First published August 3, 2015
It is no secret that I love John Hughes.
You’re probably beginning to think I am wallpapering my living room walls with his pictures.
I’m not, I swear.
I have however written quite a few posts about him.
My need for him to be memorialized in the form of a museum here.
As well as the coolest tour my husband and I got to take at John Hughes’s former mansion here.
Other than keeping a drawer of his movies in our family room, I am not keeping a drawer of anything else of him in my home.
That was for “dramatic effect”.
This was after 10 p.m., mind you.
Mad props trying to find ANYTHING in Lake Forest after dark beside deer and frat boys.
Alas, they couldn’t find anything because my article was buried on page five of a google search, I later learned.
They gave up and went home, John Hughes-less.
This made me sad because no one should ever go home John Hughes-less.
You could go to IMDB, Google and a myriad of other movie fan pages to find the locations of his movie sites but that takes a lot of time and effort especially if you are in the car driving around the Chicago area.
So today, I am providing you with most of John Hughes’ well-loved movie sites in one handy place.
You can go online and look up all of the addresses I am about to provide.
These are their actual homes in most cases, so just stop, take a picture and move on.
Don’t walk on the property, don’t ring the doorbell, and for God’s sake do not ask if Long Duck Dong is home.
So without further adieu, I share with you my guide to the Chicago area John Hughes movie tour!
My husband and I ate a lot of greasy food, ice cream, listened to months of 80’s New Wave, watched hours of John Candy, Matthew Broderick and Judd Nelson and put a ton of miles on our car all in the name of research.
Lake Forest, Illinois
John Hughes’s grave is located at Lake Forest Cemetery, which is located right on Lake Michigan.
This isn’t a tourist trap, but rather a place to visit and reflect.
This is also within a residential area as well, so please be respectful
It is also kind of tricky to find on GPS.
It is located on Lake Road in Lake Forest.
The cemetery itself is located at the end of the road on the north end of the town.
If you aren’t able to find it after three tries, consider it a sign from Mr. Hughes himself.
As you drive into the cemetery, take the first lane on the left and his grave is immediately on your right.
*Nancy Hughes passed away in September of 2019 and is buried there now as well. You can read this beautifully written obituary about her life.
The second stop on the tour is the mansion that Mr. Hughes and his family called home before his death.
It is located at 855 E. Westminster in Lake Forest and is just down the road and around the corner from the cemetery.
You won’t be able to get onto the property obviously, but you can peek onto the property as you drive by.
Go here to read about my tour of this home when they offered it up for charity.
Nancy Hughes donated this property to the local hospital, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital
They then used that money to help build a brand new hospital that is opening in 2016.
This wing is just around the corner from my neurologist’s office within Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. When I turned the corner and saw this, I gasped.
This is the part of the tour where you need to turn on your John Hughes playlist on Pandora or Spotify.
Wait, you don’t have one? Well, let’s right that wrong!
If you don’t have a John Hughes playlist, I guess an 80’s CD will work.
BUT WHY DON’T YOU HAVE ONE?
As far as John Hughes’ favorite pizza, an amazing New York Times interview with his oldest son, John III, reveals that he regularly frequented Coal Fire Pizza located at 1321 W. Grand Avenue in Chicago.
But locals will tell you that he also loved the downtown location of Ferentino’s Pizza in Lake Forest, located at 842 Western Avenue. We have eaten at this location many times over the years and just love it. The pizza is absolutely amazing…I mean, the smells alone.
Side note- Ferentino’s is closed on Sundays.
Leaving Lake Forest and heading south, we will be entering Highland Park where quite a few movie scenes were shot.
But if you are getting hungry and decided to skip Ferentino’s, stop in the town of Highwood located in between the two towns because there are some great little restaurants there.
Our favorite is Buffos located at 431 Sheridan Road in Highwood.
Highland Park, Illinois
We first head to Jake Ryan’s home from the movie Sixteen Candles.
Think Anthony Michael Hall stuck inside a glass coffee table.
The roads are very tight in this neighborhood as it is close to the lake, so I would recommend coming during the day so it is safer to drive and safer for the residents.
The garage where the car pulled out with Anthony Michael Hall and Jake’s girlfriend.
Just five minutes around the corner is another familiar movie house located at 370 Beech.
Cameron’s house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Also known as the house where Cameron’s dad’s car crashed to the ground.
It was for sale for many years but just sold in 2014 for a little over a million.
My father-in-law was there the day that they filmed that famous scene, as he worked security for a lot of films. He was a policeman in Highland Park at the time and he has so many great stories.
I told my husband he needs to write all of them down or at least recite them to me.
He also gave these to me when he learned of my John Hughes’ obsession (I hate using the word obsession but okay):
Those placards were used in the cars on the streets while filming. Obviously Risky Business wasn’t a John Hughes film but my father-in-law worked on that movie set as well as many others that aren’t up there.
