Chicago Temple Tour: Architecture, History and a Toast

We are offering an exclusive tour of the Chicago Temple Building. You’ll visit the rooftop patio and learn all about the architecture, history and culture of this iconic building.

Exclusive Tour Details

Chicago temple sky chapel turrets

For the Exclusive Tour of the Chicago Temple Building, Amanda will share fascinating stories on the church’s history. The church displays an original “kitsch Jesus” – you know, the very pretty backlit Jesus that you’ve seen reproduced everywhere. I’ll share how a Jesus by this Chicago artist came to be the most viewed image in all of history. In “ALL OF HISTORY” – did you hear that?!

Another unusual story recounts the radical events that led to the integration of the church in the ’60s, as visualized in a very intense sculpture that incorporates an actual KKK cross. Guests will also visit the church itself and discuss the ornate and colorful stained glass windows from the 1960s.

What Our Tours are Like

Like all of our tours with Chicago Detours, guests will get to share iPads with historic images and video clips while the tour guide gives engaging commentary.

The group, limited to 24 guests, will visit Clarence Darrow’s former office. He’s the famous lawyer for the gruesome Leopold and Loeb murder trial. I’m not so interested in blood, guts, and gore (we’ll leave that to companies like Weird Chicago or the Gangster Tour), but the story of these young lads and Darrow’s defense of them is pretty interesting. Then they will head to the top of the building for a visit to the magnificent Chapel in the Sky with its carved walnut beams and stained glass windows. The tour will conclude with a toast on the pastor’s personal balcony with fantastic views.

Price & Logistics for Chicago Temple Tour

Tickets are $36 for the 2 hour, 15-minute long tour. In addition to a gift of a historic print of the building, the tour also includes wine, cheese and other light snacks, and guests will even get a peak inside the mid-century modern interior of the pastor’s three-story penthouse. Reservations can be made at www.chicagodetours.com. Group size is limited and last year’s Chicago Temple Tour was a grand success.

Like other tours that Chicago Detours offers to the public, this tour will not solicit tips; instead guides take donations for worthy causes. This tour’s donations will purchase Chicago history books the First United Methodist’s youth tutoring program.

— Amanda Scotese, Executive Director

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Ellen

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.”
Robert
GetYourGuide

Jen

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.”
Heather
TripAdvisor

Elyse

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.

Anthony

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.

Marie

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.”
Lorit
TripAdvisor

Sonny

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
TripAdvisor

Alex

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
Yelp

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
Yelp

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