History in the Chicago Loop

141 West Jackson Boulevard

Batman Begins - Wayne Enterprises

In the 2005 film "Batman Begins," the Chicago Board of Trade (at 141 West Jackson Boulevard) served as the headquarters for Wayne Enterprises.

Dearborn Street between East Adams and Monroe Streets

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Parade Sequence

This scene, in which Ferris Bueller steals the show by singing "Twist and Shout" during the annual Von Steuben Day Parade, is perhaps the climax of his glorious day off.  Around 10,000 locals showed up to take part in the filming.  Downtown Chicago, mostly around Madison and Dearborn streets, serves as the backdrop for this sequence in the John Hughes 1986 comedy.

111 South Michigan Avenue

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - The Art Institute of Chicago

Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick), Sloane (played by Mia Sara), and Cameron (played by Alan Ruck) visit the Art Institute of Chicago to get their artistic fix.  In Gallery 240, Cameron admires the painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte," by Georges Seurat.  Listen to the commentary in the linked video from director John Hughes for insight on this scene at 111 South Michigan Avenue.

233 South Wacker Drive

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Willis Tower

Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick), Sloane (played by Mia Sara), and Cameron (played by Alan Ruck) visit the Skydeck of the Willis (then-Sears) Tower at 233 South Wacker Drive.  Director John Hughes said he wanted to "capture as much of Chicago as [he] could.  Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit."  Cameron puts his head against the glass, looks down, and says, "I think i see my dad.  That son of a bitch is down there somewhere."

118 North Clark Street

The Blues Brothers - Cook County Building

Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) drive the Bluesmobile to the front of the Cook County Building at 118 North Clark Street before barricading themselves inside. 

50 west washington street

The Blues Brothers - Daley Plaza

Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) drive over Daley Plaza at 50 west washington street and crash through the windows of the Courthouse.

The Intersection of West Lake Street and North LaSalle Street

The Blues Brothers - Massive Car Pile-Up

The massive car pile-up at The Intersection of West Lake Street and North LaSalle Street resulted in this crazy fact: at the time of release, this film held the world record for the number of cars crashed anywhere, according to imdb.com.

South Lower Wacker Drive

The Dark Knight - Action Sequence on Lower Wacker Drive

The action scene in which Gotham police transport attorney general Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to jail occurs on Lower Wacker Drive. The Joker and his clan do their best to break up the party. It's arguably the most thrilling sequence in the entire film.

404 West Harrison Street

The Dark Knight - Bank Robbery Scene

Formerly the Chicago Post Office, this building at 404 West Harrison Street was transformed into Gotham City Bank for the opening sequence of the film.  As the buses exit through the demolished wall, they turn east on Harrison Street.

Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue

The Dark Knight - Metra Millennium Station

Batman (Christian Bale) drives his Batpod through the Metra Millennium station midway through the battle with the Joker (Heath Ledger) at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.

200 West Randolph Street

The Dark Knight - Parking Garage Fight

In "The Dark Knight," Batman (played by Christian Bale) takes down the Scarecrow, the Scarecrow's minions, a few fake Batman look-alikes, and some vicious dogs in the parking garage at 200 West Randolph Street.

West Monroe and South LaSalle Streets

The Dark Knight - Showdown Between Batman And The Joker

In "The Dark Knight," an 18-wheeler flips end-over-end during a showdown between Batman (played by Christian Bale) and the Joker (played by Heath Ledger).  The confrontation occurs at Monroe and LaSalle Streets, in the heart of the Loop, with the Board of Trade Building in the background.

17 West Adams Street

The Dark Knight - The Berghoff

Lieutenant Gordon (played by Gary Oldman) arrests Maroni and his mobsters inside the dining room at Berghoff Restaurant at 17 West Adams Street.

175 North State Street

The Dark Knight - The Chicago Theater

Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) and Rachel Dawes (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) try to see the ballet at the Chicago Theater at 175 North State Street, but Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) takes the entire cast on a cruise ship.  The theater's entrance is clearly shown in this seen.

South LaSalle Streeet and Adams Street

The Dark Knight - The Funeral Procession

In "The Dark Knight," the Board of Trade Building at South LaSalle Streeet and Adams Street serves as the backdrop for a funeral procession that quickly erupts into chaos.

111 East Wacker Drive

The Dark Knight - The Joker Crashes Harvey Dent's Party

Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) hosts a campaign fundraising party for Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) in his posh penthouse, located (in real life) at Hotel 71 at 111 East Wacker Drive. Unfortunately, the Joker (played by Heath Ledger) had other plans.

