When the holidays roll around, it’s always fun to watch your favorite movies one more time. You love the story and the characters, but have you ever thought about the set? In some movies, like “Home Alone,” the house is an integral part of the movie. In others, like “A Christmas Story,” the iconic image of the leg lamp in the window is forever seared in our minds. We’ve put together a list of our top seven holiday movies and their iconic houses that everyone knows and loves (including one inn, and one apartment building). You can actually stay at one of the places on this list, and there are plenty of vacation rentals in the other locations for your touring pleasure!
1. “Home Alone” house, Winnetka, IL
Probably one of the most iconic houses in not just holiday movies, but in all movies, the real “Home Alone” house is located on Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois. Nearly 30 years later, the exterior of the house looks the same, but the interior of the house has been significantly remodeled. The house recently sold in 2012, and pictures of the new interior are available online. While you’re sightseeing in the area, Winnetka has 27 beautiful parks for strolling as well as a Forest Preserve site that offers opportunities for picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and birdwatching.
You might not recognize the Griswold house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” without it’s 25,000 twinkling lights — or you might not recognize it because it’s actually a set on the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, California. This iconic home is located on “Blondie Street,” which was designed to look like a suburban neighborhood and has even appeared in many other movies and TV shows such as, “Pleasantville,” “Bewitched,” “The Partridge Family,” and “The Middle.” Unfortunately, the Griswold house isn’t included in the Warner Brothers Studio tour, but you can explore other real sets, backlots and sound stages.
Ralphie’s house in “A Christmas Story” is a home located in Cleveland, Ohio that has since been restored to its movie splendor and is now open to the public for tours year-round. You can stay overnight or even get a special “Ralphie Rate” at nearby hotels. Across the street from the house, is the official A Christmas Story House Museum where you can see original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. The house only five minutes from downtown Cleveland offering plenty more to see and do as well as many available vacation rentals.
This beautiful house, located in Port Washington, New York, was little Susan’s dream home. Of course, everyone’s favorite scene in the movie is when Susan sees the house and realizes that Kris Kringle has gotten it for her. The house featured in the 1994 “Miracle on 34th Street” remake is also an actual residence located in Lake Forest, Illinois. Both houses are private residences, but you can still enjoy them from the sidewalk.
Will Ferrell’s hilarious depiction of Buddy quickly secured “Elf” as one of the newest holiday movie favorites. While Buddy’s father doesn’t live in a house, he does live in a stately Upper West Side building in New York City at 55 Central Park West. This building is also nicknamed the “Ghostbuster Building,” as it was the location to several of the scenes in the 1984 blockbuster. To see this, and more sites featured in other popular movies and television shows, check out one of the companies that offer movie and TV tours in the city, such as On Location Tours.
Columbia Inn in Pine Tree Vermont was a beautiful and perfect setting for the Christmas classic, “White Christmas.” Unfortunately, just like the house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” this one was a set built on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles, California. While the set is no longer there, you can still tour the current Paramount Pictures Studio. Explore other iconic locations like the Bronson Gate, New York Street Backlot, and the Prop Warehouse, and learn about the rich history of Hollywood’s first major movie studio.
In this 2005 film, the entire Stone family gathers to celebrate Christmas at a real house located in Riverside, Connecticut. In the movie, Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings his girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) home to meet everybody for the first time, so of course, the “family home” becomes a character in and of itself. This beautiful house was built in 1860 and has 5 bedrooms. Close to Greenwich, Connecticut, you can easily make an extended vacation out of your visit.
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