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Chicago Detours Offers History, Music, and Fun

Due to overwhelming enthusiasm and positive feedback from our patrons and partners, the Historic Bar tour will be offered permanently. We intended a short-run just for fun, but it seems we hit a chord with both travelers and Chicago residents. On three occasions we had groups of people without reservations come to already sold-out tours pleading for a spot! A five-star TripAdvisor review says, “We enjoyed it a great deal: phenomenal tour guide, interesting narratives, wine and apps – what could be better on any night in town?

Starting April 1, the 2.5-hour tour will be offered on Thursdays and Saturdays evenings, and additional tours will be offered after June 1. Best to reserve your tour now because they are filling up fast, especially with this offer exclusive to our subscribers: bring a group of four or more on Thursdays and get HALF OFF (discount on tour ticket only). We have no plans to ever offer Groupons or any other deal for this tour. Email me at for the special discount code if you’re interested. You have to reserve by Monday, March 26(for any Thursday). Have you seen the video yet?

Last year our first exposure on television – which we thought would be a big deal – involved local clubbing celebrity Billy Dec recommending a new tour “where they built a bus that’s a jazz club” (um….not exactly). In addition to failing to mention the name of the Jazz, Blues & Beyond tour or Chicago Detours, they accidentally showed a picture of dogs running instead of our logo. It was comical, and is one of my favorite “starting a new business” stories.

Hopefully Windy City Live, which airs on ABC 7 on weekdays at 9am, does a better job this next time. Last month they brought a crew with host Mark Decarlo (“Fork in the Road” of Travel Channel) for the entire “Good Times Historic Bar Tour” and this feature will air within the next few weeks. We’ll post the link on our Facebook and Twitter.

We tried our hands at a non-tour event a couple weeks ago, and it sold-out at 65 attendees. This one-off poetry reading, called “Lost Chicago Drinking Poems,” was a featured event in theA.V. ClubCrain’s ChicagoWhereChicago and even the New York Daily News (the fourth most circulated newspaper in the country!). Read more about it on the blog.

Combine architecture, design, film and a historic venue and you’ve got a seriously Detours style event. This would be the Architecture and Design Film Festival, to be held at the Musicbox Theater April 12-16. We can’t wait, especially since Chicago Detours has partnered with ADFF and Audi to offer a custom tour called “From Miniature to Monumental: the Scale of the Home.” Festival attendees will enjoy a ride in one of three new Audi models with insightful commentary by Chicago Detours guides. The 25-minute tours around Lakeview and Uptown will be given 11am-7pm on April 14 and 15. The festival includes feature-length films, docs, shorts, and lively discussions with design industry leaders. Look out for giveaway tickets for ADFF films via our social media over the next few weeks, and if you would like the free custom tour, reservations are required and can be made online.

A new crop of tour guides just started training to help with primarily private group tours, as we launched new, pretty Private Tours pages on the website (look soon for more info on Student Tours, too). If you know any freelancers, adjunct teachers, techies or start-ups in need of cheap office space downtown, please direct them to our spacious desks we have available (nickname for the space is “Guild”). And as always, the blog shares insider angles on Chicago neighborhoods, architecture and history, like Rogers Park for example.

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