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The Internet is full of lists about the world’s most breathtaking libraries, tucked away in Europe where they’ve been sitting for hundreds of years. The truth is, however, there are stunning libraries right here in the U.S.

Even if you’re not looking to hit the stacks, there’s plenty of goregeous Tk, atk kand architecutre to marvel. So make visiting a cool library part of your next weekend road trip or week-long vacation to remind yourself learning doesn’t have to end on graduation day.

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Rare Book and Manuscript Library | Flickr CC: Lauren Manning

Rare Book & Manuscript Library: New Haven, CT
This library is home to some of the world’s oldest books in the fields of literature, theology, history and the natural sciences. It’s a hot spot for researchers who are able to study some of the books up close, but this Yale University library is also open to the public for free daily tours. The marble building was designed to filter natural light in a way that would protect the books from damage, and the architecture alone is something to marvel.

Feed the mind, and then: Grab a hot slice from New Haven’s famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and then unwind with a comfortable stay at the nearby Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Central Library | Flickr CC: Tim Samoff

Central Library: Kansas City, MO
For starters, this library looks like a giant bookshelf. The exterior walls of the parking garage have been decorated with oversized spines from famous titles like Catch-22 and Silent Spring. The library itself was originally a bank and has gorgeous columns and a detailed ceiling inside, and has also retained the old bank vault which now accents an event space used for film screenings. If all that wasn’t enough, the building has a magical children’s reading area with oversized pages and inviting colors that make visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

Feed the mind, and then: For more fun, take in some history at the Arabia Steamboat Museum and book a posh stay at Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza.

Americana Theatre | Flickr CC: Kari Sullivan

Yarborough Branch Library: Austin, TX
In an effort to bolster the reputation of an Austin neighborhood, the Yarborough library was opened in 1965, and it quickly became a central part of the community. The cinema eventually had to close its doors but got a new life as a public library branch in 1999 and has even retained its vintage sign and charm. A walk through this library brings up fond memories of all the first dates and movie nights of the past as it continues to be an integral part of this growing city.

Feed the mind, and then: Start feasting on some Franklin Barbecue and enjoy Austin’s great nightlife. Book a room at the beautiful Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt near happening bar strip Rainey Street.

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Main Library | Flickr CC: Ellen Forsyth

Main Library: Salt Lake City, UT
This six-story library is home to more than 500,000 books and, simply put, is awe inspiring. Built in 2003, it has been called one of the most structurally unique buildings in the state of Utah. It features a beautiful glass facade with amazing views of the city and nearby Wasatch Mountains, a rooftop garden and fireplaces on four floors. With seemingly endless natural light, the library is the perfect place to be inspired about finding a new page turner. For visitors, the views alone would be worth it.

Feed the mind, and then: Work in a few days of skiing in Park City, about an hour and a half away.  In Salt Lake, you’ll also want to check out the Temple Square grounds and kick back right in the middle of the action with a stay at the Hotel RL by Red Lion.

Seattle Central Library | Flickr CC: Ming-yen Hsu

Central Library: Seattle, WA
This library is a far cry from the marble and gilded ones of the old world. Instead, it features a contemporary design meant to help push the public library system into a future that marries technology with reading and learning. This main branch has space for more than 1.45 million books, all of which move around the building as part of a high tech behind-the-scenes delivery system. Featuring plenty of tables and comfy chairs with natural light, it’s is a great space to get work done or just relax with a great tome.

Feed the mind, and then: Explore the city’s iconic attractions such as Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Stay at the Pan Pacific Seattle in downtown for amazing views.

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Kristen Mitchell

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen is a writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida
Kristen Mitchell

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