The High Fidelity location post was such a success that 4 years later I’ve decided it’s time to do a second blog post, so call in sick if you haven’t already because today we’ll be visiting film locations from the John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I’m not going to include Cam’s house, because I’m sure whoever lives there wouldn’t appreciate the doxing and if a car gets stolen I don’t want to be held liable. So this is a list of many of the Chicago locations from the film, along with a map, which you could reasonably visit within a day. Some of the locations are actually around (surprise) Los Angeles, including Ferris’ home, which is actually in Long Beach… and the restaurant. So knowing that, and that I’ll probably get something wrong here, let us begin!
First… our map.
1. Glenbrook North High School (2300 Shermer Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062)
We will begin our journey at the high school of director John Hughes, who grew up in Northbrook. You may know many of Hughes’ films are set in Shermer, which is a fictional Illinois town that gets its name from Shermerville, the original name of Northbrook. Some of the class scenes were filmed here… Bueller? You probably don’t want to hang around outside the high school for too long, so feel free to skip this one and head straight to…
2. Wrigley Field (1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613)
You could start (or end) your trip in Wrigleyville as well, where Ferris, Cam, and Sloane can be seen watching a Cubs game. Principal Rooney just misses spotting them on TV after having soda spit in has face for telling an unnamed girl (who he though was Ferris) “your ass is mine.”
3. The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603)
Head over to the famous Art Institute, a personal scene for John Hughes, who visited the museum often and used the film to display some of his own favorite paintings. It’s also a scene where Cam is confronted with a depiction of loneliness, while Ferris and Sloane kiss in another room. Alright enough emotion, back to comedy!
4. Sears Tower (233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606)
I think they’re calling this building something else now, but I forget what it is. So this is the scene where they visit the Sears Tower, climb up on the railing, and pin their heads against the wall for a cheap thrill. The countless people who tried this stunt themselves served as the inspiration for the Skydeck, which is a tilting glass box built into the side of the building formerly known as the Sears Tower.
5. Chicago Mercantile Exchange (141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604)
Ferris proposes to Sloane as Cam makes a noise with his mouth here. We also get some insight into Cam’s character (who some argue is the real protagonist of the film) and his views on marriage and his own parents. While Ferris jokes around about the idea or marriage, both Cam and Sloane are measured in their responses. As is the case throughout the film, you get the feeling everything is just a funny game to Ferris, including, perhaps, marriage.
6. Daley Plaza (50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602)
Cam is angrily storming through the crowd, believing Ferris has ditched both he and Sloane, when Ferris appears on a float singing. He dedicates the song to Cam who “doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today.” It’s a moment where we see that maybe everything isn’t just a game to Ferris, and maybe there’s a larger point he (or perhaps Hughes) is trying to make.
7. Chicago River (viewed best from the Michigan Avenue Bridge, N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611)
There’s a brief scene of the Chicago River as the crew drives towards the Art Institute from Chez Quis. It’s not very important to the plot, but it’s a great place to end your journey and get a drink! I hope you enjoyed the tour, and weren’t caught by a comedic, scheming boss.