Have you ever driven over the Hoan Bridge and thought, “I wonder what that smell is (Milorganite), and I wonder where Milwaukee’s human waste goes”? This weekend you can get up close and personal with the Jones Island Waste Reclamation Facility, as well as some 165+ other amazing and iconic buildings in Milwaukee that are not normally open to the public, all for free! It’s the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event, and there’s no better time to see the city, from the bottom of Forest Home Cemetery to the top of the US Bank Building.

The Jones Island Water Reclamation Center during Doors Open Milwaukee 2015. All photos by Joe Powell.

The Jones Island Waste Reclamation Facility during Doors Open Milwaukee 2015. All photos by Joe Powell.

You can hit some of our previously-mentioned favorites, from the oasis-like Sanger House Gardens, the eclectic Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear, the hidden Grohmann Museum, or the imposing Central Library.

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Grohmann Museum in East Town.

Just last year we were lucky enough to see Prospect Ave’s historic Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (see featured image) and Burnham Park’s trend-setting Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

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Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear in Westown.

It’s an embarrassment of riches this weekend; there’s simply too much worth seeing to reasonably be seen. You can check out the entire, exhaustive list here, as well as the more in-depth tours available here, and picks specifically for families and kids here.

Milwaukee Blacksmith in the Third Ward.

Milwaukee Blacksmith in the Third Ward.

Some of our must-sees for 2016:

  1. Milwaukee Blacksmith (or you can just watch their new TV show on the History Channel)
  2. Marquette’s St Joan of Arc Chapel, the oldest building in the Western hemisphere (try 14th century)
  3. Foamation, the company that makes Cheeseheads, and their new Walker’s Point location
  4. Sherman Perk Coffee Shop, a retro gas station turned coffee house in an area of Milwaukee that could use some local love
  5. Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, because it’s been a long day and there are no better bartenders in the city
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Sanger House Gardens in Brewer’s Hill.