Do your own Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in Chicago, because Ferris Bueller is your hero. (Photo: Alamy)
How could you possibly handle work on a day like this? Shouldn’t you be allowed just one day off? Ferris Bueller took such an epic day off that it’s still being celebrated 30 years later. Do Chicago just the way Ferris did in the teen classic. Do it because you deserve it. Do it because Ferris Bueller is your hero.
First, you need the car. Don’t have a best friend who’s father owns a pristine Ferrari 250 GT California Spider convertible? Rent something very close, like a bright red Ferrarri F430 convertible from Global Exotic Car Rentals, which also happens to offer an exotic car tour that allows you to drive not just a Ferrarri, but a Porsche, Corvette and Lamborghini, too. Just don’t park them in a downtown Chicago garage.
To truly feel like you are on top of the world, stop at the Skydeck at the Willis Tower. At the city’s tallest building, you’ll find many changes since Ferris and his friends pressed their noses to the glass. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, it now boasts four glass ledges that let you look straight down 103 stories onto Wacker Drive and the Chicago River, an experience that’s somewhere between terrifying and exhilarating.
Next, head over to Wrigley Field, one of the oldest baseball stadiums, to watch Chicago’s beloved and accursed Cubs take the field. Even during off-season, Wrigley Field is worth seeing. Take a tour and check out old school baseball treats like the hand-turned scoreboard and famous ivy-covered brick walls that flank the outfield. You’ll even get inside the locker room and press box, and finally learn the full story about the Chicago Cubs’ Curse of the Billy Goat.
Pause for a moment to contemplate beauty. There’s plenty to behold at the Art Institute of Chicago, home to the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre. Lose yourself, as Cameron did, in Seurat’s pointillism, or take a page from Ferris and Sloane and spend a romantic moment with Chagall’s America Windows. There is a staggering amount of art here, including masterpieces by Cassatt, Hopper, Renoir, Matisse and Picasso.
Finally, no self-respecting Ferris Bueller fan can skip a parade down Dearborn Street, one of the movie’s most famous filming locations. Even if you can’t find a float from which to sing a rousing version of “Danke Schoen,” you can still enjoy an amble down this thoroughfare. Dearborn Station, dating from 1885, and Calder’s imposing Flamingo sculpture in front of the Federal Building offer iconic photo ops. Along North Dearborn, you can catch live music at the House of Blues or a cut into a sizzling sirloin at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, with its larger-than-life neon martini sign.
Not that this needs saying again, but anytime you are in Chicago, or anywhere, really, remember Ferris’s indelible words: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”