Finding Ubisoft's Chicago: "The Loop"

Updated on May 9, 2019

The heart of the city is in The Loop, Chicago’s downtown district. It being the biggest tourist destination of course makes it the region of the map with the most hotspots. Thankfully for me, and my researching nature, a lot of these hotspots are specific references or at least easy to discover. For my trip in December 2015 I hit most of these, and some I got by accident earlier in July of the same year. Not all of the locations in “The Loop” are situated in real-world Chicago, but that shouldn’t be a revelation if you've been following this series thus far.

Because of the vast number of hotspots in this region I'm going to be using multiple map modules throughout this article. Here is a small table of contents to help you navigate:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

"The Loop" Part 1

A
South Tech University (University of Chicago):
5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

get directions

B
Meadowmoor Dairies:
901 Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60608, USA

get directions

C
South Tech University (Illinois Institute of Technology):
10 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616, USA

get directions

D
Bloody Maxwell Police Station:
949 W Maxwell St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA

get directions

E
Stafford Memorial Fountain:
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA

get directions

F
The Lexington Hotel:
2135 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, USA

get directions

G
Palin Correctional Facility:
71 W Van Buren St, Chicago, IL 60605, USA

get directions

H
The Raven Building:
LaSalle & Adams, Chicago, IL 60603, USA

get directions

I
WKZ-TV:
190 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

J
Seventh Federal Bank:
230 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

get directions

(A1) Meadowmoor Diaries/Meadowmoore Diaries

First of all the hotspot info card is spot on. Al Capone really did try getting into the diary business after he went to jail, and three months after that happened his organization opened the Meadowmoor Dairies on 1334 South Peroria Street. Some say he did it for the money, I guess my optimistic side wants to believe Al Capone did it for his son. So that kids like him wouldn’t get sick from spoiled dairy products, whichever.

When I went here in December 2015 I got a picture of the Les Miller Field. Which is used as a baseball diamond for the University of Illinois’ Flames softball team. I followed the directions to the letter! I swear! Like I’ve said in the past Chicago has a way of burying it’s criminal past for better things.

For it being Chicago I remember it not being any colder than an autumn day. This picture was taken in December 2015.
For it being Chicago I remember it not being any colder than an autumn day. This picture was taken in December 2015.
I guess it WOULD have been nice to have a diary factory by the water’s edge. Especially if you’re rum running, but that would be a little too convenient?
I guess it WOULD have been nice to have a diary factory by the water’s edge. Especially if you’re rum running, but that would be a little too convenient?

(B1 and C1) South Tech University/University of Chicago and Illinois Technical Institute

I'm thinking this is more of a reference to I.T.I. than University of Chicago, but there are a couple of things that make it's another double reference. Firstly it's located near the Meadowmoor Dairies and Bloody Maxwell (more on that below) hotspots. So it seems like they're at least paying homage to University of Chicago with it's geography, a subject matter they don't get right with the free roam map as a whole, but I already went over that. The idea that it's a reference to I.T.I. is in the name and the building that's on campus.

As for what they look like in real life; I.T.I. looks like your typical tech college, but University of Chicago makes the college I went to look like a heaping pile of horse shit, and compared to the degree I got from mine it's just about the same. However in Watch Dogs the college grounds literally remind me of the university on the second island of Grand Theft Auto III I kid you not. It's almost like the developers were also trying to show admiration (or copy in some way) Rockstar.

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The old main building of Illinois Technical Institute. This picture was taken back in June 2017 so they (hopefully) gave it a new paint job since then. The "quad building" according to some students and campus guards. There's no clock tower of course. Claude Speed looks different in the remaster, but he still has the personality of a mahogany bat.
The old main building of Illinois Technical Institute. This picture was taken back in June 2017 so they (hopefully) gave it a new paint job since then.
The old main building of Illinois Technical Institute. This picture was taken back in June 2017 so they (hopefully) gave it a new paint job since then.
The "quad building" according to some students and campus guards. There's no clock tower of course.
The "quad building" according to some students and campus guards. There's no clock tower of course.
Claude Speed looks different in the remaster, but he still has the personality of a mahogany bat.
Claude Speed looks different in the remaster, but he still has the personality of a mahogany bat.

(D1) Bloody Maxwell Police Station/7th District Police Station

This hotspot is very close to the previous two (much like how the real world references are quite close to each other, even despite the free roam map’s condensed nature). “Bloody Maxwell” was a police station built to increase police presence in what was, by 1880’s standards, Chicago’s deadliest neighborhood. Of course now-a-days it’s the home of University of Chicago campus police. So thankfully the “bloodiest” this “Maxwell” gets now is when there’s a drunken punch up between a Brad and Chad over who stole whose juul.

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7th District Police Station as of December 2015. I might be wrong but isn’t this also the precinct they filmed the pilot for Chicago PD? And maybe other episodes too, I wouldn’t know since Dick Wolf won’t out them on Netflix…In-game it looks like a modern office complex.
7th District Police Station as of December 2015. I might be wrong but isn’t this also the precinct they filmed the pilot for Chicago PD? And maybe other episodes too, I wouldn’t know since Dick Wolf won’t out them on Netflix…
7th District Police Station as of December 2015. I might be wrong but isn’t this also the precinct they filmed the pilot for Chicago PD? And maybe other episodes too, I wouldn’t know since Dick Wolf won’t out them on Netflix…
In-game it looks like a modern office complex.
In-game it looks like a modern office complex.

(E1) Stafford Memorial Fountain/Buckingham Fountain

Does anybody remember Married With Children? Does anyone realize how many Chicagoans I pissed off by mentioning this? Is “problematic” a word mainly used by black hipsters? None of these questions will be answered here by visiting the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, but you will get a chance to see one of the prettiest landmarks in the city (if not the country). Something Ubisoft looks like they tried to do but then squeezed it down into a swimming pool with dolphins. Which doesn't look as amazing as I made that sound.

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This picture was taken back in July of 2015. The weather was about as right as it looks in this picture. Yes it was hot, but the A.C. was provided by Lake Michigan. The sculptures within the fountain look like badass sea serpents. And here it is in-game... Buckingham Fountain was designed to be an allegory of Lake Michigan. Stafford Memorial Fountain looks like an allegory for an upscaled last gen free roam map. oooooohhhhh
This picture was taken back in July of 2015. The weather was about as right as it looks in this picture. Yes it was hot, but the A.C. was provided by Lake Michigan.
This picture was taken back in July of 2015. The weather was about as right as it looks in this picture. Yes it was hot, but the A.C. was provided by Lake Michigan.
The sculptures within the fountain look like badass sea serpents.
The sculptures within the fountain look like badass sea serpents.
And here it is in-game... Buckingham Fountain was designed to be an allegory of Lake Michigan. Stafford Memorial Fountain looks like an allegory for an upscaled last gen free roam map. oooooohhhhh
And here it is in-game... Buckingham Fountain was designed to be an allegory of Lake Michigan. Stafford Memorial Fountain looks like an allegory for an upscaled last gen free roam map. oooooohhhhh

(F1) The Lexington Hotel

The Lexington Hotel was one of Al Capone’s many residences during 1928-1932. Like most of the awesome things during this time period it was demolished, in 1995, and is now the site of a post modern structure. “The Lex” pictured below being an apartment complex. Considering the style of gangster Chicago has these days it’s probably home to Tommy Mumbles and his codeine posse.

