This dynamic website, designed by Studio of the Month, will help us fulfill our mission to share Chicago history and culture through our public walking tours and private tour programs. Many exciting developments are happening with Chicago’s newest tour company, which just launched this past summer! Register your email address with us to get special offers, updates from Chicago Detours, and tidbits about cool Chicago-centric events (we send just a few times a year). Also come check out the newest tour, “The Loop: Explore Without Freezing,” an exploration of interiors. It’s free November 26 and 27!
A bit about the new blog: We will delve into histories of the real people and places of the city, and give you a taste of Chicago Detours’ style. For our walking tours, we dig through archives to come up with histories in places that not even the locals know about. We believe that history is best explored with a creative approach, and we’ll use the blog to share some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into curating a tour. I say “curating” because we creatively compile a unique collection of stories, quotes, poems, photos and video clips (seen with an iPad), making the experience more like a mobile exhibit than a lecture.
As someone who likes to tour Chicago-whether you live here, come for vacation or business-you are likely well-travelled and educated. Do you seek out authentic, culturally enriching, and fun experiences when you travel? Chicago Detours may be your kind of thing, even if you normally wouldn’t think of taking a tour. Let me explain. Some people have a negative view of tours because of ugly tourist stereotypes… fanny packs, loud voices, shopping bags. That kind of tourist makes no effort to get to know the city or its people, and he or she does activities that no local would ever do–like ride a tour bus or eat at a chain restaurant on the Mag Mile. But then on the opposite end of the visitor spectrum, you have the super independent traveler who wants to wander by foot and public transport, but still has little insight into the history and culture they are passing by. A tour guidebook gives them some surface explanation, but really this style of travel doesn’t necessarily immerse a visitor in the real Chicago either.
The ugly tourist is not curious and the independent traveler is but would benefit from guidance. Chicago Detours offers tours catered to curious people—we bring people together to see hidden sides of the city’s past and present. Our tour guides add rich commentary and visual accompaniments that fill in where both styles of travel fall short.
I‘ve learned from six years of working as a tour guide with Rick Steves’ tours that a good tour guide catalyzes the kinds of connections with local life that make travel meaningful. Chicago Detours is a new kind of Chicago tour company. We want to inspire memorable, thought-provoking interactions between people, history, the city, and media. We welcome any kind of curious local or visitor to Chicago to join us.