The Doors Open Minneapolis event attracted more than 17,500 people who made 71,687 visits to some of the city's architectural gems.

The annual celebration, on May 17 and 18, gave visitors free, behind-the-scenes access to buildings across the city that were architecturally, culturally or socially significant.

While total numbers aren't in yet, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis took first place in number of visitors, reaching nearly 6,000 over the weekend, the Minneapolis mayor's office said Tuesday.

The event organizers and hosts declared it a success.

"Doors Open brought people together in an extraordinary way — all with the express purpose of celebrating Minneapolis and the buildings and businesses that have helped make it a world-class city," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.

Scott Mayer, lead organizer of the event, thanked the hundreds of sponsors and volunteers.

"They created the opportunity that allowed my fellow Minneapolitans to be tourists in their own city," Mayer said in the city's statement. "Judging by the enthusiastic response, we've proven that our community loves to learn about our history and what's in our future."

Doors Open was launched this year, following a model in other major cities, that allowed visitors to tour more than 115 buildings, businesses, museums and other venues. The Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Minneapolis was a priority for many.

"We knew we had 6,000 visitors, but being the top venue is a surprise for sure," said Alyssa Augustine, spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve Minneapolis. "I hear from people out in the community that the building looks very intimidating, and for good reason. There's a lot of money in it. It needs to be secure.

"We're just happy people wanted to visit us and learn more about the Minneapolis Fed," she said.

The city's main Post Office downtown also drew crowds, reaching nearly 3,000 visitors, said Kristy Anderson, strategic communications specialist for the U.S. Postal Service.

"We were expecting maybe 65 to 75 people on each tour," Anderson said. "We had close to 300 in each. It was exciting. People said they had no idea about the process and technology for getting mail.''

More than 1,500 people toured Minneapolis City Hall, including stepping inside the mayor's office and learning what he was working on.

"I had people literally standing behind my desk," said Mychal Vlatkovich, the mayor's media relations coordinator. "People were genuinely interested in what happens in the mayor's office.''

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota was among the hosts for the event, overseeing two events at the Mill City Museum, including a 21st Century Development model for sustainable living. The institute's executive director, Mary-Margaret Zindren, said Doors Open was an excellent forum for visitors to see how the city was designed and developed.

"We knew the public would be interested, because other cities have done this before," said Zindren. "We very much look forward to next year."

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511