Destinations Home Alone And Other Christmas Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit

Home Alone And Other Christmas Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit

From 'Home Alone' to 'Elf', visit the shooting locations of these iconic Christmas movies for a holiday season unlike any other.


By Yashita Vashishth Published on Dec 11, 2023, 10:00 AM

<i>Home Alone</i> And Other Christmas Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit
Image Credit: Roberto Valz/Shutterstock

Among the most treasured Yuletide traditions include bundling up on the couch, sipping hot cocoa, and enjoying a Christmas movie marathon. But what if we told you the house in A Christmas Story (1983) and the quaint village where Iris resides in The Holiday (2006) exist in real life? Sprinkle some pixie dust on your annual Christmas celebrations, and steamroll the joy for this year’s season by visiting these real-life sets.

Jingle All The Way: Rounding up our favourite Christmas movies and their shooting locations

Cleveland, Ohio (A Christmas Story, 1983)

Step into the iconic world of A Christmas Story (1983) by visiting Ralphie Parker’s actual home in Cleveland, Ohio — original props and sets included! Purchased by mega-fan Brian Jones for a whopping USD 150,000 (HKD 11,72,227), the house became a public attraction in 2006. The subsequent renovations involved redoing the interiors to replicate the movie’s charm. The house is open all year round for people to visit and guests can even check into this Christmassy abode for a night. The owner also opened a museum with the film’s costumes and memorabilia just opposite the house. Learn more about the house here.

christmas movies
Image Credit: Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re spending Christmas in Cleveland, be sure to see the dazzling winter lights at Cleveland Metropark’s Zoo, explore FROST at Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and witness a Christmas Theatre Production at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.

Book your stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland via Booking.com

Book your stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland via Agoda.com

Michigan (The Polar Express, 2004)

Hop onboard the whimsical train that inspired the animated Christmas movie The Polar Express (2004). The magical odyssey onboard the steam train commences in Michigan and traverses a four-hour round-trip to the Village of Ashley Country Christmas. The village promises to teleport you to the vintage charm of the 1940s and 1950s, replete with Santa’s workshops, the Pere Marquette 1225 steam locomotive, and fun-filled merry-go-rounds.

Book your stay at JW Marriott Grand Rapids via Booking.com

Book your stay at JW Marriott Grand Rapids via Agoda.com

New York (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992; and Elf, 2003)

Live it up like Kevin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) at The Plaza Hotel, New York’s famous destination for the season’s choicest indulgences. Delight at the massive Christmas trees, and regal lobbies and enjoy the luxurious room service. Donald Trump also made a cameo in the film at The Plaza Hotel’s lobby. Additionally, the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree features in the film when Kevin reunites with his mother.

Moving on to Elf (2003), recall Buddy’s father’s publishing office at the Greenway Press? The iconic landmark featured is New York’s Empire State Building, 20 West 34th Street at 5th Avenue. Explore the Observation Deck and admire the surreal art and deco lobby.

When in New York, immerse yourself in the holiday spirit by checking out the twinkling Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, exploring the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, and securing tickets to The Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes.

Book your stay at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown via Booking.com

Book your stay at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown via Agoda.com

South Queensferry, Scotland (A Castle for Christmas, 2021; and The Princess Switch, 2018)

Discover the magic of A Castle for Christmas (2021), starring Brooke Shields, where the enchanting Dalmeny House in South Queensferry, just shy of Edinburgh, becomes a pivotal location. The gorgeous castle featured prominently in the movie is open for visitors!

Just 9 km from here is the Hopetoun House, aka The Montenaro Royal Palace, which features in The Princess Switch (2018).

Spending Christmas in South Queensferry? On December 15, catch the Santa and Sleigh organised by the South Queensferry Rotary Club visiting Dalmeny. You can also visit Edinburgh, just 16.4 km from South Queensferry, to witness surreal winter markets like the West Princes Street Gardens, Family Funfair, George Street West & Castle Street, and St. Andrew Square Winter Garden, among others.

Book your stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh - Queensferry Crossing via Booking.com

Book your stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh - Queensferry Crossing via Agoda.com

San Marino, California, and Shere, Surrey (The Holiday, 2006)

Remember Amanda’s (Cameron Diaz) luxurious home from The Holiday (2006)? It is a lush Tuscan-style mansion in San Marino, California, located precisely at 1883 Orlando Road, San Marino. Please note that the house is private, so you can’t go inside or take pictures without permission. Meanwhile, Iris (Kate Winslet) stays in the village of Shere, Surrey, England. Visit The White Horse Pub featured in the film, and explore must-see attractions like the Silent Pool Distillery, Albury Organic Vineyard, and the Shere Museum. The ethereal village is also featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Wedding Date, and Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). Unfortunately, Iris’ cottage was built for the movie. The production team took inspiration from the real-life Honeysuckle Cottage, near Dorking in Holmsbury St Mary!

