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A promotional shot of the cast. Getty Images

A tour of Ferris Bueller’s Chicago

Stuck at home? Take a trip through 1980s Chicago by revisiting this John Hughes classic.

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If being stuck indoors while you practice social distancing has you pining for a day out on the town, dust off your copy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and distract yourself with a nostalgic trip through 1980s Chicago. The movie was a “love letter” to the city from filmmaker John Hughes. “I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could,” he said. “Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit.”

Chicago isn’t just a backdrop for the beloved 1986 film. Places like Willis Tower, Wrigley Field, the Art Institute, and Lake Shore Drive played pivotal roles in the story—almost taking on lives of their own. And by capturing the city’s skyscrapers, cultural landmarks, streets, and people on film, Midwesterners were able to claim a piece of Hollywood for themselves.

Many of the sites featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off also were personally meaningful for Hughes. For instance, as a high schooler growing up in Northbrook, Illinois, the future director often escaped suburbia by wandering the halls of the Art Institute.

Here are some of the most iconic Chicago filming locations in the ’80s classic.

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1. Cameron's House

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370 Beech Street
Highland Park, IL 60035

Ferris’s loyal sidekick Cameron Frye lives in a modernist home designed by architect A. James Speyer located in Highland Park. The property’s glass-encased garage plays an important role in the movie. It’s the site where the precious 1961 Ferrari plummets down into the ravine. The North Shore home was on the market for five years before it finally sold in 2014.

A glass garage over a ravine with trees. There is a red convertible parked inside. Via Redfin

2. 333 West Wacker

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333 West Upper Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

Just before the scene at Ferris' dad's office, the film focuses on the then-new 333 West Wacker Drive. The movie was shot in 1985, and the curved high-rise designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates was completed just two years prior. The office tower was the epitome of cutting edge postmodern design at the time and it reflects the bend of the Chicago River in its glassy green facade.

3. Glenbrook North High School

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2300 Shermer Road
Northbrook, IL 60062

In the movie, Ferris and Cameron speed over to Glenbrook North in the collectible Ferrari to bust Ferris' girlfriend Sloane Peterson out of school. The concrete stairs Sloane walks down are still mostly the same today, and students occasionally recreate the scene. Glenbrook North was Hughes’s alma mater and also served as the setting for The Breakfast Club one year earlier.

4. Grant Park

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5 South Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

In 1986, Millennium Park wasn’t a thing yet. Construction for the famous downtown park began in 1998. Aerial shots in the film show the sprawling train yards that would later get capped by lush gardens, playgrounds, art sculptures, and a Frank Gehry-designed bandshell.

Watching Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and forgot about how much awesome 80s footage of Chicago they had.

Posted by Pat Hammond on Friday, January 11, 2019

5. Lake Shore Drive

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1114 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

If you steal your dad’s Ferrari, how can you not cruise down Lake Shore Drive in the warm weather? It’s perfectly Chicago: skyscrapers on one side, and a clear blue lake on the other. The movie depicts Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane heading south on LSD with the John Hancock Center visible in the distance.

Getty Images/fStop

6. Italian Village

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71 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603

Italian Village on Monroe Street opened in 1927—it still serves up Tuscan fare today and represents one of the last old school Chicago dining rooms. After the trio exit Lake Shore Drive, there’s a shot of them driving past the restaurant’s iconic neon sign.

7. Parking Garage

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172 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602

The garage where the teens drop off the Ferrari (and where the “professional” parking attendant can’t help but take the convertible for a spin) is on Madison Street.

8. Wells Street

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West Madison Street & South Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60602

As soon as Ferris and company leave the parking garage, the attendant and his buddy hightail it out on the road. Hughes shot the beginning of their joyride on Wells Street, where the hot red Ferrari is framed by the familiar elevated CTA tracks.

9. Willis Tower

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233 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

The crew’s first stop downtown? The Sears Tower observation deck—now named the Willis Tower Skydeck. In the movie, Ferris mentions it’s the tallest building in the world which was true through the ’80s and into the ’90s. When the Petronas Towers in Malaysia were completed in 1996, the 1,451-foot tower lost its title. The iconic skyscraper managed to hold onto the claim of highest roof in the Western Hemisphere until 2019.

