City Museum | St. Louis

Rooftop view of the City Museum in St Louis, MO

Rooftop view of the City Museum in St Louis, MO

The City Museum in St. Louis is one of my favorite places.

Before Austin and I were married, we went there with a group of college friends and, just recently, we were able to go back. The idiosyncratic City Museum is a place that claims to be “always building” and “saving the city, by any means necessary.” The museum was envisioned and created by artist Bob Cassilly and is housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company where it has been since it opened in 1997.

Outdoor Playground at the City Museum in St Louis, MO

The museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions’. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, City Museum boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes.

Indoors at the City Museum in St Louis, MO

I’ve had so many adventures here. There is something about a place that has no maps and recommends that “a flashlight may be helpful” that just seems to spark something exciting. From climbing around outdoors, to exploring the caves, to the amazingness that is the 10-story slide, (Yes, you read that right. A 10-story side. It’s pretty much the most marvelous thing in the world) it’s the place to go if you want to feel like a kid again. Last time, I found this spot in the caves that was right below the 1924 Pipe Organ. The acoustics were phenomenal and I just hope that I can find the same spot again when I go back next time.

Note: I always leave with fantastically bruised knees.

Old Plane as part of the outdoor playground at the City Museum in St Louis

“City Museum makes you want to know. The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘wow, that’s wonderful.’ and if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.”

Bob Cassilly | Artist & Founder

View from the top of the Ferris Wheel on the roof of the City Museum in St Louis, MO

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  • Naomi

    love this. you did a masterful job with the pictures. what I’d give to come back here…

    • seeing your comment made my morning. we’ll go back together. one day…

  • This museum looks like so much fun! I have never been but my father and Aedan visited in December and had such a blast. Aedan is so not into heights but pushed himself to ride the slides and was talking about them for weeks afterward. 🙂

    • It is an absolute blast. So glad Aedan enjoyed it – it’s the kind of place that pushes you a bit outside of your comfort zone and you have an amazing time as a result. 🙂

  • Your photogrpahy skills are incredible! I can’t stop looking at how beautiful each photo is! Commenting from the Peony Project from!

    • Thank you! So glad that you liked the photos.

  • How fun! I love to see places other bloggers see because otherwise I’d probably never know they exist. I’m loving all of the whimsy & unique appeal.

    • It certainly is whimsical and one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. But yes, that’s the marvelous thing about blogging – you get to hear about places that you might not find out about otherwise.

  • Incredible photos!!!! You did a lovely job.

  • I’ve heard of this place, but I’ve never been. I’d love to go, though! St. Louis was always just a drive-by city for us on the 18 hour drive from MI to TX to visit family, we never actually stopped to see anything in the city. 🙁

    • I haven’t spent a lot of time in St Louis to know what else is fun to do there, but the City Museum is absolutely worth stopping for. It’s even worth going out of your way for.

  • Okay this is the coolest thing ever! If we ever are in this area or need a random weekend getaway I will keep this in mind!

    Chandler | Life as a Larsen

    • Definitely check it out. Hope you have a fantastic time if you end up going!

  • Very cool. I love saving old thing from the trash. Now someone is doing something beautiful with them. Great info….thanks for sharing!

  • I grew up in St. Louis and this makes me feel so nostalgic! We love the City Museum!

    • Isn’t it fantastic? I didn’t grow up near St Louis (I’m a Los Angeles girl) but my husband did so that’s the city that feels the most like home for him. Because of him, I’m starting to discover some great St Louis spots that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Thanks for stopping by!