Book your stay at Pennyhill Park via Booking.com

Book your stay at Pennyhill Park via Agoda.com

Selfridges Department Store, London (Love Actually, 2003)

No points for guessing, the Selfridges Department Store in London makes our list draped in the holiday spirit of Love Actually (2003). With several humorous encounters shot around the city, one memorable scene features Alan Rickman attempting a quick purchase while Rowan Atkinson leisurely decorates the gift with cinnamon sticks and Christmas candies. Rickman’s comedic frustration adds a hilarious touch to the film.

Visit the Selfridges Store to dunk yourself in the holiday spirit. Additionally, make the most of Christmas in London by ice-skating at the Somerset House, exploring cosy Christmas pop-ups, enjoying carols at St. Pauls, and checking out the Winter Light exhibit at the South Bank Centre.

Book your stay at Rosewood London via Booking.com

Book your stay at Rosewood London via Agoda.com

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Los Angeles, California (Bad Santa, 2003)

Among the most offbeat Christmas films, Bad Santa (2003), aces the dark-comedy-crime-genre. The protagonist, Willie (played by Billy Bob Thornton), is a fraudster dressed as Santa and prepares to burgle a mall. Thurman and his grandma’s home, which later becomes Willie’s abode, is located at 7211 Whitehall Lane, West Hills, in Los Angeles. You can also grab a beer at the Florida Beach Bar, which makes an appearance by the same name in Bad Santa (2003). Willie hits up this bar in the film, and you can too, at 54th Place, Long Beach.

Haul up the fun by visiting Florida’s Magic Kingdom Park, Universal Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove, and a sea of buzzing beaches.

Book your stay at The Beverly Hills Hotel via Booking.com

Book your stay at The Beverly Hills Hotel via Agoda.com

Illinois (Prancer, 1989)

Possibly one of the sweetest Christmas movies, Prancer (1989) revolves around 8-year-old Jessica (played by Rebecca Harrell), who believes she has discovered one of Santa’s reindeer. The shots along the striking stone formations were reeled at Starved Rock Estate Park, Illinois. Some sequences in the film were also shot at The Inn, located at the Old Republic in New Carlisle, as well as in the town of Michigan.

If you’re spending the holiday season in Illinois, we recommend visiting the German-style Christkindlmarket, hitching a ride on the CTA Holiday Train and Bus, and ice-skating at Maggie Daley Park.

Book your stay at Waldorf Astoria Chicago via Booking.com

Book your stay at Waldorf Astoria Chicago via Agoda.com

Los Angeles (Die Hard, 1988)

Experience Christmas with a twist in the action-packed Die Hard (1988), featuring Bruce Willis taking on terrorists in Los Angeles’ Nakatomi Tower. The iconic Fox Tower in Los Angeles, now known as 2121 Avenue of the Stars, served as the real filming location. Explore both the interiors as well as the exteriors of the tower, and for a special treat, commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary with an exclusive tour of the shooting sites and an outdoor screening in front of the Fox Tower.

Make the most of Los Angeles by visiting the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the Venice Canals.

Book your stay at Shutters On The Beach via Booking.com

Book your stay at Shutters On The Beach via Agoda.com

(Feature Image Credit: Roberto Valz/Shutterstock)

Currency conversion was done at the time of writing. 

Related: The Best Christmas Hotels To Stay At And Revel In Classic Winter Wonderland Vibes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Where was Elf filmed?
The Christmas movie Elf (2003) was filmed in New York, Vancouver, and Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

– Are there any Christmas movie locations that are popular year-round tourist attractions?
Yes, you can visit the village of Shere where The Holiday (2006) was shot, and Rockefeller Centre in New York where Elf (2003) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) were shot. Additionally, you can also head to South Queensferry in Scotland where A Castle for Christmas (2021) and The Princess Switch (2018) were shot at the Dalmeny House and The Montenaro Royal Palace, respectively.

– Can I visit the locations where popular Christmas movies were filmed?
Yes, you can visit the locations of popular Christmas movies. Some options include The Montenaro Royal Palace (The Princess Switch, 2018), 2121 Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles (Die Hard, 1988), Florida Beach Bar (Bad Santa, 2003), and Michigan (The Polar Express, 2004), among others.

Written By

Yashita Vashishth

Yashita Vashishth

Writer by day, reader by night, Yashita has a flair for all things travel, wellness and food. She has previously worked at Condé Nast India and Times Internet. When not working, you can catch her binge-reading the latest thriller on the block, re-watching Friends, trying a new recipe or hosting her friends.

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