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Slick Chicago Audio Tours From Groupon Founder Andrew Mason Coming In May

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 12, 2016 6:11PM

Navy Pier, a potential audio tour site (photo via amateur photography by michel on Flickr)

A new audio tour app, which Groupon’s ex-CEO started in San Francisco, is expanding into Chicago.

Detour, Andrew Mason’s new app, will roll out here in May, according to the company's open call for pitches. The Detour team will be in Chicago from March through August, producing their namesake “Detours”—highly-produced audio tours, which Detour’s marketing-speak terms “like walking around inside a movie.”

So far, they’ve listed the following as “must-do” subjects for Chicago audio tours:

* Chicago Architecture
* Wrigleyville
* Millennium Park
* Navy Pier
* Capone / Mobster History
* Chicago Food (pizza, sausage, steak)
* Something about local life, maybe set in Wicker Park, Pilsen, Humboldt Park, or Logan Square

Here’s how the app works so far, in San Francisco: Users can use their smartphones to stream the audio tours, narrated by locals and set to fancy scores. Using “iPhone magic,” as the Detour site puts it—which probably translates to “GPS stuff”—the tours give you directions as you walk. They’re basically immersive podcasts tailored to your exact location. There’s a group-sync feature, too, so that when you go on a tour with friends, you all react to the tour together.

As much as I want to be snarky about Mason’s latest enterprise—because like, he once put out an album of motivational business music—this just seems like a really cool addition to the city.

For an even better understanding of how Detour works, watch the app's trailer below:

(Disclosure: I worked at Groupon while Mason was CEO.)

[h/t Curbed]