Explore Sites New and Old at Doors Open Milwaukee 2023

The popular behind-the-scenes tours of Milwaukee’s prominent buildings return Sept. 23-24.

Indulge your voyeuristic tendencies this month when Doors Open Milwaukee grants access to some of the city’s most iconic sites, including many which aren’t typically open to the public. The Jones Island Water Reclamation Plant, the Milwaukee Water Works Kilbourn Reservoir Pumping Station and the Milwaukee Robotics Academy are among those that will welcome visitors during this event, which takes place Sept. 23-24. 

“One of the most-visited sites, the Federal Courthouse, will be open for the first time since 2019,” says Grace Fuhr, Events Director at Historic Milwaukee. The 130-plus-year-old building features a stunning five-story atrium. “This is the only time that visitors are permitted to take photos in the courthouse,” Fuhr says.

Retrospekt; Photo courtesy of Historic Milwaukee


Nominations are open for the 2024 Unity Awards! 

Know an individual or group committed to bridging divides in our community? Nominate them for a Unity Award by Oct. 31.

Several new stops have been added since last September, including Retrospekt, an analog tech repair business in Riverwest that specializes in Polaroid and 35mm cameras, portable cassette players and classic gaming consoles; The Garage, the Harley-Davidson Museum’s recently opened event space; and the Kellogg PEAK Initiative, a community center located in Tiefenthaler Park on Milwaukee’s northwest side. 

Kellog Peak Initiative; Photo courtesy of Historic Milwaukee

While many participants check out big-name stops, Doors Open is also a chance to explore important off-the-beaten-path institutions across Milwaukee. 

“As a city of neighborhoods that is often divided along streets and ZIP codes, this event is an opportunity to cross those lines and visit many of our community’s hidden and prized gems,” says Fuhr, whose personal must-see stops include the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Zimmerman Architectural Studios and City Hall.

Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery; Photo courtesy of Historic Milwaukee


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s September issue.

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Carmella is a writer and journalist. When she's not typing behind the computer, you can catch her at a local show or thrift store.