330 North Wabash Avenue

The Dark Knight - Various Offices

This building at 330 North Wabash Avenue contains the offices of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), the police commissioner, the mayor of Gotham, and Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) boardroom.

50 West Washington Street

The Dark Knight - Wayne Enterprises and City Courtroom

The Richard J. Daley Center at 50 West Washington Street is home to Wayne Enterprises' headquarters, and the courtroom in which Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) does his thing against Maroni.

233 South Wacker Drive

The Dark Knight Scene at Willis Tower

Batman (Christian bale) stands on the ledge of the Willis (*cough*Sears*cough*) Tower at 233 S Wacker Drive and scans the entire city of Chicago right before jumping and flying into CGI goodness.

636 South Michigan Avenue

The Untouchables - Al Capone's Pep Talk

Al capone (Robert De Niro) gives a pep talk to his henchmen in the crystal ballroom of the Blackstone Hotel at 636 South Michigan Avenue.

430 South Michigan Avenue

The Untouchables - Eliot Ness Confronts Al Capone

Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) confronts Chicago crime lord Al Capone (Robert De Niro) in Capone's hotel, "The Lexington," which is the foyer of Roosevelt University at 430 South Michigan Avenue.

208 South Lasalle Street

The Untouchables - Liquor Raid

Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) leads a successful liquor raid on the "U.S. Post Office" in the City National Bank and Company Trust Building at 208 South Lasalle Street.

209 South Lasalle Street

The Untouchables - Police Headquarters

Eliot Ness's (Kevin Costner) police headquarters is in the Rookery Building at 209 South Lasalle Street.

lower wacker drive and west monroe street

The Blues Brothers--Bluesmobile jumps a police car

Jake and Elwood jump the Bluesmobile over a police car.

111 east wacker drive

The Dark Knight--Illinois Center buildings, building two

The Joker (heath ledger) crashes Harvey Dent's (aaron eckhart) posh fundraiser at the Illinois Center Buildings, Building 2. 

History in the Chicago Loop
Vintage Restaurants

71 West Monroe St

Italian Village

Alfredo Capitanini was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, but moved to Florence, Italy as a child.  After serving in the Italian Army during the First World War, he emigrated to the United States in 1924 to escape from Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime.  He settled in Chicago and found work as a dishwasher before opening the Italian Village restaurant at 71 West Monroe Street in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago in 1927.  His authentic Italian eatery is now the oldest Italian restaurant in the city.  Capitanini’s kitchen was especially popular among performers at the Lyric Opera, which counted Alfredo’s wife, Ada, among its loyal patrons.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo have dined here.  Of course, the restaurant has also been immensely popular with other celebrities over the years, as the wall photographs demonstrate. Frank Sinatra held his wedding reception here.  Al Capone (a celebrity of sorts) was a frequent diner.  Barbra Streisand took her first meal in Chicago here, and such rock 'n' rollers as Bon Jovi and the band "Kiss" have been known to eat here too.  And, yes, local Chicago politicians have always been all over this place.

The Italian Village continues to be renowned for its extensive wine list, and the design of the restaurant remains unchanged.  The booths are named after different places in the "village," including the library, the convent, the hospital, and the jail.  The rotating water wheel is still here, as are the twinkling lights on the ceiling.

incidentally, in 1955, Alfredo Capitanini opened La Cantina (a steak and seafood house) on the lower level, which is notable for its long, dark, narrow wine-cellar decor and its cozy booths.  He passed away in 1988, but the restaurant remains in the third generation of his family today.

565 West Jackson St

Lou Mitchell's

William Mitchell went into the restaurant business in 1923 by opening a diner that he named after his son, Lou.  The entire Mitchell family was involved in the operation, and in 1949 the thriving eatery moved directly across the street to 565 West Jackson Street in the Loop, from which it continues to serve hungry patrons today.  The restaurant looks very much the same now as it did at its inception, both inside and out, and a neon sign trumpeting  the "world's best coffee" remains in place from the beginning.  Travel and trivia buffs may know that its close proximity to the starting point of Route 66 caused it to be known as "the first stop on the Mother Road."  In 1958, Lou Mitchell, who had by then assumed control from his father, initiated the restaurant's signature tradition of serving donut holes and Milk Duds to waiting customers.  Lou continued to run the business until he was in his seventies, but as of 1992 his niece, Katherine Thanas, has overseen the operations.

The restaurant claims that Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama have all eaten there.

