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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

From Meatpacking Hub To Foodie Heaven, West Loop’s History On Display In Walking Tour

The tour will explore how the meatpacking district became home to an array of high-end restaurants and companies like Google and McDonald's. 

Chicago Detours guide conducts Interior Architecture Tour in the Loop. [Provided: Chicago Detours]

WEST LOOP —  Chicago Detours is putting Fulton Market’s meatpacking roots on display in a walking tour this summer.

The company behind the Downtown tours unveiled its summer lineup that includes a tour of once-gritty Fulton Market.

“Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour” explores architectural details hidden among the booming neighborhood.

During the two-hour, one-mile excursion, tour guests sample food that highlights Fulton Market’s meatpacking past, including artisanal deli meats from Publican Quality Meats, half of a signature sub at family-owned J.P. Graziano, and will finish with pickles a craft beer sample at Haymarket Pub & Brewery.

Using the neighborhood’s existing architecture as a guide, the tour will explore how the meatpacking district became a rapidly-developing neighborhood that is home to an array of high-end restaurants and companies like Google and McDonald’s. 

Tour tickets are available online for $42. 

Executive Director Amanda Scotese says the tour looks at the present day landscape through its historic past.

“We look at the rapid development while looking at its meat history to give a little bit of context to the current neighborhood,” Scotese said.

Five years ago, Scotese developed the Fulton Market tour with a culinary writer as a one-time tour, and has since conducted various private group tours to people curious to learn more about the neighborhood’s history.

“As Chicago gets more and more developed, it’s important to pay attention to these places that have a history and have a story, and are the real thing,” Scotese said. “It is such a fascinating neighborhood with all kinds of tangible, visible clues to tell its story.”

Chicago Detours offers year-round tours of the city’s architecture, history and culture led by educators, historians, artists and storytellers.

Other tours returning for the summer season includes the “Best Architecture Walking Tour for Design Lovers,” which covers Chicago’s vast architectural history in the Loop. The “Old Polonia and Wicker Park Food Tour” explores the evolution of the old “Polish Downtown” and the “Six Corners.”

The summer tour lineup runs until October.