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Chicago's North Shore: A John Hughes Tour

Updated on December 13, 2014

Suburban movie locations John Hughes used for his 80s teen films

I came of age in the '80s, so movies directed by the late John Hughes were a big part of my adolescence. Watching them as a teen, I had no way of knowing that someday I'd raise my family in the area that served as a backdrop for so many of the movies that would become 1980s teen classics. Who knew that 20-odd years later I'd bike, just about every summer weekend, past the church where Jake surprises Samantha (Sixteen Candles) after her sister's wedding, to the beach where Sloan comforts Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off?

Some of the best-known locations in John Hughes movies were in Chicago proper--the Art Institute, the Sears (now Willis) Tower, Wrigley Field. But I'm focusing here on spots I can nearly see from our house ;) -- in the northern suburbs bordering Lake Michigan.

(Breakfast Club poster: amazon)

"My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion."

"It is his fault he didn't lock the garage."

Cameron's House - From Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Surrounded by ravines, with huge glass walls overlooking a gorge, this was a perfect home for Cameron, Ferris's tightly wound best friend and (more importantly?) for the sports car the kids "borrow" from Cameron's father for their day of adventures. Ferris describes the house as cold and museum-like, but it's actually quite lovely.

(photo: jeffgunn cc)

show route and directions
A markerCameron's House -
370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL
get directions

B markerWalker Bros. -
620 Central Avenue, Highland Park, IL
get directions

C markerRavinia Festival -
418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL
get directions

Treats Nearby: From Cameron's house, head about a mile and a half north to Walker Brothers Original Pancake House (620 Central Avenue) for amazing baked apple pancakes and the fluffiest egg dishes you'll find anywhere. Or head south about the same distance to check out Ravinia Festival (418 Sheridan Road), a gorgeous outdoor music venue where Chicagoans love to picnic.

"What we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal..."

High School - From The Breakfast Club (1985)

Who could forget the end scene in The Breakfast Club where Judd Nelson walks across the football field and punches the air, to the strains of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me"? Along with the locker shots at the beginning of the movie, it was filmed at Hughes's alma mater, Glenbrook North High School, at 2300 Shermer Road in Northbrook. Hughes set several of his films in the fictional town of "Shermer," Illinois.

The other high school used for The Breakfast Club is further west, in Des Plaines, and now a police station.

(photo: anarchosyn cc)

show route and directions
A markerGlenbrook High School -
2300 Shermer, Northbrook, IL
get directions

B markerLittle Louie's -
1342 Shermer, Northbrook, IL
get directions

C markerLou Malnati's -
1324 Shermer, Northbrook, IL
get directions

D markerMi Pi -
1361 Shermer, Northbrook, IL
get directions

Treats Nearby: Glenbrook High School is two and a half miles from a blocklong stretch of Chicago junk-food heaven. It's easy to imagine the Brat Pack chowing down on Chicago-style hot dogs at Little Louie's (1342 Shermer in Northbrook) or on deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati's (1324 Shermer) or My Pie (1361 Shermer). The park across the street, Northbrook Village Green, is a fun picnic spot, with playground equipment for tots to tweens.

"Happy birthday, Samantha. Make a wish."

"Well, it already came true."

Church - From Sixteen Candles (1984)

Source

After walking her inappropriately (but hilariously) self-medicated sister down the aisle, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) steps outside Glencoe Union Church to see, to her shock, heartthrob Jake Ryan waiting for her across the street. She finally gets her cake and (sigh!) a memorable kiss. Glencoe Union is a nondenominational Protestant church housed in a pretty 1911 building at 263 Park Avenue near downtown Glencoe, Illinois.


show route and directions
A markerGlencoe Union Church -
263 Park Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022
get directions

B markerGlencoe Beach -
1 Park Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022
get directions

Treats Nearby: See "The Beach," below...mere blocks from the church :)

"You know, I have a friend who works at the crime lab at the police station. I could give him your toothbrush and he could run a test on it... to see if you actually brushed your teeth...or just ran your toothbrush under the faucet."

The Russells' House - From Uncle Buck (1989)

Smoking, gambling, slacking Uncle Buck (John Candy) flipped ginormous pancakes for his young charges in this house, at 2604 Lincoln Street in Evanston. Evanston is a college town (home to Northwestern University) and one of the cooler Chicago suburbs.

