Burnham V Sullivan Recap

After countless hours of research, at least a few hours at Mariano’s going over the order of the tour, 15 minutes on WGNRadio and two hours of actual touring – the Burnham V Sullivan Tour has resulted in a definitive winner: Uncle Dan Burnham

The Tour Duel was hilarious and fun and educational and passionate.

We had eight voters on the tour, a fine mixture of other guides, photographers, interested parties and one person who wasn’t quite sure what was happening but I think had a good time anyway.

The Tour was broken down into sections:



Best Department Store


Style or What is Beautiful?

Worlds Fair





The question of the tour is: Who’s Better? Not even who was a better architect, but who’s better in general? We took a pre-vote and it was 5 Sullivan, 3 Burnham. At each stop along the way (Marshall Fields, Carsons, Auditorium, Santa Fe Building, Grant Park) Wendy and I would each make our argument and everyone in the group voted after each section. There were a few rebuttals, but they were not official! There were also a couple of “mic drops” – that generally meant one of us (or the tour guests at one point) just dropping a piece of paper they were holding on to the ground – but it was no less powerful!


What I love about Ms. Bright is that she is very different from Ms. Hicks. We laugh and giggle so, so much, but we are very different tour guides. Wendy is technical and lovely and Margaret, well, technical and lovely are not really words that have been used to describe me in the past. Each of us was passionate about our choice and I think you could see it in our arguments. What I also loved is that lots of times the group got into the action. There was so much knowledge on our tour that each and every one of us helped the others argument! It was so fun.


Well, there was the fun of working with each other. We tour guides are pretty independent, so it’s a treat to work with someone else and Wendy and I had a ton of fun setting it up. And I think we really worked on debunking some generalities about these two guys. And that to me was the purpose, to get to some bigger truths. And to also laugh a lot. And we did that.

If you missed this time around, it’s entirely possible we might do it again, my idea? Switch parts, I take Sullivan, Wendy takes Burnham.

Would that change it!?!?!?




Chicago Elevated Got Some Press!

It’s always, always nice to get a little boost for the walking tours. It just is. I try not to take it to heart too much, but there’s no denying that it’s helpful! Here are three places where you can see Chicago Elevated:


I am so pleased and proud to be a part of Chicago Magazines “Five Oddball Chicago Tours.” Oddball is a HUGE compliment always, so I’ll take it. Plus, my buddy Asa who does Fossil Tours, is on the list with me and that’s the best part! Fine company I keep!


I have been trying for YEARS to get into Thrillist. I think because it’s cool and young and I am not that cool or young and I really wanted to be seen as young and cool. So I am pleased and proud to be in their “Best Chicago Tours for Visitors You’ll Actually Want To Go On.” Again, compliment! Check it here.


And I love this one, I got an email from a lady at ZipCar, they were doing a blog post about unique walking tours and they found me! And that is spectacular! When I got the article I saw it was unique tours from around the country! HOW COOL IS THAT? I am really, really happy and proud to be a part of this one, these other tours looks so awesome. You can click here to see that one.

Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune.

Get Up On – Tour Guide Recs

I haven’t done a solid Get Up On in quite awhile, but man, I’ve met some neat people and I want to share with you the cool things people are doing:


I met Dan Black at an On The Table event in May. On The Table should get they’re own Get Up On, because it’s such a cool event. My mind shifts every time I go to one, which is…um…twice, but still. I met Dan and he told me about Slow Roll. Slow Roll plans bike rides on Wednesdays from April to October. All ages, all skill levels are invited to ride, and they go through different neighborhoods focusing on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. It’s bike riding for everyone, bike riding for social change, bike riding to show that all neighborhoods are accessible. It’s just so cool. Get Up On It.


Monkeying around, I found this interview with Tristan Hummel.  I loved the interview and thought it was a great looking website. I saw the call for creatives and entrepreneurs,  I reached out and I’m glad I did. Saturate Chicago has a great site with these great interviews, but what it’s going to be eventually is events to bring people together. Olivia believes that creative people are all inspired by each other – writers by photographers, chefs by writers, painters by tour guides. She brings these people together in a really inclusive way. It’s in the beginning stages, but the events she’s done already were huge successes. We’re hoping to do something together soon. Stay tuned.


We tour guides are pretty friendly with each other. We’re all so different but all in love with the same thing – it’s fun to get to know other guides. This Get Up On is about my friend Marlin, owner of Chicago Running Tours. Marlin is the absolute best. You might think that running tours are too much pressure, but once you meet Marlin you’ll understand that he is so easy going, so friendly, so careful and care-full about his information, he’s a total joy. His saying is “the slower you go, the more we’ll show,” so you need not worry. I went on one of Marlin’s tours there were lots of breaks, plenty of chances to catch your breath. The best part? Tours are in the morning, so you did a 5K, learned something, and it’s 8:30 in the morning so you feel like a badass because you are one.

This is Marlin at one of our Tour Guide Association meetings.

This is Marlin at one of our Tour Guide Association meetings.

Burnham V Sullivan – The Tour of the Century!


They’re back! Wendy from WendyCity and Margaret from Chicago Elevated (that’s me!) are back.

You may remember we joined forces to do a Richard Nickel tour, a loving and respectful tribute to one of Chicago’s greatest and most misunderstood heroes.

But this time?


Our next tour is a special, one-time-only tour, but this time, it’s a race to finish, the debate of the century, a fight for the heart of the city. Two tour guides enter and only one architect wins.

Mark your calendars, book the sitters, get your tour clothes washed and pressed, because on July 17, at 1PM we will ask and answer the question on everyone’s lips:


Oh, we know you can’t compare them (but we’re gonna), we know it’s like apples and oranges (doesn’t matter, we’re gonna), we know you can’t really call one man better than another (but we’re gonna).

Margaret will represent Burnham, Wendy will represent Sullivan and we will THROWDOWN. By comparing buildings, styles, employees, behavior, wins and losses, these two tour guides will try to convince you which one is BETTER.

Guests will have the chance to vote and of course we know gambling is totally illegal, but if you wanted to get in the game, we can always turn the other way – this is Chicago of course!

Deets: July 17, 2016 at 1:00PM

Cost: 25$

Time: 2 hours-ish

For tickets and more information, click here.



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