134 South Wabash

Miller's Pub

  • In 1950, Miller’s Pub was a dark, no-frills saloon and a reputed front for a mob-run bookmaking operation, so naturally it fell on hard times following a police raid.  The Miller brothers, who originally opened the dusty joint in 1935, were now looking to sell, when Pete, Nick, and Jimmy Gallios emerged with an eye to creating a lively eatery from a dreary pub.  Sons of working-class Greek immigrants, the Gallios brothers couldn’t afford to commission a new sign after sinking their life savings into the acquisition, so the name “Miller’s Pub” remained on the door.  The brothers were certainly not strangers to the restaurant business, having all worked for Gus Sianis at the original Billy Goat Tavern on Madison Street.  Located (back then) at 23 East Adams, Miller's Pub gradually expanded, even taking in a fourth Gallios brother, Vannie, as a partner, and soon it became a popular celebrity hangout, catering to all manner of entertainers and ballplayers, White Sox and Cubs alike.  Bill Veeck became a close friend of the Gallios family, and there were said to be occasions when practically all of the White Sox could be found at the restaurant.  Veeck apparently once remarked that Miller’s Pub is “one of the four or five best saloons I've ever been in, and I have spent a great deal of my life in saloons."  Photographs of the many celebrity regulars through the years, including Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, George Burns, Jack Benny, and Rocky Marciano, continue to adorn the walls.  Following a kitchen fire, the restaurant moved to 134 South Wabash, just around the block, in 1989, where it remains a Chicago Loop institution.
17 West Adams St

The Berghoff

Herman Joseph Berghoff founded a brewery in the state of Indiana and sold his beer at the Columbian Exposition (otherwise known as the World's Fair) in 1893.  Five years later, he opened a men's-only saloon at 17 West Adams Street and served free corned beef sandwiches to patrons who purchased a stein of beer.  Upon the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Berghoff was awarded Chicago's first two liquor licenses, one for the bar and one for the restaurant, and each is hanging on the wall in the dining room today.  In fact, it wasn't until the repeal of Prohibition that the Berghoff became a "full restaurant."  The bar (as opposed to the restaurant) remained a men's-only hangout until 1969, when seven members of the National Organization of Women (Gloria Steinem included) sat down at the counter and demanded service.  At the time, Herman Berghoff (from the third generation of the family) was allegedly so fearful of an encounter with the women that he spent the entire time hiding in his office.  He did, however, consent to their being served.

The restaurant is now in its fourth generation of family ownership and is presently operated by Carlyn Berghoff.  It is the second-oldest restaurant in the city.  Diners enjoy both traditional German and modern American fare, and the root beer has always been a favorite (a tradition that dates back to the Prohibition era).

By the way, movie buffs will be glad to know that Gotham cops arrested a great many gangsters inside the Berghoff in the film "The Dark Knight.")

111 North State Street

The Walnut Room

The Walnut Room at 111 North State Street has been serving hungry shoppers at Marshall Field's (and now Macy's) since 1907.  Back then, there were no local dining options for women, so one of the clerks in the millinery department, a certain "Mrs. Hering," baked homemade chicken pot pies and brought them in to keep her clientele from defecting when suffering from hunger pangs.  These same chicken pot pies remain on the menu today.  The cavernous 17,000 square-foot, seventh-floor restaurant features walls constructed with Circasian wood imported from Russia and chandeliers fabricated with original Austrian crystal.  During the holidays, the Great Tree is a monumental attraction.  It approaches 50 feet in height and contains about 19,000 lights.  Dining under the Great Tree has been a longtime Chicago tradition, and some groups have been coming for 60 or more years in a row.  The annual spring flower show is another major attraction in the Walnut Room.

History in the Chicago Loop

119 South Dearborn Street

John Jones

Abolitionist John Jones was the first African American to hold elected office in Illinois, and his tailor shop at 119 South Dearborn Street was the city's main stop on the Underground Railroad.  Jones wrote a pamphlet that was crucial to the repeal of the Black Laws.

636 South Michigan Avenue

Mary Garden

World-renowned opera singer Mary Garden came to Chicago in 1910.  She sang with the Chicago Grand Opera Company and the Chicago Opera Association.  Garden became the director of the Chicago Civic Opera in 1922.  Garden lived at 636 South Michigan Avenue during most of her professional life in Chicago.

6 North Michigan Avenue

The Home of A. Montgomery Ward

Businessman and preservationist Aaron Montgomery Ward championed mail-order marketing and founded Montgomery Ward & Company in 1862.  He fought to keep the Chicago lakefront free of buildings and development, particularly in Grant Park, and was known as a watch dog and protector of the lakefront.  He resided here at 6 N. Michigan Avenue.