Take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience our Chicago Jazz, Blues, and Beyond Bus Tour, which we normally offer only to private groups. This memorable special event explores the secret history and culture of Chicago’s legendary music scene of jazz and blues. It combines a Chicago blues tour with a Chicago jazz history tour, then throws in some perceptive ideas in cultural history and architecture. You’ll even get a blues harmonica lesson while on a bus rolling through downtown Chicago!
On this special tour, you will see architectural landmarks of Chicago blues and jazz history in neighborhoods north to south while a highly trained, passionate tour guide shares forgotten stories of Chicago blues and jazz. The luxury coach you’ll ride in has video screens with historic photos and film clips of interviews, songs and performances.
Rather than fly by a trivia list of places where blues musicians and jazz legends made their mark, this active tour by bus digs deep into how the Windy City became such a hotbed for jazz and blues. You’ll hop off the bus for up-close looks at significant Chicago architecture and the tour guide will ask questions to get you thinking about the evolution of the blues and jazz genres.
To design this tour, Executive Director Amanda Scotese culled stories and information from Chicago music experts, leaders in the jazz and blues scenes, oral histories, and archival books and magazines. You cannot find this angle on Chicago music anywhere else, and for this reason this tour is particularly popular with locals.
This tour is only offered to the public on rare occasions, so book your spot today!
- Aragon Ballroom and its ornate architecture
- Green Mill Jazz Club in Uptown
- Michigan Avenue “cliff” and historic hotels
- Hear the secret history of a former 1920s jazz club
- Chess Records, a Chicago blues landmark
- Pilgrim Baptist Church, famous for gospel
- Former site of the Maxwell Street Market
- Live blues performance, harmonica lesson, and harmonica gift
Stories & Ideas
- The scandalous reputation of early jazz
- City life in the Roaring ’20s
- The Great Migration
- “Chicago Blues” defined
- How jazz and blues genres changed
- Music as a catalyst for creating community
- Engaging tour guide commentary
- Luxury coach transport up to 3 hours
- Video presentation via screens on bus
- Blues musician performance
- Harmonica gifts
Tour Meeting Spot
Tour starts inside Afterwords Books, 23 E. Illinois Street. To give easy access to Blues Fest, we will end at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.