Everything You Need to Know About the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine

Housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, the Lightner Museum is one of St. Augustine’s most treasured icons. The stunning architecture and fine collections of 19th-century art are what attract visitors from all over the globe to this awe-inspiring attraction. During your next getaway with us in St. Augustine, you won’t want to skip the Lightner Museum and all of its fascinating discoveries. Here is everything you need to know about the museum and how to get the most out of your visit.

Looking for even more local attractions like the Lightner Museum? You’re in luck! Our free Vacation Guide is filled with all the best recommendations for things to see and do in St. Augustine including museums, historic sites, beaches, dining, shopping, and more. Request your free copy today and we’ll see you soon!

History of the Lightner Museum

The spectacular Alcazar Hotel was built in 1888 by Henry Morrison Flagler and quickly earned the nickname “The Castle of Happy Returns.” During the 1890’s,  more than 25,000 guests stayed in the hotel and indulged in luxury amenities that were considered to be top-of-the-line during that time period. The hotel provided a grand ballroom, sulfur baths, a massage parlor, bowling alley, and much more. It was also the home of the world’s largest indoor swimming pool during the time.

In the 1940’s, the hotel was repurposed as a museum to house the collection of Otto C. Lightner. During the Great Depression, Lightner quickly purchased the collections of millionaires that had been acquired over a lifetime. Today, the Lightner Museum continues in its mission to preserve, maintain, research, and interpret the collections for the educational benefit of the visiting public.

What to Expect at the Lightner Museum

From typewriters to paintings, Lightner’s collection of fine and decorative art is both impressive and extensive. During your visit to the Lightner Museum, you’ll come across hundreds of fascinating treasures, including popular items like the mummy, human hair art, and Tiffany glass. No matter what suits your fancy, you’ll be sure to find a fascinating piece among the museum’s four floors.


Taking a tour of the Lightner Museum is a great way to learn more about the history of the Alcazar Hotel and the art collections now housed within it. These tours range from self-guided to docent-guided and are priced from $15-$35 per person.

We highly recommend taking the special Upstairs/Downstairs Tour, which gives you access to spaces not shown to the general public. These tours are $40 per person and last approximately one hour.

Lightner Museum Restaurant

Located directly behind the museum, Cafe Alcazar offers a unique dining experience within what used to be the former hotel’s indoor swimming pool. This is a great spot to rest your feet, reenergize with a cup of coffee, or enjoy a quick lunch before embarking on the rest of your tour. The cafe is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so be sure to stop by during their hours!

Lightner Museum Events

No matter what time of year you visit the Lightner Museum, you’ll always find something fun and new to experience. From Curator’s Tours to art contests, the museum provides an event that is sure to delight visitors from all walks of life.

Lightner Museum Tickets

General Admission  | $15

Senior  | $12

College  | $12

Active Military  | $12

12 – 17-Year-Olds | $8

11 and younger (with adult)  | Free

*Quick Note* Saint Johns County residents and Flagler College students get free admission every Sunday with a valid I.D.

Experience the Best of St. Augustine During Your Stay With Us

After exploring the Lightner Museum, come back to the Victorian House for a full evening of pure relaxation. Our elegant bed & breakfast is located right in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district, making it ideal for travelers seeking comfort and convenience to their favorite local attractions. The highly-appointed guest rooms are also equipped with everything you need for a memorable getaway including private porches, fireplaces, JACUZZI® tubs, and more. Guests will even enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast served each morning during their stay. What more could you ask for in a St. Augustine, Florida vacation?

Book your next Atlantic coast getaway with us today! We look forward to welcoming you to St. Augustine soon.