Cool Chicago Themed Gift Ideas for Holidays

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and so is our annual Holiday Tour of Drinks, Daleys and Dead Guys. You might be looking for a Chicago themed gift for friends and family. We’ve got some holiday gift ideas for you here.

chicago train elevated zero bird studio Chicago themed gift

Zerobird Studio

screen prints poetic images of the El train onto pillows, bags, posters and post cards.

Transit Tees

new in Wicker Park, has a totally different collection of items with El maps and train lines. T-shirts, wallets, scarves for example.

gift ideas chicago caramels city Chicago themed gift
Locals candies are a great Chicago themed gift idea!

City Caramels

makes artisan caramels named after Chicago neighborhoods. In addition to it being just an awesome idea, they are very buttery and quite delicious.

You Were Never in Chicago

by Sun Times journalist Neil Steinberg, is a mix of travelogue, memoir and history book that was just released last month.

Chicago Neighborhoods

has cool logos designed for anywhere from Bucktown to Burnside, and you can get shirts and prints.

A La Card

restaurant coupon booklet to great local restaurants that you rarely offer deals.

Chicago Detours Gift Card

for Inside the Loop or Historic Bar walking tours. Either receive the gift card code via email, or we’ll mail you a very pretty printed card.

Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters

has chosen a name that well describes what they do. They play off stereotypes of Chicago Neighborhoods for their cleverly designed posters.

jo snow chicago gifts Food Lovers

I highly recommend stopping by Ms. Mint’s Holiday Bazaar after work tomorrow, Dec. 4th at Goose Island Brewpub (1800 N. Clybourn, 4pm-9:30pm). This food-focused holiday gift fair was a one-stop shop for me last year. I picked up artisanal soda/coffee/cocktail syrups from Jo Snow for my brother-in-law, who always has a well-stocked bar; an awesome gift basket of delicious treats for dad, Coop hot sauce for my sister, and Grinderman coffee for mom.

Happy hunting!

— 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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