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.

Providence Athenaeum

Sponsored by:
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
Improve this listing
9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Mon - Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

One of America's oldest lending libraries established in 1753.

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 63 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 44
  • 13
    Very good
  • 5
  • 0
  • 1
Great Comfortable Library

This is a small private library in Providence which has three floors of old and new books. It's old, comfortable and scholarly. There a a lot of students studying in the lower... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Phoenix, AZ
Add Photo Write a Review

63 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Rate and write a review
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
119 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a small private library in Providence which has three floors of old and new books. It's old, comfortable and scholarly. There a a lot of students studying in the lower lever and in the little cubbies on the third floor. Yes, it is small, but Providence is small. It's a nice quiet retreat for looking at or reading... More 

Thank JRWB1960
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

A wonderful old library--one of the earliest in the country--but robust and active today. Gorgeous interior architecture, with a mezzanine level with lots of nooks and crannies to sit in and study. A lower level with tons of magazines and a big old library table and big windows with floods of natural light. There was even an dog hanging out... More 

Thank Pjsnyc78
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Level Contributor
80 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Apparently Edgar Allen Poe was jilted by a girl here when she discovered that he had broken “The Pledge”. Imagine that. He then wrote Annibel Lee about this episode, another tale of lost or unrequited love by Ed. Lovely old library though, up on the hill near Brown University. For some reason , it took forever to get everyone to... More 

Thank timj0
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2015

This is a private library to which we have belonged for close to 40 years.It was opened in the mid 1800's.Not much has changed and that's the beauty of it. It's a jewel in the crown of Providence. Visitors should stop by to say hello.

Thank DeeDee W
Level Contributor
144 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2015

It's a private library that houses some very old books. Climbing the ladder to the second story and walking on those old creaky floors was a bit unnerving for me, but I enjoyed thumbing through some of the older books. The lower level has ample seating to enjoy a magazine or a newspaper after hoofing up and down Benefit Street.

Thank ms90
Herndon, Virginia
Level Contributor
227 reviews
116 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

What an awesome place! It's a private library of sorts that's been around for ages, and is one of those gorgeous old libraries with balcony shelves that you get to walk around. They have a neat self-guided tour around that explains the history of the library. If you're visiting Brown or RISD, definitely take a few minutes to go visit.... More 

Thank apdemas
Miami Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
117 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

I took some great photos here and one made it to an exhibit. So peaceful and relaxing. Take a break and visit for half a day. Bring a notebook to keep notes on your thoughts and ideas. This place is inspiring.

Thank zouzou_biscuit
Level Contributor
87 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2015

We stopped by here after a visit to RISD's Museum just because it was less than a block away. What a wonderful serendipity that was! The library is beautiful and they have retained all of the old charm and serenity of what libraries used to be. The fact that Poe spent time here just adds to what would already be... More 

Thank Jjjjam
Hancock, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
68 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 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.

1 Thank Stephen W
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 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.

Thank TonyLehighValley

Travelers who viewed Providence Athenaeum also viewed


Been to Providence Athenaeum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim 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?