Once a hotel catering to its era's one percent, this 1887 structure was bought in 1946 by Chicago publisher Otto Lightner to house his major collection of Victoriana. Much of the stunning Spanish Renaissance Revival structure still exudes that historic hotel vibe, from the architecture down to the café that's housed in what used to be the hotel's pool (back in 1889 it was the world's largest). The collection is spread out over three floors, featuring an impressive array of relics of America's storied Gilded Age, from costumes and furnishings to mechanical musical instruments that may suddenly break into songs that were popular back in the day. Take advantage of the guided monthly tours by Lightner Museum Curator Barry Myers, who, at 10am on the first Wednesday of each month, leads visitors on intimate encounters with a select few of the Lightner's eclectic relics, including a mummy, shrunken heads, hair art, Russian baths, and a lion that belonged to Winston Churchill. In 2013, Myers took visitors to the museum's private fourth floor, which isn't open to the public, so you never know what you may discover. Best of all, these tours are included in the admission price. Expect to spend at least 2 hrs. here, and if you have the time, more.
St. Augustine› Attraction
75 King St.
Our Rating Neighborhood Historic District Hours Daily 9am–5pm Phone 904/824-2874 Prices Admission $10 adults, $5 children 12–18 Web site Lightner Museum