My Hometown Blogathon: Chicago

So first, I owe one huge apology to Caz over at Let’s Go to the Movies for being severely late in posting for her blogathon, since it was due right around Thanksgiving. I loved the idea that she came up with for a blogathon, and being from (the suburbs of) Chicago, I was excited to post about some of my favorite films that feature the Windy City.

Here are five of my favorite films that highlight the city of Chicago:

5. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) is not only one of Julia Robert’s funniest films, in my humble opinion, but it also features multiple Chicago locations, including a very famous chase scene that ends in Union Station. The picture above cracks me up because the girl fight goes down in a bathroom at U.S. Cellular Field (Comiskey Park), home of my favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox. Although My Best Friend’s Wedding appears on the surface to be just another bland rom-com, there are some hysterical moments, and it sets the tone for future romance films that don’t end happily ever after. But hey, at least there will be dancing.

Below is one of the most memorable scenes from the film, where Julianne (Julia Roberts) and Michael (Dermot Mulroney) are on a boat, passing under some of the bridges in Chicago.

4. While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Another rom-com that makes my list is While You Were Sleeping (1995), because its most pivotal scenes take place at an L train station in Chicago, the most memorable scene when Peter (Peter Gallagher) falls onto the tracks with an incoming train. Bullock makes for a believable character who could live in the city, and I think she does so successfully in While You Were Sleeping.

I didn’t have the easiest time finding clips from the film, but the trailer for the film below shows that most of the background and setting for the film takes place in the Windy City.

 3. The Blues Brothers (1980)

I have Ryan at The Matinee to thank for pushing me to finally watch this beloved film that features almost more of Chicago than any other film I have seen thus far. So much Chicago scenery, roads, and famous landmarks are shown in the film. One of my favorite scenes is the opening scene in which John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd jump the 95th Street bridge over the Calumet River in a police vehicle.


At the time, this climactic final scene (at the “Palace Hotel Ballroom”) was performed at a country club, but later became the South Shore Cultural Center, receiving its name from the neighborhood in Chicago where it started. The Hollywood Palladium is where the indoor concert scenes were shot.

 2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

John Hughes, the director, writer, and producer for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), felt very strongly about the city of Chicago when penning and directing the film.

He’s quoted, saying,

“Chicago is what I am. A lot of Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city. And the more people who get upset with the fact that I film there, the more I’ll make sure that’s exactly where I film. It’s funny—nobody ever says anything to Woody Allen about always filming in New York. America has this great reverence for New York. I look at it as this decaying horror pit. So let the people in Chicago enjoy Ferris Bueller.”

I never realized that Hughes was under fire for choosing Chicago over New York. His passion to have the city play a character in the story shows, as its architecture, well-known tourist attractions, and features are grandly put on display.

I wonder what Ferris would have thought of the 360 degree TILT ride now offered at the John Hancock Building.


I never had an experience quite like Ferris’s and his friends at the Art Museum, but it’s still one of my favorite places to visit in the city.


And I couldn’t not include the video of the parade scene with Matthew Broderick on a float belting “Twist and Shout.” The scene took two Saturday to shoot in the middle of downtown Chicago. Apparently radio stations announced that people could play extras in a “John Hughes movie,” and 10,000 people showed up for it.

 1. The Dark Knight (2008)

When Caz first announced this blogathon, I immediately thought of The Dark Knight (2008). It’s one of the most well-known films to have been shot in Chicago, probably because Chicago gets to play Batman’s city, Gotham, and that is pretty awesome.

As someone who grew up near Chicago, not in, but visited it often, there are certain areas in the city that I can pick out more easily when I’m watching a film. One of the most prominent locations was Lower Wacker Drive, as well as the Metra entrance at Millennium Park, where Batman (Christian Bale) was chasing the Joker (Heath Ledger).


The Gotham General Hospital, which the Joker blows up in the film, was actually the old Brach’s Candy Factory located on North Cicero Avenue. You can check out the explosion below.


Of course, there are so many notable films that have been filmed in Chicago, that I just chose five films that I really enjoy. Other major films that were filmed in Chicago include the following:

Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Untouchables (1987)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
North by Northwest (1959)
Nothing in Common (1986)
Home Alone (1990)
Road to Perdition (2002)
Public Enemies (2009)
The Company (2003)
The Fugitive (1993)
Risky Business (1983)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
High Fidelity (2000)

Thanks again to Caz for hosting this blogathan, and apologies for the tardy post.

It’s your turn now. What is your favorite(s) film(s) filmed in Chicago? Are there any prominent films shot in your hometown? Please join in on the fun below!

