First published August 3, 2015
Mind you, this was after 9 p.m.
Mad props for trying to find ANYTHING in Lake Forest after dark besides deer and rich people.
They couldn’t find anything since, as I later discovered, my piece was buried on page five of a Google search.
They gave up and went home, John Hughes-less.
This saddened me.
No one should ever go home John Hughes-less.
You could go to IMDB, Google and a plethora of other movie fan pages to find the information I am providing, but that takes a significant amount of time and effort, especially if you are in the car traveling about the Chicago area.
So without further ado, I present to you my guide to the Chicago area John Hughes movie tour!
My husband and I ate a lot of fried food and ice cream, listened to months of 80s New Wave, watched hours of John Candy, Matthew Broderick and Judd Nelson, and drove a lot of miles all in the name of research.
John Hughes’s grave is in Lake Forest Cemetery, which is right on Lake Michigan.
This isn’t a tourist trap; rather a place to reminisce and reflect.
This is also within a residential area, so please be courteous.
It is also difficult to locate on GPS.
The address is listed as Lake Road in Lake Forest.
The cemetery itself is located at the north end of town, at the end of a long road.
If you can’t find it after three tries, take it a sign from Mr. Hughes himself.
As you enter the cemetery, follow the first lane on the left, and his grave will be the first grave on your right.
*Nancy Hughes died in September of 2019 and is now buried there as well. You may read about her life in this beautifully written obituary.
The mansion where Mr. Hughes and his family lived until his death is the second stop on the tour.
It’s at 855 E. Westminster in Lake Forest, right down the street and around the corner from the cemetery.
You won’t be able to enter the property, but you can catch a glimpse of the property as you drive by.
Vist this page to read about my tour of this house when it was offered up for charity.
Nancy Hughes donated this property to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
They then used the money from the sale of the property to help fund the construction of a brand new hospital, which is set to open in 2016.
This wing is right around the corner from my neurologist’s office within Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
Remember when I told you about John Hughes’ favorite pizza? A New York Times interview with his oldest son, John III, revealed that his dad was a regular at Coal Fire Pizza at 1321 W. Grand Avenue in Chicago.
Locals will tell you that he also enjoyed the downtown Lake Forest location of Ferentino’s Pizza which is located at 842 Western Avenue. We have eaten at this spot numerous times over the years and have always enjoyed it.
As we leave Lake Forest and head south, we’ll pass through Highland Park, where many scenes were shot.
If you grow hungry and decide to forgo Ferentino’s, stop in Highwood, which is located halfway between the two towns, as there are some fantastic restaurants there.
Buffoslocated at 431 Sheridan Road,is our favorite.
Highland Park, Illinois
We begin by visiting Jake Ryan’s house from the film Sixteen Candles.
Think Anthony Michael Hall trapped within a glass coffee table.
Because the roads in this neighborhood are highly congested due to its proximity to the lake, I would recommend visiting during the day so that it’s safer to drive and safer for the residents.
Speaking of Sixteen Candles, here is a good article: Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes? : NPR I, like most everyone else, loved the character Long Duk Dong in 1983, but he hasn’t aged well, and we need to have an open conversation about it.
Another familiar movie house, located at 370 Beech, is only five minutes away
Cameron’s residence in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Also known as the house where Cameron’s father’s automobile crashed through the glass to the ground.
My father-in-law, who provided security for several John Hughes films, was present on the day they filmed that iconic scene. He was a police officer in Highland Park at the time, and has so many interesting stories.
While filming, those placards up above, were used on the cars on the streets. Obviously, Risky Business wasn’t a John Hughes production, but my father-in-law worked security on the set of that film, as well as many others that aren’t listed.
Returning to the tour, go to 1200 Linden Avenue to visit Gary’s house from Weird Science.
It’s obviously been updated, and it’s also rather lovely.
Sorry for the tree SMACK DAB in the middle of the house.
I’m not comfortable standing in the middle of the street photographing someone’s house.
Deb’s house from Weird Science, 1150 Linden, is just a few houses down.
Sorry for the close-up; it was raining and I didn’t get out of the car, so I had to crop off the rearview mirror, but you get the concept.
Continue south to Glencoe, where you will find the church featured in the second to last scene in the film Sixteen Candles.
The church is located at 263 Park Avenue.
Samantha stood on the steps near the brown door, gazing out to where Jake was standing.
And this is where Jake was standing, resting against his Porsche.
We were almost stopped by a cop for loitering, so I hope you enjoy this photo.
It’s a lovely church, isn’t it?
