The “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” Race Home LocationsFeb 6th, 2017 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
It’s five minutes until six and everybody’s favorite truant, Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), has to beat his parents home lest they find out that he has cut school for the ninth time! (“I don’t remember him being sick nine times!”) So begins one of the most famous sequences in all of moviedom, the race home from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Though said to take place in Chicago, Ferris’ race home – as well as the rest of the 1986 comedy – was shot in both Illinois and California. This past June I wrote about the film’s L.A. locales for Discover Los Angeles in honor of its 30th anniversary. While doing research for the column, I enlisted the help of my friend Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, to track down some of the movie’s unknown locations. Along the way, the two of us somehow wound up on a hunt to pinpoint the various Chicago- and Los Angeles-area spots featured in the race home sequence. It turned out to be the most exhaustive search of my entire stalking career – not to mention the most fun! Email conversations, complete with arrow-laden screen captures and comparison street-view images, went back and forth between us for days. Unfortunately, I was only able to chronicle the SoCal locales for Discover L.A., so our hunt proved rather anticlimactic. The other day it occurred to me that I should write a post about our finds for IAMNOTASTALKER. Since Owen was so instrumental in the hunt, I thought it only fitting that he add notes to the column. His commentary is featured in the pink-lined white boxes below. So, without further ado, we present to you a breakdown of the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off race home sequence filming locations from beginning to end.
Whoa. Hold on. Don’t put the kibosh on the ado. There is ado anew, from someone new. It’s my ado debut. When Lindsay needs help, I show up. Unlike the subject of a certain water tower, I have an exemplary attendance record. We made a fantastic team tracking down these locations. We were like Ferris and Sloane. Ooh, I take that back. There was nothing amorous between us during our dalliance with one of the highest-grossing movies of 1986, and I don’t want to give the Grim Cheaper the wrong impression and have him hunt me down. Actually, as we retraced a truant’s dash home, Lindsay embodied Ferris and I was Cameron incarnate. So now, without further ado, is our breakdown.
Sloane’s House (340 South Westgate Avenue, Brentwood)
It is while standing in the picturesque backyard of his girlfriend Sloane’s (Mia Sara) house that Ferris discovers the late hour via a peek at her Cartier watch. He quickly kisses her and bids her adieu before rushing back to his own home. Owen tracked down Sloane’s American Colonial Revival-style residence (it’s known as the Preminger House in real life) thanks to a helpful crew member who told him to search in Brentwood in December 2014, long before I ever pitched the idea of writing about Ferris locations to my Discover L.A. editor. I ran out to stalk the place shortly thereafter. You can read my post on the 1925 pad, which was also featured in the movie’s swimming pool/hot tub scene, here.
Lindsay ran out to stalk it. I’m assuming she didn’t run as far as Ferris. If he had been wearing an anachronistic Fitbit, the battery in it would have gone all Samsung Galaxy Note 7, because according to a cursory calculation I did on Google, Ferris ran 6,965 miles. Puts Gump to shame, huh? Ferris > Forrest.
Jeanie and Katie Bueller Begin Their Drive Home (2194/2210 Greenview Road, Northbrook)
“Do you know what it’s like to be pulled out of work to pick up your daughter at the police station?” So asks Katie Bueller (Cindy Pickett) while driving home from the station with her daughter, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), who was taken into custody for making a phony 911 call. (Don’t even get her started on the Vermont deal!) Owen and I only realized we were missing this site when we sat down to write this article. Thankfully, an address number of “2210” was visible on a mailbox that Jeanie and Katie drive by in the scene on the Ferris Blu-ray. We were fairly certain from the foliage and terrain that the street was located in either Winnetka or Northbrook, the Chicago suburbs where other portions of the race home were shot. We started searching those areas and Owen found the right spot fairly quickly by matching the placement of a fire hydrant (denoted with a number 1 in the graphic below), a speed limit sign (2), and a unique picket fence (3 – though this element can best be seen via alternate street views) on a tree-lined block of Greenview Road in Northbrook to what appeared onscreen. In the scene, Jeanie and Katie are driving north on Greenview in front of the houses located at 2194 and 2210. (As is the case below, because neither Owen nor I live in the Chicago area, we were not able to take photographs of many of these locations and therefore utilized street-view screen captures for much of our imagery.)