Near this location is also The Four Deuces (add link later) and Big Jim Colosimo’s Café (add link later), literally right around the corner. Although in Watch Dogs these locations are considered set in a completely different region of the city…

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*Giraldo's breathing intensifies*The Lexington Hotel in-game.
*Giraldo's breathing intensifies*
*Giraldo's breathing intensifies*
The Lexington Hotel in-game.
The Lexington Hotel in-game.

(G1) Palin Correctional Center/Metropolitan Correctional Center

For those of you who live in Downtown Chicago did you know that you are living near criminals!? Yeah that’s probably not a surprise, but did you know you are living near ones that are in prison too!? For the criminals who have actually been caught and prosecuted, in a court of law for whatever good that is, there is the Metropolitan Correctional Facility. A jail house that was built to hold prisoners of all security levels; from pickpockets to “oh my God what are you doing with his face!?”

In Watch Dogs one of the main story missions occurs here in which the main protagonist, Aiden-I’m trying to sound like Batman-Pierce, surrenders himself to within minutes be put inside the facility. I don’t remember the details of the mission but I’m sure it takes some proceedings in front of a judge to get here? I also don’t remember how he got his phone and ASP baton into the building, but then again maybe we shouldn’t look into THAT detail either.

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This picture was taken in December 2015 during what looks to be some renovation. Picture taken from the Harold Washington Library station. Taken in March 2019. And this picture I took back in I-don’t-know-when shows Ubisoft’s artier, though somewhat similar Palin Correctional Center.
This picture was taken in December 2015 during what looks to be some renovation.
This picture was taken in December 2015 during what looks to be some renovation.
Picture taken from the Harold Washington Library station. Taken in March 2019.
Picture taken from the Harold Washington Library station. Taken in March 2019.
And this picture I took back in I-don’t-know-when shows Ubisoft’s artier, though somewhat similar Palin Correctional Center.
And this picture I took back in I-don’t-know-when shows Ubisoft’s artier, though somewhat similar Palin Correctional Center.

(H1) The Raven Building

This was the building where City Hall was located after the great Chicago fire. Based on the info in the Hotspot card it was a tricky hunt for information. After the Great Chicago Fire staff moved into the First Congregational Church (originally at Washington and Racine Street). The current church is now at 1305 North Hamlin Road. City Hall staff were only there briefly before moving into a temporary spot built specifically for the interim stay (located at LaSalle and Adams street), which became the Raven Building as it’s named in Watch Dogs. They worked here before the Chicago City Hall we know of today was built. Addresses gathered from here. Everything else was Google detective work, so as always take it with grains of salt. Feel free to comment if you have any theories.

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“The Raven Building”. Taken in Maybe 2016 after a ridiculously long Amtrak train ride. No really I was on the way to the hotel when I passed by here. Watch Dog’s “Raven Building”. Is it even called this in real life? Then again I may have this one wrong. If anyone is out there who actually cares enough please let me know.
“The Raven Building”. Taken in Maybe 2016 after a ridiculously long Amtrak train ride. No really I was on the way to the hotel when I passed by here.
“The Raven Building”. Taken in Maybe 2016 after a ridiculously long Amtrak train ride. No really I was on the way to the hotel when I passed by here.
Watch Dog’s “Raven Building”. Is it even called this in real life? Then again I may have this one wrong. If anyone is out there who actually cares enough please let me know.
Watch Dog’s “Raven Building”. Is it even called this in real life? Then again I may have this one wrong. If anyone is out there who actually cares enough please let me know.

(I1) WKZ-TV/WLS-TV

Directly across the street from the Chicago Theater/Ambrouse Theater is this ABC affiliate that appears to have an open window studio (similar to Good Morning America). I was never in the area while they were recording any programming, but you can clearly see into the recording studio. Due to the amount of tourists, cameras, and urinating hobos I would imagine that it's a two-way soundproof mirror?

This was one of those “ah! I see!” moments during this project. Actually my December 2015 trip was filled with a lot of those thankfully.
This was one of those “ah! I see!” moments during this project. Actually my December 2015 trip was filled with a lot of those thankfully.
The in-game area (screenshot taken from other side of the L tracks) is decently accurate, being right across the street from where the Chicago Theater would be. Though the area in game looks less detailed and a lot smaller.
The in-game area (screenshot taken from other side of the L tracks) is decently accurate, being right across the street from where the Chicago Theater would be. Though the area in game looks less detailed and a lot smaller.

(J1) Seventh Federal Bank/The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

During my December 2015 trip I was able to grab pictures of a lot of these hotspots within a single night. I also refrained from doing any drinking this night. Yeah! actually remember the lack of drinking I did in order to concentrate on the profess... no wait I had a pitcher of beer at Buddy Guy's. Whatever! I managed to get a picture of this while literally lying on a nearby curb. So similar to a vertible drunk.

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Practically laying in the street to get this shot. Also this area is a gps deadzone. The building in-game does look alike, but the area around it has that god damn Montreal vibe to it like the rest of the city.
Practically laying in the street to get this shot. Also this area is a gps deadzone.
Practically laying in the street to get this shot. Also this area is a gps deadzone.
The building in-game does look alike, but the area around it has that god damn Montreal vibe to it like the rest of the city.
The building in-game does look alike, but the area around it has that god damn Montreal vibe to it like the rest of the city.

"The Loop" Part 2

A
Willis Tower:
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA

get directions

B
Bootlegging Factory:
1464 N Larrabee St, Chicago, IL 60610, USA

get directions

C
Harbor Lighthouse:
Chicago Harbor, United States

get directions

D
City Marina:
Monroe Harbor, Illinois, USA

get directions

E
The Secret Six:
E 59th St & S Maryland Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

get directions

F
Miller's Rail Bar (Miller's Pub):
134 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA

get directions

G
Miller's Rail Bar (The Rail Bar/Ravenswood Bar&Grill):
4709 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA

get directions

H
Face Fountain:
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

I
Chicago Commerce Building:
141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

get directions

J
Vault Tower:
10 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60603, USA

get directions

(A2) Willis Tower

Alright look when I went to Chicago, for the very first time in July of 2015, I got talked in to going to this tourist attraction. I'm not going to go into all of the details, especially since I already did in an older article(1), and I would just end up going off-topic here. For what it's worth you gotta go here at least once if you're visiting Chicago. In my opinion the John Hancock Building has a better view, but Willisears Tower is worth it. At least in the off-season when it's not packed with angry foreign families, about to start a war on the Kasmir border, to get ten seconds in the glass box.... What a disorganized mess. Whereas the John Hancock Building has their special observation deck closed off with a single entrance and exit. Oh it's a little crowded? Go have a coffee AT THE CAFE while you wait. Can't do that at Willis Tower, you have to forfeit and head to the basement for a bite to eat. It's a fucking tourist's nightmare I'm telling you.

Anyway, back on topic, the Willis Tower in-game, and it's surrounding area, is somewhat accurate to the real thing. Geography is off, but it's clear Ubisoft spent a lot of time around here and/or it burned in their memories enough to get it right.

(1)My editor doesn't like links to Hubpages, so what I'm referring to is my article Killing The Blues In Chicago which I wrote some time back in 2015, but it never got much traction due to an inferior algorithm they were using at the time.

