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‘Tis the Season…To Visit Your Favorite Holiday Movie Locations

Image of the 'Christmas Story House' via Flickr CC - Erik Drost
Image of the 'Christmas Story House' via Flickr CC - Erik Drost

One of our favorite things to do around the holidays is to curl up with a hot beverage and watch our top holiday movies. You too, huh? From A Christmas Story to It’s a Wonderful Life, there are so many wintry flicks that’ll never get old (no matter how many times we watch it). For those of you who want to take your obsession off-screen by actually visiting the destinations where your favorite holiday films took place, we’ve got just the list for you. That’s right — a lot of these films were located in *actual* places scattered around the US, not just some sound stage in Los Angeles.

Here are five holiday classics and their filming locations to get you started:

The House from A Christmas Story (Cleveland, Ohio)


Travel back in time to the early 1940s (via 1983 Hollywood) as you visit the Parker’s house from A Christmas Story (yes, the iconic leg lamp is in the window). The house, which stands in Cleveland‘s Tremont neighborhood, is open for self-guided or guided (by the actor who played Randy) tours year round. When you finish, head across the street to the A Christmas Story Museum to see original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film, as well as a collection behind-the-scenes photos. Don’t forget to swing by the gift shop (where you can even snag your own leg lamp!).

Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life (Seneca Falls, New York)


Every year, New York‘s Seneca Falls (aka The Real Bedford Falls – the inspiration for the classic film’s location) hosts a 2-day It’s a Wonderful Life festival. Most events take place at the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum (which is open year round). Highlights include autograph signings by cast members, a radio show performed by a local theater company, roasted chestnuts, a local craft show, and raffles. The movie was actually shot on a sound stage in Hollywood, but many people believe that Seneca Falls was the inspiration for the layout and vibe of Bedford Falls. If you want to visit an actual shoot location from It’s a Wonderful Life, the Martini house (one of the two remaining landmarks from the film) is located at 4587 Viro Road in La Canada Flintridge, California.

The Mall from Jingle All The Way (Bloomington, Minnesota)


Many of the scenes from this 1996 film were shot at the U.S.’s biggest mall, the Mall of America. Located just outside of Minneapolis, this retail behemoth boasts an indoor amusement park, countless restaurants, and pretty much any chain store you could want. It’s close to the MSP airport, too, which makes it a great first stop after you touch down – lots of hotels nearby, too.

The Biggest Christmas Tree from Elf  (Manhattan, New York)


In the 2003 hit Elf, Buddy tries to find the biggest Christmas tree. He eventually ends up at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in front of NYC’s iconic (and massive) spruce. You, too, can be as awed as Buddy was while gazing up at the 60-100ft glowing tree. A truly magical sight, especially when it’s lit up a night, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a great spot to take an impressive holiday photo.

The Griswold House from Christmas Vacation (Burbank, California)


Although we can’t guarantee it will be as lit up as when Clark was in charge of the Christmas decorations, you can still visit the Griswold’s house during a tour of Blondie Street at the Warner Bros. Ranch (formally known as the Columbia Ranch) in Burbank, California. Other notable houses on this street are the Bewitched house, the Lethal Weapon house, and The Partridge Family house.

Let us know which holiday filming locations you’re most eager to visit this season in the comments below!

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About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing (www.luciditewriting.com) and Bouchard Design Co. (www.boucharddesign.co).

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