2018 BUILDINGS

Doors Open 2019 is scheduled for September 28 and 29. Buildings for the 2019 program will be published in July 2019. The buildings featured here were open during the 2018 program. 

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 171 buildings throughout Milwaukee’s downtown and neighborhoods.

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.
  • Hours: Please note that not all buildings are open for the entire Doors Open event (Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, 10 am to 5 pm). Please confirm the hours in the building listing before you visit.

SEARCH BY FILTER CRITERIA

Search Buildings by Name or Keyword
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  • 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

    The Gallery archives are located in a building that was built in 1987 as part of the Air Force Reserve as a simulated electronic firing range. Visitors will get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the separate archives building for the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, located in the MKE Regional Business Park (former 440th Airlift Wing). Access is only available from College Avenue. Follow the Special Event signs. Free parking will be available.

    300 E. College Ave. (MKE Regional Business Park)
  • Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee, Inc.

    Generations have visited this model railroad club since late 1936, and the layout today is as it was rebuilt around 1950. Models are built to 1/4 inch scale, Some of our models are from before World War II, and some are brand new. We are happy to talk to visitors, and we offer stay-as-long-as-you-like self-guided visits (with informational handouts). Small groups are welcome and we can show them around. Children are welcome, too.

    215 East National Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204
  • 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. Parking available at MGIC for visitors.

    270 E. Kilbourn Avenue
  • MSOE Grohmann Museum

    The museum was built in 1924 as a Cadillac dealership and later used (1970s-1990s) as the Milwaukee branch of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank. Purchased by Dr. Eckhart Grohmann as a gift to MSOE in 2005, the building was renovated and opened as the Grohmann Museum in 2007. Visitors are invited to browse the Man at Work Collection, which comprises more than 1,300 paintings and sculptures dating from 1580 to the present.

    1000 N. Broadway
  • Neuhaus Pianos

    Neuhaus Pianos is Southeastern Wisconsin’s oldest family owned piano shop and store. They will be demonstrating these machines as well as showing the process of what it takes to rebuild them.

    8111 W. Greenfield Ave, West Allis, WI, 53214
  • North Milwaukee Arthaus

    The North Milwaukee Village Hall and Fire Station was built in 1900 as an all-in-one municipal building for the growing industrial community of North Milwaukee. Quasimondo Physical Theatre is transforming the former North Milwaukee Village Hall and Fire Station into a center for arts and education; the North Milwaukee Arthaus. Join us for guided tours (10am, 12noon, 2pm) to discover intriguing local history and get an insider’s scoop on our plans to make Old North Milwaukee a destination for the performing arts!

    5151 N 35th St
  • Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

    Tour the new Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons measuring 550 feet and 32-stories. The Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons is considered Milwaukee’s first significant building of the 21st century and a reflection of the city surrounding it. The massive project, containing 1.1 million square feet in total area, has made this building the largest volume of space under one roof in the entire state.

    805 E. Mason Street
  • Nostalgia Home Decor

    The building was constructed in 1902 of Cream City Brick with ornamental wood trim. It is listed with the Wisconsin Historical Society as a historical landmark. Nostalgia Home Decor carries obscure and amazing mid-century modern pieces and kitschy accessories like vintage ceramic lamps, and electric fireplaces that you will likely not find in other vintage shops in the city. But that’s not all. Nostalgia Home Decor is a free-flow art space as well, offering makerspace workshops in textile arts, succulent terrariums, knitting classes, and even poetry. Stop in to experience the space for yourself and meet the awesome owners of Nostalgia Home Decor, Georgette Muilenburg and William Bachle.

    1821 N Doctor Martin Luther King Drive