One of the sites on our bucket list of living near Washington, DC that we have not been able to check off is the Library of Congress. I am not sure why we haven’t been there yet, but it keep falling off of our list.

One a very cold day in March, we decided to check it off, and I am so glad we did. The architecture was breathtaking! You could easily spend a couple of hours just wandering around looking at the exhibits, ceilings, wall murals and more.

The Library of Congress is pretty easy to get to by the Metro. The closest station is Capitol South (Blue/Orange/Silver Line), and it is about a two block walk from the station to the building.

Outside the Library of Congress

Great Hall

When you first walk inside, you must go through security which your bags are checked and there is a metal detector. Since this was a cold weekend out of most of the tourist and school trip season, the line took about 20 minutes to get through. Once through security, you enter the Great Hall. This is a great place to just look around at the tile floor, columns, the floors above you and the incredible ceiling.

The tile floor inlay is the 12 zodiac symbols surrounding the sun in the middle.

When you walk up the staircases, you will see figures of small children representing parts of American lives such as jobs and hobbies. These types of figures are traditional of Italian Renaissance design.

Inside the Great Hall of the Library of Congress

The ceilings are stained glass with a rose design outlined in a silver color. The outline is actually made of aluminum leaf instead of traditional silver leaf.

The ceiling of the Great Hall

The view from every part of the Great Hall in incredible with the columns and paintings in every part of the room. The circular doorway paintings in the Great Hall are representing the seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. There are murals that represent Wisdom in various ways.

Columns and doorway paintings in the Great Hall

Poetry Gallery

The Poetry Gallery depicts murals of poem and what inspires poetry. The large mural at the end depicts Lyric Poetry and the feeling around it. I could easily see how this space would inspire creativity and poetry. The lighting and murals really stirred the imagination. For more information about this gallery see Library of Congress site.

Poetry Gallery

Main Reading Room

While we weren’t able to go into the Main Reading Room, we took a small tour up to the gallery view. You could look into the Main Reading Room while a guide explained the different part and architecture.

Main Reading Room


The Library of Congress will have different exhibit in some of their galleries. When we visited, the exhibit was about American baseball, and I found the women’s league exhibit part especially interesting. To see the real uniform and photos of participants that had just been seen in movies was fascinating.