Chicago Blues Festival – Special Tour

This Saturday, June 9th, 10:30am we are having a rare offering of our  “Jazz, Blues & Beyond” tour by bus, typically only available for private groups. Featured on WGN evening news, the two-and-a-half-hour special interactive event includes a local musician and visits to both iconic and lesser known highlights of Chicago’s rich music history. The tour has been highlighted in the Daily Herald, TimeOut Chicago, and Downbeat Magazine, among others. It’s a great way to experience out city’s musical heritage during the Chicago Blues Festival.

Tour Details

On top of a fun tour dynamic and the telling of intriguing stories of history with yours truly (Chicago Detours founder Amanda Scotese), you’ll get to view media presented on video screens on the bus (which is very comfy and air-conditioned if I may add). The media, some of which are historic pictures of the buildings you are seeing before your eyes, makes the tour into a sort of mobile documentary film.

What does one mean by “media,” you may ask? Imagine an early “music video” of a jazz performance in the 1940s; a video clip of Studs Terkel chatting with pioneering black journalist Vernon Jarrett, or a historic photo of a happy couple matched up over jazz music at the Aragon Ballroom.

Tour During the Chicago Blues Festival

The Jazz, Blues and Beyond tour by bus isn’t a tour for the quiet observer. In addition to a game involving distinguishing the genres of jazz and blues, guests get to make music of their own with a the guidance of blues musician Fruteland Jackson, who will hop on board later on in the tour. Guests will learn fascinating history of Uptown. This includes the origins Green Mill in the early 1900s. We’ll also touch on somewhat bizarre evolution of the Aragon Ballroom.

We will enter Meyer Hardware in Bronzeville. This venue was once a 1920’s jazz club where Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines played. It’s an architectural tour and a historical tour of Chicago that really delves into music history. We are going to dig deep into the the people, politics and culture of Chicago jazz and blues history. This Chicago tour will sell out by the way – right now only 8 seats left. Tickets can be reserved on

–Amanda Scotese, 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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