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Doors Open Mpls.: The must-see buildings according to a historian, the mayor

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Metal grates remove large debris from water flowing down the power canal.
If you're heading out to Doors Open Minneapolis this weekend, but aren't sure where to start, here are some pro tips. Architectural historian and writer Larry Millett is recommending the Hennepin Island Powerhouse, a hydroelectric plant.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Over 100 buildings in Minneapolis will open their spaces to the public this weekend as part of Doors Open Minneapolis, a new event designed to encourage Twin Cities residents to engage with their surroundings. 

Architectural historian and writer Larry Millett perused the list of buildings; here are his top picks.

Where to go according to an architectural historian

• Pillsbury A-Mill Underground: Millett looks forward to seeing the "enormous tunnels, tail races and head races" at the largest water power system in the city. 

Fast Horse in Minneapolis.
Fast Horse in Minneapolis will be featured as part of the Doors Open Minneapolis event.
Courtesy of Doors Open Minneapolis

• Hennepin Island Powerhouse: As a self-proclaimed "industrial archaeologist," Millett is particularly interested in touring this hydroelectric plant. 

• Lakewood Cemetery Chapel: For those who have yet to go to the historic chapel, Millett recommends a visit to view the mosaics. 

• Gethsemane Episcopal Church: Although not as well known as other large churches in the area, Millett says it's worth going to the first Episcopal church in Minneapolis.  

• InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Hotel: A tour of the airplane-inspired hotel is an "example of modern architecture in an exciting location." Millett hopes to not only tour, but perhaps stay the night to watch the planes take off. 

• Fast Horse: The marketing company's Warehouse District building, recently renovated by architect David Salmela, serves as a prime example of the new wave of architecture in Minneapolis. Since Salmela doesn't design many commercial buildings, Millett deems this space a worthy stop. 


Doors Open Minneapolis is a collaboration between the Minneapolis chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the city. Mayor Jacob Frey suggests the event could be the perfect backdrop to a date with a significant other. He already knows where he will be heading.

Where to go according to the mayor of Minneapolis

Witch's Hat Water Tower
Witch's Hat Water Tower in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Bridget Bennett for MPR News file

• Prospect Park Water Tower: Frey plans to start his weekend at the water tower, otherwise known as the Witch's Hat. Frey points out the tower is rumored to be the inspiration for Bob Dylan's song, "All Along the Watchtower."

• Minneapolis City Hall: On Saturday morning, Frey will be in his office, giving tours to those who stop by. 

• H. White's Men's Room: The barbershop located in north Minneapolis will be hosting a block party on Saturday, and Frey intends to be there for the celebration. 

• Scottish Rule Masonic Center: Many are looking forward to finally seeing the inside of the large Romanesque-style structure, including Frey, since the building is usually locked to the public. 

• Target Plaza/Target lights: "If you want to get an interesting vantage point of the entire city from up top, head to the Target corporate building," Frey said.

Correction (May 16, 2019): The Minneapolis chapter of the American Institute of Architects was misidentified in an earlier version of this story.