The phrase “fairly quickly” may be hyperbole. I was searching rather aimlessly for some time and started to wonder if, like Jimmy Hoffa’s remains, this spot would remain unfound. The breakthrough came when Lindsay managed to make out the “2210.” Blu-ray deserves co-credit honors for this find. And now, Katie, about the Vermont deal…
Jeanie Almost Hits Ferris (455/477 Berkeley Avenue, Winnetka)
Jeanie’s luck takes a turn for the better when she literally runs into Ferris during his race home. Well, nearly runs into him. While driving, she unexpectedly and accidentally almost hits her brother with her mother’s station wagon in between the houses located at 455 and 477 Berkeley Avenue in Winnetka. This spot looks a bit different today. In fact, the trees have grown so considerably that the residence visible behind Katie’s car (477 Berkeley) can no longer be seen from the vantage point from which the footage was lensed. After coming to a screeching halt and locking eyes with Ferris, Jeanie speeds south on Berkeley Avenue and turns right (west) onto Cherry Street, running a stop sign in the process.
Ferris then jumps into the front yard of the house at 460 Berkeley Avenue. The Tudor residence seen across the street from him is 455 Berkeley. These locales were found by Owen many moons ago and have long been documented online thanks to him.
Everybody has a favorite part of the race home, right? The trampoline scene is popular, and the bikini-clad sunbathers don’t attract Ferris only, but my favorite moments both involve the girl who also goes by the name Shauna. First is the intense, determined expression on her tilted head when she hits the gas, right after she almost runs down her brother. Second is the exasperation she displays moments later as she pounds on the steering wheel and screams at her mom, “I can’t drive while you’re yelling at me!” Ferris receives the race home accolades — it’s his movie, after all — but Jeanie shines brightest in this iconic scene. To me, anyway.
Backyard #1 (1215 Cherry Street, Winnetka)
In a race now against time and Jeanie, Ferris cuts through two backyards. The first is that of a traditional gray clapboard home at 1215 Cherry Street in Winnetka, just around the corner from where he was almost hit by his sister moments before. The rear side of the residence has been drastically remodeled since filming took place, which made identifying it rather difficult. Owen first zeroed in on the property after pinpointing another race location just a few doors down. (More on that one in a bit.) Thankfully, Bing’s bird’s-eye view still shows the back of the house in its original state, and Owen was able to match certain elements to the home that appeared onscreen, including a small A-line roof on the property’s east side (1), a central section that popped out away from the rest of the structure (2), and a covered porch on the dwelling’s west side (3 – though this can best be seen from alternate aerial views). We also matched several features of the brick property located next door at 1209 Cherry Street. That home’s unique trim and chimney layout (4 – these can also best be seen from alternate views) are briefly visible as Ferris first steps into the backyard of 1215.
The chimney is what cinched it for me. Thank goodness a portion of 1209 Cherry St. was visible in the scene, if only for milliseconds. It was a small detail and, ahem, if you don’t stop and look around — or next door — once in a while, you could miss it.
Backyard #2 (1223 Cherry Street, Winnetka)
No camera trickery was utilized in this portion of Ferris’ race home. As was depicted in the movie, the two yards Ferris is shown skirting through are actually located next door to each other. Backyard #2 can be found just west of Backyard #1 at 1223 Cherry Street. Thankfully, this house has not been remodeled and we were able to confirm its use in the scene by utilizing aerial views to match much of the window and door placement (1 and 2), as well as a peaked-roof extension on the west side of the home (3), to the property that appeared onscreen. The trim and windows of the residence located just to the west at 1229 Cherry (4) also directly correlate to what was shown of the neighboring residence in the scene.
