Boston Athenaeum
Boston Athenaeum
4.5
Monday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Top ways to experience Boston Athenaeum
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown
The largest area of the city, Downtown is rich with historical and iconic sites in Boston. Stroll through one of Boston’s most famous green spaces, the Boston Public Gardens, check out and make way for duckling statues, picnic under a beautiful tree overlooking the pond, and walk over the iconic footbridge where, during summer time, you will catch a swan boat toting children and eager tourists through the pond. Have your camera ready to capture its peaceful beauty in the middle of a bustling city. Continue on through the Gardens and take in some open green space at the Boston Common, where you can spend time throwing a frisbee, sitting on a park bench, or, in the winter time, skating on the frog pond. Head north from the end of the Common to see the golden dome of the State House, and travel through government center to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, both a historic and popular destination worth a quick visit for a first time to Boston. Head to Long Wharf to visit the Aquarium, or catch a boat to Charlestown or even Cape Cod.
How to get there
  • Park St • 2 min walk
  • Downtown Crossing • 4 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • christopherbO9687MP
    Acton, Massachusetts728 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Boston Athenaeum includes some interesting history exhibits among all the books
    The Boston Athenaeum includes some interesting history exhibits among all the books in this private library. One exhibit had samples of the Athenaeum's collection of paintings & sculptures (including plaster casts of sculptures found in European museums). Another exhibit had samples from an extensive collection of photographs taken of Boston before extensive urban redevelopment erased much of it. Something people with an interest of recent Boston history will enjoy.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 8 November 2023
  • Comocath
    Sydney, Australia140 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must library to visit!!!
    OMG, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. If I was a local I would definitely join this library. There were lots of area for working in and lots of areas where you could just sit and read. It was amazing and so incredibly gorgeous. The staff were incredibly friendly and were only too happy to chat to the visiting Australian. Anyone who loves books should definitely visit, it is totally worth the cost. I purchased a day pass just so I could access all levels and I am so glad that I did.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 26 January 2024
  • RayGCincinnati_OH
    184 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Boston Athenaeum
    The Boston Athenaeum is a membership library which opened its doors in 1807. It now has more than 600,000 titles. We took a tour which was scheduled for an hour but went for more than 90minutes! That's either a good thing or inconsiderate to the guests. Since there were so many cool things to see, we called it good. It has multiple floors, each with its own reading room. The architecture is classical. Possibly the neatest feature was a bookcase that King William III gave to Boston's King's Chapel in 1698. That's right, the 17th century! The art collection is small but very nice. If you like books and Boston history, this is a good place to visit.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 April 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles80 reviews
Excellent
57
Very good
15
Average
3
Poor
4
Terrible
1

RayGCincinnati_OH
Cincinnati, OH184 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
The Boston Athenaeum is a membership library which opened its doors in 1807. It now has more than 600,000 titles. We took a tour which was scheduled for an hour but went for more than 90minutes! That's either a good thing or inconsiderate to the guests. Since there were so many cool things to see, we called it good. It has multiple floors, each with its own reading room. The architecture is classical. Possibly the neatest feature was a bookcase that King William III gave to Boston's King's Chapel in 1698. That's right, the 17th century! The art collection is small but very nice. If you like books and Boston history, this is a good place to visit.
Written 10 April 2024
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.

Comocath
Sydney, Australia140 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
OMG, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
If I was a local I would definitely join this library. There were lots of area for working in and lots of areas where you could just sit and read. It was amazing and so incredibly gorgeous.
The staff were incredibly friendly and were only too happy to chat to the visiting Australian.
Anyone who loves books should definitely visit, it is totally worth the cost. I purchased a day pass just so I could access all levels and I am so glad that I did.
Written 27 January 2024
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.

littlemissjes
Orlando, FL1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Solo
While beautiful, the public only have access to the first floor which is very very small. It costs $10 to enter ($8 for students) and you’re in and out in about five to ten minutes.
Written 22 January 2024
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.

christopherbO9687MP
Acton, MA728 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Solo
The Boston Athenaeum includes some interesting history exhibits among all the books in this private library. One exhibit had samples of the Athenaeum's collection of paintings & sculptures (including plaster casts of sculptures found in European museums). Another exhibit had samples from an extensive collection of photographs taken of Boston before extensive urban redevelopment erased much of it. Something people with an interest of recent Boston history will enjoy.
Written 8 November 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.

Julie K
Cambridge, MA45 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
there are timed tours which are limited in the number of people that can attend so sign up early. This is such a wonderful space with great views out of the windows and art and many many wonderful things - like antique grandfather clocks! the tour guide was stupendous with wonderful stories and time for everyone's questions. DO IT!
Written 31 August 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.

Cindy T
Melbourne, Australia118 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Our local guide recommended that I come here when he discovered I was a LIbrarian/Library Educator as he thought I would enjoy "Required Reading: Reimagining a Colonial Library". So on Friday I tried to visit but it was closed due to a private function. Fair enough! Then tried to go on Saturday. When we go there (just after 4.00pm) we were told that it was closed to Visitors at 4.00pm. I explained that I was an Australian Librarian and could not come back as we were leaving in the morning, but the Librarian/Attendants did not budge, not one bit. This inflexible behaviour adds to the ongoing perception that Librarians have no customer service skills, are unfriendly and better off at shussing people than problem solvers. There was no-one else around so letting us (my son and I) in would not have hurt especially since the Library was open to members until 5.00pm. Really disappointing.
Written 14 December 2019
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.

jac222018
Boston, MA28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is a hidden gem! My family and I did the 'Art and Architecture Tour' and it was one of the best tours we've ever done in Boston. The docent was outstanding, knowledgeable, and lots of fun. The building holds so much history and beautiful artwork. Absolutely do not miss!
Written 14 December 2019
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.

adalbert3
Newport Beach, CA5,335 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
One can take a tour or just walk through--there is a cost of admittance, but we were happy to pay it in support of such a noteworthy organization---as it is one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S.. The setting itself sets a wonderful tone and the artwork is gorgeous--a John Adams portrait by Gilbert Stuart and a James Monroe portrait by Samuel F. B. Morse are just two examples. There is a great children's section and if you have the time, just sit in the Henry Long Room for a few moments and enjoy the ambience. Check out my photos for more details.
Written 7 December 2019
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.

MF62373
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019 • Couples
Everytime I visit this magnificent building, something new catches my eye. My husband and I attended an author's talk last week and listening to the speaker, my eye couldn't help but be distracted by the room, the art. If you can, take a tour of the building. Well worth it to learn the history. We are fortunate to be new members and enjoy all the Athenaeum has to offer
Written 2 October 2019
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.

Susie M
West Yorkshire2,068 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019
I was lucky, as on my spare night they were running a tour. The building and interior is fascinating and cosy and the lady doing the tour was so enthusiastic and interesting. We were only a group of three and it takes about an hour but there’s some great photo opportunities, doesn’t cost much($10) and takes about an hour.
Written 26 August 2019
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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Boston Athenaeum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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