Again, needs to write his stories down.
While you are in Highland Park, stop and get a burger at Michael’s.
You’re gonna be full after this tour.
It’s located at 1879 Second Street.
There is outdoor seating for warmer weather months but don’t let the size fool you, it’s really big on the inside.
Even though it wasn’t a John Hughes movie, Risky Business was primarily filmed in and around the Highland Park area as well.
Go here for all the filming locations because this post has nothing to do with that movie.
It’s obviously been updated and it’s really pretty too.
Sorry for the tree SMACK DAB in the middle of the house.
I don’t feel comfortable standing in the middle of the street taking pictures of someone’s house.
Just a few houses down is Deb’s house from the same movie located at 1150 Linden.
Sorry for the close-up picture, it was raining and I didn’t get out of the car, so I had to edit the rearview mirror out of the picture but you get the main idea.
Head a little further south to the town of Glencoe where you will find the church used in the second to last scene in the movie Sixteen Candles.
Where Jake is leaning against his red Porsche?
The church is located at 263 Park Avenue.
At the brown door are the steps where Samantha stood looking out to where Jake was standing.
And below is across the street where Jake stood leaning against his Porsche.
We almost got a ticket so I hope you appreciate this picture.
It’s a beautiful church, isn’t it?
Glencoe is a really pretty town, upscale North Shore wealthy Chicago at its finest.
Take time to drive around and admire the homes.
The downtown shopping and dining area are only a block away, so park your car and walk around if you have time.
Just south of Glencoe, is the next stop on our tour, Winnetka.
Home to two places in our John Hughes tour but I only stopped at one during this trip.
I didn’t research the other place until I got home but if you are reading this on your phone, definitely stop at both.
First, make a stop at Ferris Bueller’s mom’s workplace also known as Koenig and Strey’s real estate office located at 583 Chestnut Street in downtown Winnetka.
Then once you have snapped a picture there, head to one of the biggest draws in town: The Home Alone house.
That is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue.
I had actually never been here until this day but apparently, everyone else had because when we pulled up there was this:
This house was up for sale a few years ago and, of course, everyone knew that this was “the” house.
As these houses go, they are marketed on the Internet as “The Home Alone House” and so as easy as one would think for them to be scooped up on the real estate market, they are not.
Now, granted, a huge part of that reason is that they are expensive.
Millions of dollars and the taxes are quite ridiculous in Illinois.
But a lot of people are not too willing to live in a home where they know people will be driving by daily to snap pictures, walk on the lawn, or, don’t do it, ring the doorbell.
The day we drove down this street was a quiet Wednesday morning at 10 am and only two other cars were driving down it suspiciously slow and snapping pictures.
Also, the street that this home is on is very narrow; think one-lane road. The street shown in the movie was not the same street that this house sits. So it is very easy to become a traffic jam if you sit and stare at the home, so keep that in mind.
Speaking of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, there are four other filming locations in and around the metro Chicago area.
The “Braidwood Inn” which was said to be in Witchita, Kansas is actually just outside of Joliet in Braidwood, Illinois. It can be seen along Interstate 55 if you don’t have time to make a stop and honestly, it really isn’t worth it. In recent years it has been the Sun Motel notorious for prostitution and drug busts.
The motel is located at 140 South Hickory Street in Braidwood, IL.
The hotel that the car crashed into at the end of the movie is the El Rancho Motel and is located at 36355 North U.S. Highway 41 Gurnee, IL. There is a really cool story about this location as it is being used now and you can read that at the end of this post.
The courthouse scene where Del and Neal are picked up by the semi is located in Woodstock, Illinois (also known as the filming location of the movie Groundhog Day). The courthouse is located at 101 North Johnson Street.
And the scene where they end up in Chicago getting on an elevated train (the “el”) is located at the LaSalle/Van Buren CTA station located at 121 West VanBuren Street in Chicago.
Leaving the Winnetka/Kenilworth area, let’s head down to Evanston.
Home of Northwestern University and two major John Hughes movie homes: Samantha Baker’s from Sixteen Candles and the house used in Uncle Buck.
Located at 2602 Lincoln Avenue, my husband and I both were like, are we sure this is it?
It looked smaller in person even though it is huge but it’s funny how homes look on screen compared to when you see them in real life.
It is indeed the house Buck Russell made his famous shovel pancakes in.
Or at least punched the clown on the front porch.
I miss John Candy.
About ten minutes away is Samantha Baker’s house at 3022 Payne Street.
Take a good look at the above street.
That is the opening street scene to Sixteen Candles.
While in Evanston, stop in at Edzo’s Burger Shop.
A former classmate of my husband opened this chain years ago and they make the most amazing burgers and shakes.
It is located at 1571 Sherman Avenue but is closed on Mondays.