10. Chicago Board of Trade

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141 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604

The Board of Trade shown in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off looks quite different today. In the ’80s, traders wore color-coded jackets, completed sales on paper, and yelled across the pit. Now, that same room is filled with digital screens, computers, and far fewer traders.

11. Chez Quis

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22 West Schiller Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Even if you’re Abe Froman the sausage king of Chicago, you won’t be able to get reservations at this fancy French restaurant because it simply doesn’t exist. The exterior shots of the fictional Chez Quis were a private home in Gold Coast which has since been remodeled and doesn’t feature the ivy-covered wall anymore. The interior shots were all filmed in Los Angeles.

12. Wrigley Field

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1060 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60613

What did generations of Chicagoans learn from Ferris? If you play hooky, go to a Cubs game. Of course, Hughes couldn’t resist adding in a scene set at one of the most beloved ballparks in the country. A neat detail you might have missed: Ferris catches a foul ball in this scene and later uses the same baseball to switch off the snoring soundtrack on his bedroom stereo at the end of the film.

13. Art Institute of Chicago

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111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603

Hughes choreographed a memorable montage at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of his favorite places in the city growing up. The three protagonists enter behind a group of school children, and then proceed to be goofballs throughout the massive museum. Then, Cameron comes face to face with Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and has a moment. Meanwhile, Ferris and Sloane find themselves in front of Marc Chagall’s America Windows.

14. Daley Plaza

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50 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602

An impromptu musical number at the Von Steuben Day Parade shows the best of downtown Chicago—including the Picasso sculpture at Daley Plaza and Dearborn Street. Requiring nearly 10,000 extras, the scene brought the people of Chicago into the film and was Hughes’s favorite part of the entire movie.

15. Federal Center

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230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604

While Ferris is serenading the Germans on a parade float, Cameron and Sloane take a walk through the plaza at the Mies van der Rohe-designed Federal Building and Post Office to talk about what happens after they graduate from high school. You can also spot Calder’s Flamingo sculpture—another beloved Federal Center landmark.

16. Glencoe Beach

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160 Hazel Avenue
Glencoe, IL 60022

As the trio head back to the North Shore, Cameron’s meltdown reaches a rock bottom when he realizes how many miles were put on his dad’s car. Ferris says, “I think Cameron may have blown a microchip or two,” and the three take a moment to regroup on the rocky wall overlooking Glencoe Beach.

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1. Cameron's House

370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL 60035
A glass garage over a ravine with trees. There is a red convertible parked inside. Via Redfin

Ferris’s loyal sidekick Cameron Frye lives in a modernist home designed by architect A. James Speyer located in Highland Park. The property’s glass-encased garage plays an important role in the movie. It’s the site where the precious 1961 Ferrari plummets down into the ravine. The North Shore home was on the market for five years before it finally sold in 2014.

370 Beech Street
Highland Park, IL 60035

2. 333 West Wacker

333 West Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606

Just before the scene at Ferris' dad's office, the film focuses on the then-new 333 West Wacker Drive. The movie was shot in 1985, and the curved high-rise designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates was completed just two years prior. The office tower was the epitome of cutting edge postmodern design at the time and it reflects the bend of the Chicago River in its glassy green facade.

333 West Upper Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

3. Glenbrook North High School

2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL 60062

In the movie, Ferris and Cameron speed over to Glenbrook North in the collectible Ferrari to bust Ferris' girlfriend Sloane Peterson out of school. The concrete stairs Sloane walks down are still mostly the same today, and students occasionally recreate the scene. Glenbrook North was Hughes’s alma mater and also served as the setting for The Breakfast Club one year earlier.

2300 Shermer Road
Northbrook, IL 60062

4. Grant Park

5 South Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601

In 1986, Millennium Park wasn’t a thing yet. Construction for the famous downtown park began in 1998. Aerial shots in the film show the sprawling train yards that would later get capped by lush gardens, playgrounds, art sculptures, and a Frank Gehry-designed bandshell.

