New York Public Library
New York Public Library
4.5
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
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
About
New York Public Library’s monumental main branch is known for its stunning architecture and remarkable historical collections. Take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle at the Rose Main Reading Room, amid chandeliers and an ornate ceiling with murals. Enjoy the free guided tour of the building and view masterpieces like the first Gutenberg Bible, and bring the kids to see the original stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories. The library is served by multiple subway lines and is adjacent to the gorgeous Bryant Park, where you can unwind after the visit. – Tripadvisor
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Midtown
This is the iconic New York that so many visitors imagine before they visit—spectacular skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building, iconic public buildings like Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library, and the non-stop hustle and bustle of the city streets. Fifth Avenue is a shopper's heaven where you can find every kind of store imaginable, with fashion brands ranging from the affordable to the ultra-fancy. Visit the Rockefeller Center to experience towering Art Deco grandeur, and foodies will love the busy restaurants that stay open late in Koreatown. After dark, Midtown calms down a bit, but at any time of day or night it still feels 100% New York.
How to get there
  • 5th Ave • 2 min walk
  • 42nd St – Bryant Park • 4 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • jgbtravels
    Louisville, Kentucky4,522 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive building but Rose Reading Room is closed to visitors/tourists.
    It’s a magnificent building that attracts a large number of tourists and researchers to be honest. There is a free exhibit that is worth seeing including the original Winnie the Pooh and friends. Unfortunately the Rose Reading Room is no longer open to visitors/tourists but only researchers. At least you can take a picture of the mural on the ceiling just outside the Rose Reading Room. Unless you are a researcher then probably 30 minutes will suffice when visiting.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 18 July 2023
  • DLA
    31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic to see this iconic place!
    It is so much more than a library, but also a museum containing ancient texts. Simply astounding to see 500 year old textbooks on display with ornate bindings. Saw the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear on display that inspired the author. Wonderful experience!
    Visited July 2023
    Written 23 July 2023
  • Cache
    Kansas369 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don't miss the Treasures Exhibit
    While the entire building is incredible, I absolutely loved my visit to the Treasures Exhibit. So many incredible pieces!!! There's something for everyone, no matter your interest. It's free to visit. I recommend going first thing in the morning. For the first half hour there were only about 10 people there with me.
    Visited August 2022
    Written 27 July 2023
  • citygirl00110024
    New York City, New York101 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent Free Tours of 42nd ST Library - Tickets released weekly on Sunday - online slots book up FAST!
    Free docent led tours are available M-S at 11am & 2pm at the Stephan A Schwarzman Building at 42nd street. Tickets are made available online Sunday for the following week and they book up very quickly! The tour is about an hour and I found it very interesting to learn about the history of the building. Docents are very knowledgeable about the history of the library building. There are also short 15 minute tours of the Rose Reading Room (also book tickets online). I had just read The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis about the caretaker's apartment inside the NYPL building (now a storage room) so it was neat to tour the building and think of the families that lived there to keep the coal burning in the furnace during the cold winter months.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 28 July 2023
  • bbsydney96
    645 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a surprise - visit the Treasures collection
    Although you’ll recognise the exterior of the building from Ghostbusters, it’s what’s inside that is truly special. The Treasures collection is something else - think original Winnie The Pooh for example, among so many other true treasures. We didn’t expect this collection and we’re delighted with the broad nature of the items on display. Charles Dickens’ desk and chair, Virginia Wolof’s walking stick, Shakespeares first folio, oh the treasures! What a surprise and we are so glad that we visited.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 August 2023
  • ChelseaXie
    San Francisco, California36 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    good atmosphere
    nice building and inner decoration. big reading room free entrance for visitors to sit down reading and to feel the atmosphere. there's another reading room open for quiet and research only.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 22 August 2023
  • Helen B
    Woonona, Australia167 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Should be on your “things to see in New York” visit
    Much better than I was expecting. Famous building for the numerous movie scenes it is featured in and yet it is much more. The architecture is beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately we do a tour so missed visiting the main reading room.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 8 September 2023
  • Caroline H
    Knutsford, United Kingdom23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Guided tours are something special
    If you are lucky enough to bag a spot on this free tour you are so very blessed. Gloria, our docent was incredible, her mind, knowledge, passion and enthusiasm were incredible, I wanted to scoop her off for lunch and listen to her for hours and hours. This place is spectacular, what is holds, the history, the exhibitions, how you feel when you are in there - this tour gives you an insight that is very special; highlight of my NYC trip.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 17 September 2023
  • TheCityBreakers
    182 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    New York City Library
    The library is an iconic building on the outside and has treasures to explore on the inside. The free display of valuable artefacts was beautifully presented and well worth a visit, but unlike other reviewers we found that we couldn’t visit other parts of the library such as the reading room. Great shop though.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 17 September 2023
  • Artemary
    19 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    For the love of libraries
    This beautiful landmark needs a visit. It's hallways are beautiful as is the main area. A wonderful gift store too. If you come straight to the library from E 41st, there are numerous wonderful bronze plates on the sidewalk with great quotes leading right up to the library worth reading.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 3 October 2023
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles14,654 reviews
Excellent
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4,162
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790
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Phillip T
Philadelphia, PA35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
The free public tour (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 and 14:00, one hour) is limited to 25 people; visit the info desk on the left-hand side of the entrance (Astor Hall) to enroll and get a printed map. My tour guide was Robin N., and the group included visitors from Mexico, Turkey, Wichita, and Manhattan itself. The tour passes through three of the building's four public levels with 16 stops either in rooms (the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, Rose Main Reading Room, etc.), outside to peek in, or in the corridor for narration. It covers the building's origin, modifications, architecture and art (murals, fixtures), upcoming renovations, functions and notable users. Photos are allowed (of the architecture, but avoid the patrons).