So don’t go on a Monday.
Now you have your tummy full and you might be blasting some Simple Minds, maybe even a little Psychedelic Furs?
This next leg definitely calls for The Breakfast Club soundtrack and you have some time to jam because you’re going to hop on the Illinois Tollway and head up to the Northwest Suburbs toward the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois.
The first stop will be Northbrook which used to be called Shermerville in honor of one-time resident Frederick Schermer.
So John Hughes wasn’t just making things up; there actually WAS a Shermer, Illinois.
In fact, all over Northbrook, there are signs of Shermer.
To us suburban Chicago residents, it isn’t really anything new but to someone who doesn’t live here and loves John Hughes’ movies, this is pretty cool.
You will find signs of Shermer in and around Northbrook.
Start your Northbrook tour at the house where Anthony Michael Hall stops to capture the moment on film of his time with the blonde in the Rolls Royce in Sixteen Candles.
So I later found out there are two different addresses online for this home.
The address I was originally given was actually the incorrect one and instead was the location of the tree that Long Duc Dong jumped out of.
So I don’t have a picture of the correct house.
The actual house address is 1423 Sycamore Lane.
The school where they filmed the famous underwear scene is just down the street.
We are going to head around the corner to see a little-known trivia tidbit.
On Shermer Road, no less sits Glenbrook North High School.
John Hughes was an alumnus of this high school and he used Glenbrook North in a few of his movies: putting the logo on tee shirts, folders, binders, jackets and the like.
He also used the GBN colors for the Sixteen Candles high school colors, green and gold.
Be on the lookout for the GBN logo in Hughes’ movies, especially in the opening credits of Sixteen Candles.
GBN was also used in Ferris Bueller’s Day off as the high school you see when Mr. Petersen (aka Ferris) picks up Sloane outside of the school.
After turning left onto Shermer Road from the parking lot of GBN, you should be seeing this slowly come into view:
To some who pass this every day, it’s just a plain old water tower.
It’s the SAVE FERRIS water tower.
They painted over the words years ago but they never painted anything else on it.
There was actually a campaign to ..wait for it…save the Save Ferris water tower.
They were going to tear this down in 2011 because the village was building another water tower for money saving and water pressure issues.
They were very close to tearing this down but nostalgia gets the best of people.
Well, that and the Internet.
When the rest of the world found out that THE Save Ferris water tower was coming down, it just didn’t sit right with Ferris Bueller fans everywhere and after a campaign, the water tower sits untouched.
Added in 2019:
If you want the coolest place to sit and look at the tower, head to the Northbrook Public Library to sit on the John Hughes memorial bench.
If you sit on the bench, this will be your view:
The infographic is great and the view is even better.
The bench is tucked away in the library parking lot and can be found by entering this address in your GPS: 1201 Cedar Lane.
By the way, there is an amazing ice cream place right around the corner from the water tower that my husband and I have gone too many times to mention since I have taken on this cool project.
Graeter’s is in my home state of Ohio and beyond and now they have a location in Shermer, I mean, Northbrook.
Get ice cream, walk to the water tower, take in all the happy vibes and just be.
Graeter’s is located at 1347 Shermer Road.
You got your ice cream fix and you saved Ferris.
Time to throw your fist in the air because you are heading to a Mecca for John Hughes fans and the biggest debate as well.
The Breakfast Club high school.
Des Plaines, Illinois
Set your GPS for this address:
9511 Harrison Street Des Plaines
It will take you here:
The former Maine North High School.
Also known as Shermer High School.
Which is now the Illinois State Police Headquarters.
But you can’t go in here or you will end up in cuffs.
Unless that is your thing, then go for it.
Bender would be very proud of you.
By the way, see how I finally broke into The Breakfast Club high school here.
This is kind of where I would love to have a John Hughes museum but it’s in a residential area.
Not really cool for a museum.
So here is where the debate lies; most people, I included, thought the field scene where Bender does the fist pump at the end of the movie, happened at the field across the street from this former school.
Others think it happened at another high school listed in the credits, the aforementioned Glenbrook North High School.
But that school was used for interior shots only.
(Edited in 2020- Thank you to reader Laura who pointed out that it was Maine SOUTH High School where the actual field was, which is in Park Ridge some 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 and until I get down to Maine South High School, this is going to have to do).
What is right next to Maine North High School now?
I couldn’t resist.
I mean you could recreate the fist pump scene if you wanted.
Just don’t trip over the trash cans on garbage day.
That happens to be Wednesday, for inquiring minds.
But then, we drove to the back of the townhouses and ……
……I could almost picture it.
So there you have it.
I am sure I am forgetting something.
Please don’t sue me.
Or come after me.
Unless you have a million dollars and you want to start a John Hughes museum or something.
Then I am all ears.
If you are interested in reading a John Hughes-inspired screenplay, head here.