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Doors Open


Doors Open Milwaukee is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history. Tour 170+ sites throughout Milwaukee including skyscrapers, art galleries, community gardens, theaters and more—including several sites in the Valley!

Buildings open for tour in the Valley:

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Plum Media

See how state-of-the-art media production facilities coexist with ornate chandeliers, vaulted ceilings and Neogothic flourishes.

1418 W Saint Paul Ave
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm | Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

Fully wheelchair accessible

Visitors can take a self-guided tour, complete with augmented reality experiences. Watch the well-documented renovation unfold before your eyes with video and 360-degree images from throughout the process.

Designed by architect A. C. Runzler and built in 1929 by Robert Reisinger Company, this Neogothic Revival building originally housed the showrooms of the Milwaukee Casket Company, which occupied several buildings on this block. Plum Media recently renovated the building, preserving original elements like ornate chandeliers, terrazzo floors, and an impressive vault. The shiplap wall in the lobby was made from reclaimed floor molding, Cream City brick from a demolished outer building was incorporated into interior walls, and Mission-style balusters and railings adorn the staircases.

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Zimmerman Architectural Studios

This building was originally home to West Side Works for the Milwaukee Gas Light Company and provided gas to light homes and street lamps.

2122 W Mount Vernon Ave

Saturday 10 am - 5 pm | Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

Handicapped Accessible

Fully wheelchair accessible

The building housed retort furnaces to super-heat coal into gas which was stored in gasometers and piped throughout the city overnight. Today, the retort furnaces are gone, and is now home to Zimmerman Architectural Studios and Harwood Engineering Consultants.

Visitors to Zimmerman Architectural Studios can learn about the building’s history through photographic exhibits and see design work from the 110-year history of Zimmerman Architectural Studios. Guests are free to explore the building at their own pace, chat with an employee to learn more about the renovation and rehabilitation process, or just relax in the gallery and watch a slideshow while children (and adults!) build their own architectural creations with Legos.

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City Lights Brewing Company

Located on the north bank of the Menomonee River, City Lights continues the renaissance of this central, yet underutilized portion of Milwaukee.

2200 W Mt Vernon Ave
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm | Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

Handicapped Accessible 1st floor only

In 1902, the Milwaukee Gas Company began construction of what was originally known as the West Side Water Works. The campus was originally designed to facilitate the coal gasification process, which provided the coal gas used to light street lamps throughout the City of Milwaukee. The buildings were planned and designed more than a century ago by Alexander Eschweiler. During this time period, coal gasification was a common means of providing the gas for street lamps and homes in cities throughout the United States and Europe.

The historic buildings of the West Side Water Works campus were cleaned up and treated to a minimalist intervention that allows their 115 year old industrial character to play a central design role. City Lights Brewing Company re-purposed these buildings by retaining their historic character including exposed steel columns and trusses, red and white glazed Tiffany Brick, a and timber roof. These materials are accented with furnishings made of raw steel and reclaimed wood (some from the floor structure removed from the canning building). Production of City Lights beer in the state-of-the-art brewhouse and fermentation tanks, as well as innovation of new styles in a small batch pilot brewing system, occurs within direct view of the public tasting room. A beer garden, with views of the river, allows tasting and musical entertainment to expand to the outdoors.

Each visitor will receive a complimentary 5 ounce pour of a City Lights beer. Tours are complimentary but will require advance registration due to demand: (414) 436-1011.

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4 Seasons Skate Park

Visit Wisconsin’s largest indoor skateboard facility.

200 N 25 St

Saturday 12 pm - 5 pm | Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Fully wheelchair accessible

Established in 1999, 4 Seasons Skate Park is Wisconsin’s largest indoor skateboard facility offering skateboarding, BMX biking, in-line skating, and scootering. The park offers different areas for all ability levels, so beginners and professionals alike will enjoy the courses. 4 Seasons Skate Park promises to provide participants with the most progressive ramp designs, serve as positive role models, and encourage local youth to practice their sport, grow as individuals, and connect with the community.

Visitors will have full access to the indoor skate park, where they can explore the facility on self-guided tours. Make sure to check out their awesome wooden bowl, where some of the world’s top riders have rode, including Tony Hawk, Chris Doyle, and Ryan Nyquist!

Special Tours in the Valley

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Sat, Sep 28, 9 AM - Paddle the Menomonee River and Explore its Canals

Starting location: Milwaukee Kayak Company, 318 S Water St

Enjoy a nice morning kayaking with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Cheryl Nenn, and Milwaukee Kayak Company as we paddle through the Menomonee Valley and explore it’s canals.

On this paddle, you will explore the lower Menomonee River and its industrial canals. The tour will take us past the Harley-Davidson Museum as we paddle the South Menomonee Canal and talk about issues associated with the Valley Power Plant as well as big changes made to that plant to improve water quality and air quality. We will turn around and check out the Burnham Canal and learn about efforts to remove contamination and restore this waterway to provide better wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. If time permits, the tour will head up the main stem of the Menomonee River to the Emmber Lane boat launch and discuss the history of the Menomonee Valley and its impact on water quality.

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Sat, Sep 28 - Materials Reclamation Facility

Starting location: 217 N Emmber Ln

Tour times: 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM, 1 PM & 2 PM

Join us for an in-depth tour of the Materials Recovery Facility with a recycling professional to see what happens to your recyclables after they are collected from your cart! With the completion of a retrofit in 2015, recycling processing is completed in a state-of-the-art, single stream facility. Since the machinery is not operating we can get an up close view of the equipment that processes over 68,000 tons of material each year.

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Sat, Sep 28, 9 AM – 20 Years of Creative Transformation in the Menomonee River Valley

Starting location: 3700 W. Milwaukee Road (near 36th & Canal St.)

Join Menomonee Valley Partners and Doors Open Milwaukee as we walk along the Hank Aaron State Trail and tell the surprising story about how this revitalization unfolded, from kids who wanted a place to play soccer to the first park built by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. We’ll visit the Menomonee Valley Community Park, Valley Passage, Three Bridges Park, and North Bank Trail – hearing numerous examples of collaboration and creative problem-solving along the way.

This year marks 20 years since Menomonee Valley Partners was formed and celebrates 20 years of transformation in the Menomonee River Valley. While it’s becoming known for its trails and parkspaces, the district was once a drain on the community and was known for abandoned buildings, contaminated land, and a certain smell. Efforts to revitalize the Valley began in earnest in the 1990s with a 133-acre parcel (about the size of 100 football fields) just east of Miller Park. The community looked at the former Milwaukee Road railroad shops, the site of 125 years of heavy industry, and asked that it become a hub for family-sustaining jobs with green spaces where animals would thrive and children could play. This area had been ignored by the real estate community because of a long list of challenges—poor access, lack of infrastructure, frequent flooding, unstable soil conditions, derelict buildings, and soil contamination. Thanks to the many partners behind the scenes who donned their (very) creative thinking caps, this area transformed more than anyone expected. It is now home to the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center and Community Park, Three Bridges Park, the Hank Aaron State Trail, and dozens of species of native plants and wildlife. Community input, weeks of brainstorming, and flexibility from some of our largest state agencies made this possible.

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Sun, Sep 29, 9 AM – Biking the Hank Aaron State Trail

Starting location: 3700 W. Milwaukee Road (near 36th & Canal St.)

This bike tour will go through areas of great significance in the city’s history. This easy ride with frequent stops will focus on the history and changes in the Menomonee Valley, Native American uses, impacts of the Milwaukee Road Shops, and the Milwaukee Soldiers Home, built for returning Civil War veterans and still serving veterans today.