“Milwaukeeans spend most of our lives in a built environment that has been evolving for 175 years, but we rarely see more than the facades. Once a year the doors open, and the treasures in our midst will be available for all to enjoy.” — John Gurda, Milwaukee historian

Doors Open Milwaukee 2017 is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture, and history. This year the city-wide event offers residents and visitors behind-the-scenes tours of 170 buildings throughout the metropolitan area and surrounding neighborhoods. Doors Open sites include commercial properties, sacred spaces, apartment buildings, breweries, art galleries, community gardens, and everything in-between.

The sixth-annual Doors Open Milwaukee last year attracted more than 31,600 attendees who made 138,680 site visits to unique places throughout Milwaukee. Doors Open Milwaukee encourages people to notice their surroundings. The event helps people to understand why the city looks the way it does and how it works.

This photo essay contains images taken on September 23, covering almost 18 miles across the metro area. Many venues were selected because their locations exist outside of downtown, and are not on the usual tour routes along Wisconsin Avenue.

“With Doors Open, Milwaukee extends an invitation to visit, explore and enjoy our city’s built environment. Milwaukee is packed with great buildings that reveal aspects of our history, economy, and culture. Doors Open presents an opportunity to peek inside and satisfy your curiosity about notable locations. Join us to look at Milwaukee in an entirely new way.” — Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee