Doors Open Milwaukee is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history. This event offers behind the scenes tours of more than 150 buildings throughout Milwaukee’s downtown and neighborhoods and 40+ ticketed tours led by community leaders.

The buildings featured on this page participated in 2017.

Stay tuned for 2018 program information coming in July.

How it works

  • Use the filter below to build your own itinerary.
  • No tickets necessary.
  • Start when and where you like.
  • Visits to any of the buildings and sites below are free of charge.
  • Free guided tours are often available.
  • Please click on the sites below to view extended details.
  • Note: Like all sites, museums are free, unless otherwise described.


Please note that not all buildings are open for the entire Doors Open event (Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, 10 am to 5 pm). Please confirm the hours in the building listing before you visit.


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Area of Interest
Spotlight Neighborhoods
  • Milwaukee PBS

    Visitors will get a behind-the-scenes look at Milwaukee PBS. Besides a brief tour, visitors will get a chance to be on camera and learn about locally-produced programs and some of the upcoming fall broadcasts including Ken Burns Vietnam.

    1036 N 8th Street enter at the corner of 8th and Highland, take the elevator to the 4th floor.
  • Milwaukee Police and Fire Safety Academy

    Visitors will be offered a guided tour of the Police side of the safety academy used by police personnel. Visitors will be able to see historical artifacts, observe vehicle contact training presented by recruits, a tour of the fire arms range and recruits practicing Defense and Arrest tactics in the gymnasium.

    6680 N. Teutonia Ave (parking in rear)
  • Milwaukee Public Museum Daniel M. Soref Planetarium

    The museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rain forest and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Theater and Planetarium. As part of Doors Open 2017, enjoy a free planetarium program in the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Check for planetarium planetarium times.

    800 W. Wells Street
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theater

    Step into the magic of theater with this behind-the-scenes tour at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, housed in the building of the former Wisconsin Electric Power Company, the first place in the world to use pulverized coal to generate electricity. You will step inside the Scenic, Props, and Costume shops, the Rehearsal Halls, and backstage of the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater. Unique features include mechanical devices from the original 1898 power plant and a display of ornate chandeliers from previous productions.

    108 E. Wells
  • Milwaukee Water Works Kilbourn Reservoir Pumping Station

    Enter the 1950s-era brick building to find three original Allis-Chalmers 20-million-gallon centrifugal pumps and giant transmission pipes, and the old scale used to weigh chlorine that disinfected water in the Kilbourn Reservoir, which was open to the air until 1979. Visitors will find displays of historic photos about the 146-year-old Milwaukee Water Works, and watch a video about the water purification system. Demand for water began a steady decline in the 1970s. The station was decommissioned in 2004, the water reservoir removed, and a hill in the park was built in its place.

    626 E North Ave
  • Milwaukee Water Works North Point Tower

    As visitors step into the 14-foot-wide tower, they will stand face-to-face with a looming, 120-foot-tall iron pipe that was part of a steam engine system to pump Lake Michigan water for fire suppression and drinking. The tower is four years younger and 21 feet taller than the similarly designed Chicago Water Tower. The six-foot weather vane that was removed in July from the top of the tower for repair will be on display, as will photos showing views of a climb to the top and from the four highest windows.

    2288 N. Lake Drive at E. North Avenue
  • Mitchell Gallery of Flight Archives Building

    Unlike past years when the Mitchell Gallery of Flight Museum itself was featured, this year visitors will get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the separate archives building for the Gallery, located in the MKE Regional Business Park (former 440th Airlift Wing). Visitors to the Mitchell Gallery of Flight archives building will gain a rare perspective of the work that goes into creating museum exhibits through self-guided tours of the building and view many unique items not normally available to be seen by the public.

    300 E. College Ave. (MKE Regional Business Park)
  • Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC)

    The “inverted pyramid” architectural design of MGIC’s 4-story headquarters has made it one of Milwaukee’s most unique buildings since its completion in 1973. A guided tour will showcase the building’s recent remodel and share history of MGIC as they celebrate their 60th anniversary.

    270 E. Kilbourn Avenue
  • Mount Olive Lutheran Church

    Mount Olive Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1923 in the Washington Heights neighborhood. The building is a brick Tudor Neo-Gothic sanctuary with an extensive collection of Munich-style stained glass windows and featuring a Tiffany-style central window in the chancel.

    5327 W. Washington Boulevard
  • MSOE – WMSE Radio – Krueger Hall

    Originally a 1920s automobile tire retailer, this red brick/concrete building is now home to 3,200 watt public radio station WMSE, owned and operated by MSOE. The station has provided Milwaukee with a diverse mix of all music 24 hours a day for 35 years. Tour the WMSE studios, meet some of the volunteer DJs, and be awed by the station’s music library.

    820 N. Milwaukee Street