Frequently Asked Questions

  • Off The Map Chicago: FAQs About Our Architecture Tours

1. How do Off the Map Chicago excursions differ from the usual tours?
First, Off the Map Chicago excursions are not the usual tours because the only one on the tour is you, or you and your guests. Second, because my excursions are so personal, we can take surprise detours along the way and see things that are off the map. As I get to know you while we walk or drive, I get ideas, and often suggest things you might also want to see. If you say, yes, off the map we go. This simply is not possible with larger tour groups. As the saying goes, it's so much easier and fun to turn a speedboat in Lake Michigan than an aircraft carrier.

2. What's included in Off the Map Chicago excursions?
I meet you at your hotel, or at an agreed-on meeting point, and return you there at the end of the excursion.
All applicable museum entry fees [Farnsworth House, Unity Temple], fuel costs, tolls, are included in the cost. If you are part of a larger group and I need to rent a larger vehicle, I add the cost of this to your excursion.
Last but not least, included in all Off the Map Chicago excursions is my expertise and passion for Chicago and its architecture, along with the civility that comes from two decades as both an architectural docent and world traveler. Simply put, I want you to enjoy your Off the Map Chicago experience as much as I do.

3. How come Off the Map Chicago excursions cost more than other tours?
Off the Map Chicago excursions are private. Which means just you and your group, and me, a longtime Chicago architectural historian and docent. I give you time to experience the buildings on your own, not in a large group of tourists wearing radio transmitted listening devices so they can hear the docent walking a block ahead of them.

4. What if I get hungry?
Fantastico! I get hungry too. So, we will dine at a real, local cafè or restaurant, and share the bill. But please don't be too offended if I ask to stop and buy you an espresso or cappuccino.

5. What if I have a larger group than two or three guests?
I say, bring them on. Just contact me, and I'll give you a cost quote.
I have designed Off the Map excursions for grad students from the Pratt Institute in New York, a group of Swiss real estate investors, docents from the Cincinnati Art Museum, and opera tour groups. Often these groups have their own coach, and hire me to accompany them.
I am also happy to hire a van or coach, and will add that cost to my fee.

6. How do I book a tour?
Just email me at or call at +1 847.951.5521

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