one of the first Chicago companies to produce live, virtual events.

Our Story

or the history of us!

2010

Founder Amanda Scotese created Chicago Detours to bring people to explore stories and places of Chicago architecture and history that even locals didn’t know.

She has worked in travel for 20 years, including a decade as a Tour Guide and Guidebook Researcher with Rick Steves’ Europe.

We designed walking, bus and boat tours of downtown and Chicago neighborhoods.

Amanda and the Chicago Detours team cultivated a reputation as having the most fun and smart tour guides in the city, with a solid five stars on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp.

40500+ walking & bus tour guests
2019

Chicagoans voted “Best Tour of Chicago” for the Chicago Reader poll.

Best of Chicago

We were one of the first Chicago companies to produce live, virtual events.

First, we transitioned onto Zoom to help people keep exploring during lockdown. We designed virtual events of drinking history, food history, and Chicago neighborhoods. We virtually traveled via 360-degree images. We interviewed other creative interpreters of Chicago to amplify other voices.

Then we went into an intense collaboration mode, experimenting with games and ways to keep Zoom events fun and interactive. We dug through our giant library of photos. And we devised new stories.

Ultimately we used our background in visual storytelling, our expertise in Chicago architecture and history, and a decade of curating corporate events to become a new, virtual events company. 

We now specialize in live, virtual corporate team building events with swag and gifts. 

zoom faces on a remote virtual team building tour
26000 virtual tour event guests
40500+ walking & bus tour guests

“Want to Tour Chicago from Your Couch?”

BlockClub Chicago, 3/27/20

“Your Guide to At-Home Activities”

NBC Chicago, 4/10/20

“Actually Cool Things You Can (Still) Do in Chicago Right Now”

thrillist, 8/15/2020

“Best Recurring Virtual Events”

UrbanMatter, 5/8/20

Meet the team

Amanda
Executive Director and Event Host

Sonny
Operations Coordinator and Event Host

Alex
Content Manager and Event Host

Marie
Marketing Manager and Event Host

Ellen
Sales Manager and Event Host

Jen
Event Host

Elyse
Event Host

Anthony
Event Host

Our Virtual Tour Company Philosophy

We believe that the primary role of a virtual tour guide is to educate.

Virtual tour guests experience incredible visual media, forgotten stories, and new perspectives.

We know you’re sick of Zoom.

We spent months to design and test the interactive elements of our virtual tours.

We know that history is best told with a creative approach.

Our virtual tours use various media, like historic quotes, old photographs, and documentary film clips to tell the story.

We are committed to telling a broad range of stories.

We amplify the perspectives of marginalized voices from history, including minorities, women, and LGBTQ people on our virtual tours.

We understand that virtual events are about building community.

As a virtual events producer, we work with conventions, destination management companies, non-profits, universities, and our fellow Chicago businesses and historians. See our virtual conversations on our Youtube channel.

river city chicago architecture stories event

ready to book a virtual event?