• Julie Meckler
  • Amanda Scotese

On a recent afternoon, tour guide Amanda Scotese led an ambling group of nine sightseers past the Cook County Vital Records Office beneath the Daley Center. Most of them had never been in the pedway before. As the tourists took in their first views of the underground pathway, city workers cast puzzled glances their way and cut sharply around them.

Scotese, 34, founded the Chicago Detours tour company in 2010. Her Inside the Loop tour takes groups through parts of the pedway and other indoor spaces downtown. The juxtapositions as the tour swings from the ornate sanctuary of the United Methodist temple to the former Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s) housewares department are pleasing and unexpected.

“A lot of people, when they hear about the pedway for the first time, imagine this underground city out of Indiana Jones,” Scotese told the group as they walked back into the pedway from Macy’s. “But as you can see, it’s really more like somebody’s basement.”