I’m confident in our stalking abilities, but still, it was a Hughes success tracking down this backyard and many of the other race home locales. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always fun. The experience was some kind of wonderful.
Jeanie Runs a Second Stop Sign (Ash Street and Hibbard Road, Winnetka)
Determined that her parents catch Ferris in the act of cutting school, Jeanie puts the pedal to the metal as she races to beat her brother home. In doing so, she plows through a second stop sign located at the intersection of Ash Street and Hibbard Road in Winnetka. As she turns north onto Hibbard, she catches the eye of a policeman, who attempts to pull her over. Nothing is stopping Jeanie, though! This location was another of Owen’s early finds that has since been well-documented online.
Owen found this; Owen found that. Oh, Lindsay, you’re making me blush. Stop exaggerating. Then again, exaggeration is the greatest thing in the history of the universe.
Backyard of the Man Barbecuing
Unfortunately, the backyard where Ferris pilfers a Pepsi (not a beer as is commonly reported) from a man barbecuing is the one location we are unsure of. After speaking with a helpful crew member, we know that this site is located in Winnetka in the same vicinity as the other area locales used. Because there is so little to go on, though, and because identifying backyards via aerial views is difficult, the hunt for BBQ Man’s backyard has proven rather tough and we have not, as of yet, located it. If anyone happens to have any idea where this spot is, please let us know!
Let us know, yes, but don’t claim to know if you’re not 100 percent certain. I know we live in a “fake news” era, but I’ll never understand all the filming location misinformation on the Internet. Do people not care about accuracy, about proof? If I wanted to spend time reading things that weren’t true, I’d open the e-mails I get from Nigerian princes.
House with Red Jeep (1229 Cherry Street, Winnetka)
After stealing the Pepsi in BBQ Man’s backyard, Ferris runs down the driveway of a neighboring home, eventually tossing the soda can into a garbage bin situated on the front lawn. That house is located next door to Backyard #2 at 1229 Cherry Street. Owen found this spot pretty early on in our hunt while searching Winnetka properties that were in the vicinity of other race home locales. This particular residence had some unique design elements that were visible in the scene, including a semi-curved brick window trim (1), a white gutter (2), and an in-ground light fixture (3) posted near the steps (4) leading from the driveway to the front door. In searching street views, he found aspects matching all of those items at 1229 Cherry. Pinpointing the site is what ultimately led us to finding Backyard #1 and Backyard #2. Not much of the property has changed in the 31 years (!) since filming took place, as you can see in the photograph below, which comes from a 2004 real estate listing.
Back to BBQ Man for a moment, if I may. Does anyone know what actor played that soda-drinking, meat-grilling part? I’d love to get in touch with him, if he’s still alive, but he’s not listed on IMDb, and finding him is proving more difficult than the time I had to let my parents know I was adopted.
Start of Tom Bueller’s Drive Home (Cherry Street and Locust Street, Winnetka)
Ferris’ race home wouldn’t be nearly as tense without his father involved, which is exactly what happens about halfway through. As Tom Bueller (Lyman Ward) begins the drive from work to the Bueller residence, he is shown heading east on Cherry Street before turning left (north) onto Locust Street in Winnetka. This is one of the first spots Owen tracked down during our hunt. He already knew that Jeanie almost hit Ferris with the car on Berkeley Avenue near Cherry Street, so he began poking around that same area for the white clapboard residence that is visible after Tom turns. He found it on the northwest corner of Cherry and Locust. This spot looks a bit different today because one of the houses seen behind Tom as he heads onto Locust has been razed and replaced, but the white clapboard dwelling is recognizable (despite a few alterations), as are the two adjoining trees in its front yard (though those cannot be seen in the screen capture below).
I forgot to mention why I was stoked to help Lindsay find all these locations. Of all the movies with the word “Ferris” in the title, this one is my favorite.
