Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Use Any Old Phone For A DIY Architecture Tour

There are any number of applications that will help you explore Chicago with the help of your fancy shmancy smart phone.  Heck, we even have a web app of our own coming out soon (Shhh!  Point your iPhone at  But you don't need the latest high-tech gadget to take an architectural tour of the Tribune Tower (435 North Michigan Avenue).

The Tribune Company now has a phone number you can call from your regular cell phone to get a tour of its magnificent building.  It's 312/222-TOUR.

WGN Radio talk show host John Williams narrates four different tours of the historic building -- one about the various stones embedded in its facade, one about the building's grotesques (the correct name for its gargoyles), one about the lobby and a fourth that is an overview of the entire building.

It's a clever way to promote the building to tourists and passers-by and since Tribune owns most of the 312-222 prefix, all it costs the company is the price of a fancy answering machine while generating valuable goodwill.

And don't feel like you have to stand around and gawk at the building with all the tourists.  The audio tours are just as interesting listening from the comfort of your office phone.

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