If you’ve ever done a double-take walking down Racine Ave, don’t worry. The big green monster is friendly… we think.
If you follow Chicago Instagrammers or spend a lot of time walking around the West Loop, you might have seen a massive yellow door with a big green monster glaring out it. What the heck is that? you probably have asked yourself. Well, behind that highly instagramable door is Big Monster Toys, the creators of all your favorite childhood toys.
That big, green monster is actually guarding one of the biggest toy and game manufacturers in the country. Big Monster Toys designs toys for many big businesses like Mattel, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, Disney, and Little Tikes. In fact, Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, several Barbies, My Dream Puppy, and Uno Attack have all come out of this Chicago design firm.
Chicago has a history of great toymakers. Many famous toys have come out of the windy city including Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Operation, and Mystery Date just to name a few. While many of these simpler toys and games have wavered in popularity in favor of virtual fun, BMT is still dedicated to keeping things playful in Chicago since 1988.
Behind the big, yellow door is even more fun; The BMT office is just as playful as the toys they create. The kitchen is shaped like a train caboose, there’s a giant giraffe that watches over the production area, and a huge, elevated train set weaves through the entire building. WeWork’s got nothing on this office!
While BMT isn’t usually open to the public, they occasionally unlock their giant doors for open house events. Keep on the lookout for these awesome opportunities to explore the country’s best toy design shop.
The building’s comically large door is also a popular spot for Instagram shots. Chicagoans love to pretend to hang off the large doorknob or duck in faux-terror from the green monster peering outside. Next time you scroll past that comically large door on or pass by it on your commute, take a moment to be grateful for the childhood fun you had with toys from BMT.
Also, be sure to take a selfie with the big door and tag us with #mysecretchicago on Instagram. We love to see your silly photos of trying to turn the giant doorknob.
Address: 21 South Racine Chicago, IL. 60607
Nearest CTA Stations: Morgan, Union Station, Ogilvie
Feature photo: @louis_esn