Winnetka, just south of Glencoe, is the stop on our journey. Home to two locations on our John Hughes tour, but I only visited one on this trip.
I didn’t look into the other location until I got home, but if you’re reading this on your phone while touring, you should definitely stop at both.
First, go to Ferris Bueller’s mom’s workplace, also known as Koenig and Strey’s real estate office, which is located at 583 Chestnut Street in downtown Winnetka.
After you’ve taken a photo there, proceed to one of the town’s most popular attractions: The Home Alone residence.
The address is 671 Lincoln Avenue.
I had never been here before, but evidently everyone else had since when we arrived there was this:
This house was up for sale a few years ago and, of course, everyone knew it was “the” house.
As far as these residences are concerned, they are marketed on the internet as “The Home Alone House” and as easy as one might think they would be to scoop up on the real estate market, they are not.
To be sure, a large part of the reason is that they are expensive. Millions of dollars are at stake, and in Illinois, taxes are exorbitant. However, many people are reluctant to live in a house where they know people will drive by on a daily basis to take pictures, possibly wander on the lawn, or (don’t do it), ring the doorbell.
It was a quiet Wednesday morning at 10 am the day we visited, and only two other cars were driving suspiciously slowly while taking pictures. In addition, the street depicted in the film is not the same street where this house is located. This street is very narrow. Keep in mind that if you stop and stare at the house, you might easily become a traffic nuisance.
606 Green Bay Road is the address of the grocery store where Kevin shops in the film Home Alone. This is a fun location to visit because you can actually go inside, although it looks nothing like it did in 1991.
If you’re in the area, you can visit house depicted at the end of Planes, Trains & Automobiles at 230 Oxford Road in Kenilworth.
Sidebar- there are four other John Hughes filming locations in and around the Chicago region for Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
The “Braidwood Inn” which was supposed to be in Wichita, Kansas, is actually in Braidwood, Illinois just outside of Joliet. If you don’t have time to stop, you can view it along Interstate 55. In recent years it has been known as the Sun Motel, synonymous with prostitution and drug raids.
The motel’s address is 140 South Hickory Street in Braidwood, IL.
The El Rancho Motel, which Del and Neal’s rental car slammed into at the end of the film, is located at 36355 North U.S. Highway 41 Gurnee, IL. There is a funny story regarding this place as it is now, which you can read at the bottom of this post.
Woodstock, Illinois is the location of the courthouse scene in which Del and Neal are picked up by the semi (also known as the filming location of the movie Groundhog Day). The courthouse is located at 101 North Johnson Street.
And the scene in which they arrive in Chicago and board an elevated train (the “el”) takes place at the LaSalle/Van Buren CTA station, which is located at 121 West VanBuren Street in Chicago.
Okay, back to the tour…
Lovely little Wilmette is home to a few filming locations. Located at 1024 Lake Avenue in Wilmette, is Trinity United Methodist Church. Also known as the Home Alone Church.
And this school:
Courtesy of Patch
Is most famous for the mean principal that Uncle Buck told to get a rat to chew her wart off her face. The school is Romona Elementary School and it is located at 600 Romona Road.
Let’s leave the Winnetka/Kenilworth area and travel south to Evanston.
Home to Northwestern University, as well as two key John Hughes film locations: Samantha Baker’s house from Sixteen Candles and the house featured in Uncle Buck.
The first stop is Uncle Buck’s house at 2602 Lincoln Avenue.
It appeared smaller in person, despite the fact that the house is enormous.
It’s interesting how homes appear on screen versus when you see them in real life. There’s a life lesson in there.
Sidebar- I miss John Candy.
Next we will head to Samantha Baker’s house at 3022 Payne Street,
That will take you ten minutes.
As you travel down Payne Street, drive slowly and take a good look. Does it look familiar?
That street is where the opening scene to Sixteen Candles was filmed.
And the house used for Samantha Baker’s is located at 3022 Payne.
Courtesy of IMDB.com
She’s Having a Baby, a lesser-known John Hughes film, is one of my favorites. Hughes composed the film as a love letter to his wife. I explained in detail in this post. The house that Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth MacGovern lived in on screen is located at 56 Salem Lane.
This next leg definitely calls for The Breakfast Club soundtrack and you’ll have plenty of time to jam because you’ll be taking the Illinois Tollway and up to the Northwest Suburbs and heading into the imaginary town of Shermer, Illinois.
The first destination will be Northbrook, which was formerly known as Shermerville in honor of former inhabitant Frederick Schermer. So John Hughes wasn’t making things up; Shermer, Illinois did exist. In fact, all over Northbrook, there are signs of Shermer.
