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“Impressive building and surprisingly good exhibits” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Library of Congress

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC, DC 20540 (National Mall)
(202) 707-5000
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Capitol Hill and DC Monuments Tour by Electric...
Ranked #4 of 234 Attractions in Washington DC
Type: Government Buildings, Libraries, History Museums, Cultural
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Owner description: Though the Library of Congress doesn't own every book ever published, it sure has most of them, with 532 miles of shelves and 115 million items, with 7,000 added each working day.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Impressive building and surprisingly good exhibits”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2008

The docent tour is a must to see the main chamber of the library, but if you are unlucky there are restorations blocking the view. The architecture is incredible and almost over the top. (The cherub with a phone is a blast.) The exhibits are surprisingly interesting and the Jefferson library is really nice. The tour is short, but you can spend a lot of time browsing the exhibits. Not too badly crowded either, so it is probably the calmest and most relaxing attraction you can take in D.C.

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Wilmington, Delaware
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43 reviews 43 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Make sure you get the right one”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2008

So, if you do decide to go to the Library of Congress, make sure you go the the right one. After going through the rigmarole of security we enter what we thought was the Library of Congress only to be asked: "you're tourists aren't you?"

Was it that obvious? Yup.

We were in a working building of the Library of Congress (I believe they have 3 where members of congress actually go to get books) this one being just across the road from the visitors version. So we scampered out of there giggling like schoolgirls to the actual visitors glammed up version. Ahem.

When you go in, sign up for the next tour immediately after the security frisk. The exhibitions itself are more suited to those learning about it for the first time than to really engage. I may have spoiled the experience itself by reading up too much beforehand and therefore made myself a know-it-all inadvertently. My own fault.

Photography is limited once inside to mainly the main hall.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
clarksville tennessee
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
53 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
178 helpful votes 178 helpful votes
“Library of Congress”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2008

Visited on our last day in DC with an 11 year old. Nice stop while in the Capitol Hill area. We all enjoyed it. Pretty impressive to see all the Thomas Jefferson books and rough drafts to the improtant documents in our history.

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Palm Harbor, Florida
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25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A definite D.C. highlight!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2008

I was just in D.C. with twelve and thirteen year old girls. We were able to get passes for the Congressional Tour and it was amazing. Malcolm was our tour guide and was very knowledgeable and entertaining as well.

They currently have the Book of Secrets from National Treasure. Also the recent permanent exhibit of Thomas Jefferson's library is stunning. You don't need more then 1-2 hours here - and if you can get on the 8:30 congressional tour - that's the best as the building is not yet open to the public. But even if not - definitely stop by.

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Marietta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Favorite site in D.C.!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2008

On our last day in D.C. we decided to visit the Library of Congress and I'm so glad we did! I was travelling with my husband and two children (ages 7 3/4 and 5). My 7 year old really wanted to see the Library of Congress and I was afraid we wouldn't fit it in. I'm so glad we did.
We arrived on a Saturday at about 10:20 and there was a line to get in and go through secruity. They moved some of us downstairs to the "groups line" and that made the transition much smoother. Once in we watched a brief video and took a 45 minute tour.
Normally we are not "tour people" and usually go about on our own but I am so glad we took the tour. Take the tour - I cannot recommend it highly enough. Most of the tours are led by volunteer docets and they are passionate about the Library and know much about its history (they have to pass a test to become a tour volunteer). If you have a chance to take the tour with Cora grab it - she was funny, knowledgeable and had so much insight into the building. It was fantastic. The building is beautiful - paintings and sculptures are everywhere - and has so much meaning and history behind it. The exhibits are wonderful - make sure to see the Bob Hope exhibit downstairs as well as Thomas Jefferson's books.
The Library of Congress is a gem and it is my new favorite site in D.C.

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