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From the perspective of a tourist who didn't know better back in July 2015. The upper section of the Skydeck Entrance. From what I hear there are renovations going on as of March 2019. This picture was taken in May of 2016. It probably looks different now, can't say for sure. Willis Tower in-game. No I wasn't trying to be stoic, this just seemed like the best angle. Watch Dog's version of the Skydeck entrance.
From the perspective of a tourist who didn't know better back in July 2015.
From the perspective of a tourist who didn't know better back in July 2015.
The upper section of the Skydeck Entrance. From what I hear there are renovations going on as of March 2019. This picture was taken in May of 2016. It probably looks different now, can't say for sure.
The upper section of the Skydeck Entrance. From what I hear there are renovations going on as of March 2019. This picture was taken in May of 2016. It probably looks different now, can't say for sure.
Willis Tower in-game. No I wasn't trying to be stoic, this just seemed like the best angle.
Willis Tower in-game. No I wasn't trying to be stoic, this just seemed like the best angle.
Watch Dog's version of the Skydeck entrance.
Watch Dog's version of the Skydeck entrance.

(B2) Bootlegging Factory/Sieben Brewery

The description of this hotspot doesn't get more basic bitch than this. After an unusual amount of research put into Chicago's "Beer Wars" I surmised that the location for this hotspot was 1464 North Larrabee. Mainly thanks to this article that I came across during my Google research. In November 2016 I went to the location to discover that it's another closed high school used for police training. What the hell is the deal with old high schools being re-purposed for police stations?

It's clear this was another Capone era location that was paved over for the sake of progress. This particular bootlegging factory being attacked was a direct result of the Hit On Johnny Torrio. In-game it's depicted as some kind of gentrified hipster neighborhood. So I suppose the former is a better alternative than handlebar mustaches and overpriced micro-brews. Oh my gawd, like soooooo ironic that this is a "bootleg factory".... No no pick up your gluten free kale chips Trevor, I was being sarcastic again. Seriously you should have figured it that time....

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The location of the Sieben Brewery according to the address I got and my google mapping skills. The area around this location is a blue collar, industrial park, type neighborhood.In-game the old bootlegging factory looks to be located in a gentrified hipster neighborhood.
The location of the Sieben Brewery according to the address I got and my google mapping skills. The area around this location is a blue collar, industrial park, type neighborhood.
The location of the Sieben Brewery according to the address I got and my google mapping skills. The area around this location is a blue collar, industrial park, type neighborhood.
In-game the old bootlegging factory looks to be located in a gentrified hipster neighborhood.
In-game the old bootlegging factory looks to be located in a gentrified hipster neighborhood.

(C2) Harbor Lighthouse/Chicago Harbor Lighthouse

Technically, in real life, the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is not on an island. It's attached to a rip-rap that I would assume (probably wrong) is the way for personnel to access the lighthouse?

In the game it’s a full-on island because…. Well what’s a free roam map without a mysterious island off the mainland? Plus the game has boats so obviously one of the developers decided this was a good idea. Apart from map making oversights this is the location of the game’s conclusion (cause why the hell not right?) and it’s also the location of a dead body for one of the side investigations. Because of it’s out-in-the-lake island location this could also be a reference to the offshore water sheds which pump lake water into the water purification facilities in the city.

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Back in July of 2015, when I took this picture from the end of Navy Pier, if you would have told me I would be using this for an insane multi-year project about Watch Dogs… I would have probably believed you…The Harbor Lighthouse in game. You can see the “Mad Mile” to the left and sort of the illusion of a rip-rap on the left side of the island. In case you’re wondering YES you can get stuck in a glitch trying to climb them sometimes…
Back in July of 2015, when I took this picture from the end of Navy Pier, if you would have told me I would be using this for an insane multi-year project about Watch Dogs… I would have probably believed you…
Back in July of 2015, when I took this picture from the end of Navy Pier, if you would have told me I would be using this for an insane multi-year project about Watch Dogs… I would have probably believed you…
The Harbor Lighthouse in game. You can see the “Mad Mile” to the left and sort of the illusion of a rip-rap on the left side of the island. In case you’re wondering YES you can get stuck in a glitch trying to climb them sometimes…
The Harbor Lighthouse in game. You can see the “Mad Mile” to the left and sort of the illusion of a rip-rap on the left side of the island. In case you’re wondering YES you can get stuck in a glitch trying to climb them sometimes…

(D2) City Marina/Monroe Harbor

Just like with Parker Square Marina this is a composite of the multiple marinas, and harbors, on the lake side of Chicago. However, and not to give Ubisoft too much credit, it does appear to be based on Monroe Harbor. Of July of 2015 I noticed a lot of boats anchored in this area.

In the game it’s also located near Stafford Memorial Fountain/Buckinghman Fountain. Although in real life there are no docks (which would be more like Burnham Harbor or one of the many marinas further North). There is also no warehouse just off-shore like depicted in the game. From what I’ve seen it does appear to be a prominent harbor due to the vast amount of water for “docking” one’s boat.

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Burnham harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower. Picture taken in July 2015. Monroe Harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower, circa July 2015.Honestly, from a shoreline standpoint, I can see what they were going for here. Unfortunately it still looks like another case of confusing Chicago with the Pacific Northwest. The maintenance warehouse/boathouse at the Marina where some missions take place. Of course conveniently peppered with CCTV cameras that can be hacked.
Burnham harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower. Picture taken in July 2015.
Burnham harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower. Picture taken in July 2015.
Monroe Harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower, circa July 2015.
Monroe Harbor as seen from the top of Willis Tower, circa July 2015.
Honestly, from a shoreline standpoint, I can see what they were going for here. Unfortunately it still looks like another case of confusing Chicago with the Pacific Northwest.
Honestly, from a shoreline standpoint, I can see what they were going for here. Unfortunately it still looks like another case of confusing Chicago with the Pacific Northwest.
The maintenance warehouse/boathouse at the Marina where some missions take place. Of course conveniently peppered with CCTV cameras that can be hacked.
The maintenance warehouse/boathouse at the Marina where some missions take place. Of course conveniently peppered with CCTV cameras that can be hacked.

(E2) The Secret Six

Ok so, like me, you’re probably wondering “Eric what the hell is this? How can you incorporate another game reference into real life?” (bonus points if you’re from Chicago and were doing that a lot already). Well after doing an insane amount of research, and using what little info the hotspot card gives, I discovered that The Secret Six were a real group of businessmen that were fed up with Al Capone’s operations. They formed after Phillip Meagher was shot outside of what is now one of the University of Chicago hospital's Neonatology wing. From what I can surmise they fought crime with a checkbook and through connections.

Although they did carry out their own investigations through buyouts and subterfuge. Realistically I doubt any of them put on a bat cape and started kicking mobster ass. For what it’s worth they are said to have been responsible for uncovering Al Capone’s tax evasion activities which eventually led to his imprisonment.

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The street corner where Phillip Meagher was gunned down. At the time, February 1930, it was a construction site. In-game it looks more like the Lexington Hotel. Still a street corner though… Am I giving too much credit to point out the construction crane on the upper left?
The street corner where Phillip Meagher was gunned down. At the time, February 1930, it was a construction site.
The street corner where Phillip Meagher was gunned down. At the time, February 1930, it was a construction site.
In-game it looks more like the Lexington Hotel. Still a street corner though… Am I giving too much credit to point out the construction crane on the upper left?
In-game it looks more like the Lexington Hotel. Still a street corner though… Am I giving too much credit to point out the construction crane on the upper left?

