I grew up in the 80s and I am all about those classic movies. Having kids, it’s been fun to introduce them to the movies that I loved so much. Amazingly, my kids actually like a lot of the same movies that I like. Especially John Hughes’ movies. So, yeah, I’ve succeeded in that area–getting my kids to like the movies and music that meant the world to me. It makes a mama proud 🙂
When talking about where we should go on summer vacation, we ended up deciding to make a trek to Chicago. The last time I visited Chicago for anything other than a flight layover, it was about 22 years ago. It was an amazing city and I remember loving it. But this time, we decided to see if we could go see it through the eyes of John Hughes. We basically made a scavenger hunt throughout the North Shore and city of Chicago to locate all the movie locations we could find from my classic 80s faves like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, She’s Having a Baby, Uncle Buck, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and our family favorite Christmas movie, Home Alone.
I did some research before we left, thinking if I found a few places it would be fun to see a couple. But, the North Shore area is loaded with enough locations you could fill multiple days finding them! So we queued up our favorite John Hughes movie soundtrack songs on Spotify and went exploring!
“Ohhh, sexy girlfriend!” Yup, here is the house that Samantha Baker lived in when she woke up to find everyone had forgotten her 16th birthday in Sixteen Candles.
Here is the church where Samantha’s sister, Ginny, got married. “I really love Rudy. He is totally enamored to me. I mean, I’ve had men who’ve loved me before, but not for six months in a row.“
I love when all the guests drive away to find Jake waiting across the street for Samantha. “Me?” “Yeah, you.“
She’s Having a Baby
Here is the church where the movie starts off for the wedding of Jake and Kristy Briggs. It’s fun to note this church is just steps away from Kevin’s house in Home Alone.
We visited the neighborhood where the Briggs lived and you could imagine the neighborhood block party going on. “You haven’t done a thing to get ready for this.” “I did. I washed the dog, didn’t I?” “You burned the dog!“
Here is the train station that Jake would grab a train to work. Also, this is walking distance to the church from Sixteen Candles.
“How do you feel about slavewages?” “Slavewages are okay.” “How do you feel about alcoholics?”
“Um, I like alcoholics?”
“In the end, I realized that I took more than I gave, I was trusted more than I trusted, and I was loved more than I loved. And what I was looking for was not to be found but to be made.”
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club was filmed at “Shermer High School” which was once Maine North High School, but is actually now a police station. It looks exactly the same as in the movie, minus the school sign. We were able to talk to some really nice police officers when we visited, who directed us downstairs to see a special bulletin board with signed memorabilia from the cast members. The football field scene at the end is filmed at Glenbrook North High School, which is the same school from Ferris Bueller’s, as well as the high school John Hughes attended himself!
“It is now 7:06. You have exactly 8 hours and 54 minutes to think about why you are here – to ponder the error of your ways.”
“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain……and an athlete……and a basket case……a princess……and a criminal.Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
While the house Ferris lived in is actually in California, we were able to spot tons of sites in the North Shore area. Where the Save Ferris water tower was (unfortunately recently repainted) we found this cool plaque commemorating the movie sites and John Hughes. The site at Glencoe Beach, overlooking Lake Michigan, was the spot Cameron had his meltdown. It looked exactly the same as in the movie. We also found the neighborhood behind Northbrook High School is where Ferris went running through backyards at the end of the movie.
“Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” “Um, he’s sick. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”
“The question isn’t ‘What are we going to do?’ The question is ‘What aren’t we going to do?'”
There were several places we spotted for Uncle Buck that we didn’t stop to see, all nearby. The elementary school, the high school where Uncle Buck picks up Tia. That is actually the same high school where the inside locations for Home Alone were built! New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. We spotted locations in Winnetka, as well, where Tia was walking home from the party and Uncle Buck picked her up. But the one location we did stop by to take a photo was the house itself where Uncle Buck spends the week watching his nieces and nephews.
“How would you like to spend the next several nights wondering if your crazy, out-of-work, bum uncle will shave your head while you sleep? See you in the car.”
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
I always thought that this was the same house as the house in Home Alone, but I found out when we located it, I was wrong! It is a different beautiful home, much like the homes that fill all the quaint towns of the North Shore.
“Six bucks and my left nut says we’re not going to be landing in Chicago.”
Ok, while I absolutely adore all the other movies on this list, this was it, the “Silver Tuna.” This was the house I wanted to see so badly. Home Alone has always been my favorite Christmas movie and my favorite house. We went to Winnetka, Illinois to find it and it was beautiful! The neighborhood is exactly like it is in the movie, the neighboring houses are just the same. The Murphy’s house is across the street and Old Man Marley’s house is right next door. A couple of slight changes have been made to the home, but otherwise, it appeared just how I hoped it would.
“This house is so full of people, it makes me sick! When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone!”
“Have a great trip, bring me back something French!”
When looking for Kevin McCallister’s home, we worked our way through what could be my favorite town in Illinois (which is saying a lot because all of these towns were truly spectacular!), Winnetka. Walking through this town, you could just see Home Alone there. The grocery store where Kevin got his mac and cheese and detergent, the park where he went running from the police after stealing a toothbrush, the pharmacy where he found the toothbrush, which is now home to the best ice cream ever, all of it!
We had a blast exploring all the movie locations for some of the greatest films ever and highly recommend that if you ever find yourself just north of Chicago, you take the time to do the same!