The Impact of Movies and TV Shows on Tourism in Chicago, IL

As an expert in the tourism industry, I have seen firsthand the impact that movies and TV shows can have on a city's tourism. And when it comes to Chicago, IL, the impact is undeniable. Known as the 'Windy City', Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States and a major hub for business, culture, and tourism. With its stunning architecture, diverse neighborhoods, and rich history, it's no surprise that Chicago attracts millions of tourists every year.

The Allure of Chicago for Tourists

Chicago has a lot to offer to tourists, from iconic landmarks like the Willis Tower and Navy Pier to world-renowned museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum.

But what truly sets this city apart is its vibrant and dynamic culture, which has been immortalized in numerous movies and TV shows. Tourism in Chicago, IL is not just about visiting popular attractions; it's about experiencing the city's unique energy and charm. And what better way to do that than by exploring the places where some of the most famous movies and TV shows were filmed?

Famous Movies Filmed in Chicago

Chicago has been a favorite location for filmmakers for decades. Its stunning skyline, diverse neighborhoods, and historic landmarks provide the perfect backdrop for all kinds of stories. Some of the most famous movies filmed in Chicago include:
  • The Dark Knight (2008): This blockbuster superhero movie was filmed extensively in Chicago, with iconic scenes shot at locations like the Chicago Board of Trade Building and Wacker Drive.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): This classic coming-of-age comedy was filmed entirely in Chicago, showcasing some of its most famous landmarks like Wrigley Field and the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • The Blues Brothers (1980): This cult classic musical comedy was filmed in various locations around Chicago, including the iconic Daley Plaza and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
These are just a few examples of the many movies that have been filmed in Chicago.

Other notable mentions include The Untouchables, Home Alone, and The Fugitive, to name a few.

TV Shows Set in Chicago

Chicago is not just a popular filming location; it has also been the setting for many popular TV shows. These shows not only showcase the city's stunning visuals but also its unique culture and people. Some of the most famous TV shows set in Chicago are:
  • Chicago Fire (2012-present): This long-running drama series follows the lives of firefighters and paramedics working at Firehouse 51 in Chicago. The show is filmed entirely in the city, with many scenes shot at real fire stations and other locations.
  • Shameless (2011-present): This critically acclaimed comedy-drama series is set in the South Side of Chicago and showcases the city's working-class neighborhoods.

    Many scenes are filmed on location, giving viewers an authentic glimpse into life in Chicago.

  • The Good Wife (2009-2016): This legal drama series is set in Chicago and features many iconic locations like the Cook County Courthouse and the Chicago River. The show also highlights the city's political landscape, making it a must-watch for fans of both law and politics.
These are just a few examples of the many TV shows that have been set in Chicago. Other notable mentions include ER, Empire, and Sense8.

The Impact on Tourism

The popularity of these movies and TV shows has had a significant impact on tourism in Chicago, IL. Many tourists are drawn to the city because of their love for these productions and want to experience the places they have seen on screen.

This has led to an increase in tourism revenue, with visitors spending money on accommodations, dining, and souvenirs. Moreover, these movies and TV shows have also helped to promote Chicago as a tourist destination to a global audience. The stunning visuals and unique storylines have piqued the interest of people from all over the world, encouraging them to visit and experience the city for themselves.

The Rise of Film Tourism

The impact of movies and TV shows on tourism is not unique to Chicago. In recent years, there has been a rise in what is known as 'film tourism', where people travel to locations featured in their favorite productions. This trend has been fueled by the increasing popularity of streaming services like Netflix, which has made it easier for people to access content from all over the world. Chicago has been at the forefront of this trend, with many tourists visiting the city specifically because of their love for movies and TV shows set there.

This has led to the development of tourism in Chicago, IL that caters specifically to film enthusiasts, such as guided tours of filming locations and themed experiences.


In conclusion, it's safe to say that movies and TV shows have played a significant role in promoting tourism in Chicago, IL. The city's unique culture and stunning visuals have captured the hearts of people all over the world, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists. And with more productions being filmed in Chicago every year, it's safe to say that this trend is only going to continue.

Ramona Commins
Ramona Commins

Avid internet enthusiast. Passionate bacon geek. Extreme web ninja. Extreme social media evangelist. Passionate internet fan.