It’s nothing new to suburban Chicagoans, but to someone who doesn’t live here but enjoys John Hughes’ films, this is fairly cool.
Begin your Northbrook tour at the house where Anthony Michael Hall stops in Sixteen Candles to videotape his time with the blonde in the Rolls Royce.
The address is 1411 Sycamore Lane.
The school where they filmed the famous underwear scene is down the street and you will most likely pass by it on your way to the house on Sycamore.
Next we go to the location of the party scene in Uncle Buck, where Buck Russell pulls out the drill out to scare his niece Tia’s boyfriend Bug. That is located at 2224 Crabtree Lane.
Next up is Glenbrook North High School on Shermer Road.
John Hughes attended this high school and he used Glenbrook North insignia in several of his films, including tee shirts, folders, binders, jackets, and the like.
He also used the GBN colors, green and gold, for the Sixteen Candles high school.
Look for the GBN emblem in Hughes’ films, particularly in the opening credits of Sixteen Candles.
GBN was also used as the high school seen when Mr. Petersen (aka Ferris) picks up Sloane outside of the school.
Take Sherman Drive to Greenview Road, as you are leaving Glenbrook North High School. That’s where they shot the scene in which Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane speed away to downtown Chicago.
Since you’re already in the neighborhood, go to Butternut Drive. That’s where they filmed the scenes at the end of the movie when Ferris is racing through the yards to get home faster.
After exiting GBN’s parking lot and turning left onto Shermer Road, you should see the following:
To some who drive by this every day, it’s simply another water tower.
The SAVE FERRIS water tower.
Save Ferris was painted over many years ago.
There was a campaign to …wait for it…save the Save Ferris water tower.
The village of Northbrook was going to demolish it in 2011 because they were planning to build a new water tower to save money and address water pressure issues.
The village was on the verge of demolishing it, but nostalgia won out thanks to the internet.
When the rest of the world learned that THE Save Ferris water tower was on the verge of being destroyed, it didn’t sit right with Ferris Bueller fans everywhere, and after a campaign, the water tower remains standing.
Courtesy of YouTube
The bus stop scene from Sixteen Candles comes up next. Remember when the bus came around the corner and you could hear chaotic kazoos playing from the open windows? This also occurred in Northbrook. 1225 Cedar Lane, to be exact, across from the Northbrook Village Hall.
To recreate the scene, get your kazoos out.
No, for real.
Then take neighboring Center Avenue east until it stops at Cedar Avenue. You will then turn north onto Cedar, and the bus stop will be located when you reach the Village Hall.
Head to the Northbrook Public Library and sit on the John Hughes memorial bench to get the best view of the water tower.
The infographic is fantastic, and the view is even better.
The bench is located in the library parking lot and may be accessed by entering this address in your GPS: 1201 Cedar Lane.
Sidebar- I believe we should launch a new campaign to have Save Ferris repainted on the water tower.
By the way, there is an incredible ice cream shop right around the corner from the water tower that my husband and I have visited far too many times since I started this cool endeavor.
You got your ice cream fix while also saving Ferris.
It’s time to throw your fist in the air because you’re about to head to a big filming location.
The high school featured in The Breakfast Club.
Des Plaines, Illinois
But this is no longer a high school.
It’s now the headquarters to the Illinois State Police.
You can’t go inside or you’ll wind up in handcuffs.
Unless it is your thing, in which case, go for it.
Bender would be very proud of you.
By the way, you can read about how I broke into The Breakfast Club high school here.
So here is where a bit of debate lies; most people, including myself, assumed that the field scene in which Bender gives the fist pump at the end of the film took place at the field across the street from this former school.
Others believe it occurred at the aforementioned Glenbrook North High School, which is named in the credits. However, that school was solely used for interior shots.
(Edited in 2020- Thank you to reader Laura who pointed out that the actual field was at Maine South High School, which is about 15 minutes away from here. Thank you SO MUCH, Laura! I love it when I get these tips! I did, however, leave the rest of this ending in because I am too lazy to go down to Maine South High School, so this will have to suffice).
What is next to Maine North High School currently?
I couldn’t resist.
I mean, if you wanted, you could recreate the fist pump scene.
Just be careful not to trip over the trash cans on garbage day. Which happens to be Wednesday, for inquiring minds.
But then, we drove around to the back of the townhouses and ….
……I could almost picture it.
Uncle Buck Forest Preserve Scene with Tia and Bug – Dam #1 Woods East- Wheeling, Il.