Are ‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘Chicago Med’ Actually Filmed in Chicago?

NBC’s Chicago dramas offer a fictional glimpse at what life and work is like for first responders in one of America’s biggest cities. While the drama on shows like Chicago P.D. might not be very realistic, there’s one thing they do get right: the setting. Chicago P.D. and its sister shows Chicago Fire and Chicago Med are all filmed on location in the Windy City.

Chicago is a “Midwest Hollywood”

Chicago P.D.
Jon Seda as Det. Antonio Dawson in an episode of Chicago P.D. | Matt Dinerstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The #OneChicago dramas are hardly the first to be set in the third-largest city in America. Popular shows like The Good Wife and ER were also set in Chicago, but they filmed in the city only occasionally or not at all. But the Chicago shows are produced entirely in the city. And the cast likes it that way.

“I’m originally from Detroit,” S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Dr. Sharon Goodwin on Chicago Med, told the Observer. “I’ve lived in New York nearly 40 years now, but I find Chicago to be like a midwest Hollywood. The theatre and music scene is what I love most.”

“Working here is fantastic,” Chicago Med’s Oliver Platt told the Observer. “There’s a lack of pretension. A roll up your sleeves, grounded attitude towards the work people do here which is incredibly refreshing.”

“Every given episode is about location,” Med executive producer Derek Haas said, explaining that they made an effort to film all over the city, not just in highly recognizable spots like Wrigley Field or the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). 

Common filming locations

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire.
Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire. |Elizabeth Morris/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Fans who want to get a real-life look at some memorable locations from the shows should put the following spots on their Chicago itinerary.

Old Maxwell Street Police Station: Exterior shots of Chicago P.D.’s District 21 are filmed at this 1888 police station. This building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is currently the headquarters of the University of Illinois at Chicago police department. Fans of Hill Street Blues will also recognize the building – it was the exterior of the station house in that show. It’s located at 943 West Maxwell Street.

Chicago Fire Department Engine 18 Firehouse: This working firehouse doubles as the firehouse for Chicago Fire. Exteriors are filmed at the station at 1360 S. Blue Island Avenue, but most interior scenes are filmed on a set at Cinespace Studios in Chicago. The firehouse is around the corner from the Maxwell Street Police Station.

Lottie’s Pub: The hard-working police officers, firefighters, and doctors of #OneChicago all hang out at Molly’s Bar on the show. The real-life Molly’s is actually a bar in the Bucktown neighborhood called Lottie’s. While scenes are no longer filmed there, you can still stop in at 1924 W. Cortland Street for a “Chicago Fire” burger.

Rush Medical Center: Many scenes for Chicago Med are filmed at Rush Medical Center in the city’s medical district, which stands in for Gaffney Medical Center. The hospital is located at 1653 W. Congress Parkway.

Cinespace Chicago: While many scenes for Fire, Med, and P.D. are filmed on location around the city, the shows also have elaborate sets at Cinespace Chicago, a movie studio on the city’s West Side. It’s the biggest independent studio outside of Los Angeles, according to CNBC. Empire, Shameless, and The Chi also film there, as did the Steve McQueen film Widows.

If you want to catch some Chicago shows in action, check out Filming in Chicago on Twitter, which posts updates about where the shows will be on location.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!