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Harold Washington Library Center

Closed Now: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Open today: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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Certificate of Excellence
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  • Excellent62%
  • Very good33%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“dog tags”(7 reviews)
“red brick”(6 reviews)
The library houses approximately two million books and is a wonderful example of Chicago's architecture.
Closed Now
Hours Today: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605-1216
Downtown / The Loop
+1 312-747-4300
Ways to Experience Harold Washington Library Center
from US$30.00
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from US$650.00
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Reviews (214)
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All reviewsdog tagsred brickbeautiful buildingglass ceilingbook loversformer mayorchildren's sectionlove librariespublic librariesstate streetinformation deskarchitectural gemsouth loopchicago buildingsgreat architecturegreat chicagoworth a stop
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1 - 10 of 182 reviews
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

I went here because my friend wanted to go when we visited the area so I dragged along. The main entranceway stank of urine but once you got further inside that was no longer noticeable. The winter garden was disappointing, there are a couple of...More

Thank Sarah E
Reviewed 3 days ago

A friend told me me about this exhibit. My brother was killed in Vietnam. I am glad we took the time to see it. It is impressive. The only thing I regretted was that the brochures about it were not available. Apparently a grant that...More

Thank Eleanor D
Reviewed 4 days ago

What a beautiful library! I like to visit libraries when I travel (former librarian). This library is easy to find after you get off the train, it's a huge building and be sure you go to the 9th floor to see the Winter Garden. Gorgeous!

Thank Karen C
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

I enjoy visiting great city libarys and this is no exception. The building is massive and to be honest I don't think the inside is as great as the outside.

Thank IAN O
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

As a fan of libraries I wanted to see it. Interesting, and the top floor atrium is lovely. If I were a local I would go there just for the serenity.

Thank cautiousfoodie
Reviewed 5 August 2018

The libarary itself isn't impressive like New York or Boston. But if you go to the roof there is a charming atrium. It's a cool space. Other than that this is a pass. Not much to see, but lots to read!!!!

Thank WanderingCanadian33
Reviewed 2 August 2018

The exterior looks like you're going into a giant Chinese restaurant. Inside, it's like most urban libraries: loud, not very clean and tremendously busy. You have a population mix from families, street/homeless people, tourists, serious students and groups using the meeting rooms. Beware, you might...More

Thank Richard L
Reviewed 1 August 2018

Missed the opportunity to go inside..closing time 5 PM, well worth seeing. Wear comfortable shoes and have patience with the crowd taking selfies.

Thank SharonW2864
Reviewed 30 July 2018

As a library, HWL is terrific and CPL is a wonderful system. As a building, you might spend a few minutes walking through on the way somewhere else. (I personally love the exterior architecture, but that's a matter of taste.) Free and clean public bathrooms,...More

1  Thank Karen60660
Reviewed 26 July 2018

We were disappointed, quite frankly. Staff was not helpful in guiding us to the exhibits and the observation area was closed. The building exterior was interesting but the interior very underwhelming. Not worth a trip out of your way.

Thank Liz M
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Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a
good starting point to sample the city's energy and
flavor. This central business district boasts
Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier
shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep
your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many
photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of
Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of
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10 June 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from cherryicecream2017 | Reviewed this property |
I humbly apologize for not responding sooner, my Internet has bee been down, the question is no longer readily visible to me at this time. I hope I can help in the future in a more timely manner. Cherry ice cream, 2017