Backyard with Sunbathers (1310 Milan Avenue, South Pasadena)
Ferris wouldn’t be Ferris if he didn’t stop to introduce himself to some sunbathing beauties he passes while running through yet another backyard during his race home. That scene took place at 1310 Milan Avenue in South Pasadena, a good 2,000 miles away from the previous backyards that appeared in the segment. During our hunt, I managed to track down a very helpful crew member who worked on the L.A. portions of the movie. He checked his notes and told me that two homes on Milan Avenue, easily South Pas’ most oft-filmed street, were featured in Ferris, one of which was 1310. Despite the fact that we had been provided addresses, piecing together what was shot at each location required quite a bit of detective work. With this locale, we were able to use aerial views to match the window placement (1, 2, 3, and 4) and second-story balcony (5) of 1310 Milan to what appeared in the sunbathing scene (though you will notice in the graphic below that an addition was put on the house since filming took place and it looks a bit different than it did when Ferris was there).
Lindsay’s right — this location involved a lot of work. I knew we’d find it, though. We always finish what we sta
Jeanie and the Police Pass by Tom (Glendale Avenue and Cherry Street, Winnetka)
While being pursued by the police, Jeanie speeds around her father’s car, which is stopped at an intersection at the corner of Glendale Avenue and Cherry Street in Winnetka. In the scene, Jeanie and the cop head south on Glendale, while Tom pauses at a stop sign to search for a Tic Tac in his glove compartment.
Though much of this location has changed drastically in the three decades since filming took place (countless trees have been removed, the sidewalk has been altered, and the stop sign configuration has been modified), Owen managed to identify it a couple of years ago by matching elements of the house at 436 Glendale to the home seen through Tom’s windshield in the scene, namely the second-floor dormers (1), the two-car garage (2), and the large bay window (3). The big multi-branched tree on the other side of the street (4) is also a match to what appeared onscreen. (Though there were two trees in that spot at the time of filming, one has since been removed.)
Jeanie Finally Pulls Over (2117/2127 Glendale Avenue, Northbrook)
Many of the sites that appear toward the end of Ferris’ race home can be found in Northbrook, a Chicago suburb situated northwest of Winnetka. That includes the spot where Jeanie finally pulls over for the police. (“She got a speeding ticket – another speeding ticket – and I lost the Vermont deal because of her!”) In the scene, Jeanie and the policeman chasing her travel west on South Bridge Lane and then veer to the right (north) as it becomes Glendale Avenue. The two cars eventually stop in between the houses at 2117 and 2127 Glendale. Owen identified this locale a few years ago thanks to an address number of “2146” that was visible on a mailbox (1) in the scene. He searched 2100 blocks in both Winnetka and Northbrook for other elements that appeared in the segment, including a house with distinct half-brick, half-brown paneling (2), a “No Parking” sign (3 – though this can best be seen via alternate street views) and a fire hydrant (4) and, per usual, was successful in finding the right spot.
This location is a few blocks away from where Jeanie and Katie began their drive home, and it’s right around the corner from a few race home spots Lindsay will be writing about shortly. That’s a teaser, folks!
Ferris Runs Down a Sidewalk (1326 Milan Avenue, South Pasadena)
For a very brief moment, Ferris is shown running down a leafy sidewalk. In John Hughes’ FBDO DVD commentary, he mentions that this scene always bothered him because a garbage can full of palm fronds is evident behind Ferris, tipping off eagle-eyed viewers to the fact that this portion of the movie was shot not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles. Armed with that bit of information (and in the interest of tracking down every single race home locale), I started searching on Milan Avenue for anything that might match the sidewalk shown in the short segment, namely what I thought was a “Neighborhood Watch” sign visible in the extreme background (1), a line of trees with odd trunks (2), and the overhanging branch that Ferris runs beneath (3). I wound up finding all three in front of 1326 Milan Avenue, just two houses south of the sunbathers’ backyard.
When I’m not busy helping Lindsay track down filming locations, I enjoy stealing “Neighborhood Watch” signs.
