Top 10 DC Area Public Libraries to Visit

Published on April 27, 2019 - Updated on June 14, 2019

Check out some of our favorites worth exploring!

  1. Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. With its vast trove of multimedia resources – including millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts – it deserves the top spot on our list. This library is the oldest federal institution, and thus a great place to imbue kids with a sense of curiosity and wonder. It offers free tours, exhibits and Young Readers Center open Mon. through Sat. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s easiest to travel there by Metro, as the library is two blocks from the Capitol South Station on the Orange, Blue or Silver Line and half a mile from Union Station on the Red Line.

  1. Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003

The Folger Shakespeare Library offers programs that make the great playwright’s works accessible and fun for children of all ages. Its free Shake Up Your Saturday event series has hour-long programs for children ages four through eleven. The events take place on the first Saturday of each month from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The Folger also has free walk-in tours and free exhibitions. The library is just steps from the Library of Congress, near the Capitol South Station on the Orange, Blue or Silver Line.

  1. Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library

4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016

This D.C. public library, steps from the Tenleytown-AU metro stop on the Red Line, hosts multiple events for children of all ages each day. Many of these, like the Story Time series, are both healthy and educational, incorporating physical activity to engage the mind and body simultaneously. Be sure to get your tickets at the Children’s Desk, which starts distributing them an hour before the start of the story time on a first-come, first-served basis.

  1. Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library

5625 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20015

This next D.C. public library is located near the Friendship Heights Station on the Red Line. It also hosts the Story Time series, as well as a number of board game and movie-oriented activities.

  1. Georgetown Neighborhood Library

3260 R St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

Another fantastic D.C. library for kids, Georgetown Neighborhood Library has the same story time series as the other D.C. libraries, plus events that cater to a wide array of kids’ interests. These events showcase comic books, teach video game strategy and design and introduce kids to musical instruments, to name just a few. Metered street parking is available.

  1. Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library

3310 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

The last but not least of the D.C. libraries to make our list, Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library is just two blocks from the Cleveland Park Station on the Red Line. It reopened in 2018, seeking LEED Gold Certification. The modern and eco-friendly library stands apart with its aesthetically pleasing design and ample green space for kids to enjoy. It puts on the story time series, as well as Zumba, chess, yoga and music classes. Superhero themed events, quiet homework time and foreign language story times are also included in its roster.

  1. Arlington Public Library – Central Library

1015 North Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22201

This library in Arlington has a number of kid-friendly free events. Animal lovers will delight in its Paws to Read program, which pairs children in Kindergarten through fifth grade with a dog to practice reading in a stress-free environment. Its American Girl Lending Program is designed to teach young girls about different eras in American history, through the fictitious stories of the iconic dolls.

  1. Arlington Public Library - Columbia Pike Branch Library

816 South Walter Reed Drive, Arlington, VA 22204

The Columbia Pike Branch Library is smaller than Central Library, but has plenty of reading nooks for kids, plus stuffed animals and educational toys to keep them entertained. This branch also has a popular summer reading program for students below fifth grade. Its regular programs inspire kids to read, move, play games, create artwork and learn foreign languages. There is ample free parking near the library.

  1. Alexandria Library – Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library

5005 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22304

The Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library has fun and intellectually stimulating events for kids nearly every day. Children can earn prizes for reading books, get homework help and play literary games here. The Parents Corner has books that help kids and parents together navigate things like potty training, fear of the dark, adoption and divorce. The library has a large parking lot with 175 spaces.

  1. Connie Morella Library

7400 Arlington Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814

The Connie Morella Library is two blocks from the Bethesda Metro Station on the Red Line. It has 20-30 minute long Storytimes with “books, songs, rhymes and bounces” to bring texts to life, thwarting boredom and inviting the audience to immerse themselves in the story. Events aim to instill in attendees a “lifelong love of learning”. The library has metered parking that costs $1/hour.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Caitlin Iseler
Caitlin Iseler, happyly founder and CEO, was born in New York and is one of eight children. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and the chance to sit at one table with her favorite 40 people. Caitlin, her outdoor loving husband, Thomas, and daughter, Hanah, live in Virginia Beach. She is also blessed to be a bonus mom to 2 incredible humans, Max & Elizabeth. Being a mom has always been something she dreamt of and it brings her joy beyond measure. Before starting happyly, Caitlin spent 15 years working in executive search with technology companies, most recently with Korn Ferry. In what seems like a lifetime ago, she attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the National & ACC Championship Teams, a gift that keeps giving.
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