(F2 and G2) Miller’s Rail Bar/Miller’s Pub+The Rail/Ravenswood Bar

Imagine you’re a hard working game researcher going around the Windy City collecting information for an upcoming video game. It’s a multi-million dollar project (really this game cost $68 million, Google it). You and your crew have a bottomless budget, it’s been a long day, and you’re bragging in a French accent about the hard work you’re putting into the project. The bartender says “wow that’s cool, if it’s a free roam game could you put our bar in game?” I don’t know anyone that worked on the game, I don’t know if this happened, but from my experience shooting the shit in various watering holes I bet a dine-to-a-dollar that it happened EXACTLY like this.

Therefore we get this double reference to two of the best, and well known, watering holes you can drink at in the city by the lake. Miller’s Pub is situated in The Loop of Downtown Chicago, but The Rail Bar is located much further North in Ravenswood. Coincidentally The Rail Bar is also known as Ravenswood Station Bar, but in December of 2015 it was still known as The Rail Bar. Go ahead Google “The Rail Bar Chicago” it’s still the same place, they must have changed owners since I’ve been there?

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Miller’s Pub in December of 2015. Yes I did have a beer while I was here. The Rail Bar as of December 2015, just down the street from the Damen Brown Line Station. Speaking of Brown Lines, no I’ve never been THAT drunk. This place is now known as The Ravenswood Station Bar & Grill. In game the bar is on a footpath that you can still totally drive down. It’s a freeroam game, you can go where the hell you want while driving! For legal reasons the inside of the bar looks much different than either of the real-world locations.
Miller’s Pub in December of 2015. Yes I did have a beer while I was here.
Miller’s Pub in December of 2015. Yes I did have a beer while I was here.
The Rail Bar as of December 2015, just down the street from the Damen Brown Line Station. Speaking of Brown Lines, no I’ve never been THAT drunk. This place is now known as The Ravenswood Station Bar & Grill.
The Rail Bar as of December 2015, just down the street from the Damen Brown Line Station. Speaking of Brown Lines, no I’ve never been THAT drunk. This place is now known as The Ravenswood Station Bar & Grill.
In game the bar is on a footpath that you can still totally drive down. It’s a freeroam game, you can go where the hell you want while driving! For legal reasons the inside of the bar looks much different than either of the real-world locations.
In game the bar is on a footpath that you can still totally drive down. It’s a freeroam game, you can go where the hell you want while driving! For legal reasons the inside of the bar looks much different than either of the real-world locations.

(H2) Face Fountain/Crown Fountain

When I first went to Chicago imagine my surprise when I walked across Michigan Avenue and saw a giant face in Millennium Park. It was the 4th of July so the streets were semi-packed with people. A large crowd was in the park with children giggling and running about. I understand why Ubisoft called it face fountain. In game it's a hexagonal sculpture that still displays images. During the story the main character, Aiden Pierce, hacks the sculpture to play a blackmail video in order to recruit another character to his revenge mission. In real life Crown Fountain is a large rectangular block displaying images on all sides. One of the coolest being a face that squirts water out of it's mouth.

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One of the many faces of Crown Fountain. Picture was taken seconds before it squirts water "from the mouth". In game there's not a lot of trees around... Of course for legal reasons(?) Ubisoft made the sculpture extra arty.
One of the many faces of Crown Fountain. Picture was taken seconds before it squirts water "from the mouth".
One of the many faces of Crown Fountain. Picture was taken seconds before it squirts water "from the mouth".
In game there's not a lot of trees around... Of course for legal reasons(?) Ubisoft made the sculpture extra arty.
In game there's not a lot of trees around... Of course for legal reasons(?) Ubisoft made the sculpture extra arty.

(I2) Chicago Commerce Building/Chicago Board of Trade

Chicago’s answer to Wall Street and an elderly middle class couple’s worse nightmare for retirement funds; The Chicago Board of Trade. The stockbroker “magic” happens somewhere inside this majestic skyscraper at 141 West Jackson. I went to this location unassumingly during my first visit in July of 2015, while hell bent on trying to find places where The Untouchables was filmed.

In-game the building looks similar, and it even has the statues in a courtyard. However this courtyard is part of a cobblestone road that runs past the Miller’s Rail Bar hotspot mentioned above.

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This picture was taken at night in December 2015. I was determined to get pictures of everything in the Loop, even if it meant wondering the streets at 2AM. Which by the way isn’t a good idea in some neighborhoods of Chicago.Unlike in real life I took the in-game screenshot from a couple blocks away to get it in the shot. Just as an annoying footnote these two Greek goddess statues apparently were stolen and then returned in 2004. I'm pissing off enough locals as it is with this project so I'll refrain from explaining the story. Honestly you can kinda see what Ubisoft was going for here. Not as much detail as the real location of course, but still.
This picture was taken at night in December 2015. I was determined to get pictures of everything in the Loop, even if it meant wondering the streets at 2AM. Which by the way isn’t a good idea in some neighborhoods of Chicago.
This picture was taken at night in December 2015. I was determined to get pictures of everything in the Loop, even if it meant wondering the streets at 2AM. Which by the way isn’t a good idea in some neighborhoods of Chicago.
Unlike in real life I took the in-game screenshot from a couple blocks away to get it in the shot.
Unlike in real life I took the in-game screenshot from a couple blocks away to get it in the shot.
Just as an annoying footnote these two Greek goddess statues apparently were stolen and then returned in 2004. I'm pissing off enough locals as it is with this project so I'll refrain from explaining the story.
Just as an annoying footnote these two Greek goddess statues apparently were stolen and then returned in 2004. I'm pissing off enough locals as it is with this project so I'll refrain from explaining the story.
Honestly you can kinda see what Ubisoft was going for here. Not as much detail as the real location of course, but still.
Honestly you can kinda see what Ubisoft was going for here. Not as much detail as the real location of course, but still.

(J2) Vault Tower/Chase Tower

This was another one of those times where my research was spot on, but for whatever reason I didn’t visit the location until my trip in November 2016. It wasn't hard Vault Tower looks just like Chase Tower. The surrounding area is also similar; especially the courtyard. The cafe in-game is actually a McDonald's, but in the same general area. Of course not to give Ubisoft too much credit there is a lack of trees.

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The courtyard fountain. Picture taken in November 2016. The base of Chase Tower taken from Clark Street facing East. Same location facing up the side of the tower. Vault Tower in-game. The courtyard of Vault Tower in-game. The McDonald's near the bottom of Chase Tower. The coffee shop in almost the same area. Actually with the way the banking world works I'm sure the Chase employees wished it WAS a coffee shop.
The courtyard fountain. Picture taken in November 2016.
The courtyard fountain. Picture taken in November 2016.
The base of Chase Tower taken from Clark Street facing East.
The base of Chase Tower taken from Clark Street facing East.
Same location facing up the side of the tower.
Same location facing up the side of the tower.
Vault Tower in-game.
Vault Tower in-game.
The courtyard of Vault Tower in-game.
The courtyard of Vault Tower in-game.
The McDonald's near the bottom of Chase Tower.
The McDonald's near the bottom of Chase Tower.
The coffee shop in almost the same area. Actually with the way the banking world works I'm sure the Chase employees wished it WAS a coffee shop.
The coffee shop in almost the same area. Actually with the way the banking world works I'm sure the Chase employees wished it WAS a coffee shop.

