When it comes to re-living the spirit of Christmas that we were so excited by in our childhoods, nothing can do that better than our favorite Christmas movies as kids. Empathizing with the scary Grinch, learning about the beauty of the spirit of this festival from It’s A Wonderful Life, and having our hearts stolen by Elf all had such a profound impact on us growing up.
As the holiday season unfolds, the magic of Christmas lights up not just our homes but also the silver screen. Step into the enchanting worlds of timeless Christmas classics and discover the real-life locations that bring these heartwarming tales to life. From the whimsical landscapes of Whoville to the bustling streets of New York City, explore the most magical places inspired by the best Christmas movies of all time. You can book accommodation at all of these destinations and more at CuddlyNest.com!
Aakanksha, an avid traveler and lover of all things Christmas suggests, “There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching the snow fall in Central Park and being reminded of Home Alone 2, strolling through a recreation of Who-ville at the Universal Studios in Orlando, and experience A Charlie Brown Christmas live on stage. There’s no better way of reminiscing your favorite childhood Christmas movies than to be completely immersed in their worlds!”
A Glimpse Of This Blog:
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas at Universal Studios:
- Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood transform into lively Who-ville.
- Grinchmas events, character breakfasts, and festive activities.
- Winter Wonderland from November 17th to January 1st, 2023.
- A Christmas Story in Cleveland:
- Tour iconic locations like the Parker family home and Christmas Story House Museum.
- Visit Higbee’s and other filming spots in Cleveland and Ontario, Canada.
- Miracle On 34th Street in New York:
- Explore Mr. Kringle’s route from East 61st Street to Central Park.
- Witness Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on West 77th Street.
- It’s A Wonderful Life in Seneca Falls:
- Discover Seneca Falls, claiming to be the real Bedford Falls.
- Visit the It’s A Wonderful Life Museum and attend the annual mid-December festival.
- Home Alone 2: Lost In New York – Central Park Adventures:
- Explore Central Park’s Wollman Rink and Bethesda Terrace.
- Indulge in The Plaza Hotel’s Home Alone 2 package, reliving Kevin’s adventures.
- Elf – Rockefeller Center Magic:
- Marvel at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
- Experience ice skating at Wollman Rink, as seen in Elf.
- Polar Express – The North Pole:
- Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona, transforms into the Polar Express.
- Enjoy a festive journey with hot chocolate, caroling, and a visit from Santa Claus.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Griswold Family Fun:
- Explore Winnetka, Illinois, and visit the Griswold family home.
- Witness the iconic house adorned with festive decorations.
- Christmas Movie-Related Event To Attend:
- Check the respective tour dates and schedules across the USA and the UK for live performances of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage, and The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert.
The Best Christmas Movie Locations To Visit
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Whoville at Universal Studios: A Festive Extravaganza
Yes, Who-ville does really exist at Universal Studios! The parks in both Orlando and Universal City, California, transform into a lively version of Who-ville every single year. Universal Orlando Resort hosts The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast, The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, and delightful photo opportunities.
Meanwhile, Universal Hollywood Studios offers festive activities like cookie and ornament decorating, along with the Studio Tour Backlot Grinchmas Who-bilation of Who-Ville. Here, the Whos from the movie set come to life, singing and dancing in celebration of the season.
When Grinchmas 2023-2024 will unfold at Universal Studios Orlando, the theme park will undergo a magnificent transformation into a winter wonderland. Running from November 17th to January 1st, 2023, this annual celebration turns Seuss Landing into the whimsical setting of Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.
You can experience everything that the magic of Grinchmas has to offer, where the notorious Mr. Grinch himself takes center stage, creating a first-hand deep dive into one of the most beloved Christmas movies.
Sit down and dine at a character breakfast with The Grinch, witness the magical tree lighting, and enjoy live entertainment. Stroll through the gorgeously decorated Seuss Landing to experience the spirit of Grinchmas. We would recommend that you plan your visit to Universal Studios around the time that these experiences are available because this isn’t something that you would want to miss out on.
A Christmas Story
The Nostalgic Charms of Cleveland: Reliving Ralphie’s Tale
A journey to Cleveland, Ohio, unveils the real-world locations from the iconic film “A Christmas Story.” The Parker family home, located at 3159 West 11th Street in Tremont, has been meticulously restored to its film appearance and is open for tours. Just across the street, you’ll find the Christmas Story House Museum, where fans can immerse themselves in the movie’s memorabilia.
Higbee’s, the department store where Ralphie first lays eyes on the legendary Red Ryder BB Gun, was once a real store on Public Square in Cleveland. Although it closed its doors in 2002, the first three floors of the building now house offices, while the tenth-floor Silver Grille Restaurant hosts special events. Ralphie’s school exteriors, where Flick famously gets his tongue stuck to a pole, were filmed at Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, which has since been repurposed as a shelter.
Additional Filming Locations:
- Warren G Harding School: You can visit the former Victoria School in St. Catharine’s, where Flick’s tongue meets a cold fate.
