Boston Public Library (Central Branch)
Boston MA 02116
- Mon: 9am-9pm
- Tue: 9am-9pm
- Wed: 9am-9pm
- Thu: 9am-9pm
- Fri: 9am-5pm
- Sat: 9am-5pm
- Sun: 1pm-5pm
The first large, free municipal library in the country, the Boston Public Library was established in 1848 and has been in its current location since 1895. It remains a vital resource center for Bostonians as well as a popular tourist destination. Designed by Charles Follen McKim, the library is one example of the architectural marvels the city has to offer and, with its impressive collection of murals and sculptures, a hidden gem for art lovers.
Parking and public transportation at the Boston Public Library
Though there is parking behind the Westin Copley Place (kitty-corner from the library) and just two blocks east at Boylston and Berkeley, the BPL is most easily accessible by MBTA, as it sits right on top of Copley Station on the green line.
Best and worst time to go to the Boston Public Library
The library is open seven days a week. There is no truly bad time to go, though exploring the library's endless architectural, artistic, and (of course) literary gems does make for a fun indoor activity on a winter day.
Admission to the Boston Public Library
Admission is completely free! But note that the Map Room Café is just inside the library's center courtyard, should you find yourself hungry or thirsty on your visit.
Must see/do at the Boston Public Library
The McKim building, facing Copley Square, is full of historical wonders. Be sure to visit the John Singer Sargent Gallery on the 3rd floor. The Johnson building, facing Boylston, houses circulating materials and provides cozy reading spots. Don't miss the newly renovated teen room on the 2nd floor, but be aware: don't linger if you're over 18 or they'll kick you out.
Other places to visit near the Boston Public Library
Just across Copley Square is another architectural and historical landmark: Trinity Church, founded in 1773. If you're looking to spend an afternoon shopping, walk one block north to Newbury Street or a few blocks west to the Prudential Mall and Copley Place. If the weather is nice, head three blocks east and spend the afternoon in the Boston Public Garden.
Insider tip for visitors to Boston Public Library
The library offers free, hour-long tours once a day, and provides handbooks for self-guided tours at other times. These are a great way to get acquainted with the building's illustrious history. Check the BPL website for schedules.
Author's Bio: Sarah Weber is a 20-something publishing professional and freelance writer in the Boston area. In her spare time she plays tourist in her own city and blogs about books at sarahmweber715.wordpress.com.