Boston Public Library
Though the Boston Public Library includes dozens of branches, the Copley Square location is the historic institution's central branch. You can stop by this free attraction independently or uncover the building's history on an art and architecture tour. Library-hosted tours are free and open to the public. You can easily pair your visit with a Freedom Trail walking tour, opt for sightseeing among the Back Bay's brownstones, or stop by before a Symphony Hall concert.
Things to know before you go
- Art lovers shouldn't miss the murals in the McKim Building, including pieces by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Austin Abbey.
- Enjoy fancy refreshments, cocktails, and snacks at the Map Room Tea Lounge, located in the McKim Building.
- For a quick bite, stop by the Newsfeed Café in the Johnson Building.
- Travelers report the library is wheelchair accessible.
How to get there
The Boston Public Library Copley Square branch is located just steps from the Copley light rail station, offering access via the B, C, D, and E lines. You can also stop by while exploring the Back Bay, or book a hop-on hop-off tour or private tour, since most stop in nearby Copley Square. Tours offer convenient library access without the hassle of navigating public transit.
When to get there
The library is open early to late, holds limited Sunday hours, and is typically closed on major holidays. You can stop by anytime to explore the collection, or check the calendar before you arrive to find special events like the Winter Concert Series or the weekly architecture tour. Enjoy afternoon tea service complete with petit fours and tea sandwiches in the Courtyard Tea Room, Wednesday through Sunday.
Where to Find Some of the Best Views in Boston
Just a few blocks from the Boston Public Library you can find the Skywalk Observatory, offering panoramic views across the city. From the viewing deck 50 stories above ground level, you can spot landmarks like Boston Common, Harvard University, and Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox. You can prebook admission to this attraction—which includes a complimentary audio guide—or for the best value, enjoy included entry with the Boston CityPASS.