In a world with approximately 55,000 museums, there’s bound to be an exhibit for every type of interest and no such thing as too niche. 

We’ve rounded up 13 museums that are dedicated to more unconventional forms of art (think: snacks, spies, and felines). Some are off the beaten path, others are in urban environments, but they’re all reminders that there’s so much to soak up in all corners of the world — even underwater and below ground. 

International Spy Museum | Washington, D.C.

Get an inside look at the secrets of real-life espionage at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum features spy gadgets along with an exhibit showcasing the history of intelligence and how it’s evolved over the years. Curious to test your spy skills? Check out the interactive exhibits, where you can go on an undercover mission.

Bata Shoe Museum | Toronto, Canada

Take a walk through the world of footwear at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. You’ll see specimens spanning 4,500 years of history, including ancient Egyptian sandals, Venetian platforms (called chopines), and Queen Victoria’s silk shoes from the 1800s.

Other celebrity shoes featured include Shaquille O’Neal’s boots, Elton John’s silver platform boots, and a pair of maroon-colored sneakers from Justin Bieber


Even from the outside, the museum building is a nod to its appreciation of shoes, as it’s designed to look like the shape of an open shoe box. Do you see it? 

Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum | Seattle, Washington

Just a three-minute walk from Seattle’s iconic Space Needle is a different but no less special gem: the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Showcasing blown-glass artwork from renowned artist Dale Chihuly, the museum’s collection of vibrant sculptures are displayed in indoor exhibits and an outdoor garden. Visitors will see creations resembling sea creatures, flowers, ribbons, planets, and more. 

The centerpiece of the museum is the 40-foot-tall glasshouse, featuring a sweeping, 100-foot-long installation that changes appearance with natural light. As you tilt your head up, you’ll also glimpse the Space Needle peeping through in the background — experiencing two Seattle landmarks in one moment.  

Cupnoodles Museum | Ikeda, Japan

Located in Ikeda, Japan, the Cupnoodles Museum celebrates the creation of the world’s first instant noodles by Momofuku Ando. Guests can make their own original “Cupnoodles” package, quiz themselves on ramen trivia, and enjoy the process of making chicken ramen by hand at the ramen factory. But perhaps the most eye-catching exhibit is the “Instant Noodles Tunnel” featuring 800 noodle packages from around the world, from the present and past.

If you get hungry, ramen that’s available in only select areas of Japan can be purchased from vending machines — so you can complete the ramen journey with a full belly. 


KattenKabinet | Amsterdam, Netherlands

A love letter to felines in museum form, the KattenKabinet, or “Cat Cabinet,” in Amsterdam celebrates cats in art of all kinds. You’ll see kitty-inspired pieces by Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, plus cat sculptures, books, photographs, and cards.

Take a virtual tour here, but you’ll have to go in person to get the full feline experience, where you may even see real kitties curling up in corners with cat paintings behind them. 

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Museum of Broken Relationships | Zagreb, Croatia

There’s no shortage of stories celebrating falling in love, but what about losing it? That’s what the Museum of Broken Relationships holds space for. 

Described as a “public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possession,” the museum features in-person exhibits in Zagreb, Croatia. You can also explore virtual exhibits that show objects from heartbroken humans across the world along with each item’s story. Browse the “brokenships” archive and you’ll see figurines, a toaster, and letters — all embodying past relationships and the bond that once was.

As Olinka Vistica, who runs the museum with a former lover, told The New York Times, it’s a way for people to show the world that “this love existed.” 


New York Transit Museum | Brooklyn, United States

Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights is all about “telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation.” Fittingly, the museum is housed underground in an “authentic” 1936 subway station, where you can take a seat in vintage subway cars, explore archival photographs and signage, and gain a newfound appreciation for the system that runs 24 hours a day in the Big Apple. 

Museo Subacuático de Arte | Cancún, Mexico

Swim alongside over 500 life-size sculptures at Museo Subacuático de Arte, the world’s first underwater museum. Created by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who covers his sculptures in cement that encourages coral growth, the museum is designed to protect reefs — all the while providing art so divers can soak up a museum experience from a new perspective. 

“I’m always trying to communicate how incredible this underwater world is, but also how it’s under deep threat at the moment with climate change,” Taylor told CNN

Lindt Home of Chocolate | Kilchberg, Switzerland 

The Lindt Home of Chocolate is a museum for chocolate lovers by chocolate lovers. A celebration of the beloved treat, the museum features a chocolate fountain, the biggest Lindt chocolate shop in the world, and an interactive museum where you can learn about all things cocoa — how it’s cultivated, its history, and more. 


Of course, no chocolate museum would be complete without eating the treat, so rest assured, there’s a tasting area where visitors can try a variety of Lindt pralines. 

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Cité du Vin | Bordeaux, France

A museum “devoted to the cultures of wine,” Cité du Vin takes visitors through interactive exhibits covering wine across time and cultures. But even before you step inside, the wine experience begins: The building resembles a decanter and features a gold exterior that glistens in the sun. 

Yves Saint Laurent Museum | Marrakech, Morocco

Located in Marrakech, Morocco, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum pays tribute to the legendary French fashion designer with a collection of objects related to his life and work, including textiles, accessories, and drawings from his design process. 

Why Marrakech? In an interview with Vogue Australia, Björn Dahlström, director of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, explained: “Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria. This is significant when we learn that during his first trip to Marrakech in 1966, he acquired a home here. In a certain way, he was returning to his roots.” 

Messner Mountain Museum Corones | Bolzano, Italy

The Messner Mountain Museum provides “a place of encounter with the mountains, with mountain people, and ultimately with ourselves.” Created by renowned Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner, the museum consists of six interconnected parts — each focusing on a different theme of mountaineering and mountain cultures. 


If you visit, consider giving yourself more time than you think you’ll need, as this museum emphasizes slowing down as the stories of the mountains unfold around you. In a 2015 feature by The New York Times, Messner explained, ‘‘This is not a classical museum; it’s not an art museum or a museum of natural science. It’s a museum where I tell stories about the mountains.’’

Wynwood Walls | Miami, Florida

Over 100,00 spray cans, 75,000 gallons of paint, and the creativity of more than 100 artists went into Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida. Dubbed one of the “most Instagrammable” museums in the country, Wynwood Walls opened in 2009 by late real estate visionary and investor Tony Goldman to showcase the work of innovators in street art and continues to share colorful creations of leading artists around the world. 

“He was looking for something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at a simple idea: ‘Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place,’” the Wynwood Walls website explains. Some of the exhibit gems over the years include a reclaimed subway car, an augmented reality experience, and a “Street Art After Dark” series


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