7 Trips Inspired by Your Favorite Christmas Movies
For many, the holiday season is incomplete without spending at least one night munching on cutout sugar cookies, sipping a warm mug of hot chocolate, and revisiting favorite Christmas movie.
While you are watching your favorite characters travel to new locales or reach life-transforming epiphanies, you might be itching to embark on an adventure and experience Hollywood-like holiday magic for yourself. After all, these movies are excellent sources of inspiration for winter getaways full of Christmas charm.
Whether you like the classics or modern day romantic comedies, we've rounded up a selection of destinations for all types of Christmas movie buffs, including filming locations and ideas on how (and where) to recreate your favorite scenes. Wherever you end up, you are guaranteed to find the spirit of Christmas on one of these seven festive trips.
A Christmas Story
Just as good as a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas is a trip to Ralphie Parker’s childhood home. Visit the 19th-century Victorian in Cleveland, Ohio where exterior shots of the house were filmed and step inside for a tour. The interior has been renovated to replicate the movie set, right down to the infamous leg lamp in the window. You can even book a stay with five friends and claim Ralphie or Randy’s twin bed as yours for a night or two.
Across the street is A Christmas Story Museum, where you can find behind-the-scenes photos, costumes, and original props from the beloved film — including Randy’s snowsuit and the family car— and pick up your very own leg lamp at the gift shop.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Bedford Falls may not exist, but Seneca Falls, New York claims to be the real-life muse of the fictional town. Take a 1.3-mile walking tour in this part of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region, starting with The Seneca Falls It's a Wonderful Life Museum, which includes photographs and memorabilia from Karolyn Grimes (ZuZu), a call sheet, quotes from director Frank Capra, and more.
Then, make your way through town and see the sites that inspired Bedford Falls' layout and geography, from the main street and downtown area to the iconic truss bridge.
This Christmas season, let Iris and Amanda inspire your next adventure and take part in a house exchange. To participate, simply sign up for a service like Love Home Swap, Knok, or Home Exchange, and trade homes cross-country or internationally as often as you want for an affordable monthly or annual fee.
Whether you head to Surrey to cozy up in an English cottage, or soak up the sun in Los Angeles, you will be sure to have your very own "meet cute" with your Hollywood-inspired destination.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Spend a day in Who-ville with The Grinch.
Now through January 6, Universal Orlando Resort is filling Seuss Landing in Who-ville cheer. Here, you can meet the Grinch and get his autograph and picture, as well as catch The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular: a live retelling of Dr. Seuss' most famous cartoon.
Universal Studios Hollywood is also throwing their own Who-tacular Grinchmas celebration from December 15 to December 31. You and the family can take part in a number of festive events, including Christmas carols, selfies with The Grinch, and ornament decorating. Round out the evening with the nightly lighting of the 60-foot-tall Seussian tree and a spectacular performance from Martha May Who-vier for an unforgettable Wholiday.
What better way to start your day than with the world’s best cup of coffee? Start your New York City holiday adventure just like Buddy (grabbing coffee from any cart, bodega, or Starbucks will do), and be sure to congratulate your barista for their accolades.
Next, make your way over to Macy's on 34th Street (fun fact: the Gimbels storefront you see in the movie is really Macy's with a digital "Gimbels" sign placed over it). Stop to admire the gorgeous, Buddy-approved window display before heading inside to pay Santa a visit on his throne of lies.
Walk a few blocks to the Empire State Building where, even though you won’t find a children’s book publisher, there are spectacular views of the city from the Observation Desk.
Ray's Pizza on 11th closed in 2011, but you can still grab a slice from one of their three other locations in Midtown if you're feeling hungry. Or if you have a sweet tooth, we recommend indulging in a cup of cookie dough at DŌ (we do not recommend eating it as fast as you can).
When you've had your fill, stroll over to Central Park, where you can spread Christmas cheer by singing carols and readying yourself for ice-skating at The Rink in Rockefeller Center. And finally, end your night with the inspiration behind your trip to the Big Apple: Elf the Musical.
Fly into Heathrow and visit the London sites where your favorite scenes were filmed: stroll down South Bank, where Daniel and Sam had a heartfelt conversation about love, or browse jewelry at Selfridges in the hopes of running into Rowan Atkinson. Check out the chapel where Peter and Juliet got married in Mayfair, and afterward meander through Notting Hill to see their home.
Use the full list of filming locations to plan your Christmas trip to London, and consider ice skating at Somerset House, as seen in the opening credits.
Pine Tree, Vermont is a fictional town, but don’t let that stop you from spending your winter getaway in a cozy Vermont inn. Book a stay at The Inn at Manchester, The Dorset Inn, or the Woodstock Inn & Resort (splurge for a room with a real, wood-burning fireplace).
You can spend your weekend with loved ones snuggling up in front of a roaring fire, enjoying festive decorations, taking merry sleigh rides, and tackling ski mountains, among other classic wintertime activities popular in Vermont.