What We Do
We bring curious people to explore, learn and interact on live, virtual tours and events of Chicago. Our remote team building events uplift meetings and inspire connections for conferences, corporate groups, and universities.
Guest on our virtual events hear stories, see forgotten imagery, and play collaborative and competitive games. Events we have meticulously designed include the 1893 World’s Fair, the history of Chicago food and drink, and Chicago architecture.
As a virtual event producer, our expertise lies in storytelling, experience design, and corporate team building.
Our blog reflects our authority on forgotten stories of Chicago architecture and history.
Chicago Detours’ History as a Virtual Event Producer
Founder Amanda Scotese has worked in travel for 20 years, including a decade as a Tour Guide and Guidebook Researcher with Rick Steves’ Europe. She created Chicago Detours to bring people to explore stories and places of Chicago architecture and history that even locals didn’t know. Over the years, Amanda and the Chicago Detours team cultivated the best tour guides in the city to lead five-star-rated walking and bus tours.
2019 – Chicagoans voted “Best Tour of Chicago” for the Chicago Reader poll.
2020 – We were one of the first Chicago tour companies to produce live, virtual events.
First, we simply transitioned onto Zoom for virtual tours to connect with our past tour guests and reach new audiences. With a ton of collective knowledge on Chicago neighborhoods, history and architecture, we were particularly excited to share some of our passions that had not fit into our regularly offered tours.
We originally thought this would be a temporary way to support our business. Then as you well know, we all realized that the ways we travel and work would be permanently changed. We experimented with various media. We developed games and brainstormed ways to keep a Zoom meeting fun and interactive.
We seized a new opportunity to share our love of Chicago and our background in video production and visual storytelling. Add that to a decade of experience in curating events for corporate groups and conferences, and you have a new, virtual tour company.
- 10 years telling stories
- 36,500+ walking and bus tour guests
- 12,000+ virtual tour event guests
Virtual Tour Company Mission
To bring curious people to interact, learn and explore history and architecture through live, virtual events.
We maintain five stars on review sites like TripAdvisor.
Our Virtual Tour Company Philosophy
We believe that the primary role of a virtual tour guide is to educate. Virtual tour guests experience incredible visual media, forgotten stories, and new perspectives.
We know you’re sick of Zoom. We spent months to design and test the interactive elements of our virtual tours.
We know that history is best told with a creative approach. Our virtual tours use various media, like historic quotes, old photographs, and documentary film clips to tell the story.
We are committed to telling a broad range of stories. We amplify the perspectives of marginalized voices from history, including minorities, women, and LGBTQ people on our virtual tours.
We understand that virtual events are about building community. As a virtual events producer, we work with conventions, destination management companies, non-profits, universities, and our fellow Chicago businesses and historians. See our virtual conversations on our Youtube channel.