As we curl up in front of a good festive film this Christmas or immerse ourselves in all things “movie” related ahead of awards season, we have detailed the famous real-life film sets you can see for free in Illinois.
The most iconic house this time of year is the McCallister family residence in Home Alone. It is this house where Kevin, (played by Macaulay Culkin) is infamously forgotten when his family travel to Paris and he is left at the hands of the ‘wet bandits’. The huge home, situated at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, Illinois – north of Chicago and near Lake Michigan, is certainly a character in its own right in the classic Christmas movie.
The house is now privately owned but avid fans can take a stroll by the green and bandstand, near where young Kevin shops for a toothbrush at Hubbard Woods, as well as Station Park where Kevin visits Santa Claus in front of Winnetka Village Hall, Green Bay Road.
When landing at Chicago O’Hare Airport on a visit to Illinois, visitors will immediately step into a real-life film set as the airport famously appeared in Home Alone, both as itself and as the airport in Paris.
Stone Porch Inn is just a stone’s throw away from the film set in Evanston, Illinois and is the perfect quaint retreat to cosy up and get festive in.
See below for other famous film locations in Illinois that you didn’t know you knew. Sit back and grab the popcorn…
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan made Chicago, Illinois the stand in city for Batman’s hometown in both the 2005 film Batman Begins and its 2008 sequel The Dark Knight.
Right from the beginning of The Dark Knight, the camera pans to the Chicago Post Office for the scene where the Joker, played by Heath Ledger, robs the fictional Gotham National Bank. Further south, the West Building of McCormick Place is where the Applied Sciences Division of Wayne Enterprises was set and Wayne Enterprises HQ was filmed at the Daley Center in Chicago’s Loop. For the epic Batman/Joker fight scene, head to the historic stretch of LaSalle Street in Chicago’s Loop. The view facing south down the major road in the city has been used in movies such as The Untouchables, Public Enemies, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Road to Perdition.
Hotel Julian is a great central spot right on Michigan Avenue to take in all that the city has to offer.
The Blues Brothers
When John Belushi’s character in the film is released from prison, he is actually being released from the Old Joliet Prison, Illinois. Hop on a Joliet Prison tour to see what it was like to ‘do time’, like in the film. The shopping mall car chase was filmed in the real Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois and the 95th Street Bridge, over the Calumet River on the southeast side of Chicago. It gained eternal fame when the Blues Brothers jumped it while it was raised. The bridge can still be driven across, but fans of the film are naturally not encouraged to try the enormous jump themselves!
For stays in town, check out Hollywood Casino, Joliet.
Woodstock, Illinois replaced Pennsylvania during the winter months of filming, where the city served as the backdrop for Bill Murray’s unshakeable time loop as a weatherman. The city even has its very own Woodstock Groundhog Day held every year for locals and visitors alike. The weekend long event includes a variety of activities for the whole family including film location walking tours, the Groundhog Day Dinner Dance and film screenings in the local cinema.
Fanatics of the classic film can stay in the The Cherry Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast where the protagonist in the film stayed.
A League of Their Own
This 1992 film starring Geena Davis, Madonna, and Tom Hanks follows the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during WWII. Though it was referred to as ‘Harvey Field’ in the film, the real location of the team tryouts took place at the historic Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Tickets to real life games can be purchased here.
Hotel Zachary is a new trendy, boutique hotel that opened this year just across from Wrigley Field, right in the heart of the action.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
From Northbrook to Highland Park, Winnetka to West Wacker Drive, Ferris Bueller makes his way around the Chicagoland area throughout the entirety of this 1986 John Hughes classic film. Some of the most famous scenes were filmed across the exhibits and on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest and largest art galleries in America. Fans can also climb up to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower to Skydeck Chicago – The Ledge and recreate the famous scene where Ferris, Cameron and Sloane gaze down from 1,353 feet.
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park is the perfect luxury pit stop to see the famous sights of Chicago, with both attractions in walking distance.
For more information on Illinois, visit: www.enjoyillinois.co.uk