New York Public Library

A National Historic Landmark building, the New York Public Library is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States

Entrance to the New York Public Library
Entrance to the New York Public Library cc licensed photo by thievingjoker

Free to tour and contrary to the movie The Day After Tomorrow, the New York Public Library is very much still intact and is one of the premier research facilities in the country.

Opened in 1911 on the site of the Croton Reservoir, the landmark building designed by Carrère and Hastings was the largest marble structure in the United States at the time. Created by combing the collections of the failing Astor and Lenox Libraries and the over $2.4 million dollar Tilden Trust, the public reading room and library had over one million volumes when it opened. Today it services almost 2 million library card holders.

A National Historic Landmark building, the New York Public Library is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States. Entering through Astor Hall, welcomed by vaulted marble ceilings three feet thick and a grand double staircase, you can join a free docent-led tour of the building or exhibitions. The famous Rose Main Reading Room is a majestic space filled with natural light from massive arch windows and lined with thousands of reference works under beautiful panel ceilings and chandeliers. In the Bill Blass room, one of the few remaining copies of the Gutenberg Bible is on display.

Most of the books in the library are stored on an incredible 75 miles of steel shelving located below the massive reading room. These metal shelving units double as supports for the floor of the reading room above.

Check out the 'Photos and Video' tab above to view a great video highlighting some of the impressive features of this amazing building which is well worth taking time to visit.

Nearby attractions include Grand Central Terminal, Chrysler Building, Madison Square Garden, Macy's Herald Square and the Empire State Building.

Facts For Your Visit

Official Website: New York Public Library

Fee: No

Regular Hours:
May differ on holidays

  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA

Phone: (917) 275-6975

Official Website: New York Public Library


Rated 4.7 out of 5New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Star Rating

5 Star Rating The New York Public Library is an absolute treasure for book lovers and history enthusiasts alike. As a visitor, I was in awe of the library's majestic architecture, with its iconic lion statues guarding the entrance. Inside, the grandeur continued, with vast reading rooms, historic manuscripts, and an incredible collection of books from every genre imaginable. Beyond its literary treasures, the library also serves as a haven for those seeking a quiet and contemplative space in the midst of bustling Manhattan. Whether you're doing research, reading, or simply exploring the grand halls, the New York Public Library offers a sense of serenity in the heart of the city. What struck me most during my visit was the palpable sense of history that permeates the library's halls. It's not just a repository of books; it's a repository of knowledge, culture, and the collective memory of a city and a nation. It's a place where the past and present coexist harmoniously. I highly recommend a visit to the New York Public Library, not only for its literary treasures but also for the profound sense of history and culture it imparts to all who enter its doors. It's a true gem in the cultural tapestry of New York City.
Kytka - 2 months ago

5 Star Rating Very cool to visit and walk around. The architecture is quite amazing to look at. This place is more museum than library. I didn’t see a lot of books. There was a gift shop with really nice gift options. We got a few things there. Also there was a room that really was like a museum (free to enter) with display cases of old books and antiques and art. Very cool.
Robert Reynolds - 3 months ago

5 Star Rating It has a peaceful environment, the employees are very helpful. The building smells of history, the huge walls and the artwork on the walls are a visual feast. I was very happy to be there. Your bag is searched at the door, food and drink are not accepted. There are suitable places in the library for you to work in conjunction with the intensity. They require reservations for some halls. Must visit!
Banu B - 3 months ago

5 Star Rating The New York Public Library is fantastic to visit from beginning to end. The architecture alone is amazing, inside and out. The majestic steps leading to the pillars at the entrance are beautiful. There is always a free exhibit open to the public with rotating items and features. There is also a gift shop and library cafe. There are also quiet rooms to study or work. As a tourist, I’d plan at least an hour at this library. They do a bag check upon entry and exit, no food or drinks allowed.
Ashley H - 4 months ago

5 Star Rating Not to be missed when visiting New York !! One of the most beautiful landmarks in New York, this 19 century building has a stunning architecture inside outside.Facing the Bryant Park, it’s free for tourists to visit ( not all the halls though). They also organize a free tour at 3 pm where you can enter the gorgeous hall with the wooden ceiling that is open for academics only.
NISRINE AMMOURY - 3 months ago

Accommodations near New York Public Library:


Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
B, D, F or V42nd Street / Bryant Park5 minutes
75th Avenue4 minutes

How to get to New York Public Library by Subway

Take theB, D, F or V train to 42nd Street / Bryant Park , head southwest on 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), turn left on 40th Street or take the7 train to 5th Avenue, head southeast, turn right on 5th Avenue, turn right on 40th Street.

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Photo Gallery


Enyoy this great video tour of the impressive New York Public Library
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