Tom Gets Caught Behind an Old Lady (2000/2100 Block Mallard Drive, Northbrook)
As Tom continues his drive home, he gets caught behind a slow-moving old lady who pulls out of a rather stately looking residence. The scene, as Owen discovered many years ago, was shot on the 2000/2100 block of Mallard Drive in Northbrook. Well, partially, at least. In the first two seconds of the segment, Tom is shown heading north on Hibbard Road in Winnetka before turning right (east) onto Oak Street. We can see a utility road leading into a park area and then the Winnetka Ice Arena outside of his car window before the scene magically segues to him turning right (south) onto Mallard Drive from Techny Road about five miles away in Northbrook. The old lady subsequently pulls out of the home at 2005 Mallard, and Tom proceeds to slowly follow her south before overtaking her in front of the house located at 2121 Mallard.
Remember that teaser? Dying of curiosity? Well, now you know. This is one of the scenes that filmed near where Jeanie was pulled over — and it won’t be the last. Tom is creeping along Mallard Drive, which is a mere two blocks away from the road where Jeanie was stopped.
Ferris Skids Around the Side of a House (1310 Milan Avenue, South Pasadena)
The friendly crew member we contacted explained that many different sections of the two Milan Avenue residences were utilized for the race home segment, including backyards, side yards and front yards, and that shots were angled toward the houses and away from them, creating the illusion of a blocks-long run in a much more confined area. So near the end of our hunt, when Owen mentioned that one of the only sites we had yet to find was the home that Ferris skids around, I had an inkling that one of the Milan pads might be the place we were looking for. Inspecting both properties from different angles, I quickly realized that Ferris races around 1310 Milan, the same spot where he introduced himself to the sunbathers moments before. In the scene, he heads west down 1310’s driveway and then cuts sharply to the right (cue skidding sound effects) before heading north across the front of the house, surprising two young women sitting on the porch.
I recall this find coming near the end of a stretch during which we were picking off missing locations left and right, pulling them out as if they were pencils in a big head of hair. And these weren’t easy finds, mind you. We had little to go on in our search for random backyards and stretches of sidewalk and what have you. Heck, we weren’t even sure what state we should be looking in some of the time. But we did it. Diligently. Tenaciously. Together.
Tom Passes Ferris (2115 Butternut Lane, Northbrook)
During the home stretch of his journey, Ferris almost gets caught by his father when Tom pulls up next to him while he is running in the middle of a street. The two travel adjacent to each other for a moment before Ferris ducks away and into a house. Though Tom looks at his son briefly and has an inkling it might be Ferris, he doesn’t ultimately realize it is him. The bit was shot on Butternut Lane in Northbrook. In the scene, Tom and Ferris are heading north, in front of the home located at 2115 Butternut.
More teaser fulfillment! I did say Jeanie was pulled over near a few spots. This is another, and so is the next one. That’s five parts of the race home filmed within a mile of one another. And all of them are right by Glenbrook North High School, the alma mater of one John Wilden Hughes Jr. and the place where a trench coat-clad Ferris picks up Sloane.
Ferris Runs Through a House (2067 Butternut Lane, Northbrook)
“No, don’t get up. Smells delicious. Dinner’s ready.” So announces Ferris to a family as he runs through their house in order to avoid his father. To shoot the scene, a camera was set up on a track along the west side of the residence located at 2067 Butternut Lane in Northbrook. The camera panned from the front of the property, past three side windows, to the backyard.
Amazingly, the deck that Ferris jumps from in the scene is still intact, as is evidenced by the real estate photograph below, which I snagged from a 2009 listing.
Ferris runs over fences, through bushes, inside homes, in backyards, past sunbathers and down suburban Chicago and L.A. driveways, sidewalks and streets. From the moment he says, “I’ll call you tonight” to Sloane as he dashes off to the moment he lands on terra firma following his slo-mo trampoline leap (more on that to come), exactly three minutes and 41 seconds have elapsed. It took Lindsay and me slightly more time to find all those fences, bushes, homes and so on.