"The Loop" Part 3

A
Bram Steffan Pavilion:
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

B
Forever Sculpture:
1 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

get directions

C
Chicago Arts and Sciences Center (Chicago Cultural Center):
78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

get directions

D
Chicago Arts and Sciences Center (Museum of Science and Industry):
5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

get directions

E
Randolph Street Station:
151 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

F
The Lombardo Murder:
70 W Madison St #4600, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

get directions

G
The Haymarket Square Riot:
175 N Desplaines St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA

get directions

H
Desplaines Street Police Station:
157 N Desplaines St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA

get directions

I
Carding Center:
100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

J
Aon Center:
200 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

(A3) Bram Steffan Pavilion/Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Wether you're a music lover or someone that admires amazing engineering Jay Pritzker Pavilion is pretty outstanding. Unlike other outdoor concert venues J.P.P. has a trellis work, above the grass field, holding a series of speakers that replicate the acoustics of an indoor concert hall. I have never experienced a concert here, but the idea of it sounds amazing.

In Watch Dogs, like other areas around “The Loop”, looks somewhat kindred to the real-life location. Though there’s more of a hill because I guess play testers complained everything was too flat IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO? Come to think of it locations like this might have been the reason I started doing this project… Realizations are never good while writing…

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The Jay Prizker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Picture taken in November 2016. My possibly failed attempt at getting a picture of the  sound system trellis. Nothing’s more awkward than a footpath in the way of a stage am I right? Or for that matter a dome shape under the ground while walking across the concert field…
The Jay Prizker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Picture taken in November 2016.
The Jay Prizker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Picture taken in November 2016.
My possibly failed attempt at getting a picture of the  sound system trellis.
My possibly failed attempt at getting a picture of the sound system trellis.
Nothing’s more awkward than a footpath in the way of a stage am I right?
Nothing’s more awkward than a footpath in the way of a stage am I right?
Or for that matter a dome shape under the ground while walking across the concert field…
Or for that matter a dome shape under the ground while walking across the concert field…

(B3) Forever Sculpture/Cloud Gate

I would have gone ahead and called this "the bean" but I don't want Chicagoans to think I'm trying to fit in again. Cloud Gate is another interesting attraction at Millennium Park that is typically surrounded by tourist, but when you can get close chances are it's the "off season". Which means it's cold enough for an overcoat, but at least you can get close enough to enjoy it's reflections.

The in-game "Forever Sculpture" is less like a bean and more like a strange doughnut. I suppose for legal reasons it had to be done that way...

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Taken during my trip in July 2015. I took some pictures of the inside, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. It’s pretty cool, just don’t be high when you do. Just… What the hell… It’s like someone tried to make a pretzel, gave up, and left it on the counter.
Taken during my trip in July 2015. I took some pictures of the inside, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. It’s pretty cool, just don’t be high when you do.
Taken during my trip in July 2015. I took some pictures of the inside, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. It’s pretty cool, just don’t be high when you do.
Just… What the hell… It’s like someone tried to make a pretzel, gave up, and left it on the counter.
Just… What the hell… It’s like someone tried to make a pretzel, gave up, and left it on the counter.

(C3 and D3): Chicago Arts and Sciences Center/Chicago Cultural Center+Museum of Science and Industry

This is gonna be another hotspot that’s a stretch, as if 90% of this project isn’t one already, but this was another one I had to double check. Because of it’s location, and building design in-game, it’s mostly based on the Chicago Cultural Center. It’s a Ubisoft game, of course they’re going to reference a Cultural Center to offset the fact they made a whole region of the map a ghetto. I visited this location in November 2016, and like the ass I am, mistakenly thought it was the courthouse from The Untouchables (seriously though is it!?). I didn’t have much time left in my trip so I had to keep it brief.

In December of 2015 I visited the Museum of Science and Industry thinking that the “Chicago Arts and Sciences Center” was based on this. I mean if they’re not going to reference the Field Museum (which is definitely a MUST visit if you’re in town) then at least they could be paying some homage to the Museum of Science and Industry, even if by name only. I might be making an error with this one by even bringing it up, but I don’t think anyone’s going to see this anyway. Otherwise you’re probably reading this from the future determining if you should fire me from whatever movie I’m directing for your studio.

The building in Watch Dogs looks very much like the real-world Chicago Cultural Center, but there’s no German U-Boats, I’m just letting you know now.

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The Chicago Cultural Center, picture taken during my November 2016 trip. Ok this is actually the Museum of Science and Industry, but I tried to combine three pictures together and… Well now I know how the people that restored How The West Was Won feel….Yeah not completely alike, but the location’s sort of the same.
The Chicago Cultural Center, picture taken during my November 2016 trip.
The Chicago Cultural Center, picture taken during my November 2016 trip.
Ok this is actually the Museum of Science and Industry, but I tried to combine three pictures together and… Well now I know how the people that restored How The West Was Won feel….
Ok this is actually the Museum of Science and Industry, but I tried to combine three pictures together and… Well now I know how the people that restored How The West Was Won feel….
Yeah not completely alike, but the location’s sort of the same.
Yeah not completely alike, but the location’s sort of the same.

(E3) Randolph Street Subway Terminal/Millennium Station

Based on the name it’s Millennium Station which was formally called Randolph Street Terminal/Station. Rather than catering to the subway lines, it’s a station for the Red and Orange M.E.T.R.A. commuter train lines. It’s also a part of Chicago’s pedway system, an underground series of tunnels and stores that stretch around The Loop and Downtown. I unfortunately have not yet explored the pedway fully yet. In fact the only part of it I have seen is Millennium Station in July 2015. It’s not an easy attraction to get to which is probably why I don’t ever hear a lot of Chicagoans talk about it. Is it even still there?

In Watch Dogs the “station” is just a street corner. There is somewhat of a “station entrance” depicted as a stairway that, in real-life, would lead down to Lower Michigan Avenue. In the game it’s not even depicted as a subway station. These staircases, that are marked on the map with the tunnels, are used to escape helicopters I guess? I never paid much attention to the underground because I was too busy mashing the X button to hack Blockers, Street Lights, etc. to escape from enemies in ground vehicles. I suppose this is one of those aspects that would have been explained if there was a more extensive tutorial in the game.

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Millennium Terminal circa July 2015. Pretty much the only section of the pedway that I’ve explored. Well…. Does that bit of mall between the Red and Blue lines at Washington count? Weird that there’s a reference to a subway station without a SUBTERRANEAN train system in the game. Probably the only stairwell in the Wacker Drive/Michigan Avenue that Ubisoft got right. Similar to where Aiden meets Clara early in the main story. Except I don’t know what anyone would be waiting around here for. Apart from meeting a dealer anyway.
Millennium Terminal circa July 2015. Pretty much the only section of the pedway that I’ve explored. Well…. Does that bit of mall between the Red and Blue lines at Washington count?
Millennium Terminal circa July 2015. Pretty much the only section of the pedway that I’ve explored. Well…. Does that bit of mall between the Red and Blue lines at Washington count?
Weird that there’s a reference to a subway station without a SUBTERRANEAN train system in the game.
Weird that there’s a reference to a subway station without a SUBTERRANEAN train system in the game.
Probably the only stairwell in the Wacker Drive/Michigan Avenue that Ubisoft got right.
Probably the only stairwell in the Wacker Drive/Michigan Avenue that Ubisoft got right.
Similar to where Aiden meets Clara early in the main story. Except I don’t know what anyone would be waiting around here for. Apart from meeting a dealer anyway.
Similar to where Aiden meets Clara early in the main story. Except I don’t know what anyone would be waiting around here for. Apart from meeting a dealer anyway.

