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LGBT Chicago History in 1893 Virtual Tour – June 13

Explore how gay and lesbian Chicagoans met and made their voices heard in the Gilded Age.

For this special LGBT Chicago history virtual tour, you will hear stories of gay and lesbian history from the 19th-century, set against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair Tour. The tour digs into how and why the World’s Columbian Exposition still captures imaginations more than 125 years later, and also illuminates the LGBT history of Chicago. 


On this LGBT Chicago history virtual tour led via Zoom, you’ll glimpse beautiful architectural spaces from the era of the 1893 World’s Fair. You will learn about the fair’s impact on Chicago, and your tour guide will share stories of some gay and lesbian men and women from turn-of-the-century Chicago. Several of the buildings featured on the tour have strong connections to both the World’s Fair and LGBT Chicago history.

Along with guide commentary, your professional tour guide will show you archival images that illuminate the World’s Fair. We will highlight the ways in which gay and lesbian Chicagoans met and made their voices heard at some of these historic locations, like the Fine Arts Building and the Chicago Athletic Association. While this won’t be a comprehensive LGBT history tour, we wanted to shine a light on this under-appreciated aspect of the past.

Like all our public virtual tours, you’ll get a chance to check-in with the group and see where other tour guests are from. During the presentation, the tour guide encourages a lively chat for guests to share comments and questions.

This LGBT-themed Chicago History tour will be led by Chicago Detours tour guide Marie. She studied gender and sexuality in Chicago history at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s doctoral program. She developed the queer history content for this tour by drawing on the work of Gregory Sprague, Sukie St. De La Croix, Tracy Baim, Jennie Brier & Jill Austin.


Virtual tours are a fun and safe way to stay connected with your team, friends or family. During a virtual tour, you and your group will explore topics in architecture, food history, or jazz and blues, in both downtown Chicago and our diverse neighborhoods while interacting with each other.

Visit our Virtual Team Building page to book a private tour.

We now also offer Virtual Field Trips for kids.


1 Hour





  • Days & Times

  • Saturday, June 13


  • View the colorful mosaics in a hotel built for the 1893 World’s Fair
  • Virtually visit a building chock-a-block with early LGBT pioneers
  • Learn about queer artists who worked in 19th century Chicago
  • Glimpse the opulent Chicago Athletic Association, once an exclusive men’s club

Stories & Ideas

  • Gay and lesbian Chicago history at the turn of the century
  • The 1893 Fair’s array of foods and even food sculpture
  • The roots of consumer culture and advertising
  • Amusements on the Midway at the 1893 World’s Fair
  • Bohemian culture in early Chicago

Tour Includes

  • Expert tour guide commentary
  • Interactive Q&A with guide and fellow guests
  • Visuals may include 360-degree Google Street View, high definition photos and archival images

Tour Location


Book Now


Call: 312.350.1131
E-Mail: [email protected]