New York Public Library
New York Public Library
4.5
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
New York Public Library’s monumental main branch is known for its stunning architecture and remarkable historical collections. Take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle at the Rose Main Reading Room, amid chandeliers and an ornate ceiling with murals. Enjoy the free guided tour of the building and view masterpieces like the first Gutenberg Bible, and bring the kids to see the original stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories. The library is served by multiple subway lines and is adjacent to the gorgeous Bryant Park, where you can unwind after the visit. – Tripadvisor
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Midtown
This is the iconic New York that so many visitors imagine before they visit - spectacular skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building, iconic public buildings like Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library, and the non-stop hustle and bustle of the city streets. Fifth Avenue is a shopper's paradise where you can find every kind of store imaginable, with fashion brands ranging from the affordable to the ultra-fancy. Visit Rockefeller Center to experience towering Art Deco grandeur, and foodies will love the busy restaurants that stay open late in Koreatown. After dark, Midtown calms down a bit, but at any time of day or night it still feels 100% New York.
How to get there
  • 5th Ave • 2 min walk
  • 42nd St – Bryant Park • 4 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Melissa N
    Chester, New York108 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cant say enough!
    My first time to the library and there was an exhibit that was out of this world! The staff is friendly and the gift shop has a great variety! Get your NYC Public Library card also if you are a NY resident! Fun and Freee!
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 13, 2023
  • Divmercy
    Naples, Florida56 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An interesting tour!
    We took a tour of this library that is free. Check out their website to find out details on how to get tickets. We learned so much history and details about the library and what it contains inside. I don’t want to ruin some of the details, so take the tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny. There is a great exhibit going on at this time that is also free to tour. The library also has a fantastic store and coffee shop.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 19, 2023
  • DawnW758
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom63 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful
    We had to return twice because it was not open on. St.Patrick’s day. The building and the interior were beautiful but we especially wanted to see the reading room and were told we had to do a tour which did not start for another 2 hours. As looking inside would only take 2 minutes we were not willing to wait. This was very disappointing and should be more visible on websites so that visitors can plan more accordingly to the times of access.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 24, 2023
  • mjvan67
    Indianapolis, Indiana8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don't miss the Treasures exhibit
    The library tour was very interesting & provided an opportunity to learn about the history of the building and see some areas most visitors miss. If time is somewhat limited, skip the tour and just explore the "Treasures" exhibit. You'll find the Gutenberg Bible on display as well as original manuscripts, letters, artworks and even the original Winnie the Pooh and his friends Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and Roo. An absolutely amazing collection of incredible "things".
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 28, 2023
  • Jolie J
    Gatineau, Canada289 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Register for main reading room first
    The building is absolutely beautiful and I love that it's free to visit. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the rose main reading room (which is the one I most wanted to see) is only open to visitors during certain times (10h30am, 1h30pm, & 3pm Mon-Sat and 1h30pm & 3pm on Sundays). And you must register first. Had I known this information, I would have planned accordingly, but I didn't see this posted on their website.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 26, 2023
  • travelgal1994
    Franklin, Tennessee882 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful a must visit
    Never visit NYC without stopping in this Library. Its magnificent to see, the architecture, you have seen in on tv or in movies. Its well maintained, the people there are so kind and friendly. They all want you to be able to find things and enjoy your visit. I love that the Treasures are open to everyone. They are amazing, especially the Winnie Pooh and the Bible. Also, the gift shop was well done. ITs one of my favorites. Sadly, we could not go to see any reading rooms or into the Library itself as you think a library would look like. So will do a tour next time.
    Visited April 2023
    Written May 5, 2023
  • Angela E
    Orlando, Florida346 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stop HERE...its free and so rich in history
    We made a quick and unplanned stop here, while walking to a different attraction. I'm so glad we did, and my young adults loved it too. It borders Bryant Park which is a lovely reprieve of shady trees in the heat. The building itself has great architecture. Make sure to stop in the Treasures room...as you will be sure to find a treasure you are thrilled to learn more about. If I were to go back to NYC, I would like to take advantage of the free tour, as it will give you even more access to other parts of the building. Make sure to stop in the bookstore before you leave!
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 19, 2023
  • Kittygal 🇺🇦 🌻
    Los Angeles, California8,310 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful Tour
    A tour of the library had been on my to do list for some time, although I'd used the reading rooms to catch up on communications during prior visits. This trip, I was at the ready when tour slots were released and got one of the covered spots, which I squeezed in between trips out to the boroughs and an evening concert at Carnegie Hall. The tour takes patrons into some of the beautiful reading rooms, with glimpses of special collections included. The history of how the main branch came to be was told, including some humorous anecdotes. The artwork and craftsmanship of this storied old building are just beautiful, and are seen up close in detail. Tours last about one hour and, best of all, are free. After the tour concluded, I visited the Treasures exhibit.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written June 26, 2023
  • mdgarbaciak
    Scottsdale, Arizona25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don't miss this free tou
    The NYC library is a true destination for everyone. The architecture, history and incredible ceilings and rooms filled with art will definitely make people return for more visits. I have gone on 3 of their free tours and would return again.
    Visited October 2022
    Written July 11, 2023
  • jgbtravels
    Louisville, Kentucky3,592 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive building but Rose Reading Room is closed to visitors/tourists.
    It’s a magnificent building that attracts a large number of tourists and researchers to be honest. There is a free exhibit that is worth seeing including the original Winnie the Pooh and friends. Unfortunately the Rose Reading Room is no longer open to visitors/tourists but only researchers. At least you can take a picture of the mural on the ceiling just outside the Rose Reading Room. Unless you are a researcher then probably 30 minutes will suffice when visiting.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles14,626 reviews
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9,576
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Phillip T
Philadelphia, PA36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
The free public tour (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 and 14:00, one hour) is limited to 25 people; visit the info desk on the left-hand side of the entrance (Astor Hall) to enroll and get a printed map. My tour guide was Robin N., and the group included visitors from Mexico, Turkey, Wichita, and Manhattan itself. The tour passes through three of the building's four public levels with 16 stops either in rooms (the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, Rose Main Reading Room, etc.), outside to peek in, or in the corridor for narration. It covers the building's origin, modifications, architecture and art (murals, fixtures), upcoming renovations, functions and notable users. Photos are allowed (of the architecture, but avoid the patrons).

