Things to Do

Library of Congress Main Reading Room

Study like our forefathers did, while having access to every piece of information you'll ever need.

Photograph by F11Photo/Shutterstock.

Why you might roll your eyes:

Tens of thousands of visitors pass through each year on tours where they do no more than stare downthrough plexiglassat the people going about their business in the gorgeous Main Reading Room.

Why you’ll love it:

You could be one of those people! The reading room is the most beautiful place in Washington to work, read, research, or just catch up on e-mail. And you don’t need to be an academic or congressional staffer. A library-issued photo ID gives you access to the vast, circular space where 226 desks spiral under a 160-foot-high, elaborately painted copper dome. And if you can’t think of a particular piece of the greatest single collection of knowledge on the planet you’d like to access, don’t worry: There’s free wi-fi, too. 101 Independence Ave., SE; 202-707-5000;

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