Get to Know Chicago Detours Guide Elizabeth Tieri

Being a Chicago Detours guide is very often a terrific job. We get to show people around a city we love and illuminate its history and architecture for them. Tour guests often ask us how we got into being a Chicago Detours guide or other questions about our backgrounds and interests. We figured, why not ask those questions ourselves? So today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Tieri, an all-star Chicago Detours guide.

Chicago Detours guide Elizabeth Tieri
All-star guide Elizabeth in action. Photo by Cherie Tieri

How did you become a Chicago Detours guide?

I met Amanda in 2011 (ed – the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago Detours) at a literary event I was hosting, so that when she was throwing an historic poetry event a few months later, she invited me to read.  By the end of the evening, I talked her into letting me interview to be a guide.

What’s your favorite public tour?

The Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour has a special place in my heart, because it was the public tour I was hired to give and it was brand new at the time, like me. Plus, I love going to the Billy Goat and talking about jazz.

What’s your favorite private tour?

Jazz, Blues, and Beyond Bus Tour all the way, because I love to get out of downtown and show people a little of the South Side.  And we get to visit some of my favorite places in the city, like the Green Mill.

What downtown building do you most love taking tour guests into? And outside of downtown?

I’m a sucker for the Chicago Cultural Center.  I love libraries and that Tiffany glass still gives me goosebumps.  Outside of downtown, I really love the little building on the platform bridge by Ping Tom Park.  I have always dreamed of living there.

Good choice, Elizabeth.

Is there a Chicago building that’s been demolished that you wish was still around?

Ooh that’s tricky.  I definitely wish we still had the Home Insurance Building simply because it was the first skyscraper.  And the recreated rooms of Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange at the Art Institute make me wish it was still here. But more personally, I wish we still had Meigs Field, because when they made that a concert venue they ruined 12th Street Beach, which used to be my favorite beach.

What’s your best memory as a tour guide?

Honestly, probably my first private tour, which was an eight-hour day with a few older French men.  I was really thrown in the deep end with that one, and it was a blast. The guests were thrilled with the sites we explored all over the city, and they even passed me their contact at the end to stay in touch.  It was such a joy to show them my city that I was hooked immediately.

Chicago Detours guide Elizabeth Tieri
Photo by Cherie Tieri

A Chicago book or novel to recommend

For a great Chicago read, I’d say The Man with the Golden Arm. Nelson Algren’s voice in that novel is so on point.  It’s gritty yet poetic and truly sounds how Chicagoans talk.

What’s next on your Chicago reading list?

Next I’m reading Greg Kot’s biography of Mavis Staples, I’ll Take You There, which is AWESOME.  One Book One Chicago, yada yada

What’s your second-favorite city?

Haha, I love the assumption that Chicago is my favorite. 🙂 Paris for its history and its beauty as well as its food.

Neighborhood or suburb you’d like to explore more?

Beverly because I’ve sadly never had a rainbow cone, and I’d like to get on my bike and cycle the Major Taylor Trail.  Both are on my bucket list for this summer.

Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing her time and thoughts with us. You can learn even more from her on one of the many public and private tours she leads for us each week.

– Alex Bean, Chicago Detour Content Manager

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Ellen

Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”
Robert
GetYourGuide

Jen

Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”
Heather
TripAdvisor

Elyse

Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.

Anthony

Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.

Marie

Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”
Lorit
TripAdvisor

Sonny

Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K
TripAdvisor

Alex

Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K
Yelp

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F
Yelp

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