Offbeat St. Louis

In St. Louis you can find museums dedicated to recycled materials, the game of chess, the economy and more.

See the world’s only completely recycled museum when you visit the art-filled playground of City Museum — an intriguing mix of history, architecture and whimsy. Don’t let the name fool you. This defiantly no-tech, hands-on warehouse of adventure, located in a former shoe manufacturing facility in downtown St. Louis’ Washington Avenue loft district, has nothing to do with city history. An outdoor playground called MonstroCity, a walk-through whale, indoor performances by everydaycircus, the world’s largest pair of underpants and a pint-size railroad are just some of the offbeat museum’s treasures. Head up to the rooftop for more adventure where you will find a Ferris Wheel and slides (including a three-story slide on top of a 10-story building).

One man’s passion for collecting just about everything related to popular culture has created Blueberry Hill in The Loop neighborhood. In addition to its reputation for food and music, the restaurant is known as home to the world’s best jukebox and eclectic collections that range from Chuck Berry’s guitar to Howdy Doody items and vintage lunchboxes. Outside, along Delmar Boulevard, a changing window display at Blueberry Hill often includes performance art, and Loop merchants sell a variety of goods and services that will delight seekers of the offbeat.

Get your kicks on Route 66 by visiting St. Louis’ Museum of Transportation. It’s home to more than 300 moving vehicles including locomotives, streetcars, aircraft and automobiles.

The passenger car collection includes the 1964 Bobby Darin “Dream Car” and a 1901 St. Louis car – a four-seat, single or two-cylinder engine vehicle with tiller steering.

Learn about the economy at Inside the Economy® Museum located in the historic Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Zones cover topics such as the Fed’s Eighth District, how people make economic decisions, how they interact with various markets – from flea markets down the street to global stock markets – and how actions by government, central banks and commercial financial institutions affect us all. At the end, each visitors gets a souvenir bag of shredded money to take home that is no longer fit for circulation.

At the World Chess Hall of Fame, located in the Central West End neighborhood, you’ll find information on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about chess. Permanent and temporary exhibits inform about great players, historic games and chess’s cultural history. And, don’t miss the outdoor chessboard where you can enjoy a game of chess during the hours the museum is open.

Good attractions also come in small packages. The Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis is where you’ll find everything from cute dollhouses to an entire recreated western town on display.

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