The iconic "lions building" on Fifth Avenue (properly, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) is actually one of several research branches within the New York Public Library system, with specialist collections for credentialed scholars, members of the public informally engaged in "research," plus permanent and rotating museum exhibits. It has a footprint of ~400x260 feet, and the Rose MRM covers 290x78 feet with no pillars. To enter, there are metal detectors and bag check. An interpretive gallery re: the SASB's history and mission is on 2F, overlooking Astor Hall. If during the tour you choose to climb the stairs from 1F to 3F, don't get fooled by the landings and stop on 2F.

Considerations for July 2021: The gift shop and snacks are closed, and the 3F women's restroom is blocked by construction.
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Traveller
New York City, NY3,251 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
I visited the New York Public Library twice in December 2021. The two lion sculptures were each decked out with a Christmas wreath. I walked up the steps and had my bag checked by security. The New York Public Library has a great gift and book shop. I then used the kiosk to buy a free ticket to the Treasures Exhibit. What a fantastic exhibit. There was an original copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington's farewell letter. The Bill of Rights. A painting of Benjamin Franklin. The Gutenberg Bible. Original sheet music from Mozart and Beethoven. Many original works of literature. It was so interesting that I went back a second time the next day. I then climbed two flights of steps to the 3rd floor. I viewed the McGraw Rotunda with a fantastic ceiling. I visited the Edna Barnes Salomon Reading Room which had many paintings. The security guards would not let me enter the Rose Main Reading Room unless I was going to read and study. They did let me take a photo from the entrance behind a rope. I noticed that you can take a guided tour at 1:30 pm (I am not sure about the details and whether or not it is free or a paid tour). I had a fantastic visit to the New York Public Library and it was definitely worth going back for a second visit the next day.
Written December 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wireless_in_CA
United States4,986 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
It was not everyday that you see lines of people to go inside a library but this could be my first time.

Outside the façade was quite impressive and the two lions in front were receiving a lot of attention. These lions even have names, Patience and Fortitude, and are the mascots of the library.

