Are there on-site dining options?
The Café Alcazar features great food served in an atmosphere that complements the museum’s Gilded Age flair. Plus, the location is unforgettable – the now dry bottom of what was once the world’s largest indoor swimming pool!
If you're looking for lighter fare, you'll find an assortment of sandwiches and salads at Reflections Bistro, located in the courtyard of the Lightner Museum.
What are some top things to see at the museum?
Lightner’s original Museum of Hobbies is a tribute to the hobby of collecting – collecting just about anything. Here you’ll find collections ranging from everyday items like match boxes, cigar wrappers and music boxes to some of the world’s most impressive furniture, paintings and sculptures. Some favorites include:
Glass and China
Here is one of the world’s greatest displays of various types of glass and china including famous lines like Wedgwood, Staffordshire, Meissen and others plus early American glass from Sandwich, New Jersey and Pittsburgh. Examples of Tiffany’s world famous stained glass and lamps are also on display.
The broad scope of Lightner’s personal collection is represented by the stuffed remains of a lion once owned by Winston Churchill. (If you look in the corner of this same room, you’ll also find an actual Egyptian mummy.)
The Russian Steam Room
The Alcazar possessed everything needed to pamper its wealthy clientele – including steam and massage rooms. Now part of the Lightner, this steam room features the marble benches on which captains of industry once sweated, as well as the devices used to improve their physical health (some look more like medieval torture implements.)
From the top galleries of the museum, look far below to what was once an amazing indoor swimming pool. Above, the hotel’s ceiling could be opened to the stars. (A rumored tradition of the Alcazar is that on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, a man dressed in top hat and tails would dive from this perch into the pool below.)
Illuminate: Lightner Museum’s Stained Glass Rediscovered
In the Mezzanine above the pool, this permanent exhibit includes 12 restored windows in addition to the distinguished Tiffany lamp with a dragonfly motif. While some of the windows in this collection were made by Tiffany Studios, this exhibit brings to light lesser-known manufacturers that worked synonymously with Tiffany during the late 1880s such as Willet Stained Glass and Rudy Brothers Glass Studio, both from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Lightner exterior
Prior to entering the museum or after exiting, gaze upward from the courtyard or street and check out the red tile roofs, massive towers and terra cotta fixtures. Designed to give it the Moorish style of its namesake, it looks like a structure from the Arabian Nights or Disney’s Aladdin. (Those intricate fixtures are actually chimneys.)