Chicago Shows Filmed on Location

Pop culture enthusiasts everywhere know that there are plenty of movies and television shows set in Chicago. It’s a large metropolitan area with lots of history, culture, and noteworthy architecture, which makes it the perfect filming location for so many series like Empire, Shameless, and Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise. It makes sense that so many productions would flock to this area—there’s even a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events working to increase the number of productions hosted in the city of Chicago.

This year alone has seen ten shows set to film or already filmed in the city, a record number that has no plans to slow down. Here are a few of the shows that have chosen to film in Chicago, and some of the integral locations they use:

Empire (Fox)

Although set in New York, the hit series takes advantage of its diverse look and overall affordability. For those who haven’t had a chance to catch an episode of the hit show, Empire tells the story of Empire Record CEO Lucious Lyon and all of the drama that ensues from the personal relationships within the company. If you look closely on filming days, you’ll see New York Police Department cars on the street, especially in neighborhoods near the Waldorf Astoria.

Chicago Fire (NBC)

Chicago Fire, as you may have guessed, trails the members of the Chicago Fire Department and the challenges they face both in their personal lives and professional ones. Lincoln Park has proved to be a particularly attractive filming spot for Chicago Fire in years past, taking over entire blocks on occasion. Sometimes, the film crews even made their way into ordinary homes in the area, instead of sticking to exterior shots, but the most

Chicago PD (NBC)

As part of the Chicago franchise, Chicago PD features Chicago’s finest and the cases they work, as well as their lives outside of the precinct. One of their popular filming spots include the precinct at 2601- 2609 W. 16th Street (which is part of studio property, so visitors aren’t permitted), but you can usually stick around to watch them film.

Some other popular shows that film in Chicago include the remainder of the Chicago franchise, Chicago Med and Chicago Justice, The Chi, and of course, Shameless. And, if 2018’s success has been any indication, there will be more productions than ever, and you can check out the specific locations each day.

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3 Historical Gems in Gold Coast, Part 2

The Newberry Library
If you like history and you like books, the Newberry Library is the place to be. The Newberry Library has operated as an independent research library since 1887, and has since collected an extensive array of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and even music from the past six centuries. Because of their vast resources, the library frequently offers free exhibitions, speaker events, and genealogy orientations, among other popular programs.

Thanks to the generous donations of Walter L. Newberry, it was his funds that allowed the library to establish itself as a lead research and reference institution. Ever since its conception, the caretakers of the establishment have always been looking for ways to improve the library, both in structure and in its contents. Even now, the Newberry is always incorporating new ideas in order to remain accessible for each generation.

For much of this year, for example, the library has been undergoing renovations to accommodate additional displays, including the only copy in Chicago of a First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, and a first edition of Alice in Wonderland, among others. The overall goals of this renovation are to make the library more friendly and welcoming from the moment you walk in the door.

Washington Square Park
Chicago’s Washington Square Park came to being in 1842, thanks to James Fitch, Orasmua Bushnell, and Charles Butler of the American Land Company. Though the park offers no structured programming, it’s a beautiful spot tucked away in the Near North Community with trees, picket fencing, a gorgeous Victorian fountain, and stunning flower arrangements. In the summer, Washington Square Park even has pianos for anyone to play on! It’s a popular wedding ceremony venue and even registered as a historic Chicago landmark. Washington Square Park may be small, but it’s actually part of one of the best-kept secrets in all of Chicago.

As early as the 1830s when Chicago was still setting up its governing body, the parks system has played an important role. The city claimed “Urbs in horto” as its motto, which means “City in a Garden,” which is to say that parks were very near and dear to the hearts of Chicago citizens. Many now-famous architects and landscape designers have left their mark on these grounds

One particularly unique element to Washington Square Park is its nickname, now more than one hundred years old: Bughouse Square. As mansions were converted into flophouses and a more diverse population surrounded the park, it gained its new name. And, like Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park in London, Washington or “Bughouse” Square became a refuge for anyone who had something to say. Today, Washington Square still serves as beacon for free speech, and hosts debates to maintain the spirit of the tradition’s originators.

This blog is part two of a two-part series. Go back and read the first part featuring the Old Chicago Water Tower!

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3 Historical Gems in Gold Coast, Part 1

Gold Coast offers a quiet but stately home both to affluent young families and established professionals alike since 1882, but that doesn’t mean the neighborhood is lacking in fun things to do! The Gold Coast neighborhood in Chicago is bursting with history, from its architecture to its cultural contributions, even to the physical objects that have made its way through the years.