The iconic "lions building" on Fifth Avenue (properly, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) is actually one of several research branches within the New York Public Library system, with specialist collections for credentialed scholars, members of the public informally engaged in "research," plus permanent and rotating museum exhibits. It has a footprint of ~400x260 feet, and the Rose MRM covers 290x78 feet with no pillars. To enter, there are metal detectors and bag check. An interpretive gallery re: the SASB's history and mission is on 2F, overlooking Astor Hall. If during the tour you choose to climb the stairs from 1F to 3F, don't get fooled by the landings and stop on 2F.

Considerations for July 2021: The gift shop and snacks are closed, and the 3F women's restroom is blocked by construction.
Written 15 August 2021
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.

Traveller
New York City, NY3,231 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
I visited the New York Public Library twice in December 2021. The two lion sculptures were each decked out with a Christmas wreath. I walked up the steps and had my bag checked by security. The New York Public Library has a great gift and book shop. I then used the kiosk to buy a free ticket to the Treasures Exhibit. What a fantastic exhibit. There was an original copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington's farewell letter. The Bill of Rights. A painting of Benjamin Franklin. The Gutenberg Bible. Original sheet music from Mozart and Beethoven. Many original works of literature. It was so interesting that I went back a second time the next day. I then climbed two flights of steps to the 3rd floor. I viewed the McGraw Rotunda with a fantastic ceiling. I visited the Edna Barnes Salomon Reading Room which had many paintings. The security guards would not let me enter the Rose Main Reading Room unless I was going to read and study. They did let me take a photo from the entrance behind a rope. I noticed that you can take a guided tour at 1:30 pm (I am not sure about the details and whether or not it is free or a paid tour). I had a fantastic visit to the New York Public Library and it was definitely worth going back for a second visit the next day.
Written 21 December 2021
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.

TheLeongOhana
United States7,517 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
It was not everyday that you see lines of people to go inside a library but this could be my first time.

Outside the façade was quite impressive and the two lions in front were receiving a lot of attention. These lions even have names, Patience and Fortitude, and are the mascots of the library.

Upon entering we were screened through detectors and upon exiting our bags weee also checked.

Once inside we headed to the Treasures exhibit which was one of two main attractions that brought us to the library. Timed free tickets were obtained from electronic kiosks. Inside was a wealth of exhibits that surprised me. The Gutenberg bible, original Winnie the Pooh and friends, movie set dioramas, a Thomas Jefferson copy of the Declaration of Independence and more.

