Boston Athenaeum

Beacon Hill & Boston Common

Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenaeum is an old and distinguished private library, having hosted the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Its collection has half a million volumes, including an impressive selection of art, which is showcased in the on-site gallery. The library itself is open to members only, but tourists can visit the gallery. Tours of the library's art and architecture are offered several times a week; reservations recommended.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Beacon Hill & Boston Common attractions

1. Granary Burying Ground

0.04 MILES

Dating from 1660, this atmospheric atoll is crammed with historic headstones, many with evocative (and creepy) carvings. This is the final resting place…

2. Park St Church

0.07 MILES

Shortly after the construction of Park St Church, powder for the War of 1812 was stored in the basement, earning this location the moniker ‘Brimstone…

3. Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

0.08 MILES

The magnificent bas-relief memorial opposite the State House was sculpted by Augustus St Gaudens. It honors the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of the Union…

4. John Adams Courthouse

0.09 MILES

Peek inside the impressive courthouse on Pemberton Sq, which is home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the oldest appellate court in the…

5. Blaxton Plaque

0.09 MILES

The 50-acre Boston Common is the country’s oldest public park. If you have any doubt, refer to the plaque emblazoned with the words of the treaty between…

6. King's Chapel & Burying Ground

0.11 MILES

Puritan Bostonians were not pleased when the original Anglican church was erected on this site in 1688. The granite chapel standing today – built in 1754 …

7. Massachusetts State House

0.11 MILES

High atop Beacon Hill, Massachusetts’ leaders and legislators attempt to turn their ideas into concrete policies and practices within the State House…

8. Old City Hall

0.12 MILES

This monumental French Second Empire building occupies a historic spot. Out front, a plaque commemorates the site of the country's first public school,…