The neighborhood itself really came to life shortly after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, serving as the home to businessmen such as Potter Palmer (Palmer House), the Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill, and even Robert Todd Lincoln. Here are just a few of the most notable landmarks that have played an integral part of Gold Coast’s history, and why it serves as such an attractive neighborhood to so many families even today:

The Old Chicago Water Tower
Built in 1869, the Old Chicago Water Tower is currently the second oldest water tower in the United States, after the Louisville Water Tower in Louisville, Kentucky. Although the city of Chicago rests near Lake Michigan, a critical source for freshwater, the water quality prior to the building of the Old Chicago Water Tower was poor, having been drawn from the Chicago River, which also served as Chicago’s sewer. As such, the water was bad-tasting and disease-ridden.

To fix this, engineer Ellis S. Chesbrough planned a water supply tunnel that would span about two miles, and after the tunnel’s completion in 1867, the lake water would be pumped back to the lake via a pumping station. The pumping station originally produced pressure surges in the water, so a standpipe system (the Old Chicago Water Tower) was added two years later to reduce its effects.

Today, Chicago no longer needs the services of its old water tower, and is able to support all of its residents’ water needs. But, rather than knocking it down, the city of Chicago elected to keep the building standing, as it gives a peek into the history of the city. The tower even hosts a gallery showcasing the work of local photographers and artists. It serves as a visual reminder to the resilient attitude of Chicago as a city, as one of the few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The current City Gallery’s exhibition is Stand Up for Landmarks! Protests, Posters, and Pictures, which devotes itself to the story of public activism, outreach efforts, and legislation of protecting landmarks throughout Chicago.

This blog is part one of a two-part series. Check back for the second post featuring the Newberry Library and Washington Square Park!

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Women Breaking Barriers in Male-Dominated Industries, Part 2

Although many fields are still considered male-dominated, like technology, construction, and sports, women are still moving up the ranks and making their presence known in these industries. They’re making names for themselves, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. Here are a few more powerful ladies that everyone should know:

Self-Made CEO

Safra Catz wears a number of hats, and has done so throughout her career. Currently, Catz is the Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corporation, one of the leading companies in cloud computing software, where she also resides as a member of their Board of Directors. Catz comes with an impressive resume: she served as Oracle’s President and Chief Financial Officer before assuming her position as CEO. She rose up the ranks, starting out as a Senior Vice President for the company in April 1999, almost twenty years ago.

While she tirelessly worked to climb the corporate ladder, Catz also managed to find the time to serve on the Board of Directors at HSBC Holdings for seven years, and now sits as one of the directors at The Walt Disney Company. Safra Catz makes every moment count and remains as eager as always for whatever new challenges await her.

The “First Foot Soldier of the Year”

Angelica Ross, president of Miss Ross, Inc. and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, is at the forefront of the movement for trans and racial equality. As a transgender woman of color, Angelica Ross dedicates her life to helping people in marginalized communities “lift themselves out of poverty” by providing them with necessary technical training. She’s had the opportunity to share her mission with leaders in the business and education communities, and even with the President of the United States.

Each day, Miss Ross seeks to educate leaders on creating positive organizational changes that open up opportunities for trans people and people of color to truly thrive.

Shaping the World from the Playground Onwards

Hopscotch, an app that teaches kids ages eight through twelve how to code, is the brainchild of Samantha John and her co-founder, Jocelyn Leavitt. In their first week alone of releasing the app, Hopscotch was downloaded twenty thousand times, and that was more than five years ago.

John is grateful for the opportunity to do her part in shaping the future and empowering children and their capabilities by teaching them how to code. As an educator and developer, Samantha John does not take this duty lightly – these children will one day be leaders themselves, after all.

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Outdoor Living Spaces

One of the popular trends in home-building at the moment is transforming an outdoor area into an extension of a home’s living space. This trend is not that surprising: more and more Americans turn to the great outdoors as a way to relieve stress from their everyday lives. With nature comes many therapeutic benefits, and it makes sense that people would want to incorporate that into their homes. Some surveys report that as many as 70% of U.S. homes now have outdoor living spaces.

If you’re looking to improve your home value, or simply need a respite from your daily grind, here are a few things to keep in mind when renovating:

Building Permits

Depending on your neighborhood, there are building codes to consider when creating an outdoor room. If applicable, one’s Home Owners Association might have specific restrictions to adhere to, on top of that. To save yourself any potential headaches down the line after you’ve begun to optimize your outdoor space, check out zoning regulations and your HOA guidelines—the last thing you want is a notice saying that your privacy screens are too tall, too short, or too close to your neighbor’s property.

Elemental Protection

It’s great being able to eat dinner outside on a temperate summer evening, but it’s a lot harder to do that when nothing is in place to protect you from a sudden thunderstorm. Consider your local climate: if it’s frequently hot and sunny, for instance, you may benefit from building a shaded area where you can relax without fear of sunburn. Similarly, if it rains often, consider adding an awning to keep the weather at bay. Regardless, a covering allows for more frequent enjoyment of the space, protecting you from situations that may otherwise force you to retreat inside. After all, an outdoor living space is wonderful, but it’s even better when you can enjoy it in all the elements.

