The Chase Bank building downtown might seem to be just another
glass-faced skyscraper in the ranks of the Loop. But when you're
looking at it with Chicago Detours, all of that changes.
Having lived in Italy as a tour guide and worked as a researcher
for Rick Steves' travel guides, Detours founder Amanda Scotese
created cultural tours because she realized people were missing out
on great history in their own city here at home.
On our Inside the Loop: Expect the Unexpected tour, we wound
through various buildings in the Loop and into the underground
Pedway. I was amazed at all the things I'd never noticed
As we walk, Scotese points out older buildings, a courtyard
hidden from street level, and small spaces nestled beside gleaming
giants, drawing out observations and opinions from both adults and
Four adults in our group hold iPads and open up photos and
videos at different points in the tour.
"We build the tour by digging through archives and newspapers,
old stories and photos," Scotese says. "And then we use the media
to help bridge the gap in time to connect with the past."
There are three young people in our group: my 12-year-old son, a
younger boy and a teenager. All of them listen as intently as the
adults and participate in the group discussions.
My son was fascinated by the curve in a modern building's
architecture that gives the illusion he could run right up the wall
and he joined in a lively discussion about the Picasso in Daley
This is really the sort of experience that depends on the kid-if
you have a history buff, they are sure to have fun. But even
restless kids will get a good walk in during the two-hour tour and
pick up some fascinating Chicago history on the way.
We ended beneath the dazzling dome of the Chicago Cultural
Center. Walking almost reverently through the gleaming space, we
took photos and watched the sun setting over Millennium Park.
My husband, son and I all agreed that this was a great way to
spend a Sunday afternoon together. My son can't wait to try out his
complimentary map of the Pedway routes in the Loop and we're
already planning our next tour.
Chicago Detours offers both public tours and private group tours.
For information on public tours, visit chicagodetours.com or call
(312) 350-1131. For information on private group tours, email [email protected].
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