Madison Building

Washington, DC

One of the Library of Congress' three buildings. This has the Madison Cafe (open 8:30am to 3:30pm weekdays) on the 6th floor, a fine spot to refresh and take in the city views. Room 140 is where staff members issue library cards to anyone who wants to do research. The 3rd-floor Pickford Theater screens free classic and contemporary films; check the schedule at

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Washington, DC attractions

1. Library of Congress

0.14 MILES

The world's largest library – with 164 million books, manuscripts, maps, photos, films and other items – awes in both scope and design. The centerpiece is…

2. Adams Building

0.15 MILES

One of the Library of Congress' three buildings, this holds 180 miles of shelving and is used mostly by researchers.

3. Folger Shakespeare Library

0.22 MILES

Bard-o-philes will be all aflutter here, as the library holds the world's largest collection of old Billy’s works. Stroll through the Great Hall to see a…

4. Supreme Court

0.27 MILES

The highest court in the USA occupies a pseudo-Greek temple protected by 13,000lb bronze doors. Arrive early to watch arguments (periodic Monday through…

5. US Capitol

0.32 MILES

Since 1800, this is where the legislative branch of American government (ie Congress) has met to write the country's laws.

7. Summerhouse

0.44 MILES

Northwest of the Capitol is the charming 1879 Summerhouse, a redbrick hexagon with black-iron gates and an interior well. This is where women in the late…

8. Bartholdi Park

0.44 MILES

Beautifying a traffic island at the rear of the United States Botanic Garden, this modest showcase of sustainable and accessible landscape design has at…