My friend and co-worker Alex Bean at Harold Washington College told me how awesome it was being a tour guide so I applied and got hired!
2. What’s your favorite tour?
My favorite public tour is the 1893 World’s Fair Walking Tour with Bars
3. What downtown building do you most love taking tour guests into? And outside of downtown?
I love taking guests into the Intercontinental on Michigan Ave. because the Lion’s Court is spectacular, and also I like to call that building the “Ghostbusters” building because it just seems like a place someone like Gozer the Gozerian would love. Outside of downtown I love Thalia Hall.
4. Is there a Chicago building that’s been demolished that you wish was still around?
The world’s original skyscraper, The Home Insurance Building.
5. What’s your best memory as a tour guide?
It’s hard to choose, I love that I get to see my city through my tour guests eyes and experience the beauty and wonder anew on each tour.
6. A Chicago book or movie to recommend?
“Adventures in Babysitting” (1987) was one of my favorite movies in preschool and is my first memory of a Chicago movie that really featured Chicago architecture. The scene where Sara is hanging off the top of the Crain Communications building is iconic. Other favorites obviously are “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and the original “Blues Brothers.” I’m an 80’s kid who still lives in the 80’s!
My second favorite city is Siem Reap in Cambodia. Angkor Wat is my favorite building structure/complex in the entire world because of the immense scale and beauty as well as the demonstration of the mystical and functional properties of architecture.
9. Neighborhood or suburb you’d like to explore more?
Highland Park, I hear they have a lot of money and pretty houses.
10. Favorite local brewery or distillery?
I’m a huge fan of Eris Brewery for so many reasons. First, Eris is a woman owned brewery which is rare and this of course means they will get all of my support. Second, their restaurant/brewery is in an old Masonic Temple on Irving Park road which is super cool. Third, I love that they use the Chaos symbol in their iconography which connects to their name. Eris is the goddess of discord that notoriously started the Trojan War of antiquity. Did I mention that I also teach mythology at Harold Washington College?
Finally and perhaps most importantly, I love food and being vegetarian it is often difficult to find a brewery with great vegan/vegetarian options- well Eris has a huge vegan/vegetarian menu and everything is absolutely delicious.
You can meet Jen on the Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour or the 1893 World’s Fair Tour with Bars.
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Chicago Detours is boutique tour company that tells neighborhood and city stories through in-person tours, virtual tours, and custom content for private group events.
Chicago is so pretty at night! Taken from the @fairliechicago for a special fundraising event…congrats to @mediaburnarchive for 20 years of saving incredible Chicago stories recorded on various video formats over the decades. If you’ve ever come on one of our tours, you probably watched a video on an iPad on one of our walking tours, or on a screen on a bus tour - most of them were from Media Burn. If you haven’t ever checked out their incredible collection, do i5. There are so many videos that are tear-jerking, politically relevant, hilarious, deeply reflective and nostalgic. Take a break from YouTube and connect with the Chicago of the ‘90s and beyond with them!
12 years ago Chicago Detours started as a tour company for curious people. At that point, Chicago tourism didn’t look much beyond downtown. We wanted to show people true and genuine stories of Chicago people, both famous in history books and beloved community and family members who have contributed to make this city great. We have sought to open awareness to design and ingenuity in architecture, art, engineering, and businesses across history. We want to promote appreciation of our neighborhoods, like with this paradise of a yard at a home in Pilsen. I never cease to be amazed now how what some people saw as a “quirky” approach to tourism back in 2010 (but we saw as fundamental) has now become so much more sought after and mainstream. Thank you to our followers for 12 years of business. For helping us thrive in 2020 while our industry crumbled around us. For wanting to join us on this journey of learning from the buildings, spaces, and stories of Chicago in order to become responsible citizens of the world. #chidetours#12thanniversary #smallbusiness #quietcelebration
Twinsies! When I see two buildings like this I wonder, was it parents living next door to a married child and their family? Two siblings? Or were there more of these on the block now gone? What if the neighbors despise each other? What if each thinks their taste in having updated the building is superior? #buildingstories #placebasededucation #tourism #bronzeville #southside #vernaculararchitecture
Have you seen the restored dome at the Cultural Center? It’s always been in the shadows of the Tiffany dome and now we see it with its original clarity and color. It’s breathtaking to see! #culturalcenter #stainedglass #restoration #explorechicago
Happy first day of #womenshistorymonth! Finally monuments to all the people who have contributed to science, business, activism, education, sports, and the arts are starting to appear. Dedicated in 2021, this is the second public monumental sculpture celebrating a black woman in Chicago. Ida B. Wells was a persuasive and eloquent writer, a fearless activist against lynching, and a “woman who refused to adopt the ‘ladylike’ attitudes of compromise and silence.” (Source: Reconstructing Womanhood by Hazel Carby). This sculpture in #bronzeville is inspired by her idea that exposing the “light of truth” is the first step in finding “the way to right wrongs.” Learn more about incredible women on 3/11 with our “Badass Women of History Virtual Event,” link in bio.
Come on the coziest boat tour of your life! “Cruise from Your Couch Virtual Boat Tour”, Friday at 7pm. Experience the striking contrasts of old and new architecture along Chicago's river. We'll start in an atypical location and tour along the river using 360-degree Google Street View (or should we say "Boat View"?) We'll even defy geography at times by virtually entering into incredible architectural spaces.
Special for #BlackHistoryMonth, we will also go more in-depth about Jean Baptiste duSable story and the renaming of various locations in his honor rather than John Kinzie. Kinzie was considered to be the first resident of the city for many decades. He very likely instead may have been the first douchebag of Chicago as he was described as a “volatile and violent character" and was also highly suspected of murder. When it was accepted that DuSable - a successful business man with integrity - was truly the city’s founder, it very much elevated our image.
Book your virtual tour tickets via link in bio starting at $18.
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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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”