This coming weekend, September 17 and 18, 2016 has arguably one of the best events in Milwaukee: Doors Open Milwaukee. For two days, more than 150 buildings in the city open their doors to the public free of charge. You can visit churches, government buildings, museums, art studios, theaters, hotels, and more. The event also includes ticketed tours and family activities, including Family Passport. It’s truly a one of a kind opportunity to explore the fantastic city of Milwaukee for free.
If you’re brand new to Doors Open, I recommend starting downtown at the U.S. Bank building or City Hall and then exploring other Doors Open sites in the downtown area, as there are many located in this region. If you’ve been to previous Doors Open weekends, I recommend studying the building list and making a game plan ahead of time so you’re sure to hit a few new sites.
Here are a few peeks of some of my favorite sites from the past two Doors Open weekends. Please keep in mind that the buildings list changes from year to year. As of publishing this post, with the exception of the Avalon Theater, all of the sites featured here will be open for 2016, but this is subject to change at any time without notice.
Basilica of St. Josaphat, another must see Doors Open location. If you’ve never been in the Basilica, use Doors Open as an excuse to take in the magnificent architecture and learn a little of its history.
Bay View Printing Company. Please pay the printing company a visit in 2016. It is such a neat business, and the staff is very friendly.
Milwaukee skyline from one of the rooftops in Walker’s Point. There are multiple Walker’s Point buildings that open up their rooftop levels during Doors Open.
Inside 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. You can tour the majority of the building and visit the rooftop garden during Doors Open.
The 6th annual Doors Open Milwaukee runs 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 2016. The website features the full list of participating buildings and ticketed tours. Don’t forget to tag your images #DoorsOpenMilwaukee on Twitter and Instagram and explore the hashtag throughout the weekend.
Are there any Doors Open sites you’re looking forward to visiting in 2016?
Feel free to leave them in the comments!
Most of the summer, I’ve been taking my camera to the beach in the evening. Last week I seized the opportunity to take a few pictures in the morning. It was warm and humid with very calm, clear waters. Pictures really don’t do justice to the vast range of colors or the way the water sparkles in the sun.
I can’t believe that another summer has flown by, and we’re now moving into September. Personally, I’m so glad that I don’t have to be in back-to-school mode and can enjoy every last bit of warm weather while it’s still here.
8/3: Keith Pulvermacher Band @ Denim Park. Denim Park is a fabulous spot in Milwaukee to hear free music on Wednesday nights in the summer. In 2014, I heard I’m Not a Pilot at Denim Park, and in 2015, I heard Parallel. This year I managed to catch the Keith Pulvermacher Band, featuring among others, Peter Thomas of I’m Not a Pilot. So fabulous. There is nothing like hearing great music outdoors on a beautiful summer night. I have a few video clips from the show over on YouTube.
8/6: Bristol Renaissance Faire. Jake and I have been going to Bristol since our early dating days. We have been at least seven or eight times, and it’s always so much fun. This was our third consecutive Bristol excursion during Steampunk weekend, which offers some of the best people watching you’ll see anywhere in southeast WI. A very nice fellow hobbyist photographer with a 70D wanted to take our picture so we got our first ever shot together at Bristol.
8/7-8/13: Montana. Obviously, one of the biggest things that happened in August was our week long trip to Montana. I have a separate Montana highlights post over here.
8/18: Full moon at North Point Lighthouse. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer watching the moon, especially the days around the full moons. I found out about the full moon lighthouse climbs when I was researching for my August Milwaukee events post and decided I had to make it to the last one of the summer. They had drinks and snacks, and the entire first floor of the house was open so you could browse their exhibits and artifacts when you weren’t making the climb. The lighthouse featured this photo on their Instagram and Facebook pages, which was pretty cool.
Also, before the full moon lighthouse tour, I hadn’t been to Lake Park in months and didn’t realize it was a huge Pokemon Go gathering place. Has anyone else experienced the Pokemon Go phenomenon this summer? There were literally hundreds of people there.
8/19: Church festival. Just about every Catholic church in southeast WI holds an annual festival, typically in the summer, as one of their big fundraisers. As illustrated by this photo, they’re kind of a big deal. In addition to more than half a dozen carnival rides, there were food and drink booths, multiple entertainment stages, casino games, auction prizes, lots of kid games, and more.
8/20: Zoo a la Carte. One of the single best events at the Milwaukee County Zoo is Zoo a la Carte. There are food stations and music, and the zoo is open late. The zoo is so big and the food lines are never very long so it’s easy to grab your food and spread out somewhere. Some of you may have seen a few food snaps in my Instagram story (randomcreativeart). While we were there, we got to meet the baby giraffe who was born this spring.
8/21: Irish Fest. For the past few years, Jake and I have been going to the Irish Fest Sunday mass and then enjoying lunch, Irish dancing, and a few of the exhibits. Milwaukee is home to several Irish dance studios, and they’re all fabulous.
8/26: Game night. Jake and I host a monthly board game night for family and friends to enjoy delicious food and drink, good conversation, and of course, a few games. I am terrible about taking pictures of game night because I’m always working on food prep or doing some sort of house cleaning or prep right up until the last minute. There are certain tasks like putting drinks on ice or getting an appetizer in the oven that just can’t happen until right before the event. Then we have people arriving and I forget all about taking pictures.
the U.S. Bank Building, one of many buildings open to visitors during Doors Open Milwaukee
The 2016 event is Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. both days. It’s a rare opportunity to explore a wealth of really neat sites around the city, including churches, historical downtown buildings, theaters, local businesses, local breweries, and much more. I’ll have a full preview post later this month, but make sure to put it on your calendar now.
I love watching the torch glass artist at the Renaissance Faire.
Also, Labor Day weekend, September 3, 4, and 5, is the final weekend for the 2016 Bristol Renaissance Faire. You don’t want to miss it!
The greater Milwaukee area is home to dozens of fabulous farmers markets, including one of my personal favorites (and one of the biggest in the area), the West Allis Farmers Market. Many Milwaukee farmers markets operate through mid to late fall.
Milwaukee is home to four fabulous beer gardens, all of which operate through October. It’s not too late to enjoy a brew and a giant pretzel in a gorgeous park setting. The Landing at Hoyt Park features live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (see event calendar for times), and the South Shore Terrace features live music Wednesday evenings from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
[Disclaimer: I do not work for the city of Milwaukee. I am not paid to promote any of the events listed on this page. I’m simply a resident of southeast WI who loves Milwaukee and enjoys attending and generating exposure for events in Milwaukee.]