(F3) Lombardo Murder

The hit on Antonio Lombardo is considered to be one of the most brazen hits in mafia history. It occurred on September 7th 1928 on the corner of Madison and Dearborn streets. You can read the full story here at the Chicago Crime Scenes Project. Two gunmen shot Lombardo in the back of the head near the location pictured below. The building that Lombardo, business partner Joseph Ferrara, and Lombardo’s bodyguard exited from was raised in 1965 to make way for Chase Tower. One of the reasons Antonio Lombardo was assassinated was for the fact he was a supporter of Benito Mussolini. Which a lot of Italian Americans were not a fan of, though it was the 1920s. Instead of Twitter wars over political b.s. there were pro-fascism rallies and “unions”. Times haven’t changed everybody, the technology has just made it more convenient.

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The street corner where Antonio Lombardo was gunned down. The location depicted in Watch Dogs. Also a street corner?
The street corner where Antonio Lombardo was gunned down.
The street corner where Antonio Lombardo was gunned down.
The location depicted in Watch Dogs. Also a street corner?
The location depicted in Watch Dogs. Also a street corner?

(G3) The Haymarket Square Riot

Protests happen; and in the case of the Haymarket Affair it was for the chance at an eight-hour work day, so some protests aren’t completely useless. At least not the ones in the 19th Century it seems, but in every crowd there’s that one anarchist who’s a hardcore psycho. Someone without any patience for the power of an honest strike. In this case that man was identified, by several witnesses, as Rudolph Schnaubelt. Who turned a peaceful, though tension filled, protest into a full scale riot with the toss of a bomb at police. The explosion, and the unfortunate riot that followed, lead to the deaths of seven civilians and four police officers (not counting the injured parties).

I’m already pissing off enough people as it is with this project, so to prevent seeming insensitive to the events of the Haymarket Square Riot let’s just move on. I tried to find the memorial in honor of those who died but Google is either not very helpful or the memorial has been removed, I’m uncertain which. In March 2019 I came across the memorial for the eight men that stood accused of the bombing, but were of course innocent. Like I’ve said before; times haven’t changed, just the technology on which accusations and public opinion/outrage spread.

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According to the address I got from my Google research this was where the bomb was tossed, which started the Haymarket Square Riot. The Martyrs Monument placed where the seven defendants are buried in Forest Home Cemetery. Depicted as an outdoor, nondescript, location in the game. I suppose with the way Chicago buries its bad memories this isn’t too far off.
According to the address I got from my Google research this was where the bomb was tossed, which started the Haymarket Square Riot.
According to the address I got from my Google research this was where the bomb was tossed, which started the Haymarket Square Riot.
The Martyrs Monument placed where the seven defendants are buried in Forest Home Cemetery.
The Martyrs Monument placed where the seven defendants are buried in Forest Home Cemetery.
Depicted as an outdoor, nondescript, location in the game. I suppose with the way Chicago buries its bad memories this isn’t too far off.
Depicted as an outdoor, nondescript, location in the game. I suppose with the way Chicago buries its bad memories this isn’t too far off.

(H3) Desplaines Street Police Station

Now a parking lot, this was a police station directly involved with the above mentioned Haymarket Affair. However Watch Dogs makes reference to Patrick Eugene Pendergast, actually in the hotspot info panel the story is short and bitter sweet. To say this guy had issues is an understatement. After assassinating mayor Carter Harrison Sr. his lawyer's insanity plea didn't fly in court. Pendergast was hung the following year. Talk about a hung jury huh? I can hear the groans so let's queue the pics...

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I'm going to refrain from the "paved paradise" reference because you know... police station...In game it has that old-building-repurposed-into-office-space vibe going on.
I'm going to refrain from the "paved paradise" reference because you know... police station...
I'm going to refrain from the "paved paradise" reference because you know... police station...
In game it has that old-building-repurposed-into-office-space vibe going on.
In game it has that old-building-repurposed-into-office-space vibe going on.

Saint Jude Police League

Originating in Chicago, the Saint Jude Police League is a non profit organization that provides services to the families of fallen police officers. Kudos to Ubisoft for adding this as a reference to the game.

Some say Saint Jude is the patron saint of hope, while others say he's the patron saint of lost causes. I suppose it's a optimist/pessimist thing? I'm a protestant so I don't know personally.

Not to be confused with the Saint Jude Children’s Hospital; a different but equally important charity organization.

(I3) Carding Center/James R. Thompson Center

“The big dome building where the ending of Running Scared was filmed.” To which someone born after 1992 usually replies “man Paul Walker was so underrated in his time”, at which point you have to gently shake your head at why Hollywood can’t name completely different movies something else. At least it wasn’t a remake for once… Regardless it’s required viewing if you like buddy cop movies. It was technically the first, beating Lethal Weapon by almost two years; though Shane Black’s script was of a higher quality.

Movie knowledge stroking aside the building in-game is practically identical; but sadly you can’t go inside. I mean seriously a mission set inside would have been cool. Besides Ubisoft is so in to repelling animations it would have been a nice homage to the late great Gregory Hines. Not sure why they renamed it the “Carding Center”.

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Picture taken in December 2015. Unfortunately I was too late at the time to enter before it closed.  “You want your coke!? Come get your coke Julio!” Come on seriously it’s a good movie. Anyway got this picture during my November 2016 trip. There’s kind of a lack of sidewalk surrounding the building, and it’s a different color, but it’s sort of alike. Note: You can’t go inside. Maybe The Division 3? Hmm?
Picture taken in December 2015. Unfortunately I was too late at the time to enter before it closed.
Picture taken in December 2015. Unfortunately I was too late at the time to enter before it closed.
 “You want your coke!? Come get your coke Julio!” Come on seriously it’s a good movie. Anyway got this picture during my November 2016 trip.
“You want your coke!? Come get your coke Julio!” Come on seriously it’s a good movie. Anyway got this picture during my November 2016 trip.
There’s kind of a lack of sidewalk surrounding the building, and it’s a different color, but it’s sort of alike. Note: You can’t go inside. Maybe The Division 3? Hmm?
There’s kind of a lack of sidewalk surrounding the building, and it’s a different color, but it’s sort of alike. Note: You can’t go inside. Maybe The Division 3? Hmm?

(J3) Aon Center

A giant Lego looking structure that you can see clearly from Millennium Park, and a few other areas of the city. Probably one of the only real life locations (apart from the historic ones) where Ubisoft got permission to use it’s real name.

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What it looks like to take a picture from the bottom, captured during my May 2016 trip.Had to take this screenshot from as far away as the highway that substitutes Lake Shore Drive in-game.
What it looks like to take a picture from the bottom, captured during my May 2016 trip.
What it looks like to take a picture from the bottom, captured during my May 2016 trip.
Had to take this screenshot from as far away as the highway that substitutes Lake Shore Drive in-game.
Had to take this screenshot from as far away as the highway that substitutes Lake Shore Drive in-game.

