Everyone has their favourite Christmas movie, whether that’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Die Hard.” But did you know that you can visit some of these destinations in real life?
The house from “A Christmas Story” has been converted into a museum honouring the movie, and the Plaza Hotel from “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is a luxury hotel you can stay in, if you have a few thousand dollars to spare.
Keep scrolling to see what locations from your favourite Christmas movies look like in real life.
Kevin McCallister spends most of “Home Alone” inside his home, while the rest of his family is stranded in Paris.
Kevin McCallister is a 10-year-old who accidentally gets left behind while the rest of his family heads to Europe for the holidays.
The McCallister home, which Kevin helpfully booby traps to keep robbers out, is one of the most famous movie homes of all time.
The house is real, and it’s located in Winnetka, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It sold in 2012 for $US1.585 million.
Of course, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom home has been updated since the 1990 film was released. You can see more photos of how the interior of the home now compares to the movie here.
Its sequel, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” is just as iconic. In it, Kevin wanders around New York City and comes across many local landmarks, like the Plaza Hotel — and future president of the United States, Donald Trump.
However improbable this repeat scenario, Kevin is again separated from his family when they board a flight to Miami, Florida, and he mistakenly hops on a plane to NYC. Hijinks ensue, and Kevin again has to booby trap a luxurious townhouse against the same robbers.
But before Kevin is re-located to the townhouse, he spends a lot of time exploring New York City, and even checks into the famed Plaza Hotel with one of his parent’s credit cards. While roaming the halls, he encounters Trump, who owned the hotel at the time and was considered one of the most recognisable New York City residents.
The Plaza Hotel is just as luxurious in real life, and still iconic. It’s been the focal point of many movies, including “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Bride Wars.”
The Plaza Hotel opened in October 1907, and has been a landmark ever since, having hosted the US elite, from the Vanderbilt and Kennedy families to American artists and socialites F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, not to mention politicians and celebrities.
Suites can cost up to $US50,000 depending on season and availability. Take a tour of its hallowed halls here.
“Miracle on 34th Street” was remade in 1994, but the 1947 version is a classic. The film begins at New York City’s famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“Miracle on 34th Street” will always be remembered as the film in which a court of law legally recognises the existence of Santa Claus.
One of the film’s first and most memorable scenes is one featuring Kris Kringle, a bystander, getting upset about the fact that the Santa in the Thanksgiving Day Parade is visibly intoxicated.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday staple, and the world’s largest parade.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will march through New York City for the 92nd time this November. Aside from a brief hiatus during World War II when helium and rubber were in short supply, it has been a hallmark of the holiday season since the first parade on Christmas in 1924.
Over 3.5 million people watch the parade from the streets of New York, and another 20 million watch the spectacle unfold on TV.
The iconic house with a leg lamp in the window from “A Christmas Story” is one of the most recognisable homes in movie history.
“A Christmas Story” is still a holiday staple 35 years after its release. It’s narrated by Ralphie Parker, who recalls a series of Christmas stories from his youth, from the year he got his favourite present of all time, an air rifle, to the time he licked a flagpole and got his tongue stuck on the ice.
The home that was used for exterior shots is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been remodeled to look exactly the way it did in the film. It’s now a museum that’s open to the public year-round.
In the years after “A Christmas Story,” the home was remodeled by its owners. But in 2004, Brian Jones bought the home for $US150,000 on eBay, sight unseen, and decided to revert it back to its former glory. In a beautiful bit of symmetry, Jones made the down payment with money he made selling recreations of the film’s famous leg lamp.
Now, the house – which was restored to look exactly like it did in the film, inside and out – is part of a three-building museum that offers tours and overnight stays, and features original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” takes place in Bedford Falls, New York, a small town that George Bailey feels trapped in.
Even though Frank Capra, the film’s director, didn’t originally believe “It’s a Wonderful Life” was explicitly a Christmas story, the rest of us sure do. This 1946 classic feels like it’s on a constant loop on one channel or another during the holiday season.
The movie, in which a man named George Bailey believes that the world would be better off without him until an angel named Clarence convinces him otherwise, takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. But that hasn’t stopped a real town in upstate New York from claiming it was the inspiration…
The town of Seneca Falls in New York swears that it inspired Bedford Falls — it even has an It’s a Wonderful Life Festival every year.
