A Milwaukee Day-Trip Detour

 Chicago is, of course, a major transportation hub. So it’s easy to sneak away for a quick “detour” to some fantastic places. My favorite is a Milwaukee trip, which is a short train ride north on the Hiawatha line. When you’re hungry for some travel, a Milwaukee trip provides a hearty lunch, the architecture of a different skyline, and for me, an excuse to wander with my camera and a book. Recently, a friend and I took a quick road-trip to the land of cheese and the city of brewers.

Milwaukee trip beer brewery
Hard not to visit a brewery during your Milwaukee trip. Photo by Elizabeth Tieri.

Our first stop in downtown Milwaukee was for an old-world German lunch at Karl Ratzsch’s for some sauerbraten and beers. Once our bellies were full, we rolled into the more industrial corridor of town to our hotel–the Brewhouse! Originally the Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, this newly opened hotel celebrates historic Milwaukee with a swanky twist.

We had a one-bedroom suite just behind the PABST sign with all the exposed brick and floor-to-ceiling windows that you could desire. On the second floor, they’ve even left the brew kettles and stained-glass windows, as pictured here, that were the heart of the original brewhouse.

After checking in we walked along the River Walk to a brewery tour at Lakefront Brewery, which is a bit of a misnomer as it’s on the riverfront, not the lakefront. Here I experienced my first tour since becoming a tour guide, and I must say it was a joy. Evan, our guide, was charming, informative, and enthusiastic–all the things I strive to be for you! I could not, however, keep my eyes off the light fixtures shown below. Ring any Chicago-based bells for you?

Milwaukee trip FLW lamps

(In case you don’t recognize the design of the lamps is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.)

Milwaukee trip drinksWe brunched the following morning at Sobelman’s, which we chose simply for the Bloody Mary seen here, then decided the full burgers were too tempting to resist. Afterward, we headed back to Pabst-ville for a brewery tour at Best Place, where we learned all kinds of Pabst trivia like why they really call it Pabst Blue Ribbon – hint, it has less to do with the World’s Columbian Exposition than the ribbon on the can would make you think. We also learned why there’s a B at the center of the emblem.

A trip to Milwaukee wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The building itself a beauty and its permanent collection to be coveted. One of their temporary exhibits at the time was the tattoo art of Amund Dietzel. I would have never guessed that tattooing was illegal in Milwaukee as recently as the 1990s!

There’s even more to explore on your Milwaukee trip, including some great architecture. So jump on the train, expressway, or whatever your mode of transportation to experience the joy of our amazing neighbors north of Chicago.

– Elizabeth Tieri, Tour Guide


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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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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.”


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


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

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.”
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