"The Loop" Part 4

A
Tremont House Hotel (original is on Dearborn and Lake, but shhh):
Mike Ditka's Restaurant, 100 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

get directions

B
Ambrose Theater:
175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

C
Fort Dearborn Massacre:
333 N Michigan Ave Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

D
City Hall:
121 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

get directions

E
Ocean Tower:
225 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

F
Chicago East Disaster:
316 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA

get directions

G
35 East Wacker Drive:
35 E Wacker Pl # 260, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

H
Abraham Lincoln Statue (one of them at least...):
1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA

get directions

I
Cree Theater:
60 E Balbo Dr, Chicago, IL 60604, USA

get directions

(A4) Tremont House Hotel/The Tremont Chicago Hotel

Not to be confused with the current Tremont Chicago Hotel, which is would be placed in the “Mad Mile” region of the game. “Mad Mile” is based on the Magnificent Mile where the real life Tremont Hotel is located. Secondly the original Tremont was called the Tremont House; which went under a few reiterations due to a few Chicago fires that burned them to the ground. The original, i.e. first, Tremont House was built on the corner of Dearborn and Lake. I didn’t get a picture of this, but for what it’s worth it’s just a parking garage.

Now getting back to the hotel that’s actually still standing let me seriously recommend Ditka’s which is right next door. Yeah THAT Ditka, as in Mike Ditka, the former coach of the Chicago Bears. When I first went in there I was worried it was a “black tie joint” but no it just looks classy; everyone’s welcome. The burger and oyster shooters were awesome! It’s a raw oyster in a shot glass with cocktail and tobacco vinaigrette. If I was a rich man I would have ordered a whole tray of the bastards!

Right…. So in Watch Dogs the area looks sort of like the real world location… I mean of the original Tremont House on Dearborn and Lake, not the modern Tremont Hotel which I’ll post a picture of below.

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This is kind of like taking a picture of someone but then you see a hot chick or puppy in the corner. You can sort of see The Tremont on the left, but really Ditka’s is the real beauty here. OYSTER SHOOTERS. Consider that for a second.And here’s the obligatory this-doesn’t-really-match-up screenshot from Watch Dogs. Next up is…
This is kind of like taking a picture of someone but then you see a hot chick or puppy in the corner. You can sort of see The Tremont on the left, but really Ditka’s is the real beauty here. OYSTER SHOOTERS. Consider that for a second.
This is kind of like taking a picture of someone but then you see a hot chick or puppy in the corner. You can sort of see The Tremont on the left, but really Ditka’s is the real beauty here. OYSTER SHOOTERS. Consider that for a second.
And here’s the obligatory this-doesn’t-really-match-up screenshot from Watch Dogs. Next up is…
And here’s the obligatory this-doesn’t-really-match-up screenshot from Watch Dogs. Next up is…

(B4) Ambrose Theater/Chicago Theater

I think this might be what Frank Sinatra was singing about when he mentioned State Street in the song Chicago. And I’m certain he performed that very song at this theater; both before in 1950 and it’s grand reopening in 1986. Since the reopening it has been the venue for comedians, singers, orchestras, speeches, and even a mixed martial arts fight.

However in game it’s used as a venue for a techno(?) concert by one of the villains. Classy…

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The Chicago Theater, picture taken in December 2015. I had to touch the brightness up in this picture. In Watch Dogs State Street isn't depicted as a grand street. The theater looks like it has it's own block. There's still an L Station nearby and an alley on the right.
The Chicago Theater, picture taken in December 2015. I had to touch the brightness up in this picture.
The Chicago Theater, picture taken in December 2015. I had to touch the brightness up in this picture.
In Watch Dogs State Street isn't depicted as a grand street. The theater looks like it has it's own block. There's still an L Station nearby and an alley on the right.
In Watch Dogs State Street isn't depicted as a grand street. The theater looks like it has it's own block. There's still an L Station nearby and an alley on the right.

(C4) Fort Dearborn Massacre

One of those, almost ignored by tourists, unfortunate bits of Chicago history. In fact Chicago wasn’t even a settlement at the time of the massacre in 1812. The Fort Dearborn Massacre was an engagement by a large force of Potawatomi Indians against soldiers and civilians stationed there. The reason for which being America declaring war on England in 1812, and England pledging to help the Native Americans, against encroaching settlers, if they fought for the side of the crown. Dearborn Street is of course named after the fort, but Wells street is named in honor of Captain William Wells who led efforts to try and evacuate civilians from the area.

The only monument still standing, that isn’t being contested against by the Chicago American Indian Center, is a sculpture by Henry Hering named Defense. It is apart of the DuSable Bridge, on Michigan Avenue. In this general area is where Fort Dearborn once stood.

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Left side part of “Defense” facing South. The right side of “Defense” facing South. In game it’s an apartment building with a convenience store. I mean the hotspot marker is placed on the very wall with the 7/11 looking store. That’s…. not the same kind of Indian guys… I see what you did there though.
Left side part of “Defense” facing South.
Left side part of “Defense” facing South.
The right side of “Defense” facing South.
The right side of “Defense” facing South.
In game it’s an apartment building with a convenience store. I mean the hotspot marker is placed on the very wall with the 7/11 looking store. That’s…. not the same kind of Indian guys… I see what you did there though.
In game it’s an apartment building with a convenience store. I mean the hotspot marker is placed on the very wall with the 7/11 looking store. That’s…. not the same kind of Indian guys… I see what you did there though.

(D4) City Hall

Oh boy. You ever feel like you need to tread lightly when writing something, but you also have no respect for politics at the same time? I mean I don’t want to piss off any more Chicagoans than I already have with this project, so I won’t go in to deeply about corrupt aldermen and shady mayors. Then again that might be the only thing they might agree with me on; or at least give me a shoulder shrug and nod at. I’m a native of Baltimore (stay away Ubi you don’t want it) and I can sympathize when it comes to corruption in city politics; it’s hard for me to take them seriously. However you know the real tragedy about Chicago’s City Hall? Boss getting cancelled after two seasons. Which by the way had several scenes filmed inside the building. Oh… that’s probably why it got canceled. I guess the city didn’t want a negative depiction of their mayor… Has anyone ever watched the news by any chance?

The version of City Hall, which you can enter at all hours of the day, has an extra wide corridor in the lobby. And yes IN GAME you can drive a car through it as a short cut. I think the developers, being French, knew what they were trying to say with that, yet there's no story mission that requires it.

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Exterior of Chicago City Hall, taken in December 2015. Originally I took a picture of the interior, through the locked door. The main corridor, picture taken in November 2016. Also I'm happy for the Cubs winning the world series that year, but I'm more of a White Sox fan.The extra large you-could-totally-drive-a-car-through-here-while-escaping-pursuers corridor of the in-game City Hall. Just to cover my ass legally I’m not advising you try that. The reinforced frame work won't allow it anyway.
Exterior of Chicago City Hall, taken in December 2015. Originally I took a picture of the interior, through the locked door.
Exterior of Chicago City Hall, taken in December 2015. Originally I took a picture of the interior, through the locked door.
The main corridor, picture taken in November 2016. Also I'm happy for the Cubs winning the world series that year, but I'm more of a White Sox fan.
The main corridor, picture taken in November 2016. Also I'm happy for the Cubs winning the world series that year, but I'm more of a White Sox fan.
The extra large you-could-totally-drive-a-car-through-here-while-escaping-pursuers corridor of the in-game City Hall. Just to cover my ass legally I’m not advising you try that. The reinforced frame work won't allow it anyway.
The extra large you-could-totally-drive-a-car-through-here-while-escaping-pursuers corridor of the in-game City Hall. Just to cover my ass legally I’m not advising you try that. The reinforced frame work won't allow it anyway.

