We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone Number: 401-421-6970
Today
9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mon - Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Description: One of America's oldest lending libraries established in 1753.

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 54 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 39
    Excellent
  • 10
    Very good
  • 4
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
A Library Time Warp

Show your kids what a real library looks like - complete with open stacks, the sublime smell of old books, and the not-to-be-missed old fashioned card catalog. This place looks... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 29, 2015
Stephen W
,
Hancock, Massachusetts
Add Photo Write a Review

54 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Hancock, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
10 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2015

Show your kids what a real library looks like - complete with open stacks, the sublime smell of old books, and the not-to-be-missed old fashioned card catalog. This place looks like a move set but is a real working library of the "old school." Check it out while you're near RISD or Brown -- it's a MUST see.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Orefield
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
9 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2015

Highly recommended if you like libraries and/or Edgar Allen Poe. Self tour can be done in 20 minutes and you can appreciate the love of books and libraries.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Providence, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
54 attraction reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

A walk back in time to when libraries were not as pedestrian as they now are, with a deeply interesting collection. Edgar Allan Poe was a subscriber, and you can be shown his signature.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2015

The Athenaeum is not your average library- you can tell from the moment you walk in and find a bowl of doggy treats on the front desk. Your pet is welcome here, because they know you will want to stay a while. I have had the pleasure here of conducting picture book workshops, and there is something magical about the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Doha
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
6 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2014

This member driven library is a historic area of Providence, across from the Supreme court, and absolutely majestic, with several floors, filled with books of every kind and custom lighting. Various parts of the facility are available for rent and we found using the facility to be a conversation piece for a book event. Staff were efficient and friendly.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Haverhill,Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
9 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

What I enjoyed the most was the friendly helpful staff. There is a marked self tour with lots of interesting twists, fun way to share information about the building. Highly recommend taking the time to check it out!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
900 reviews 900 reviews
450 attraction reviews
363 helpful votes 363 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2014

This character filled library is like stepping back in time. I doubt much has changed since it was new and they like it that way. It has become a place of pilgrimage to visit the bust of the famously reclusive RI writer, HP Lovecraft.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Fresno, California, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2014

The self-guided tour is a fun pit stop on your walking tour of Providence. Book nerds and literary enthusiasts will get a kick out of the historical relevance and stacks.

Was this review helpful? Yes
New York City
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2014

We had already had this on our list after seeing the photo in the June 2014 Architectural Digest and just stumbled upon it. Inside, I thought "oh my God, I'm on the set in The Music Man for Marian the Librarian!". Thrilling, in a ssshhh way. Charming, inspiring, hushed. Lovely special children's area. Unless you're going to sit and enjoy... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Los Angeles
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

Beautiful library. Old fashioned card catalogue, some of the entries handwritten. Could have spent all day here.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Providence Athenaeum also viewed

 

Been to Providence Athenaeum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Providence Athenaeum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?