There aren’t that many movies that reach a beloved cult status as quickly as 1990 Home Alone did. This cute holiday flick starring an 8-year-old was a bet that everyone involved, included established director John Hughes who wrote the script, believed would get a few nice reviews and that would be it. Instead, Home Alone and Kevin McCallister’s savvy adventures won the hearts of many a Christmas lover out there.
Home Alone was actually shot in Chicago; most of it on the inside of an abandoned high school, but much also on the actual locations around the town, so if you’re a fan of Home Alone, this is everything you can do in Chicago to feel every inch a Kevin McCallister! (Hopefully without robbers on your tail, though.)
The official Home Alone Guide to Chicago
If you’re feeling up to treading the haunted, grizzly spots of Chicago where undoubtedly the very not kid-friendly Angels with Filthy Souls movie was based, consider taking a Gangster and Ghosts Tour of Chicago.
The tour is a guided excursion through Chicago’s historic locations as it pertains to its long history with the mafia and infamous gangsters like Al Capone. Brave travelers will walk for two hours through Chicago streets, alleyways, secret tunnels, and the spots of sleazy deals and grizzly mob business.
Next, instead of climbing up thin shelves to try and get to your brother’s baseball cards collection, why not try and visit an actual ballpark?
Wrigley Field in Chicago is home to the Chicago Cubs and has been for more than 100 years. Get to know all its history and curiosities, visit the field, the Cubs dugout, and bask in one of the guided Wrigley guided tours.
Though the store Kevin accidentally shoplifts from is charming, it’s likely there will be more interesting shopping to be done in Chicago’s Christkindlmarket, its version of the traditional German Christmas market.
Walk around the Chicago city center, decked out in twinkly Christmas lights, admire the city Christmas tree, and have a spicy, comforting cup of hot apple cider. In between the decorations, the tinsel, and the smell of fried sausage and roasted nuts, look for a Santa’s House to fill out a request. (Disclaimer: any people dressed as Santa are, by common knowledge and as any Home Alone fans would know, simply Santa’s helpers, not Santa himself. They’ll make sure any wishes will get passed on to the big guy.)
Though accidentally shoplifting and then skidding away between the legs of innocent ice skaters is not recommended, a must winter activity in Chicago is ice skating at the Millenium Park!
The park counts with two skating rinks: the McCormick Tribune skating rink, where skaters can glide leisurely around the ice surface with an amazing view of Chicago’s bright city center skyline and the famous Chicago Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) above, and the Maggie Daley Park skating ribbon, a curve heavy ice road winding through pine trees, Chicago monuments, snowy hilltops, and recreational areas.
After all of this traveling and running around, stomachs will probably start to rumble. For those that just like Kevin love a nice, hearty, cheesy pizza, a pizza dining night out needs to be a part of any Home Alone itinerary!
Since the objective is eating pizza in Chicago, the thing to do is eat Chicago-style pizza, and no, that isn’t simply pizza that was made in the city - it's the famous (or infamous, for the purists out there) deep-dish pizza. Double the crust, double the sauce, double the cheese. Kevin Mcallister would approve.
Lou Malnati's is considered by many the best pizza in the whole Magnificent Mile, and Lou’s father, Rudy Malnati was one of the pioneer pizza makers that developed the unique deep-dish pizza that would go from Chicago to the world.
To wind down after this animated trip, a beautiful stop to take is at Holy Name Cathedral, right at the beginning of the busy Magnificent Mile. It was built in 1875 after a fire destroyed the former Cathedral of Saint Mary.
Holy Name Cathedral has been through fires, dilapidations, and even murder in its history. Allow yourself to be awe-struck by the entrancing architecture and history of the church, and if it’s possible, try and catch the Christmas choir. It’s even better than a movie.
To close off this Kevin Mcallister day, film fans might want to treat themselves to one last stop, this time a few kilometers away from Chicago: in neighboring Winnetka is the location of the real McCallister home used in the Home Alone movie.
Common sense is advised, of course, since it is a residential neighborhood, but those who would like a stop at this cinematic landmark for a picture can do so.
That’s it for this not-quite home not-necessarily alone itinerary. All that’s left to say is travel safe and Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!