A Heat Source

Not only will a fireplace or fire pit offer you more time to enjoy your outdoor living space, it also offers a beautiful focal point to tie the space together. With a source of heat, the party doesn’t need to stop once the sun or temperature drops! Of course, you’ll need to consider the electrical work needed to install a new outdoor heat source and to keep it running. But, if that means you’ll be able to spend more time out enjoying your new patio, it’ll definitely be worth it.

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A Glimpse into the Chicago Philanthropic Community

Urbane Home has maintained a steady presence in the Chicago philanthropy scene. There are hundreds of organizations working to improve the lives of Chicagoans all over the city. Here are a few that Urbane Home has had the pleasure to work with, as well as a few others:


Urbane Home was initially introduced to the organization by one of its clients, who is actively involved in the organization. Since then, Urbane Home uses them consistently for their construction projects for construction site clean-up via Cara’s Cleanslate division. Urbane Home also engages them in the neighborhoods in which they build to do weekly clean-ups on the street to keep the neighborhood beautiful and clean year-round.

In 2017, Urbane Home donated over $30K in donations and services to the organization, and have attended Cara Gala for the last two years since being introduced to the charity. Ever since this initial introduction, Urbane Home has been an active proponent of their mission.

Homes of Hope

Another organization Urbane Home has partnered with is Homes of Hope.  Though they are still in the early stages of fundraising, thus far Urbane Home has raised about $500 which will be provided to the charity.  

Homes of Hope particularly appeals to Urbane Home because of its capacity to help both now and in the future. As a company that specializes in customized homes, it is a perfect fit for the charity which organizes groups of people to go to one of several locations and over the course of three days to build a shelter for the needy.

Sarah’s Circle

Although Urbane Home has not had personal experience with Sarah’s Circle, the charity organization has been a staple in Chicago’s Uptown Community since 1979. They specifically serve women who are homeless or are in need of a safe space, and through the years, they’ve helped thousands.

Currently, Sarah’s Circle is able to support 50 women in their housing program, as well as offer a Daytime Support Center open to any woman, and permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless women with disabilities.


WINGS is a nonprofit organization that aids those who have experienced domestic violence in any capacity. Though the charity began as a non-profit housing agency, it has since evolved into emergency safe sheltering and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. They are also glad to offer basic needs for families in crisis, like food and clothing, and are continually expanding to accommodate as many specific needs of these families as possible.

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Neighborhood Spotlight: Lincoln Park

In the early 1800s, Lincoln Park started out as a small cemetery on the northwestern boundary of Chicago proper, and continued to develop through the 1860s as more people moved to the Chicago area. Since then, it has only continued to rise in popularity for Chicago residents looking for a home with a little more breathing room than downtown provides. It’s stood the test of time: you can feel the history of the place just by walking down the streets, taking in the stately homes and looming trees. Land in this neighborhood not only retained its value throughout the Great Recession, its value has continued to steadily rise, which goes to show that the neighborhood has an equally bright future ahead. With its many attributes, it’s not hard to see why people continue to flock to the neighborhood.


Ideal Location

Lincoln Park is conveniently located only a mile from downtown Chicago with the benefit of sitting on Chicago’s famous lakefront. Lincoln Park provides a neighborhood experience, a sense of community. Even out-of-towners recognize its appeal and snap up reservations in the Hotel Lincoln and Airbnb rentals alike. Lincoln Park provides the best of both worlds with its proximity to the city while still imparting that feeling that there’s plenty of space for all. It’s a fresh reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the concrete city, allowing residents to view the city’s beautiful skyline from the lush haven of Lincoln Park’s copious parks and yards.

Great for Families

There’s a misconception that Lincoln Park only houses the wealthy and affluent, but the truth is that lots of people from different backgrounds live here. There’s been an influx of young professionals coming into Lincoln Park to start their families; and with great schools, beautiful homes, tons of different parks, and countless family-friendly activities, who can blame them? The Lincoln Park neighborhood offers a variety of affordable options for families of all sizes and incomes, from high-rise condos to single-family homes.

Historical Value

For the history nuts, Chicago has a rich past, and Lincoln Park is no exception. The world’s first Ferris wheel made its debut in Lincoln Park, for example, and this neighborhood was also the home of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. When walking through the beautiful neighborhood, you can’t help but feel that you are taking a stroll through history as you observe the stunning architecture.

Plenty To Do

The Lake and Park alone present a variety of options for activities: the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago History Museum, Nature Museum, Lincoln Park Conservatory, North Pond, Diversey Driving Range, Green City Farmers Market, and a majority of Chicago’s top beaches. Lincoln Park houses a fantastic theatre scene, many excellent live music venues, and, not to mention, plenty of delicious and acclaimed restaurants to try. Regardless of your interests, you’ll never run out of things to do; it’s more a question of which one do you do first.

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