The architecture was the other draw. We missed signing up for the tour so explored on our own. Had we been on the tour then we could have seen the inside of the Rose Reading room with its amazing ceiling and books which were featured in a number of movies (Ghostbusters and The Day after Tomorrow). Otherwise you had to make reservations to perform research to gain access which was strictly enforced. The foyer (with paintings, woodwork) and smaller research room across had to substitute.
Written 30 March 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.

Sunshine34500
West Orange, NJ2,198 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
First, I adore the structure and the entire design from top to bottom. The reading room with dark brass and green glass lights is famous. Studied there from college on for best research on microfilm and now all digital. Really spent hours there almost daily. Sitting on the iconic steps, watching all the tourists taking pictures with the lions, is a hoot. It remains a true melting pot of ethnicity. One could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner without ever leaving or actually enter the library.
Written 30 April 2020
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.

citygirl00110024
New York City, NY101 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
Free docent led tours are available M-S at 11am & 2pm at the Stephan A Schwarzman Building at 42nd street. Tickets are made available online Sunday for the following week and they book up very quickly! The tour is about an hour and I found it very interesting to learn about the history of the building. Docents are very knowledgeable about the history of the library building. There are also short 15 minute tours of the Rose Reading Room (also book tickets online). I had just read The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis about the caretaker's apartment inside the NYPL building (now a storage room) so it was neat to tour the building and think of the families that lived there to keep the coal burning in the furnace during the cold winter months.
Written 28 July 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.

Piper58
North Carolina171 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We have been to the City hundreds of times and have passed, but never entered, the Public Library on 5th Avenue, behind Bryant Park. The building and the history behind it are fascinating! We took the free morning tour with a wonderful and informative docent who made the building come alive. This Library makes you want to bring in a book and settle in for a good read!
Written 20 February 2020
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.

CumfyCritter
Glasgow, UK383 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is one of the most beautful buildings inside and it is fanatstic that it is a living, breathing, well used Library. The architecture, sculptures and paintings, especially on the ceiling of the quiet study room that runs the length of the buidling, were all amazing. Fascinating history and well worth visiting. Beautifully decorated for Christmas time too - even the 2 carved huge lions at the entrance had wreaths round their necks. A real find and an unexpected joy.
Written 14 January 2020
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.

The Swiss Nomad
Lugano, Switzerland3,514 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
While visiting new york we visited twice the public library, since it was located a few streets from our hotel and we really enjoyed taking a look at the massive amount of books on display here.
The library is gigantic, with several rooms each displaying books related to a peculiar topic.
We mostly enjoyed reading about the arrivals of immigrants in the city, some of which were actually originally from our countries, learning more about the history of New York and about the lives of people who then became members of the community in America.
The library is free of charge, has a small shop selling wonderful souvenirs (we bought posters about the city) and you can easily spend days here without ever getting bored.
It was one of the attractions we enjoyed the most, and that we are looking forward to going back to in the future.
Written 20 March 2020
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.

hrtdoc2277
Fort Lauderdale, FL38 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
With a couple of hours on a Sunday before a broadway show we entered the public library. There was an interesting exhibit on books and art influenced by the library. Although the library opened earlier, the exhibit opened at 1 leaving us just a short time but it was worth it
Written 9 March 2020
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.

Farwriter
London, UK134 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
I think this might be the most beautiful building I have ever been to! Built of solid marble and with stunning ceilings and architectural details everywhere. I found it so moving that so much care was taken over a building dedicated to books and learning. There is a wonderful FREE Treasures exhibition which displays some of the library's collection - not only books but also historical papers, Virginia Woolf's walking stick, fragments of Shelley's skull (!), Charles Dickens' letter opener with the handle made from his cat's paw (!!)... All so fascinating. I would highly recommend signing up for one of the FREE guided tours. Tickets are released on a Sunday for the coming week and they do get booked up so reserve a place online for some additional information about the history and architecture AND most importantly, for access to the astonishing reading room, which is otherwise only open to readers. Our guide, Dempsey, told us she had been doing tours for 20 years and her passion and love for the building shone through and really helped to enhance an already wonderful visit. One of the highlights of my time in New York.
Written 17 March 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.

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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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