(photo: anarchosyn cc)

show route and directions
A markerUncle Buck House -
2604 Lincoln, Evanston, IL
get directions

B markerRose's Bakery -
2901 Central, Evanston, IL
get directions

C markerLucky Platter -
514 Main, Evanston
get directions

Treats Nearby: Lucky Platter (514 Main Street) is our favorite "halfway" spot to meet up with city-dweller friends. Go there for "funkalicious post-hippie eclectic world cuisine" plus kitschy-cool folk art d├ęcor. Breakfast is especially tasty at the Platter.

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

The Beach - From Ferris Bueller's Day Off

After their city adventures/misadventures, Ferris, Cameron & Sloane hang out on the stone wall that overlooks Glencoe Beach. This is one of my family's favorite places in the world, and in the summer we practically live there.

(photo: spakattacks cc)

Treats Nearby: The beach IS the treat. Grab a slice or posicle at concessions and watch the world swim by; direct the kiddos to the cool sand-and-water playground; rent a kayak or sailboat. It's all good.

Want more?

See this list for tons of Hughes Chicagoland locations!

R.I.P. John Hughes - 1950-2009

When John Hughes passed away suddenly in August, tributes flowed. Here are some of my favorites.

What's your fave John Hughes scene, location, musical moment, memory?

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    • profile image

      Sunil 2 years ago

      August 8, 2009 5:22 am by soilyboy Oh, he's very polpuar Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.

    • profile image

      AmyLOrr 3 years ago

      I am a huge fan of John Hughes. Its so hard to pick a favourite but you know at the end of the Breakfast Club when Simple Minds start playing and Bender punches the air... I feel like a battle has been won! A smile every time :)

    • profile image

      AmyLOrr 3 years ago

      I am a huge fan of John Hughes. Its so hard to pick a favourite but you know at the end of the Breakfast Club when Simple Minds start playing and Bender punches the air... I feel like a battle has been won! A smile every time :)

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 3 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: I too am a huge Breakfast Club, and my teenage kids have now seen it several times as well. If you're touring on a nice summer day, I recommend hanging out at Glencoe Beach (of the Ferris Bueller scene) after stopping by Glencoe Union Church (from 16 Candles) .... it's a lovely little beach, and those 2 stops are only 5 minutes' walk apart :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Breakfast Club is my favorite. I saw it every week for like 10 weeks when it came out. I am heading to Chicago on vacation in spring of '14 and I can't wait to check out all the John Hughes movie spots. I see there's a tour!

    • one FatJesus1 profile image

      one FatJesus1 4 years ago

      Wow this is a really cool lens. Going as far as to place Google maps where the places actually are is a great touch!

    • FloridaDino profile image

      FloridaDino 5 years ago

      Great idea for a lens, really enjoyed it. I'm a big John Hughes fan myself, check out my Some Kind of Wonderful lens if you so choose!

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. The Breakfast Club was my favourite movie and I absolutely identified with the Basket Case girl.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I spent my 18th birthday in Chicago - wonderful memories reawakened - thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great idea for a lens! I would love to see Cameron's house from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing this tour. I hope I'll have a chance to do it some day and take a trip down memory lane.

    • aidenw profile image

      aidenw 7 years ago from USA

      I love the Chicago North Shore. I lived in Lake Bluff for about a year and loved driving around Lake Forest looking at those big mansions. If only it weren't so cold in winter :) Great lens.

    • momto4 lm profile image

      momto4 lm 7 years ago

      Interesting lens! I love the way you put it all together! 5*'s!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great stuff! I know where the Home Alone house is. Whitney went to preschool with Lauren A. who lived there. That's my claim to knowing a John Hughes spot.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I love the way you formatted this lens, and also the little boxes that tell you where to get treats at each featured location.

    • verymary profile image
      Author

      Mary 7 years ago from Chicago area

      [in reply to Pukeko] Whoa--Evanston to New Zealand is some journey! Very cool; thanks for stopping by :)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Talk about blast from the past. I grew up in Skokie at the Evanston boarder. Small world. I love this lens.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      What a great lens. John Hughes certainly made some cool movies. Love the quotes.5*****

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Fascinating! I love love love Ferris Bueller's Day off!

    • profile image

      bdkz 7 years ago

      John Hughes was amazing!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 7 years ago

      I learned a lot on this lens! This was great! It brought back so many fun memories too!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Beautifully done!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great tour. I like everything about John Hughes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very cool! Cameron's house is so cool! You should buy it! :) This is a great lens!!!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Neat! I have always wondered were Cameron's house was located. All of the movies you noted were great shows. I had no idea the filming locations were close together!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Very cool pics. I used to live in Mundelein, not too far away from these places.