We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Take notice of your surroundings”
Review of Chicago Detours

Chicago Detours
Book In Advance
More Info
$26.00*
and up
Chicago Walking Tour: Interior Architecture of the Loop and Pedway Tour
More Info
$38.00*
and up
Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour
More Info
$50.00*
and up
3-Hour Walking Tour: Chicago World's Fair of 1893
Ranked #1 of 571 Nightlife in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This is not your grandma's architecture tour! Our award-winning guided tours of Chicago’s architecture, history, and culture bring curious people to explore stories and places locals don't even know. With Chicago Detours, you'll explore downtown and our diverse neighborhoods to experience the city’s interior architecture, the underground Pedway, jazz and blues, and historic bars. Founded by a former Rick Steves tour guide, Chicago Detours has designed tours that are fun, educational experiences. Our tour guides are are not just volunteer docents, they’re highly trained and educated professionals who know how to spark discussions and create a lively group dynamic. Rated five stars on both Yelp and TripAdvisor, Chicago Detours is one of the top-rated tour companies in the city. We offer regularly scheduled tours for the public, and private group tours for corporate team-building, student field trips, and convention groups. The public walking tours stay mostly indoors, making them great activities for any time of year. Options include the "Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour," which explores beautiful building interiors and the underground Pedway System, and the "Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour," which digs into Chicago's entertainment history of social clubs, jazz music, prohibition, and theater. Other public tours include the "Best Architecture Walking Tour Since Sliced Bread," "1893 World's Fair Walking Tour with Bars," and "Pilsen Spaces and Changes Walking Tour with Food." Private group tours include the outings mentioned above, as well as tours by a luxury coach equipped with screens for presentation of historic images and videos. Many of our private group tour options can operate in the evening, and can include food and drink. Our historic bar tours, both by foot and by bus, are the most popular with private groups. Your group will eat, drink and learn about how Chicago has had fun over its history. The "Big Shoulders Historic Bar and Food Bus Tour" visits Bridgeport, Chicago's oldest neighborhood outside downtown, which was home to workers for the nearby Union Stock Yards. Another popular tour is our "Jazz, Blues & Beyond by Bus." This tour explores Chicago neighborhoods north to south for a fun, up-close connection with the cultural history of Chicago's music. This memorable experience reaches its conclusion when a blues musician comes on board for a performance and harmonica lesson. Other private tours include "Chicago Neighborhoods and Cultural Diversity by Bus" and "Old Polonia and Wicker Park Tour with Food." Step-on guide services are also available for private group tours. Tours include lively guide commentary, an interactive group dynamic, and extras like media presentation and special gifts. Rather than a standard lecture format, these tours actively involve guests in a memorable experience that inspires new perspectives of the city's architecture and history. We annually receive TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence," and maintain five stars on Yelp as well. Our tours have been featured in Frommer's, Lonely Planet, ABC 7, WGN, WBEZ, "Chicago Magazine," the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian.
Reviewed August 8, 2011

An interesting, off the beaten path kind of tour. I went on the 'inside the loop' tour and was amazed at how much i've been missing out on! Ffrom byzantine mosaics to the Chicago Pedway, Chicago Detours again and again opened my eyes to the history, architecture, and art in The Loop that most of us probably see every day, but rarely take notice of. I took a first date with me on the tour and we had a blast. It was definitely a good value.

1  Thank HumanVolcano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (399)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

376 - 380 of 403 reviews

Reviewed July 28, 2011

I went on the Loop Tour, exploring the Pedway. It was a great way to see many different parts of the city, including the underground walkways - perfect on a cold March day! I had heard of this tour, from a friend, and she told me how many new things she learned from Amanda, the tour guide. Amanda was wonderful! She made the tour so interesting, and sharing the iPads with the group, for more information and videos, was very helpful. I have been on a few other Chicago tours, and yet I still learned more on this one, and would highly recommend it! Amanda had previously worked with the Rick Steves travel organization, so her attention to detail was terrific, just like in the RS's books. She told us that she would be starting other tours in the future, and I will go along on another one in the fall.

1  Thank CJK50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2011

Amanda, owner and tour guide of Chicago Detours, knows her stuff. And, anything she didn't know, she researched really well! (Prior to opening this company, she worked with Rick Steves)

We took the "Our Chicago Sound: Jazz, Blues & Beyond" tour. My husband is a saxophone player in, what are we up to now, 7 different bands. He also majored in music in college. When I heard about this tour, I thought he'd really enjoy it, and figured I'd learn more about what makes my honey tick. I was hoping he'd learn something new as well, and it wouldn't be boring for him. (OK,full disclosure. When researching the tour, I read that they stop in a bakery and you get to sample a red velvet cookie. I was instantly hooked!)

What an amazing adventure we went on! 2 1/2 hours of jazz and blues history (or is it blues vs jazz? Yes, it's discussed here), on a comfy air conditioned bus that whisks you from north side to south and in-between, all while learning about the history of music and culture in Chicago. Amanda shares her wealth of knowledge on the subject, and pauses to hit her points home with the additional video clips on the bus.

Another really cool thing about the tour, if you're not a native Chicagoan, this tour takes you to neighborhoods the typical tourist would never see; the "real" Chicago.

Some highlights for me:
Learning more about the Green Mill. I've been there so many times and was taught things I never knew. The mural in Bronzeville, the red velvet cookies(!) and finally, the harmonica lesson at the end. Amanda also sends you home with a list of additional businesses to check out and some discounts you can use at the shops for taking her tour.

One of the things that originally surprised me was out of the 30 or so people on the tour, only 4 or 5 were from out of town. The rest were all locals like us. After taking this tour, I'm ready to sign up for the walking tours as well.

Whether a local or tourist, you will have a great time on Amanda's tours! I highly recommend Chicago Detours to show you around Chicago.

Thank Chigirl75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2011

I just did the "Inside Loop" with my teenagers, I was amazed that they even enjoyed themselves. We learned so mush, its nice to get up and move around and learn new things with your family.
I highly recommend Chicago Detours to anyone, families, singles, visitors, even native Chicagoans.

Thank debsidman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2011

I'll admit it, at first I was a little apprehensive about the price of the "Our Chicago Sound" tour, but my mother was in town with a friend and I thought she'd like it. It was SO WORTH THE MONEY! We got to go all over the city in a private tour bus, complete with archival video footage, amazing views of the lakefront, and had a real blues musician come on the bus and teach us harmonica at the end! I've lived in Chicago for eight years and have yet to find an activity that engages participants intellectually as well as this, really asking them to think about how history has shaped the present moment, how public and private spaces operate, how arts like architecture, music, art and video can coalesce and build a dynamic experience, and mostly, how there are all these incredible spaces all over our city that provide windows into its rich history. Amanda opens these windows for you, cultivating exciting, moving moments all along the way. We left the tour having learned a lot, but also energized with conversation about how activities like this are reimagining how we learn and engage with history.
It's totally, completely worth it. It'd cost you ten times as much to have a cab take you all the places Amanda does on this tour, and i'd forego a few cab rides anywhere just to get to go do something like this again. Plus there are cupcakes :)

Thank amr1115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Chicago Detours also viewed

 

Been to Chicago Detours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing