Doors Open Minneapolis with Kids!

Girl peaking around an open door. Text says: "Doors Open Minneapolis with Kids. Explore Our City's History & Architecture as a Family"

Doors Open Minneapolis is May 18th-19th in 2024. This weekend-long event is basically a city-wide open house with FREE, behind-the-scenes access to cool buildings. We think this is a great opportunity to take kids places they normally don’t have a chance to visit throughout the City of Minneapolis. Note that some of these buildings are only open one day of the weekend. A few buildings are only offering ticketed tours, but most are open to the public.

We recommend reviewing the venue information on the Doors Open Minneapolis website. You can use Ctrl-F to search for “kids activities” when designing your families perfect line up. Below we share a few favorite kid-friendly opportunities and ideas for types of tours you could design.

Check back will share reader favorites, ideas and hints as we approach Doors Open weekend. Feel free to share in the comments.

Kid-Friendly Favorites

American Swedish Institute

2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Open: Saturday, May 18, 2024 and Sunday May 19, 2024, 10am-5pm
Visit the Family Gallery featuring Nature Story, the outdoor playcart, and write a letter to Tomte while you explore this grand mansion.

American Swedish Institute – Turnblad Mansion

Hennepin Healthcare Teddy Bear Clinic

715 S 8th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Open: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 9am-3pm.
What better way for kids to learn about a healthcare clinic than to bring their special stuffies for an exam? Kids can hold their Teddy bear’s hand as they are admitted, examined and receive a variety of procedures (ie. blood pressure and heart rate checks, injections, stitches, x-rays, or a splint or bandage). Plus, the clinic will make real repairs and sew-ups to their special patients. Families can participate in prevention activities, and tour an ambulance and fire truck. Registration is recommended for this FREE event.

Highpoint Center for Printmaking

912 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Open: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 10am-5pm (but plan to arrive between 12pm-4pm for family activities)
Highpoint will be offering a Free Ink Day and a gallery show during its Doors Open event. Families can view artwork at the annual student exhibition and create their own prints to take home, while learning about Highpoint’s facilities. Definitely a stop worth adding to your family’s itinerary!

Girl trying out printmaking during a Free Ink Day at Highpoint Center for Printmaking
Learn more about FREE INK DAYS here.

We’ve broke down this extensive list into types of buildings that “tell our city’s story”.

Explore Historic Buildings

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “exploring architecture with kids from an early age can help foster their creativity and expose them to potential new hobbies and career paths.” It is also just interesting and fun to tour some of the old buildings in Minneapolis.  Many of these historic buildings are in Downtown Minneapolis. If the weather cooperates, you can take a walking tour of downtown architecture from the historic Foshay Tower to the modern Minneapolis Central Library.

Visit New Museums and Cultural Organizations

Most of the museums and cultural organizations on this list are hidden gems that we might not think to visit or that are not always free. This is a unique opportunity to stop by and tour a new museum.

Exterior of Minneapolis Institute of Art


Explore Churches and Sacred Spaces

I once read a blog post (that I have never been able to find again to link to) by a stay-at-home-dad who was introducing his preschooler to architecture by visiting churches. Churches are generally free to visit and often open to the public during day hours. They also often offer a unique chance to see beautiful architecture, art and culture all in bite-size proportions. However, it can be understandably intimidating to walk into an unfamiliar place of worship – especially with kids in tow – so Doors Open is a perfect opportunity to get this chance.

Delve Into Government Services

See what our tax dollars pay for that we may just take for granted.

El Camino Del Corazon
El Camino Del Corazon in Minneapolis City Hall (Image courtesy City of Minneapolis Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program

Minneapolis Park Buildings:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is offering free tours of three of its sites! Tour several historic and unique buildings managed by MPRB.

Theodore Wirth House located at Lyndale Farmstead Park in Minneapolis Minnesota
Historic Theodore Wirth home. Image courtesy of MPRB.

Tour Local Businesses & Industries

Remember how Mr. Rogers used to have behind-the-scenes videos of businesses and factories? This could be like a live version of that. Tour a small and large newspaper, a car repair shop, a sausage company, a recycling service and an antique architectural salvage company.

Restaurants, Pubs & Breweries:

Cool tours and cool spaces. These small businesses offers special places to visit with a family for food and entertainment.

Design Your Own Art and/or Theatre Crawl

Several theaters and studios are opening their doors this weekend, and since this is also Art-A-Whirl weekend in Northeast Minneapolis, there will be plenty of opportunities to visit artists.

Art-A-Whirl With Kids
Learn more about Art-A-Whirl

We would love to hear about your experience during Doors Open Minneapolis. Have you done it in previous years? Where do yo plan to go this year. Leave a comment and et us know how your day goes!

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