Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Take the Tour in the Midwest

Convenient city tours take the hassle out of navigating the streets in a bustling metropolitan location. Kansas City, the city of fountains, barbecue and jazz, is rich in history, and tours highlight what makes this city so vibrant. As a waterfront city, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee offers tours by land and water. Citywide tours in Springfield, Illinois, explore Lincoln history from the Old State Capitol to the Lincoln Tomb, where he is buried.

St. Paul’s most popular tours showcase the city’s fascinating gangster history and the beauty of the Mississippi River, which cuts through the heart of the Twin Cities. And in Detroit, there are multiple opportunities to experience the Motor City’s architecture, culinary scene and landmark sites.

Kansas City, Missouri

When groups visit Kansas City, KC Barbeque Tours is always a winner — at least for carnivores who love to eat. With more than 150 barbecue restaurants, there’s plenty of Kansas City barbecue history, and chatting with the pit masters is always a highlight. Samplings at well-known barbecue eateries and hidden-gem joints include at least one meat and side dish per stop.

Double Decker Bus Tours takes groups from the Spanish-tiled Country Club Plaza to historic Westport and Freight House districts. The tour picks up and drops off at the doorsteps of nationally recognized attractions such as the National World War I Museum and Memorial, the College Basketball Experience, the Arabia Steamboat Museum, the Boulevard Brewing Company and the historic River Market. Segway Bike and Stroll tours highlight the museums, green spaces, entertainment and tastes of Kansas City.

Making its rounds to the wineries, breweries and distilleries of the city, the Barley Bus Tour is another popular option. Three stops per tour, behind-the-scenes action and tastings make for several fun hours while seeing the city sites.

“Visitors are surprised at the vibrancy and vitality of Kansas City and the vast arts, culture and history that we have to offer,” said Toni Alexander, communications manager with Visit KC. “And when it comes to our barbecue tours, people should pace themselves so that they can sample everything because they certainly won’t leave hungry.”


Tours take many forms in Milwaukee, by both land and water, but the city’s beer history and German brewing heritage makes a good starting place. Hop Head Tours offer educational and historic custom group tours that visit the breweries, wineries and distilleries of your choice. Bike tours visit the historic sites of Blatz, Schlitz, Pabst and Miller Brewing and emphasize Milwaukee’s brewing heritage. Untapped Tours also offers a historic city tour with breweries, attractions and food stops.

Milwaukee Food and City Tours explores neighborhoods originally settled by Italian, Irish, Polish and German immigrants. Year-round, this company hosts walking and bus tours that point out architectural highlights, cultural hot spots, and great restaurants and shops while sampling flavors along the way.

By water and for smaller groups, Sea Dog Sailing focuses on Lake Michigan trips with the city’s architecture and landmarks as backdrop. For large groups, Edelweiss Cruises offers elegant dining and cocktails. Milwaukee Boat Tours sails the Milwaukee River on themed cruises in a relaxed atmosphere. River paddling with a guide while skimming past city sites is available with the Milwaukee Kayak Company.

“There’s no shortage of interesting tours in Milwaukee, whether by boat, bike, kayak or on foot,” said Kristin Settle, director of communications for Visit Milwaukee. “We love to show off our city, and tours allow groups to explore like a local.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.