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Milwaukee Public Library

Enter this neo-renaissance building to discover a library and community education resource, as well as an important heritage center for Wisconsin arts.

You don’t need to have bookish tendencies to enjoy a day at Milwaukee Public Library. Dating from 1898, this imposing building is one of the city’s most appealing historic landmarks and a deserving member of the National Register of Historic Places. It was constructed in a neo-renaissance style out of limestone and crowned by a large central dome.

To get a sense of its place in history and its architecture, join one of the free guided tours held each Saturday afternoon. Tours are also available at other times by appointment. Despite its function as a busy city library, there are a lot of original decorative features still visible. Admire the colorful Italian mosaic tiling, brass and stained glass lighting fixtures, and large Corinthian columns. 

Venture into the Old Board Room and Art and Music Room to see intricate hand-carved maple furniture. The latter houses a comprehensive collection of rare art books and sheet music dating back to the early 19th century. The Children’s Room is a riot of vibrant color, with dozens of animal-shaped prints on the walls and furniture. The room is noted for its Hans Christian Andersen window feature, which was installed in 1896. Storytelling, arts and crafts classes, and puppet shows take place here regularly.

For more scholarly pursuits, spend time browsing through the Rare Books Room, which houses over 6,000 items. A few date back to the 15th century. Don’t miss the hefty Autograph Book, which contains signatures and drawings from over 2,000 prominent figures of the late 19th century, including Mark Twain and Thomas Edison.

The library is situated on W. Wisconsin Avenue in central Milwaukee, just east of the North–South Freeway. It’s open seven days a week. There is limited street parking, but the nearest bus stop is only half a block from the main entrance.


Guide to Exploring around Milwaukee Public Library


Best Lodging Options Near Milwaukee Public Library

See all 465 Properties near Milwaukee Public Library
Hyatt Place Milwaukee/Downtown $99
Hyatt Place Milwaukee/Downtown

Hyatt Place Milwaukee/Downtown

800 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee, WI
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Westown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Fiserv Forum and Milwaukee Public Museum. Milwaukee Public Market and Milwaukee Art Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 19 minutes by foot.

    Hyatt Regency Milwaukee $84
    Hyatt Regency Milwaukee

    Hyatt Regency Milwaukee

    333 W Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Westown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Milwaukee Public Museum and Fiserv Forum. Milwaukee Public Market and Milwaukee Art Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 12 minutes by foot.

      Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown $85
      Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown

      Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown

      611 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in East Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Riverside Theater, and Milwaukee Public Market. Wisconsin Center and Pabst Theater are also within 15 minutes. Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 14 minutes by foot.

        Aloft Milwaukee Downtown $95
        Aloft Milwaukee Downtown

        Aloft Milwaukee Downtown

        1230 N Old World Third St, Milwaukee, WI
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Westown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Martin Luther King Drive, Fiserv Forum, and Pabst Theater. Wisconsin Center and Riverside Theater are also within 15 minutes. Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 18 minutes by foot.

          Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown $90
          Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown

          Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown

          700 N. Water Street, Milwaukee, WI
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in East Town, this hotel is steps from Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and Riverside Theater. Wisconsin Center and Pabst Theater are also within 10 minutes. Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 14 minutes by foot.

            DoubleTree by Hilton Milwaukee Downtown $93
            DoubleTree by Hilton Milwaukee Downtown

            DoubleTree by Hilton Milwaukee Downtown

            611 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Westown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Milwaukee Public Museum and Fiserv Forum. Pabst Theater and Marquette University are also within 15 minutes. Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 7 minutes by foot.

              Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Milwaukee $62
              Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Milwaukee

              Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Milwaukee

              1840 N 6th St, Milwaukee, WI
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Milwaukee, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Martin Luther King Drive and Fiserv Forum. Wisconsin Center and Milwaukee Public Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 28 minutes by foot.

                Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee Downtown $76
                Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee Downtown

                Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee Downtown

                176 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Westown, this hotel is steps from Warner Grand Theater and Riverside Theater. Wisconsin Center and Pabst Theater are also within 10 minutes. Milwaukee Intermodal Station is 11 minutes by foot.