Chicago Detours History and Background
We are a group of educators, historians, artists, and storytellers. Founder Amanda Scotese launched Chicago Detours in July 2010 after spending close to a decade in Italy as a Tour Guide and Guidebook Researcher with Rick Steves’ Europe. She decided to bring her travel expertise back home with tour experiences that are fun, educational, and truly make us feel connected with our grand city. Our professional Chicago tour guides are highly trained and educated, and we know how to spark discussions and create a lively group dynamic on our public and private group tours of Chicago.
Today we are a community of Chicagoans passionate about sharing the architecture, history, and culture of Chicago through the Chicago Detours blog and our guided walking and bus tours. Our office is inside the historic Monadnock Building in downtown Chicago.
Founder, Executive Director, and Tour Guide
I’m an observer and interpreter of the city. I’m inspired by things like imagining what goes on inside unmarked buildings or where passersby are headed. 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 print and online publications, including 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.
I’m a very Midwestern girl – born and raised in Chicago. I love to explore Chicago by bike; cycling breaks the neighborhood barriers and truly makes all of Chicago feel like home. History and languages are my passion, and I’m a graduate of UIC and have completed graduate coursework in France. When I am either a world traveler or a Chicago tour guide, I prefer to keep the strategy and street smarts of a local without losing the shiny new charm of being a tourist. I live in Humboldt Park.
Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide
Chicago is so packed with people, history, culture and ideas that each block is like a city all its own. I love walking to connect with these littler worlds. Earning my MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, I focused on film and literature. A midwesterner to my core, before coming to Chicago I fed my love of research and storytelling via a BS in Journalism from the University of Kansas. I’ve worked as an educator and event planner and now I do both with Chicago Detours. I live in the Kosciuszko Park neighborhood, which is within the Avondale Community Area.
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.
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.
Marketing 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.
Public 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.
My city is colorfully diverse with a particular Chicago spirit of grit, determination, toil, kinship, creativity, and a welcoming character. I graduated from Temple University, Japan Campus, with a Bachelor’s in International Affairs. I’ve been a Realtor, English teacher, photographer, amateur historian and more. I’m excited to put my diverse background and love for Chicago to use as a tour guide! I grew up in various Chicago neighborhoods and call Berwyn home… for now.