32 thoughts on “My Hometown Blogathon: Chicago

  1. I posted mine really late too, so you’re not alone! I’ve been to Chicago a few times (wonderful city) and the first time I visited with my friend (who’s from outside Chicago), she showed me the sites where “Batman Begins” was filmed, namely the scenes where Batman first meets Rachel. I also have a pic on the stairs used in “The Untouchables,” lol! I never knew about the criticism John Hughes received for filming in Chicago for “Ferris Bueller’s Day off,” but glad he stuck with his vision. I’m also personally a huge fan of Roger Ebert and love how he chose to broadcast out of Chicago when LA and NYC wanted him to move. Anyways. awesome post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey!! Thanks so much for the comment. I’m so glad you got to visit the city. It’s incredible. Aww, that’s awesome! I think it’s so cool to get to visit some of the sites where some well-known films were shot.

      Great mention of Roger Ebert! I almost mentioned him in the post, but decided not to just because I wanted to focus on the films shot in the city. But YES! Personally, my favorite film critic. And I’m so happy, too, that he chose to stay in Chicago and represent there. I feel like LA, and especially NYC can get very overrated.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol, well, I’m a NYC girl at heart, so I never think it’s overrated! 😀 But I do think some parts of the city are becoming more touristy (Times Square) than I would like. LA is nice, but it’s personally not for me. I’d pick NYC or Chicago before LA, even with its sunny California weather, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahaha . . . I can get that. I’ve visited NYC twice, and I loved it! I guess part of me just feels like Hollywood (funny, how it’s in California!) really puts NYC (and LA) on a pedestal for film. And I can see it in some ways, but part of me wishes that other cities got a chance to shine as I think there are so many incredible cities around the U.S. that are forgotten about, much less featured so heavily in film.

          Haha, I’m actually with you on picking NYC over LA any day of the week! I love the big city, and even with my complaints, I have to hand it to the city for being such an incredible platform for so many great films!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I definitely agree about how other cities should be given a chance to shine too. I know in NYS, movies are starting to film more outside NYC, like in Buffalo and Rochester (parts of The Amazing Spider-man 2 were filmed there). But with NYC itself, I think sometimes, Hollywood wants to create this magical aura around the city, which is good (I love the romance films, like Sleepless in Seattle and Breakfast at Tiffany’s), but at the same time, there’s an edge and grittiness about NYC that’s always made it more real than that.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree with your comment about Hollywood wanting to create a “magical aura around the city.” But you listed some great examples of that. I love Sleepless in Seattle, and while I don’t care a ton for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it had nothing to do with how beautiful NYC was in it. I really liked how NYC was featured in the first two (particularly the second) original Spider-Man film.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Me too! The first 2 Spider-man movies are some of my favorite superhero films, and not just because they’re set in NYC. Honestly, I see more magical aura in TV than films with NYC, mostly in SATC (yet, I still love it) and Glee.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Haha, they are mine too! Spider-Man 2 is up there as one of my favorite movies of all time.

                  Ooo, I can see that. SATC does a good job of incorporating NYC, although I think they did a decent job of that in their first film too. Haha, oh, Glee. Definitely a show that for me, went off the rails, but was pretty cool how it showed off NYC in its later seasons.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Yeah, the first SATC film was excellent from a SATC fan POV, but the second? Not so much, lol! I also liked when Glee started filming in NYC, but I agree it went downhill too. Such a shame cause I loved it in the beginning.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Hey, another fan who totally liked Glee in the beginning! I’m almost embarrassed to say so now, just because I think the show has REALLY gone downhill. But the first season was excellent, in my opinion!

                      And yeah, I wasn’t a huge fan of the second SATC film. I thought it was kind of weird. It felt like it was off!

                      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Eric! Thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks – I really appreciate that. Despite #s 4 & 5 being rom-coms, they both heavily feature the city. Both Ferris Bueller and The Blues Brothers are classics, that I knew I couldn’t NOT include them on the list. Ahh, The Untouchables . . . I’ll have to add that to my list. I haven’t seen it! (I know, terrible, right?). Thanks for the recommendation!


  2. Great idea for a Blogathon – Chicago’s been used so much in films! Even if it’s just a part of the city, it’s so recognisable. The Dark Knight is a a stand out for me. But will throw in The Fugitive in there too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jaina! I agree – Caz really came up with a cool idea! I know, right? Yeah, The Dark Knight always makes me think of Chicago. I’ve heard The Fugitive features the city as well. Yet another film I need to see!


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