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Sightseeing Chicago Like Ferris Bueller

Updated on March 10, 2015
relache profile image

Raye was born in New England, grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, spent college out West, and presently publishes Hubs from the Pacific Northwest.

"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

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Bueller... Bueller... Edition) [Blu-ray]
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Bueller... Bueller... Edition) [Blu-ray]

If you're going to try and recreate Ferris' day off, you really do need to know what he was doing that day.


City Sights

Admiring the view from the Skydeck
Admiring the view from the Skydeck | Source
Watching the brokers dealing at The Chicago Stock Exchange
Watching the brokers dealing at The Chicago Stock Exchange | Source

Seeing Chicago

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.

At The Museum

Tour the Art Institute Museum
Tour the Art Institute Museum | Source
Marc Chagall's "American Windows."
Marc Chagall's "American Windows." | Source

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.

The Afternoon Activities

Getting snooty with the waiter at Che Quis
Getting snooty with the waiter at Che Quis | Source
Skipping PE to catch a Cubs game
Skipping PE to catch a Cubs game | Source
Singing in the Von Steuben Parade
Singing in the Von Steuben Parade | Source

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.

"Saving Ferris" is a documentary about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

SAVE FERRIS! - or just leave a message for him...

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    • profile image

      GoldenThreadPress 5 years ago

      I loved the topic and the movie. I also am a big fan of Chicago. Voted Up!--Deb

    • e-five profile image

      John C Thomas 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois, USA

      As a Chicago resident, I'm loving your Chicago hubs. Good stuff!

    • profile image

      beanine 6 years ago

      great movie guy! :)

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 7 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Wow. I loved this movie. I can watch it over and over, especially the dance scene in the parade. I got my first job in Chicago many years ago. It is a great place to visit especially along Lake Shore Drive. This is a great, useful, and beautiful hub. Thumbs up.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Great tidbits on both the Ferris Beuller movie and about places to visit in Chicago.

    • profile image

      Richard Stephen 7 years ago

      This is a great idea! If I ever get back to Chicago, this would be a great way to see the city. Every time you watch the movie after doing so would be a great reminder of your visit! Good job!

    • NaomiR profile image

      NaomiR 8 years ago from New York

      Love this -- so much fun!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      What a fantastic idea. Love this. Ferris Bueller's Day Off was always a favorite. Great info I used to wonder about. Thanks!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Relache! I lived in Chicago for a year in '78, and this really brought back a lot of memories. Makes me want to go back. Thanks for a well-informed hub, full of great ideas for the Chicago visitor!

    • kerryv profile image

      kerryv 9 years ago from New York, NY

      Wow, this is such a great idea! I had a lot of fun reading!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks, Robin! I think what really helped me come up with this is that my best friend from high school now lives in Chicago and I've visited several times.

    • Robin Marie profile image

      Robin 9 years ago from USA

      Excellent concept! You have such creative ideas!