Redwood Library & Athenaeum
For such a small state, Rhode Island sure knows how to pack in the history. This is America’s oldest lending library, named after its founder, Abraham Redwood, and designed in 1747 by Peter Harrison. (Harrison, the first classically trained architect in the New is also responsible for the country’s oldest synagogue, also located in Newport, a few blocks away.) Today, the 160,000-volume collection—which focuses on 18th-century decorative arts, early U.S. political history, and Rhode Island geography—is open to visitors (there’s a $10 admission fee), students, and subscribing library members.