(E4) Ocean Tower/Aqua Skyscraper

Ok so rather than research it, I’m just going to make an assumption on the back story, and I’ll let you determine if I’m right or not. Ok so an architect, Jeanne Gang, was hired to design a skyscraper. She looked around at the city skyline and thought “let’s build something that’s not shaped like a box on the outside”. How did I do? Seriously though Aqua is a pretty cool looking building, something Ubisoft stuck to. The only difference being the color of the building and, of course, the surroundings at the bottom.

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Aqua Tower from across the street from Aon Tower. I know not a great angle but at least you kind of see the waves in the building's design Picture taken in November 2016.. Aqua Tower from the top of John Hancock Building. Taken in July 2015.Even in Watch Dogs the design of "Ocean Tower" is similar.
Aqua Tower from across the street from Aon Tower. I know not a great angle but at least you kind of see the waves in the building's design Picture taken in November 2016..
Aqua Tower from across the street from Aon Tower. I know not a great angle but at least you kind of see the waves in the building's design Picture taken in November 2016..
Aqua Tower from the top of John Hancock Building. Taken in July 2015.
Aqua Tower from the top of John Hancock Building. Taken in July 2015.
Even in Watch Dogs the design of "Ocean Tower" is similar.
Even in Watch Dogs the design of "Ocean Tower" is similar.

(F4) Chicago East Disaster/Chicago Eastland Disaster

If you think I’m not putting enough effort into researching some of the hotspots presented in Watch Dogs; take into consideration that some of them (like this one) might be too depressing to describe. On July 24th 1915 the SS Eastland tipped over, at port, and drowned over 844 people. The bodies were taken to the 2nd Regiment Armory (more on that in the “Mad Mile” article) so they could be identified by surviving family members. Based on my research the site of the tragedy took place just off Clark Street Bridge. On the South end of the Chicago River.

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The site of the Chicago Eastland Disaster. Picture taken in December 2015.Since Watch Dog’s version of Chicago is condensed, this dock is where Clark Street should be. Strangely, the way it’s designed in the mini-map, it looks like they may have planned to put a street bridge here sometime during development.
The site of the Chicago Eastland Disaster. Picture taken in December 2015.
The site of the Chicago Eastland Disaster. Picture taken in December 2015.
Since Watch Dog’s version of Chicago is condensed, this dock is where Clark Street should be. Strangely, the way it’s designed in the mini-map, it looks like they may have planned to put a street bridge here sometime during development.
Since Watch Dog’s version of Chicago is condensed, this dock is where Clark Street should be. Strangely, the way it’s designed in the mini-map, it looks like they may have planned to put a street bridge here sometime during development.

(G4) 35 East Wacker Drive

Yes there is a street in Chicago named Wacker. Ok, get your giggles out of the way. No never mind keep going, I’m still snickering while writing this. 35 East Wacker Drive is known as The Jeweler’s Building, though it’s long since been converted to an office building for various other businesses. There's of course a rumor that Al Capone use to have a speakeasy on the 40th floor, called the "Stratosphere Club". The reason that story isn't true is because the Stratosphere Club didn't open until 1937, at a point when Capone was in Alcatraz Prison and alcohol was legal again. Before that the upper dome was mainly used as a storage area. Another notable feature of this building is that it was one of the first to have a car elevator, so that jewelers could drive in-and-out of their office without removing their precious cargo on the street.

In game the hotspot info card mentions diamonds being inlaid within the walls. Which might be an actual local rumor (my research can't turn anything up on it). I wouldn't be surprised, there have been cases of old jewelries losing a couple diamonds during reconstruction.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Jeweler's Building, from across the Chicago River. Watch Dog's version of the Jeweler's Building. Has a somewhat similar shape.
The Jeweler's Building, from across the Chicago River.
The Jeweler's Building, from across the Chicago River.
Watch Dog's version of the Jeweler's Building. Has a somewhat similar shape.
Watch Dog's version of the Jeweler's Building. Has a somewhat similar shape.

(H4) Abraham Lincoln Statue

So according to my research (i.e. Googling "Abraham Lincoln Statue in Chicago" back in 2015) I came across the "Standing Lincoln" sculpture at 2350 West Lawrence Avenue. Problem here is that this statue is nowhere near The Loop. If anything this hotspot is based on the "Seated Lincoln" sculpture that's in Grant Park, or at least it references it in design. No I did not get a picture of this, because in November 2016 I figured this hotspot was based on the Lincoln Monument that is in in LINCOLN PARK. Darn I guess the collection just isn't complete unless I get a picture of "Seated Lincoln".

In Watch Dogs the statue is depicted as being along the river walk of the Chicago River. With all of the Lincoln statues in Chicago already, give some artist time, they'll probably have one there too....

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Beardless Lincoln" at 2350 West Lawrence Avenue. In the neighborhood named after the president. Picture taken in December 2015."Standing Lincoln" in the entrance to Lincoln Park. Picture taken in November 2016. Watch Dog's version of "Seated Lincoln".
"Beardless Lincoln" at 2350 West Lawrence Avenue. In the neighborhood named after the president. Picture taken in December 2015.
"Beardless Lincoln" at 2350 West Lawrence Avenue. In the neighborhood named after the president. Picture taken in December 2015.
"Standing Lincoln" in the entrance to Lincoln Park. Picture taken in November 2016.
"Standing Lincoln" in the entrance to Lincoln Park. Picture taken in November 2016.
Watch Dog's version of "Seated Lincoln".
Watch Dog's version of "Seated Lincoln".

(I4) Cree Theater/Merle Reskin Theater

So based on the limited breadcrumbs the hotspot info card gives I determined that this must be based on DePaul University's Merle Reskin/Blackstone Theater. I figured it COULD also be the Mercury Theater, but that one wasn't known for being double decker back in the day. I'm not a big theater nut, but I'm assuming a double decker theater was considered the bees knees back then. See? I can at least talk with the vernacular, I'm just not an architect.

In game the location looks like something I've seen before, but at the moment can't quite place my finger on. It's less of a theater and more of another apartment/office/post recession-no-one-can-afford-this real estate property.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Merle Reskin/Blackstone Theater. Picture taken in May 2016. The... Theater? In game. Looks like an apartment complex. Though this street corner seems oddly familiar. Not the Merle Reskin Theater, but does remind me of something else.
The Merle Reskin/Blackstone Theater. Picture taken in May 2016.
The Merle Reskin/Blackstone Theater. Picture taken in May 2016.
The... Theater? In game. Looks like an apartment complex. Though this street corner seems oddly familiar. Not the Merle Reskin Theater, but does remind me of something else.
The... Theater? In game. Looks like an apartment complex. Though this street corner seems oddly familiar. Not the Merle Reskin Theater, but does remind me of something else.

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    © 2019 Eric Seidel

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