This Saturday marks Wausau’s second year participating in the annual Downtown Open House, a statewide event showcasing socially, historically, and architecturally significant buildings in and around downtown Wausau.

Downtown Open House has nearly doubled in size since its beginning in 2016, now featuring 150 unique venues in more than 20 communities for 2017, according to a Wausau River District news release. Wausau hosts twelve of those sites, with various tours and activities including:

  • Andrew Warren Historic District, self-guided tours starting from the Marathon County Historical Society
  • Center for Visual Arts tour of renovated Vault Gallery
  • Downtown Grocery, tour of original building under constriction
  • First Presbyterian Church, tours
  • Landmark Building, tours
  • Marathon County Historical Society, Peek in to the Archives (using documents to tell a story), Rural Electrification exhibit, Explore Grandma’s Kitchen (an exhibit demonstrating kitchen prep before electricity), and cookies and lemonade
  • Stewart Inn, tours
  • John’s Episcopal Church, tours
  • Stephen’s Church, tours
  • Yawkey House Museum, tours available for purchase
  • YWCA, tours and archive access
  • Pop-Up Art Gallery at 420 Third Street featuring art by Drew Bouche

Friends of Wausau Historic Landmarks and Marathon County Historical Society are key partners in putting the event together and providing some of the tours. Maps of all locations can be picked up at the Marathon County Historical Society.

The event is designed to be a family-friendly event, suitable for all ages and is especially perfect for an early Mother’s Day outing. It also coincides both with National History Month and Wisconsin’s Creative Economy Week, highlighting the diverse historic and creative heritage in the state.

Whether visitors are looking to explore new parts of their own community or discover something new, this event offers something for everyone. An interactive map of participating communities, sites and events can be found at, and the list of participating local sites and activates can be found at our Downtown Open House Facebook Event Page, and on Wausau River District’s website:

The purpose of the Wausau River District is to promote and facilitate the economic development and historic preservation of downtown Wausau for the benefit of the entire community.