Sightseeing Chicago Like Ferris Bueller
"The question isn't 'what are we going to do,' the question is 'what aren't we going to do?'"
FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF was a teen comedy released in 1986. It stars Matthew Broderick as high school senior Ferris Bueller who feels he must make the most of a great spring day before school is over and he has to move on to college and a more adult life. Ferris convinces his girlfriend Sloan and best friend Cameron to join him and the three spend the day in the city of Chicago, seeing the sights and having adventures.
There is one thing you'll have to let go of if you want to do Chicago in Ferris-style. The Ferrari that Ferris and friends "borrow" from Cameron's dad is a 1961 250 GT Spyder California. It's as rare as they say in the movie (less than 100 were ever made), so you have to accept that your ability to rent one and drive it around is zero, zilch, nada. They didn't even have a real one for the movie, they made three fake Spyder-style bodies and put them on other Ferrari motors.
So, with that out of the way, are you ready to take a day off like Ferris Bueller?
Watch Ferris again, or for the first time
If you're going to try and recreate Ferris' day off, you really do need to know what he was doing that day.
After dropping off the car at a garage, Ferris takes his friends to the Sears Tower, which was renamed the Willis Tower in 2009. Built between 1970 and 1973, this is the tallest building in the United States. The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor of the building, 1,353 feet above the ground. If you want a bird's-eye view of Chicago, this is the place! Over a million visitors go up to the Skydeck each year, but watch out, because on really windy days you can feel the building swaying...
The next stop is the Chicago Stock Exchange. This is the second-largest stock exchange in the US after the one in New York City, and was founded in 1882.
Starting Your Day Off
- Welcome to Explore Chicago
The City of Chicago's Official Tourism Site. Information on art, attractions, museums, festivals, restaurants, shopping, and theatre.
- The Skydeck
See Chicago's most breathtaking views. Site offers directions, hours, ticket, student & group event information.
- Trade On.™ CHX - Chicago Stock Exchange
Trades over 4000 stock issues. Features listed companies, membership information, exchange traded funds, career opportunities, publications, OTC issues and history.
At The Museum
The Art Institute Museum
Of all the museums I've ever been to, the Art Institute Museum is one I've enjoyed the most. I've gone back more than once and I still haven't seen it all.
This amazing art collection is so large, you could spend more than one day trying to see it all, so if you get the chance, take your time here. Built just eight years after the famed Chicago fire, the Art Institute was founded as both a museum and an art school in 1879. Their collections span close to 5,000 years of human art, from countries and cultures all over the world.
If you are trying for a specific Bueller moment, you'll want to make sure you see Marc Chagall's stained-glass "American Windows," created in 1977 in honor of America's bicentennial. And spend some time exploring the pointillist style of Georges Sureat's most-famous painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," like Cameron does.
Getting Your Cultural Fix
- The Art Institute of Chicago
The world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago houses both a museum and school. The museum contains more than 300,000 works of art while nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in various undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
- Art Institute Welcomes Back Famous Chagall Windows | NBC Chicago
After a five-year absence, the Art Institute welcomes back Belarusian French artist Marc Chagall's "America Windows" which were popularized by the '80s movie.
- Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Seurat's Grande Jatte is one of those rare works of art that stand alone; its transcendence is instinctively recognized by everyone.
The Afternoon Activities
Your Day Off Afternoon
One other tidbit about Ferris' Day Off that you'll have to skip is lunch at Che Quis, as that restaurant is completely fictitious. The name is a pun on the pizza chain "Shakey's" (both are pronounced the same) and the actual name of the restaurant translates to "whose house?" Besides, Ferris had pancreas for lunch, and do you really want to eat that?
Rush Street, where Che Quis is supposed to be located is real and is home to some very fine and upscale Chicago restaurants. You can find a few of Chicago's famous steakhouses there as well as clubs, cabarets and bars. It's one of the more happening spots for Chicago nightlife, so why not save coming here for the end of you day?
After lunch, Ferris, Cameron and Sloan caught a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It is one of the smallest and most active ballparks in the US, which has kept it a favorite. Baseball season runs from the end of April until the end of September.
Before leaving their day in Chicago, Ferris just jumps onto a float in a parade to sing a couple of songs for his friend Cameron. This was a real Chicago parade, known at the Von Steuben Parade, a German-American pride event. Now, one little fudge in the film is that the parade actually takes place in September, and Ferris is supposed to be playing hookey near the end of the school year, which would be May. However, it is potentially possible for you to catch a Cubs game and the Von Steuben Parade in September.
Baseball and Parades
- Wrigley Field History | cubs.com: ballpark
Wrigley Field is the second-oldest ballpark in the majors behind Boston's Fenway Park (1912).
- United German-American Societies of Greater Chicago: Von Steuben Parade
The annual Von Steuben Parade is the German American Event of the year. It is held in September, when hundreds of participants march, dance, play music or ride the many beautiful floats on Lincoln Avenue.
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off at Wrigley Field
So what game are they watching? Did the Cubs win, or did Ferris sing "Danke Schoen" as a way to wash away the stink of a Cubs loss?
"Saving Ferris" is a documentary about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Dress-up as Ferris!
Bueller?... Bueller?... Anyone?
- RedEye Ferris Bueller: The Ferris, or FBDO 2: This Time It's Personal! - RedEye
On September 12, 2009, Chicago blogger Ernest Wilkins is going to recreate Ferris' Day Off.
- What Would Ferris Bueller Do?
Want to think about Ferris Bueller in a whole new way? Check out this interpretation of Ferris Bueller's Day Off ala Fight Club.