I am wandering to St Paul by way of Des Moines, IA and Kansas City, MO and back to OKC between July 24th and Aug 5th. Any suggestions as to oddities for this trip? I looked in Atlas Obscura book and found a graveyard in Iowa and a few other things. Anyone suggest any “must sees”? The odder, the better! Thank you all!
Don’t miss the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, IA, only a few miles west of your route on I-35 from Des Moines to the Twin Cities. A religious shrine that is also an acid trip. In St. Paul, the Wabasha Street Caves, an event hall (and former speakeasy) built into limestone caves) where you can jitterbug to a live swing band. In Oakland Cemetery, also in St. Paul, find the fascinating Hmong gravestones, which are laser-etched with portraits of the departed in their traditional dress or Royal Lao Army uniforms, along with images of cars, Hmong musical instruments, and sports equipment. In Minneapolis, House of Balls, artist Allen Christian’s wonderful surreal personal gallery. http://houseofballs.com/
A little off the beaten track is Spillville IA . Little tiny town, home to the Bily Brothers clock museum. Giant hand carved black walnut clocks. Also in Grinnell, about 50 miles east of Des Moines, see the Louis Sullivan-designed bank, now the Chamber of Commerce. Beautiful architecture. On the surreal side is the Spam Museum in Austin, MN.
If you get close to Tulsa the Blue Whale of Catoosa is a great fun stop! Be sure to climb into the second floor! In Oklahoma City, it hasn’t opened yet, but the folks at Factory Obscura (no relation) are great and will have a big immersive space opening in the fall.
Oh and in Minneapolis (besides a strong second for the House off Balls, mainly because Allen the creator is so awesome) you should check out Can Can Wonderland! Big artist created mini golf course / bar / restaurant. Super fun.