Temple Tour, a Toast and a Skyscraper View

Our next special, one-off tour is on Friday, April 25th, 5:45pm. We are very happy to offer a rare visit to the Chicago Temple building’s skyscraper terrace and a “Chapel in the Sky.” So please join us for the “Exclusive Temple Tour with Views and a Toast!” (If you could not make it to this special event, we visit the Chicago Temple almost every day on the Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour.

This is our third time offering this special event architecture tour of the Chicago Temple to the public. It also might be our last since the senior pastor is retiring. We do not know who the next resident of the three-story penthouse overlooking downtown Chicago will be. Nor do we know if the person will enjoy having random people hang out on their terrace – rightfully so!

downtown chicago architecture skyscraper neo-gothic
Looking up at the turrets from the private roof terrace.

About the Chicago Temple Building

For this architectural and historical tour, I will share some unexpected stories of the history of the Chicago Temple building. It houses the First United Methodist Church, offices for various businesses, and the pastor’s private residence. On this special tour, I will take a limited group of 24 guests to experience the building’s beautiful Neo-gothic architecture, as well some surprises hidden in the ornate and colorful stained glass windows of the church’s sanctuary.

The scope of the tour extends beyond church history. Guests will hear the fascinating and radical story that surrounds a sculpture that incorporates an actual KKK cross, and they will walk down the marble hallway that leads to Clarence Darrow’s former office, the famous lawyer for the Leopold and Loeb murder trial.

chicago architecture tour temple building skyscraper
Chatting with Phil on his skyscraper terrace on a previous tour.

Visit a Residence and Chapel in the Sky

Then we will head up to the top of this 1920s skyscraper. On the 26th floor we will enter the magnificent Chapel in the Sky with its carved walnut beams and stained glass windows. The tour will conclude with a prosecco toast on the pastor’s private roof terrace with fantastic views of downtown Chicago.

It’s prosecco instead of champagne because from all my travels in Italy as a tour guide with Rick Steves, I have acquired a taste for this dry sparkling white wine from the Veneto region.

As with all of Chicago Detours’ walking tours, guests will share iPads with historic images and video clips while the tour guide gives commentary.

Tickets for the Chicago Temple Tour are $36 for the 2 hour, 15-minute long tour, which includes guide commentary, shared use of iPads, sparkling wine, cheese and other light snacks, entrance to the Chapel in the Sky, access to the private terrace, and the gift of a historic print of the building. Additionally, guests get a peek inside the mid-century modern interior of the pastor’s three-story penthouse. For this special event, I will give half of guide gratuities to a church initiative that gives specially designed backpacks to the homeless.

Reservations are required via www.chicagodetours.com. Group size is limited and only a few tickets are left! Like I said, it may be the last time we offer this, so we hope to see you there!

– Amanda Scotese, Chicago Detours Executive Director 


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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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