The Boston Athenæum
This membership-only library at 10-1/2 Beacon Street has been a Boston institution since 1807, and a recent membership drive is attracting a new generation of members. The 10-story building was erected in 1859 when the collection became too large for its original home.
The Athenæum has 5,000 members from all over the world. It also has about 1,000 proprietary memberships that are handed down generation to generation from the original founders of the library.
For those under 41, the yearly member fee is $115 per individual or $175 per household. For those 41 and over, the membership fee is $230 for individuals and $290 for households.
There's something for everyone here: a charming children's library, evening literary lectures followed by wine and cheese socials, quiet reading halls and much more.
The first floor is open to the public, but the rest of the library is only open to members. The fifth floor is a beautiful reading room with a lounge and kitchenette, as well as a balcony that offers stunning views of downtown Boston.
The lectures with wine and cheese are hosted once a week during the academic year, high tea is served at 3pm every other Wednesday and story time for children is held Tuesdays and Thursdays. The library also hosts an art exhibition three times a year. A full list of events is available on the website.
Tours are available to the public Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm, but participants must call ahead to register.
- Hours: Mon, Wed, 8:30am - 8pm; Tue, Thur, Fri, 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat, 9am - 4pm; Sun, closed
- Handicap Accessible: Elevator
- Founding Date: 1807
- Parking: On-street: free, On-street: metered
- Size of collection: 600,000
- Specialties: Extensive rare book collection.
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Private events: Yes