leyla in the woods photo by jessica rose


Hello! My name is Leyla and I spend my time working in the arts in Chicago. I have lived in the Chicago area for my whole life. I'm an advocate for the preservation of old buildings and a lover of history. My interest in Chicago began in high school, when I discovered Chicago based alternative bands. Since then, my love of local music has become a love of history and architecture in Chicago and around the world.

I have a varied background in many different professions. I've been working as a cellist in the city since 2007, with my experience focused on working with bands over orchestras. I've done live shows, recording sessions, and weddings, street performing, and more.

I've also been working as a historic tour guide since 2011 and have been writing my own tours since 2015. I started as an event planner in late 2015, when I began planning and running events for Atlas Obscura. Beyond that, I've also worked as a professional haunted house clown (hands down my favorite job), a flying trapeze instructor, and one time managed to hire my cat out as a professional model. (He hasn't paid rent since though, the slacker).

In my free time, I like to fly on the trapeze (with better and worse results) and travel as much as possible. My favorite place to visit is probably Japan, and I hope to be back soon. I frequently dye my hair different colors, enjoy thrifting and antiquing, and reading every day.


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