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 13th-14th in 2023. 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. This year the organizers recommend that participants pre-register and a handful of buildings require pre-registration. Pre-registration venues are marked with a “*”. We recommend reviewing the venue information on the Doors Open Minneapolis website.

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.


  1. Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District (708 3rd St S.)
  2. Como Community Center at the Congregational Building (1037 14th Ave SE)
  3. The Dayton’s Project (700 Nicollet Ave)
  4. Ford Center (420 N 5th St)
  5. The Foshay W Minneapolis (821 Marquette Ave S)
  6. The Hennepin (900 Hennepin Ave)
  7. Highlight Center / NBC Sports Next* (807 Broadway St NE, Ste 300)
  8. Hotel Ivy aka The Ivy Tower (201 S 11th St)
  9. Midtown Global Market (920 E Lake St). Not downtown, but a beautiful Art Deco building.
  10. Milwaukee Avenue Historic District (2201 Milwaukee Ave)
  11. Minneapolis Central Library (300 Nicollet Mall)
  12. Minneapolis Iron Store Building (200 N 2nd St)
  13. Minneapolis Main Post Office (100 S 1st St)
  14. Purcell-Cutts House (2328 Lake Pl)
  15. Pillsbury A Mill Underground (315 Main St SE)
  16. Pillsbury Library (9100 University Ave SE). This beautiful building is in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.
  17. Rand Tower Hotel (527 S Marquette Ave)
  18. Target Plaza Lights (1000 Nicollet Mall)*. It looks like these tours are all FULL.
  19. Westin Minneapolis (88 S 6th St)
  20. Windows on Minnesota/Marquette Hotel (710 Marquette Ave)
  21. The Young Quinlan Building (81 S 9th St)

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

  1. Alliance Française (227 Colfax Ave N).
  2. Ard Godfrey House (28 University Ave). Saturday Only. If you miss the tour this weekend, the Ard Godfrey House is open summer weekends from 1-4pm pm in June, July and August. Volunteers from the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis lead free guided tours.
  3. Danish American Center (3030 W River Pkwy)
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (90 Hennepin Ave). Tours of the Minneapolis Fed are normally recommended for ages 16+. However, for Doors Open Minneapolis, families can take a “self-guided experience full of interesting activities”. This spring and summer there is a special Alexander Hamilton Exhibit included with all tours.
  5. George Isaacs Carbarn, Minnesota Streetcar Museum (3816 Vincent Ave S). Trolley rides are the usual $3 this weekend, but families can have an opportunity to tour the carbarn for FREE. There will be both guided tours and demonstrations. Walk to the barn from the station or ride the streetcar (Return trips are free even if you walked from the station).
  6. Hennepin History Museum (2303 3rd Ave South). Found in Steven’s Square neighborhood, kitty corner from Mia, the Hennepin History Museum will be open 10am to 5pm both days and will be offering hourly presentations in the Great Room from 11am to 4pm.
  7. Minneapolis Institute of Art (2400 3rd Ave South). Of course, Mia is always FREE and open to the public, but also always fun to visit with kids.
  8. Open Book (1011 Washington Ave S)
  9. Orchestra Hall (1111 Nicollet Mall)
  10. Peavey Plaza (1011 Nicollet Mall)
  11. Textile Center (3000 University Ave SE #100)

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.

  1. Basilica of Saint Mary (1600 Hennepin Ave)
  2. Central Lutheran Church (333 S 12th St)
  3. Christ Church Lutheran (3244 34th Ave S)
  4. Disciples Ministry Church – Mikro Kodesh Synagogue (1000 Oliver Ave N)
  5. First Congregational Church of Minnesota, UCC (500 8th Ave SE)
  6. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (511 Groveland Ave)
  7. Lakewood Memorial Chapel (3600 Hennepin Ave)
  8. Plymouth Congregational Church (1900 Nicollet Ave)
  9. Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (519 Oak Grove St)
  10. Scottish Rite Masonic Center (2011 Dupont Ave S)
  11. Westminster Presbyterian Church (1200 Marquette Ave S)

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
  1. City of Minneapolis Public Service Building (505 S 4th Ave)
  2. Eastside Maintenance Facility (2635 University Ave NE)
  3. Hennepin County Government Center (300 S 6th St)
  4. Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) (435 North 5th St)
  5. Manhole Entrance/City of Minneapolis Public Works Surface Water & Sewers Division (350 S 5th St)
  6. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Center (212 17th Ave N)
  7. Minneapolis City Hall (350 S Fifth St)
  8. Minneapolis Fire Station #1 (299 5th St S)
  9. Minneapolis Traffic Management Center (300 Border Ave)
  10. Mpls Downtown Improvement District Ambassador Operation Center (1030 3rd Ave S)
  11. Mpls Downtown Improvement District Nicollet Office (651 Nicollet Mall, Ste 105)
  12. St. Anthony Hydro Plant* (30 3rd Ave SE). Saturday Only.
  13. Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam 1 Portland Ave

Minneapolis Park Buildings:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is offering free tours of three of its sites! Tour the Water Works Pavilion, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Recreation Center and the historic Theodore Wirth home.

Theodore Wirth House located at Lyndale Farmstead Park in Minneapolis Minnesota
Historic Theodore Wirth home. Image courtesy of MPRB.
  1. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Water Works Pavilion (425 W River Pkwy) (The building is Unexpectedly Closed)
  2. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Recreation Center (4055 Nicollet Ave S)
  3. Theodore Wirth Home and Administration Building (3954 Bryant Ave S)

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:

  1. Architectural Antiques (1330 Quincy St NE)
  2. Kramarczuk’s Sausage Co. Inc. (215 E Hennepin Ave)
  3. Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (3744 4th Ave S). This is a small newspaper.
  4. K&K Metal Recycling (1728 N 2nd St)
  5. The Lift Garage (2401 E Lake St)
  6. The Star Tribune (800 N 1st St)

Restaurants, Pubs & Breweries:

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

  1. Arts and Rec Uptown (3001 Hennepin Ave Suite 1230)
  2. Fhima’s Minneapolis (40 S 7th St)
  3. Minneapolis Cider Co (701 SE 9th St)
  4. Surly Brewing Company (520 Malcolm Ave SE)
  5. Tiny Diner (1024 E 38th St)


More Cool Buildings to Explore

Exterior of the St. Anthony Main Cinema during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
St. Anthony Main Cinema


  1. The FAIR School for Arts (10 S 10th St)
  2. Minnehaha Academy (3100 W River Pkwy)


  1. Avalon TheaterIn the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre (1500 E Lake St)
  2. Granada Theater and Uptown Lobby (3022 Hennepin Ave S)
  3. The Main Cinema (115 SE Main St)
  4. Music Box Theatre (1407 Nicollet Ave)
  5. Theatre in the Round Players (245 Cedar Ave)


  1. Homewood Studios (2400 Plymouth Ave)
  2. Plymouth Avenue Art Studio (2404 Plymouth Ave N)


Non-Profits & Services

  1. BLIND, Incorporated (100 E 22nd St)
  2. Bolder Options (2100 Stevens Ave)
  3. Youthlink (41 12th St)

Private Clubs

  1. Brick x Mortar (314 N 1st Ave #400)
  2. Minneapolis Rowing Club (2968 W River Pkwy)
  3. The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis (410 Oak Grove St)
  4. ZaRah 1200 W Broadway Ave

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