historic building looking up at sky Custom Tours and Content

Experiential design

Connect people with places

We customize fun and meaningful experiences that connect people to places and each other through the power of storytelling.

Our place-based stories have enriched experiences for  

  • Museums
  • Universities
  • Real estate companies
  • Non-profit organizations


innovation storytelling corporate executive retreat icon

Inspire innovation and creativity.

Align your initiatives with strategic goals.

Engage people with their surroundings.

custom chicago neighborhoods building tour icon

Promote learning about design. 

Create meaningful experiences. 

Share historical stories.

EXPERIENTIal & content Services

movie icon custom tours and content


  • Documentary Video Production
  • Animation and Graphics
  • Architectural Photography
  • On-camera Talent
  • Geographical Maps
  • Experience Storyboards

theater icon custom tours and content


  • Chicago-Themed Event Concepts
  • Event Journey Mapping
  • Virtual Chicago Tours
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Walking, Bus, Boat Tours
  • Hybrid Events
  • Educational Activities
  • Public Speaking
  • Team-Building

hand pen icon


  • Editorial Writing
  • Archival Research
  • Informational Listicles
  • Educational Content
  • Location-based Stories
  • Scriptwriting
  • Snackable Content
  • Company Histories

our work


play project logo

Community Building

virtual internal community building

Consulted with PLAY Project, an early intervention autism treatment program, for their virtual conference. We designed fun and interactive elements to connect PLAY Project community members with each other while expressing the company culture.


museum experience

For the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, we researched latest trends in museums, cultural heritage tourism, and storytelling technologies to advise on their entire museum experience, from the website to guests' arrival in the physical space to staffing and guided tours.

Place engagement

Place-based engagement for real estate

Used human-centered design principles to create a plan for a place-based engagement program as a strategic initiative for a district's rebranding strategy.


UChicago logo custom tours

South Side Experience

Changing Communities Around Campus Bus Tour

We designed a custom tour of architecture and history to promote the University’s civic engagement with neighboring South Side communities.
let's talk
Mars wrigley logo custom tours and content

Corporate history tour

We dug through historic archives to design a custom bus tour which visited Wrigley Company sites across Chicago. Mars held this as a special event for a large group of international executives.
let's talk
dentistry logo custom tours

Keynote address

10 Big Ideas That Make Chicago Its Own Kind of Town

Exec. Director Amanda delivered a fun, lively keynote about the unique character of Chicago for the opening event of the iADH Congress. The speech appealed to both locals and new visitors.
let's talk


hub logo custom tours and content

Video production

downtown walking tour video production

We produced a one-hour "Downtown Walking Tour" video. We wrote the script, provided on-camera talent, directed the shoot, and managed post-production. Hub International played the video for their virtual conference and a tour guide answered chat questions live.
watch now

Virtual Events

Virtual Events for Teambuilding

These live events via Zoom share stories across time of people, places and ideas with national influence. With interactive elements, like games or creative challenges, these remote events uplift meetings and inspire connections.
learn more
Detours logo custom tours and content

History animations

custom animated historical storytelling

We conducted historical research to write a fun and educational story. We storyboarded the concept and produced this animated story with voiceover to use for a virtual event.
watch now

WRITTEN experiential CONTENT

Detours logo custom tours and content

Blog content

"Five Real Historic Irish Pubs in Chicago"

"From Glamor to Gloom at the Pittsfield"

We write engaging hyperlocal content about Chicago neighborhoods, history, architecture, and tourism.
Let's Talk
custom tours and content

Editorial Content

Amanda wrote entries on neighborhood food specialties and culinary experiences for this authoritative reference.
let's talk
choose chicago logo custom tours and content


Snackable History content

We wrote the script for two-minute-long historical fun facts for the Choose Chicago "Virtual Road Show" for meeting and events planners. Amanda presented the stories as on-screen talent.
watch now


Amanda's presentation was the high point of our event for an out-of-town office and our local office.

Everyone discovered things they didn't know about, including those from Chicago.
Deborah C.
Custom Speech about the Architectural View from Law Firm Office
Everyone had fun for our virtual tour fundraising event, and they're still talking about it!
Cynthia D.
Custom Virtual Neighborhood Diversity Tour

what is hyperlocal chicago content?

When content is hyperlocal, it means it is specialized to a geographical area and appeals to a niche group. These are stories you can’t find anywhere else. We design these narratives with creative research. We may conduct field interviews and observations and compile the findings of secondary research such as historical archives, scholarly articles, and industry reports. We then embed timeless themes and ultimately make engaging, relatable stories for targeted audiences.

A rising trend for place-based content is as a component of the workplace experience strategy. Our stories can enrich the experience of going to the workplace by connecting your community with the history of your company, the unique story of the building your office resides in, and the amenities of the surrounding area. 

We combine passion, knowledge and creativity with experience, strategy and insight for all our experiential projects. Call us at 312.350.1131 to chat about your project!

Want to learn more?





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

Book a chicago event

Let’s Connect!