Moving is never a breezy project, but learning a little more about your relocation destination can help ease those moving jitters. If you’re considering moving to Chicago, there are a lot of good things waiting for you. It’s one of the biggest cities in the country, with plenty of job opportunities and all the perks of a big city. Moving from another big city might spell good news for you cost wise – if you’re moving here from LA, you might discover that Chicago has a lower cost of living than the City of Angels. This makes moving here definitely attractive. However, make sure to thoroughly plan your move and to include self storage, too – to help you better manage your belongings until you settle into your new home. Send them ahead of your relocation so moving day can run smoothly. For reference, renting a Chicago storage unit costs around $125/month.
Beyond finding a home, cost of living and other essential issues that anchor your living situation, you should also get to know Chicago from another perspective. The city gave us plenty of memorable moments on the screen. Why not take a walk down memory lane to spot some memorable movies that feature the Windy City?
Without further ado, here are some prominent films and TV shows that were shot in Chicago:
1. The Blues Brothers – 1980
“The Blues Brothers” is a 1980 SNL-inspired movie chock full of the deadpan comedy of performers like Aykroyd, Belushi and Murray, of which the first two are the main protagonists. Their “mission from God” leads them through an absolutely ridiculous chain of events.
You get to see quite a bit of Chicago in this movie, with the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, IL, and Wauconda, IL, where a car crash occurs in the movie. Chicago’s City Hall is also featured in the movie. When “Blues Brothers” was filmed, Chicago wasn’t a movie-making location, but the film created the right context for Windy City to become just that.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1985
Focusing on what a bunch of teenagers do when they skip school, with Ferris as the main character accompanied by Cameron and Sloane, this 1980s film is definitely a must-see. Most memorable moments take place at various Chicago landmarks. It offers not only a tour of the most famous Chicago landmarks, such as the Willis Tower (or Sears Tower as it was called back then), but also shows you a slice of the suburban life of Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago is also featured, as the camera follows Cameron looking at the “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” painting on display at the Chicago Museum. Wrigley Field pops up, too, with the three teenagers enjoying a Cubs game.
3. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
This iconic rom-com featuring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney and Cameron Diaz follows the story of a woman who made a pact to marry her best friend if neither of them find someone. As it turns out, he is marrying another woman, which makes her jealous. She proceeds to interfere, trying to prevent the wedding from taking place.
Juliane Potter, Julia Roberts’ character, gets a full tour of Chicago in this movie, as Comiskey Park, Union Station and the Fourth Presbyterian Church on the Magnificent Mile are featured in the movie. You could probably even make a tourist trip of all the Windy City spots that show up in the movie.
4. High Fidelity (2000)
A quintessential American rom-com, “High Fidelity” is based on the novel bearing the same name by Nick Hornby. In the movie, we’re acquainted with a record store owner, played by John Cusack, who has recently ended a romantic relationship. Next, we get to see a history of his old romances and the lessons that came along.
Several Chicago places can be spotted in this movie, with Wicker Park featured in most scenes. You also get to see the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Kinzie Street and the Double Door, a music venue where one of the characters performs.
5. Road to Perdition (2002)
Adapted from the book bearing the same name, “Road to Perdition” is a crime drama set in 1931. The storyline follows a mobster and his son as they seek retribution against another mobster who took out their family.
This period movie shows various Windy City locations, with downtown at the University Club of Chicago, the Charles G. Dawes Houses in Evanston, IL, and the Chicago neighborhood of Pullman. Outside of the city, the suburb of Geneva was also used for the making of the movie.
6. Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Batman (2022)
The Windy City has been home to several Batman movies, including the iconic The Dark Knight in 2008 and the latest one to make it to the big screens – “The Batman”, launched in 2022. While the movies were not entirely filmed in Chicago, the city’s landscape makes at least one noteworthy appearance in these movies.
In “Batman Begins”, you can see Batman on the LaSelle St., where he hits a bus after running from the police building. Moreover, the opening scene in “The Dark Knight” takes place inside The Old Post Office in Chicago, located at 404 West Harrison Street. We also get to see the Wayne Industries Headquarters located in the Daley Plaza, which is in the middle of downtown Chicago. Other filming locations include the Willis Tower, where Batman takes in the cityscape. The Navy Pier is also featured, where Batman confronts the Joker.
7. Transformers movies (Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction)
If you’re not already familiar with the universe of “Transformers”, get ready to embark on a Sci-Fi story that revolves around high schooler Sam Witwicky discovering that his first car is Autobot Bumblebee, one of the transformers. He protects Sam and his girlfriend, Mikaela Banes, from Deception Barricade, during the war that ensues in the search for the Allspark.
Chicago’s cityscape shines through in these movies with Wacker Drive, Indiana Avenue and North Wabash Avenue being the primary filming locations. Road closures were necessary, as the two movies were filmed here back to back.
8. The Divergent series (2014-2016)
Based on the books by Veronica Roth, the “Divergent Series” is set in a dystopian Chicago, where people are divided into five factions. When they turn 16, teenagers can choose to stay in their birth faction or they can migrate to another one. Beatrice Prior also faces the same dilemma and eventually becomes Tris, joining a different faction. What comes next is a story about bravery, tough challenges and romance.
Most of the movie was shot in Chicago, with the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist in downtown being the location for the choosing ceremony. Federal Street, 57th Street and Ellis Avenue near the University of Chicago and Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago are also some of the local filming locations.
9. Candyman (1992), Candyman 2 (1999), Candyman (2021)
The “Candyman” series, which spans four movies, has seen three of them being shot in Chicago. “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” is the only one made outside of the Windy City, with New Orleans, LA, and Los Angeles as the main filming locations.
The series is a supernatural horror slasher based on the Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and the short story “Forbidden.” The story revolved around the ghost of a 19th century son of a slave who is an artist that ends up being killed. In the movies, Helen Lyle, a graduate student, is researching the urban legend of the murderer who ends up being dubbed the “Candyman.”
This series has seen its fair share of Chicago locations, with the Near North Side, Near West Side and Occidental Studios as well as the University of Illinois at Chicago featured in the first movie. The 2021 film was shot in North Park and also at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the first one to feature the inside of this location.
10. Shameless (2011-2021)
Running from 2011-2021, “Shameless” is a drama TV series that attempts to honestly portray the struggles addiction and poverty inflict on families. Frank Gallagher, the father to a large family, neglects them as he gets pulled into the whirlwind of drug addiction. The show’s humor manages to make up for the bleak overall atmosphere.
Chicago’s South Side is mostly featured in the series, with the Back of the Yards neighborhood more specifically. It’s a residential area close to the previous Union Stock Yards. They filmed many outdoor scenes in this area, even during the cold winters of Chicago. Heart-to-heart conversations took place on the porch of a real home in Chicago.
11. Chicago Fire (2012-present)
“Chicago Fire” is a drama television series that focuses on the Chicago Fire Department and the fictional Firehouse 51 and depicts the personal and professional lives of firefighters and other staff affiliated. The show uses the exterior shot of the Chicago Fire Department firehouse. For the interior of Firehouse 51, they turned to the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Another Chicago location you can recognize in the series is the Lotties in Bucktown, which was used to feature Molly’s, a bar owned by Herrmann, Dawson and Mouch.