Visit The Weirdest Museums: Things To Do In And Around Des Plaines, IL - Updated 2021

things to do in des plaines illinois
Kirsty
Kirsty
Updated

Going to museums doesn’t have to be boring and dull. Make your trip fun and exciting by visiting the weirdest museums in Des Plaines. It’s a brilliant idea to explore and actually learn things you never thought you needed to know. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in and around Des Plaines:

1. McDonald's First Store Museum

McDonald's #1 Store Museum, Des Plaines, Ill.
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jerry Huddleston used under CC BY 2.0

McDonalds has dominated the junk food industry. Despite the name, this is, in fact, a replica of the ninth McDonalds store. The restaurant was the ninth store in the history of the company. The museums showcase old uniforms from the 50s along with time capsules. Whilst the franchise is everywhere we look today, it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours seeing its rise to world domination.

The original restaurant first opened in 1955 displaying those famous golden arches welcoming visitors, and whilst the museum doesn’t serve food, don’t fret, there’s a McDonalds exactly opposite across the road!

McDonald's First Store Museum

Address: 400 N. Lee Street, Des Plaines, Illinois, 60016

2. Square Deal Shoe Store

View our Antique Shoe Museum! Shoes dated from the early 1900's

Posted by Square Deal Shoe Store on Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Whether you’re a huge shoe fanatic or are just intrigued by how things are made, this is an interesting visit. The family run shoe shop holds a mini antique shoe museum inside. The shoes date as far back as the 1900s, alongside shoe designs and trends that can no longer be found in shoe shops or sold on the street. The most impressive display are the shoes worn by Robert Pershing Wadlow who was the tallest person in recorded history. He went on to wear an American shoe size of 37AA, the ones displayed in the museum are a 28 when he was growing up. The store is still running today so you can have your shoes custom fit and designed for you personally.

Square Deal Shoe Store

Address: 1516 Miner St Des Plaines, Illinois, 60016, United States

Website: Square Deal Shoe Store

3. International Museum of Surgical Science

International Museum of Surgical Science
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you love science then this museum is a great experience. If, however, you aren’t a fan of surgery, then perhaps close your eyes through some exhibits. The museum has four floors to explore filled with bizarre artifacts including some paintings, sculptures and illustrates healing practices through the years. The documentation of healing methods and breakthroughs are the exhibits on display currently, and the recent Surgicogenomics: Genes and Stem Cells in Surgery, is a groundbreaking exhibit worthy of a visit.

International Museum of Surgical Science

Address: 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60610, USA

Website: International Museum of Surgical Science

4. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art


More on the weirdly beautiful side to museums, the Lizzadro is full of gorgeous minerals and crystals. The mission is to showcase the most beautiful gemstones and promote the study of earth science. The museum holds permanent collections of organic gems that are displayed as various sculptures. The museum has a fabulous gift shop for those looking to add to their growing collection, whilst some are on the pricey side. Visit on a Friday when admission is free!

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art

Address: 220 S Cottage Hill Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126, USA

Website: Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art

5. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum


A post shared by Kate (@kate_bassett31) on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:12pm PDT


Full with incredibly weird money facts; do you know who’s face is on a $10,000 bill? Well, this museum will educate you on all things money. There are thousands of rare and old coins as well as a million dollar briefcase. On the way out of your trip you are kindly handed a bag with 300 dollars, of course, it’s a trick and it’s uncirculated and shredded. But what a great memento to take home and remind you of your trip! A great cheap family day out as ironically there is no admission fee. Kids love the interactive and educational displays, but when visiting, be sure that all adults have a valid ID on entry to the museum.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum

Address: 230 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

Website: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum

6. Busy Beaver Button Museum



The name itself is a tongue twister, but this company creates buttons for businesses all across the country. The museum is located at the headquarters of the company. The collection holds thousands of buttons, most are encased for you to muse over and take in the intricate detail. The rest is laid out amongst the walls and desks where the workers who create the buttons and design logos can be seen working from. You will learn the history and effort that go into creating these little buttons.

Busy Beaver Button Museum

Address: The Button Museum 3407 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60647

Website: Busy Beaver Button Museum

7. American Toby Jug Museum



A collector’s dream, this museum is filled with one of a kind mugs lined across their walls. The Toby jug is a ceramic pitcher which is formed into the body or face of a character. This character can be from any field be it history, pop culture or generic. This particular collection is the largest in the world with up to 8,000 varying designs. A fun filled day for anyone who is a budding collector and even better the whole museum is free. Fun fact: the museum houses one of the world’s smallest Toby jugs in the world. Be sure to get in contact with the museum before you visit, the museum is by appointment only with Tuesdays and Thursdays available.

American Toby Jug Museum

Address: 910 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, USA

Website: American Toby Jug Museum

Embrace the weird!

Welcome to the City of Des Plaines Sign
Source: Photo by user Zol87 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This is the best place to come to Chicago if you’re after something different to do besides regular art galleries and museums. Most of all these are interesting things you perhaps didn’t think about seeing. So it’s a great way to break up your trip and indulge in the weirdness of the world.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Kirsty is based in the U.K's countryside, she loves travelling although she loves culture and exploring new places to visit. Her heart and favorite place will always be Disneyland. In her spare...Read more

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