Despite Bedford Falls being a fictional place (the movie was filmed on a set in California), the resemblance to Seneca Falls is uncanny. One of the movie’s actors, Karolyn Grimes, who played the youngest of the Bailey children, even said “When I came around the corner and saw [Seneca Falls’] main street, I gasped and said, ‘This is Bedford Falls.'”
The annual festival features multiple screenings of the film, actors from the film giving talks and signing autographs, shops selling food and merchandise, and other live shows.Here’s the full schedule of events.
“Love Actually” takes place all over the world, but the film opens to a church wedding complete with a surprise musical sequence.
“Love Actually” kicked off a trend in movies in which large ensemble casts have multiple intersecting stories. The characters in “Love Actually” are all tangentially related – and many of them come together in the very first scene, at the wedding of Juliet and Peter.
That church is Grosvenor Chapel, located in the Mayfair neighbourhood of London.
The church was built in 1730, and holds regular services, weddings, and concerts – which makes the impromptu rendition of “All You Need Is Love” in the first scene a little more believable.
Like most movies about Santa Claus, “The Santa Clause” puts its own spin on Santa’s home/toy factory, the North Pole.
In “The Santa Clause,” normal guy Scott Calvin accidentally kills Santa by causing him to fall off a roof, consequently becomes the newest Santa Claus. The movie spawned two sequels, to varied degrees of success, but the original will always be a holiday must-watch.
Sadly, there’s not actually a giant toy factory filled with elves at the North Pole, just a bunch of ice.
According to Mashable, Santa wasn’t believed to live in the North Pole until the 1860s, when cartoonist Thomas Nast, who submitted 33 drawings to “Harper’s Weekly,” established much of the Santa staples that we know today, including Santa’s workshop and the naughty/nice list.
The geographical North Pole wasn’t discovered until 1909, and while you can take expedition voyages there, there’s little to see but snow and ice.
“Die Hard” has officially been ruled a Christmas movie by one of its screenwriters, so the fictional Nakatomi Plaza is now not just an iconic movie location, but an iconic Christmas movie location.
An outlier on this list, “Die Hard” is a tense R-rated thriller that follows NYPD detective John McClane as he attempts to thwart a terrorist attack/robbery inside fictional Nakatomi Plaza – where McClane’s wife is attending a Christmas party.
Steven de Souza confirmed after years of speculation, that in his opinion (as one of the film’s screenwriters), “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.
Nakatomi Plaza is actually called Fox Plaza, and it’s located in Los Angeles, California.
Fox Plaza, a 34-story office building, was completed in 1987, so it was only a year old when “Die Hard” was released.
Some fun facts about Fox Plaza: Ronald Reagan held an office on the 34th floor after he left public office, and it’s located adjacent to 20th Century Fox Studios.
“Elf” is one of the more recent additions to the Christmas movie canon. One of the best scenes is when Buddy breaks into Gimbels and completely upgrades the Christmas displays.
In “Elf,” Buddy is a human who was adopted by Santa’s elves. Once he grows up, his adopted father admits the truth, and tells him that his birth father is living in New York City and is – shockingly – on the naughty list.
Buddy immediately heads on down to New York City to meet his birth father. Along the way, he is mistaken for a Gimbels employee, and turns the entire store into a winter wonderland, as only an elf can.
The Gimbels building is located in New York City, and is actually called the Textile Building. Gimbels went out of business in 1987, 16 years before “Elf.”
Gimbels was once the biggest rival to Macy’s, but closed its doors for good in 1987. The Textile Building was completed in 1921, and only a few blocks away from famous landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building.
“Elf” director Jon Favreau, according to New York Times, paid $US5,000 to use the Gimbels name in the film.
“It Happened on Fifth Avenue” takes place in 1940s New York City, and most of the plot takes place inside this mansion.
“It Happened on Fifth Avenue” is a lesser-known Christmas film from 1947, but it deserves more recognition. It’s a rom-com, Christmas story, and classic case of mistaken identity and deception all in one.
When the O’Connors, a rich New York family, leaves their mansion for the winter, homeless Aloyisius T. McKeever decides to move in for the holiday season, taking in others that are down on their luck along the way.
The mansion looks a bit different now, and other buildings have cropped up next to it.
The home is actually located on Fifth Avenue, across the street from Central Park. But in real life, it’s the Ukrainian Institute of America. The organisation moved in in 1948, just a year after the movie premiered.