5 South Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

5. Lake Shore Drive

1114 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611
Getty Images/fStop

If you steal your dad’s Ferrari, how can you not cruise down Lake Shore Drive in the warm weather? It’s perfectly Chicago: skyscrapers on one side, and a clear blue lake on the other. The movie depicts Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane heading south on LSD with the John Hancock Center visible in the distance.

1114 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Italian Village

71 West Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

Italian Village on Monroe Street opened in 1927—it still serves up Tuscan fare today and represents one of the last old school Chicago dining rooms. After the trio exit Lake Shore Drive, there’s a shot of them driving past the restaurant’s iconic neon sign.

71 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603

7. Parking Garage

172 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602

The garage where the teens drop off the Ferrari (and where the “professional” parking attendant can’t help but take the convertible for a spin) is on Madison Street.

172 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602

8. Wells Street

West Madison Street & South Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60602

As soon as Ferris and company leave the parking garage, the attendant and his buddy hightail it out on the road. Hughes shot the beginning of their joyride on Wells Street, where the hot red Ferrari is framed by the familiar elevated CTA tracks.

West Madison Street & South Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60602

9. Willis Tower

233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606

The crew’s first stop downtown? The Sears Tower observation deck—now named the Willis Tower Skydeck. In the movie, Ferris mentions it’s the tallest building in the world which was true through the ’80s and into the ’90s. When the Petronas Towers in Malaysia were completed in 1996, the 1,451-foot tower lost its title. The iconic skyscraper managed to hold onto the claim of highest roof in the Western Hemisphere until 2019.

233 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606

10. Chicago Board of Trade

141 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604

The Board of Trade shown in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off looks quite different today. In the ’80s, traders wore color-coded jackets, completed sales on paper, and yelled across the pit. Now, that same room is filled with digital screens, computers, and far fewer traders.

141 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604

11. Chez Quis

22 West Schiller Street, Chicago, IL 60610

Even if you’re Abe Froman the sausage king of Chicago, you won’t be able to get reservations at this fancy French restaurant because it simply doesn’t exist. The exterior shots of the fictional Chez Quis were a private home in Gold Coast which has since been remodeled and doesn’t feature the ivy-covered wall anymore. The interior shots were all filmed in Los Angeles.

22 West Schiller Street
Chicago, IL 60610

12. Wrigley Field

1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, IL 60613

What did generations of Chicagoans learn from Ferris? If you play hooky, go to a Cubs game. Of course, Hughes couldn’t resist adding in a scene set at one of the most beloved ballparks in the country. A neat detail you might have missed: Ferris catches a foul ball in this scene and later uses the same baseball to switch off the snoring soundtrack on his bedroom stereo at the end of the film.

1060 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60613

13. Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

Hughes choreographed a memorable montage at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of his favorite places in the city growing up. The three protagonists enter behind a group of school children, and then proceed to be goofballs throughout the massive museum. Then, Cameron comes face to face with Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and has a moment. Meanwhile, Ferris and Sloane find themselves in front of Marc Chagall’s America Windows.

111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603

14. Daley Plaza

50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602

An impromptu musical number at the Von Steuben Day Parade shows the best of downtown Chicago—including the Picasso sculpture at Daley Plaza and Dearborn Street. Requiring nearly 10,000 extras, the scene brought the people of Chicago into the film and was Hughes’s favorite part of the entire movie.

50 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602

15. Federal Center

230 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604

While Ferris is serenading the Germans on a parade float, Cameron and Sloane take a walk through the plaza at the Mies van der Rohe-designed Federal Building and Post Office to talk about what happens after they graduate from high school. You can also spot Calder’s Flamingo sculpture—another beloved Federal Center landmark.

230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604

16. Glencoe Beach

160 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022

As the trio head back to the North Shore, Cameron’s meltdown reaches a rock bottom when he realizes how many miles were put on his dad’s car. Ferris says, “I think Cameron may have blown a microchip or two,” and the three take a moment to regroup on the rocky wall overlooking Glencoe Beach.

160 Hazel Avenue
Glencoe, IL 60022