Upon entering we were screened through detectors and upon exiting our bags weee also checked.

Once inside we headed to the Treasures exhibit which was one of two main attractions that brought us to the library. Timed free tickets were obtained from electronic kiosks. Inside was a wealth of exhibits that surprised me. The Gutenberg bible, original Winnie the Pooh and friends, movie set dioramas, a Thomas Jefferson copy of the Declaration of Independence and more.

The architecture was the other draw. We missed signing up for the tour so explored on our own. Had we been on the tour then we could have seen the inside of the Rose Reading room with its amazing ceiling and books which were featured in a number of movies (Ghostbusters and The Day after Tomorrow). Otherwise you had to make reservations to perform research to gain access which was strictly enforced. The foyer (with paintings, woodwork) and smaller research room across had to substitute.
Written March 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sunshine34500
West Orange, NJ2,087 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
First, I adore the structure and the entire design from top to bottom. The reading room with dark brass and green glass lights is famous. Studied there from college on for best research on microfilm and now all digital. Really spent hours there almost daily. Sitting on the iconic steps, watching all the tourists taking pictures with the lions, is a hoot. It remains a true melting pot of ethnicity. One could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner without ever leaving or actually enter the library.
Written April 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

citygirl00110024
New York City, NY99 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
Free docent led tours are available M-S at 11am & 2pm at the Stephan A Schwarzman Building at 42nd street. Tickets are made available online Sunday for the following week and they book up very quickly! The tour is about an hour and I found it very interesting to learn about the history of the building. Docents are very knowledgeable about the history of the library building. There are also short 15 minute tours of the Rose Reading Room (also book tickets online). I had just read The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis about the caretaker's apartment inside the NYPL building (now a storage room) so it was neat to tour the building and think of the families that lived there to keep the coal burning in the furnace during the cold winter months.
Written July 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Piper58
North Carolina180 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We have been to the City hundreds of times and have passed, but never entered, the Public Library on 5th Avenue, behind Bryant Park. The building and the history behind it are fascinating! We took the free morning tour with a wonderful and informative docent who made the building come alive. This Library makes you want to bring in a book and settle in for a good read!
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CumfyCritter
Glasgow, UK366 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is one of the most beautful buildings inside and it is fanatstic that it is a living, breathing, well used Library. The architecture, sculptures and paintings, especially on the ceiling of the quiet study room that runs the length of the buidling, were all amazing. Fascinating history and well worth visiting. Beautifully decorated for Christmas time too - even the 2 carved huge lions at the entrance had wreaths round their necks. A real find and an unexpected joy.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Swiss Nomad
Lugano, Switzerland3,144 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
While visiting new york we visited twice the public library, since it was located a few streets from our hotel and we really enjoyed taking a look at the massive amount of books on display here.
The library is gigantic, with several rooms each displaying books related to a peculiar topic.
We mostly enjoyed reading about the arrivals of immigrants in the city, some of which were actually originally from our countries, learning more about the history of New York and about the lives of people who then became members of the community in America.
The library is free of charge, has a small shop selling wonderful souvenirs (we bought posters about the city) and you can easily spend days here without ever getting bored.
It was one of the attractions we enjoyed the most, and that we are looking forward to going back to in the future.
Written March 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hrtdoc2277
Fort Lauderdale, FL23 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
With a couple of hours on a Sunday before a broadway show we entered the public library. There was an interesting exhibit on books and art influenced by the library. Although the library opened earlier, the exhibit opened at 1 leaving us just a short time but it was worth it
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael L
47 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
There is currently a free exhibit called Treasures. You need to book tickets (but you can do it upon arrival) probably for crowd control. It is one spacious room of a hodgepodge of items ranging from ancient tablets, to 20th century American culture and will take 30-45mins to browse through. The NYPL itself is mostly off-limits to the casual tourist, with only one room I could see that allowed us in to sit down (it also doubled as an exhibit for some photos) on the 3rd floor. Even NYC residents could only access the front area of the library. Everywhere else required that you were a member or an NYC resident. The rest of the library was cordoned off from the public access. This may change with the city re-opening, but for now it is definitely skippable.
Written October 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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