at 9:30 am on holidays.
No advance reservations or tickets available.
Please check at Orientation Desks for tour availability.
Reserved Group Tours: For pre-reserved groups of 12 to 60 people from organizations and schools (fifth-grade level and above). Group Tours can be reserved online at loc.gov.
Schedule: Monday to Friday at 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, and 1 pm. Subject to availability.
Advance reservations required.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of a tour in order to clear entrance security.
Address/Location: The Thomas Jefferson Building is at 1st Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. It is located just a short walk from the U.S. Capitol Building via a tunnel and next to the Supreme Court.
DC Circulator's Smithsonian - National Gallery of Art Loop - Bus stops at Independence Ave & 2nd St
DC Circulator's Union Station - Navy Yard via Capitol Hill - Bus stops at Independence Ave & 2nd St