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Providence Athenaeum

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Address: 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone Number: 401-421-6970
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9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Open now
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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 66 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 47
  • 13
    Very good
  • 5
  • 0
  • 1
Highlight of our trip!

This was the best! Of course I am a retired librarian, so I may be biased. Great Edgar Allen Poe exhibit. And the card catalogs with hand written cards were fascinating... Cozy... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago
Tacoma, Washington
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66 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Traveler type
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Tacoma, Washington
Level Contributor
21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This was the best! Of course I am a retired librarian, so I may be biased. Great Edgar Allen Poe exhibit. And the card catalogs with hand written cards were fascinating... Cozy seating downstairs. Much better than the John Hay library in the same area...

Thank NancyWMorton
New York
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

A charming public library with two floors of stacks and one floor as a reading room. An open floor plan and cute decor. Highly recommend!

Thank Katie O
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
234 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2015

Don't be put off by the grey exterior, inside is gorgeous, serene and calm. An old-fashioned library in every sense. It feels loved and cherished. I wish I lived in Providence, I would go and read papers in the reading area downstairs every week and go to the lectures, talks and groups who meet there. It may seem unhurried, but... More 

Thank hilarymunro
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
119 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2015

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
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2015

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 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2015

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
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 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
151 reviews
46 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
253 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 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
118 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

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