- Cherry Street Bridge: Take a stroll along the southern end of the Cherry Street Bridge in the Port Lands district, where Ralphie utters the infamous “fudge” word.
Miracle On 34th Street
Navigating the Heart of New York: A Miracle Unfolds
“Miracle on 34th Street” opens with Mr. Kringle strolling along New York’s East 61st Street, eventually reaching Central Park. The scenes unfold around East 61st Street and Madison Avenue, capturing the essence of New York’s Upper East Side. Witness Mr. Kringle’s encounter with the inebriated fake Santa during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which took place on West 77th Street, outside the American Museum of Natural History.
The iconic Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street in New York, the film’s namesake, remains a beacon of holiday spirit. The real Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, depicted in the movie, has been captivating audiences for decades, marking the official start of the Christmas season.
- East 61st Street to Central Park: Walk in Mr. Kringle’s footsteps along the East 61st Street and Central Park route.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Experience the magic of the real Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a cherished holiday tradition.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Seneca Falls: The Real Bedford Falls
While “It’s A Wonderful Life” was primarily filmed in a Los Angeles studio, the small town of Seneca Falls in upstate New York claims to be the real Bedford Falls. The film’s director, Frank Capra, had family connections to the area, and Seneca Falls bears a striking resemblance to the fictional town in the movie. The town hosts an annual festival in mid-December, offering visitors a chance to experience the magic of Bedford Falls during the holiday season.
Seneca Falls Highlights:
- Seneca Falls, It’s A Wonderful Life Museum: Be immersed first-hand into the movie at the museum housed in the town’s first movie theater for a journey into the film’s history.
- Annual Festival: Attend the mid-December festival to witness Seneca Falls transform into the real-life Bedford Falls.
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
Central Park Adventures: Kevin’s New York Escapade
In “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” Kevin McCallister finds himself navigating the vibrant streets of the city. Central Park becomes a focal point, featuring recognizable locations like Wollman Rink and Bethesda Terrace. The Plaza Hotel, a New York City landmark, serves as a backdrop for Kevin’s mischief, offering a Home Alone 2 package that includes a limousine ride visiting filming locations around NYC.
Central Park Exploration:
- Wollman Rink and Bethesda Terrace: Skate at Wollman Rink and explore the picturesque Bethesda Terrace within Central Park.
- The Plaza Hotel: Indulge in The Plaza’s Home Alone 2 package, reliving Kevin’s adventures.
Rockefeller Center Magic: Buddy’s NYC Excursion
Elf, a modern Christmas classic, showcases the iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. This symbol of holiday cheer draws millions of visitors each year. Jovie takes Buddy to see the tree on their first date, and they ice skate at the rink below. Experience the essence of Elf first-hand by exploring these festive New York City locations.
Rockefeller Center Delights:
- Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: Marvel at the majestic Christmas tree, a symbol of holiday enchantment.
- Wollman Rink: Experience the joy of ice skating, just like Buddy and Jovie, at Wollman Rink.
Polar Express: The North Pole
All Aboard the Polar Express: A Journey to the North Pole
While the Polar Express itself is a magical train ride to the North Pole, the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona, offers a real-life version of the enchanting experience. The train transforms into the Polar Express during the holiday season, complete with hot chocolate, caroling, and a visit from Santa Claus.
Grand Canyon Railway Festivities:
- Polar Express Train Ride: Ride the enchanting Polar Express train aboard the Grand Canyon Railway.
- A Visit from Santa Claus: Enjoy the moment when Santa makes a special appearance on the train.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Griswold Family Fun: Exploring the Iconic House
The Griswold family home, featured in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” is a real residence located in Winnetka, Illinois. While the interior scenes were filmed on a set, the exterior shots took place at this charming suburban home. Fans of the movie can visit the neighborhood and witness the iconic house adorned with festive decorations, reminiscent of the hilarious holiday film.
Griswold House Highlights:
- Winnetka, Illinois: Walk around the neighborhood and discover the Griswold family home in all its holiday glory.
Christmas Movie-Related Events To Attend
1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
You can check out the tour dates for the Rudolph Musical here, and they’re touring all across the USA. See all your favorite characters like Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus, and of course, Rudolph, during this exciting 90-minute musical.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage
Charlie Brown is everyone’s favorite childhood Christmas movie that comes to mind, and to witness it live on stage is a whole other experience, and is a must-do. Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang as they sing and dance on stage. Check for tickets and the show schedule across the USA here.
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert – UK Tour
Enjoy the classic Charles Dickens tale live in concert across several locations in the UK. Check here to book tickets and explore the schedule of this live show.
Are there any real Christmas towns like in Hallmark movies?
There are a few towns that give off the vibes of Christmas Hallmark movies, and some of them are:
- Dahlonega, Georgia
- Kennebunkport, Maine
- Park City, Utah
- Lebanon, Ohio
Where does Hallmark film most of its Christmas movies?
Hallmark films most of its Christmas movies in Victoria, British Columbia.
What is the #1 Christmas movie of all time?
It’s A Wonderful Life is inarguably the most famous Christmas movie of all time.
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