Boston Public Library, Boston
Boston , Massachusetts
Tel: 617 536 5400
Concierge.com's insider take:
The Boston Public Library is a destination in itself, and not just for bookworms. Charles Follen McKim designed the original building (check out where the stonemasons ran out of room to chisel "Shakespeare" among the names of the literary greats inscribed on the facade), and the addition is courtesy of Philip Johnson. Inside is art by Augustus and Louis Saint-Gaudens, Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, John James Audubon, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rockwell Kent, and Alfred Stieglitz. There are also murals, including John Singer Sargent's Judaism and Christianity, a depiction of the development of world religions, which Sargent considered his greatest achievement, and The Quest of the Holy Grail, by Edwin Austin Abbey, with 150 life-size figures illustrating the legends of King Arthur. In its research room, the library exhibits some of its rare book holdings, which include Shakespeare first folios and the personal papers of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Free art and architecture guided tours meet in the lobby of the McKim Building: Check the Web site for times.—Jon Marcus
Open Mondays through Thursdays 9 am to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays 1 to 5 pm.