Trampoline Backyard (1230 Milan Avenue, South Pasadena)
The spot where Ferris hops over a tree, runs up the slide of a jungle gym, and then jumps on a trampoline, propelling himself into his own backyard, was the most arduous to prove. Though we had been told by our crew member friend that 1230 Milan Avenue in South Pasadena was used in the race home segment, we were unsure which portion of the scene was shot there. Thankfully, a small structure was visible behind Ferris for a fleeting moment before he ran up the jungle gym slide. The coloring and siding of the structure, which we knew due to its small size was a guest house or garage of some sort, matched the exterior of 1230 Milan, so we had a pretty good feeling that the trampoline segment had been lensed there. Verifying our theory was another story. Unfortunately, aerial views provided no confirmation, so we turned to other productions filmed at the residence. 1230 Milan has appeared onscreen countless times, in such productions as Bringing Down the House, The Mentalist, Jurassic Park III, The Whispers, xXx: State of the Union, and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. It also served as the Lawrence family home on the television series Family. Owen and I poured through virtually everything that was ever filmed on the premises and were finally able to substantiate our hunch thanks to the Season 2 episode of Family titled “An Endangered Species.” In the episode, a full view of the guest house that Nancy Lawrence (Meredith Baxter) lived in on the show was visible. It was an exact match to the structure visible behind Ferris. Danke schoen, Family!
This is the portion of the race home I was most excited to find. I figured the odds of us finding this backyard were the same as the odds of Ferris’ favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, winning the World Series. Oh, wait…
Ferris’ Backyard (4160 Country Club Drive, Long Beach)
Though Ferris’ trampoline jump begins in South Pasadena, it ends a good 22 miles away in the backyard of the Long Beach pad that portrayed the Bueller residence in the movie. But I did not take that fact for granted during our hunt. Knowing that Hughes shot the race home sequence literally all over the place, I started having doubts that the backyard shown at the end was actually the backyard of the Bueller home. Thankfully, I was able to match the fenestration of the four second-story windows of the home next door at 4170 Country Club (1) to what was seen onscreen, as well as certain portions of the rear side of the Bueller dwelling. Though the back of the property has undergone some changes, a large portion of it remains untouched, namely the first-floor door (2), the window next to it (3), and the large second-story window (4).
Both the interior and exterior of the stately Colonial-style residence were featured throughout Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and despite the backyard alterations, the place is still very recognizable from its onscreen stint. You can see a library of photographs of the home, including some of the backyard, here.
I always assumed Ferris landed in the backyard of the Long Beach house and never really questioned it. I shouldn’t have done that. Lindsay’s work confirmed my assumption, though.
Well, Ferris is finally home, his parents are none the wiser, Principal Rooney’s cheese has been left out in the wind, and our work here is done. (Mostly done, anyway – we’re still missing that darn BBQ Man’s backyard!) As I said earlier, this hunt, though lengthy and exhaustive, was a blast from start to finish. Much like Ferris’ race, actually. I’m a bit sad that it’s over but am already anxiously awaiting my next joint stalking venture with Owen.
I echo Lindsay’s sentiments. I melancholily miss working with her on FBDO, but we’ll ride again someday. Perhaps in a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California.
A huge THANK YOU to Owen for his partnership on both this hunt and this post. It is so thrilling to me that these locations have been identified, chronicled, and are now out there for other Ferris fans to enjoy!
Pfft. Your words are emptier than the seat on the bus next to the bespectacled girl with gummy bears. If you really want to thank me, use your filming location capabilities and connections to find the nursing home from the original Miracle on 34th Street. In all seriousness, thanks for letting me tag along, Cameron-style, on today’s post, Lindsay. I had so much fun retracing the race routes with you. Now, like the phony “Sausage King of Chicago,” I’ve gotta run.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
You’re still here? The article’s over. Go home. Go.