The Art of the Matter

Exploring the City Museum

Photo by Matt Haas

Forget what you think you know about museums because, technically, the 600,000-square-foot, four-story City Museum in downtown St. Louis is an indoor playground. And it’s not just for kids because adults love it here, too. (Pro tip: Wear comfy shoes, not flip-flops or sandals; and stretchy pants, too, because there are slides and climbing areas.) Tucked into a 10-story warehouse, this is where architectural history launches a second chapter — the genius idea of founder and sculptor Bob Cassilly. From the abandoned plane jutting out of a top floor (yes, you can walk onto that plane, via a covered wire-tube) to a cooling tube once used to brew beer at Anheuser-Busch (it’s now a slide), this museum is full of surprises. Five food venues (from Baby Elephant Café’s cotton candy and hot dogs to the seasonal Roof Top Cantina beneath the ferris wheel), it’s okay to show up hungry. And don’t even think about leaving before you take a craft class (a recent class cut out snowflakes) taught by an eclectic local artist. As an ode to the building’s first chapter, a shoe-lace factory still resides inside. Located next door to The Last Hotel, this museum is a must-visit during your next stay.

By Kristine Hansen