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Providence Athenaeum

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Address: 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone Number: 401-421-6970
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 70 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 49
  • 10
    Very good
  • 5
  • 0
  • 1
A good old place

Want to feel back to the 19th Century? When people could read the newspapers in a large armchair and have a view on a garden? That's the place, only Edgar Poe will not be... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
An V
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70 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 65: English reviews
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Want to feel back to the 19th Century? When people could read the newspapers in a large armchair and have a view on a garden? That's the place, only Edgar Poe will not be smoking his cigar there. Incidentally become a member and find an old book.

Thank An V
Danbury, Connecticut
Level Contributor
79 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2016

From quiet stacks to study in, to original card catalogs dating to 1900, and a rare collection room, this library is a must-see for those looking for something different in Providence. The staff is also very friendly and helpful!

Thank familymemory
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
369 reviews
150 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 519 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2016

The Athenaeum is a member-supported library and cultural center on the east side of the river. The building is a small architectural Greek Revival on Benefit Street, a short walk from the first Baptist Meetinghouse in America.

Thank Lynn1950
Tacoma, Washington
Level Contributor
31 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2016

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...

2 Thank NancyWMorton
New York
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2016 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!

1 Thank Katie O
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
282 reviews
98 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 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 

1 Thank hilarymunro
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 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 

1 Thank Pjsnyc78
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Level Contributor
91 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 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 

1 Thank timj0
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 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.

1 Thank DeeDee W
Level Contributor
152 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 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

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