No, not that one – not the Al Capone, John Dillinger, bootleg liquor and ladies in red version of the underground. These days, Chicago's underground is the very cool, or I guess I should say- shelter-from-the-elements Pedway. The Pedway is a series of heated (or cool in summer) walkways, passages and tunnels, (and some overhead bridges) that link more than 50 skyscrapers, hotels, train stations around 40 blocks of the central part of the city.
I took a tour of the Pedway with Amanda Scotese, of Chicago Detours. Not only does the Pedway have its own interesting history (and it helps to have a guide to orient you), you can use it to stay warm and visit some of the landmark Chicago buildings up on sidewalk level. An architectural walking tour of Chicago would otherwise be pretty brutal in February, when I went.
Detours, who are supposedly the only tour outfit using iPads to show videos, archival photos and old brochures, prides themselves on "exploring stories and places even the locals don't know about."
Aside from our Pedway background, we did an "Inside the Loop" tour that included going into a landmark Marshall Field's store. We craned our necks at the beautiful ceiling, and she explained the psychology of shopping and how it informed design; we got a lot more out of it than a description of cornices and dentil moulding. (I, for one, got free theatre tickets, when I won an on-the-spot trivia contest about the "shop girls" who used to mind the counters at Marshall Fields.)...