Architecture and History Chicago Events For Summer

Looking for some Chicago events for summer with an architecture and history twist? Here’s our pick for the week featuring a special tour of an all-in-one campus skyscraper, and exclusive tour of Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, and a community place-making event.

roosevelt university chicago architecture tour
Photo Credit: Courtesy of VOA

1. Roosevelt University’s Vertical Campus – SPECIAL TOUR

425 S. Wabash Ave. – Thursday, August 14th, 4:30pm-6:30pm

FREE – reservations required

A new look for urban universities, the Student Life, Academic and Recreation Building at Roosevelt University is an all-in-one campus skyscraper. Hosted by AIAChicago, Joe Dietz and Al Migon of VOA will offer a short presentation before leading a tour of their recently completed building, which incorporates a 15-story academic, recreation and student life complex that is capped with a 18-story residence hall. The building houses everything from the college of business, general academic classrooms and science labs to a recreation center and student union; plus, there are over 600 student residences.

bridgeport neighborhood chicago decorator's supply
Photo Credit: Amanda Scotese

2. Bridgeport History of Creative Production – EXCLUSIVE TOUR

Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th – Saturday, August 16th, 10:30am-1:00pm

$30 – reservations required

Only from yours truly, this special one-off “Detour” of Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood you’ll explore artist studios, a factory, a warehouse, a church, and an artisanal bakery on a 2.5-hour-long tour that considers the shift in cities as traditional industrial centers to being hubs of cultural production. Tour stops include contemporary art galleries, such as Co-Prosperity Sphere, and an exclusive visit to Decorator’s Supply, a historic manufacturer of architectural details that started business with the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and is a virtual white wonderland of intricate plaster and resin ornaments. Tickets include engaging tour guide commentary, exclusive entrance into historic buildings, and a savory pie and treat from Pleasant House Bakery. The tour is limited and capped at 20 guests.

3. Old Place, New Tricks Placemaking Challenge – COMMUNITY EVENT

Dorchester Community Garden, 6956 S. Dorchester Ave. – Saturday, August 16th, 10:0am-5:00pm

FREE – registration recommended

Be a part of Chicago’s history and get together with friends and neighbors this Saturday for the annual Metropolitan Planning Council‘s challenge to activate a public space in the community for one day. Hosted by the Rebuild Foundation, volunteers will be charged with the creation of place that is the vision of neighborhood members, young and old, by constructing a picnic table, garden sculpture and signage for the Dorchester Community Garden.


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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.”
Shelby F

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