While we may not be Hollywood, Chicago is home to some of the biggest blockbuster films. Below are my favorite places to brag about when they come on TV, especially to my out-of-town friends and family. Now you can too!
Prudential Plaza in Richie Rich
Rich Industries is home to one of the well-known buildings in the city, the Prudential Plaza. Well, its courtyard is anyway. The famous back-to-back R’s of Rich Industries stand tall in the flowerbed of the gorgeous courtyard on Lake Street. Call me silly, but I just recently noticed this background a few months ago while watching the movie. Yes, I still have a soft spot for childhood movies when they come on TV. While I was watching Richie Rich storm into his father’s building to give Laurence Van Dough a piece of his mind, I forgot my anger and shouted, “Hey, I eat lunch there!”
130 East Randolph Street
& 180 North Stetson Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Hotel 71 in The Dark Knight
The partying, womanizing, overly cocky, but always famous, Bruce Wayne apparently owns a penthouse located on 39th Floor Penthouse Ballroom of the Hotel 71 on Wacker Drive. I was lucky enough to take a tour of the space and found, while it looks like the space contains many rooms, they actually filmed each room in the same space. The view is amazing, with floor to ceiling windows facing the north, west and south side of the city. I stood in the same spot as Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Yowza.
71 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Wrigley Field in A League of Their Own
The fictional Harvey Field in which almost all scenes are filmed in this movie is actually Chicago’s very own Wrigley Field. Even back in 1992, when the film first hit the theaters, it was very difficult to find a place that wasn’t too modernized. While I am a Sox fan, I have to appreciate the way the field has (somewhat, but not completely) maintained its old-school baseball feel. And the rule still stands, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
1060 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60613
Michigan Avenue in Transformers 3
The Michigan Avenue Bridge at Michigan and Wacker will be the background of the highly anticipated Transformers 3, set to open summer of 2011. Throughout the couple of months they were here, I watched Michigan Avenue transform from a clean street to an utter disaster area. I was also lucky enough to be able to watch some of the filming from Trump Hotel’s Trump Terrace over the summer. Here I watched explosions, car chases and military men running back and forth in perfect unison. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!
Chicago Trolley & Double Decker in The Breakup
While this movie is jam-packed with Chicago venues, the most viewed is the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker. Vince Vaughn and his two brothers, played by Cole Hauser and Vincent D’Onofrio, own the Double Decker Trolley business, and Vince Vaughn is the main star as the voice over during the tours. His role is to teach the tourists about Chicago while keeping them laughing the whole time. “Couple quick ground rules: Please, don’t jump off the bus. Weird. Not fun for anybody. Also, no throwing objects at pedestrians. Unless, of course, they deserve it, okay?”
615 West 41st Street
Chicago, IL 60609-2643
The Drake at My Best Friend’s Wedding
“Excuse me, Ma’am, this is a no smoking floor.” Remember the days when you had smoking floors in Chicago hotels? Now you rarely find a place that has one smoking floor. Julia Roberts learned this the hard way while under stress after finding out her best friend’s soon-to-be-father-in-law allegedly sent an email asking Michael’s current boss to fire him, but really it was Julia Roberts’ character that sent it. Did you catch all that? Doesn’t matter. The point to my tale is that Julia Roberts shot this scene, and many others, in the Drake Hotel on Michigan Avenue and Walton Place. Dermot Mulroney event gives the hotel a shout-out in his first line of the movie, letting Julia know he has news and is “staying at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.”
140 East Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60611-1501
O’Hare International Airport in Sleepless in Seattle
While this movie takes place mostly in Seattle and ends in New York, the beginning is filmed in our very own sweet home Chicago. Why do we have to get the short end of the stick and get stuck with the most depressing scenes of the movie? Oh well, at least we got a tribute. O’Hare Airport is the scene with the final and tearful goodbyes of Tom Hanks and his son to his sister and brother-in-law. He then boards a plane and leaves Chicago forever, something I could never bring myself to do.
10000 Bessie Coleman Drive
Chicago, IL 60666
Alycia Nicole is a concierge in the heart of downtown Chicago and hits up every film shooting she catches wind of.