Nothing says holiday spirit like Christmas movies. It’s great to sit back and watch It’s a Wonderful Life, but what better way to get in the spirit than by visiting locations from your favorite holiday films? Here are eight trips designed around your favorite Christmas movie locations straight from the silver screen.
Miracle on 34th Street
Celebrate the holidays and one of the most beloved Christmas films of all time at Macy’s flagship store, Macy’s Herald Square. Don’t just visit for the shopping. Macy’s on 34th Street hosts Christmas events throughout the month of December. This year their Breakfast with Santa will run on select dates through December 25, 2013. Tickets to the morning event are $50 for adults, $35 for children and free for toddlers under 2. The morning includes an Italian breakfast feast, gingerbread and candy takeaway gifts, pictures with Santa, and amazing view of New York City. Other events include a Holiday Engraving Event and Believe Day.
A Christmas Story
Open year round, seven days a week, the restored Christmas Story House Museum welcomes visitors to enjoy the film’s original props, costumes and memorabilia. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, this attraction hosts thousands of fans of the movie every year. As a part of this year’s 30th Anniversary celebration, there will be 5k/10k runs, The Christmas Story Music, House Stay Auction, and other A Christmas Story movie-themed events.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Every year in Seneca Falls, A.K.A. The Real Bedford Falls, hosts It’s a Wonderful Life centered activities. This year marks the 67th Anniversary of the celebration. Events include a radio show performed by the Seneca Community Players, free roasted chestnuts, craft show, and raffles. The film’s Karolyn Grimes “Zuzu” and Carol Coombs-Mueller “Janie” sign autographs. Lasting for two day and full of events, the celebration has become a holiday staple. Most activities are free unless otherwise listed.
Near the beginning of this romantic comedy set near Christmas time, the film’s leads played by John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale share a dessert at the famous Serendipity 3 in Upper East Manhattan. Although the restaurant offers a full menu, it’s their trademark “Frrrozen Hot chocolate” that draws in people from all over the worwld. Travelers with more affluent taste buds may enjoy the Grand Opulence Sundae that is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most expensive ice cream sundae. This frozen treat made with five scoops of rich Tahitian vanilla bean, a 23k edible gold leaf, Amedei Porceleana (the world’s most expensive chocolate), candied fruit, gold covered almonds, chocolate truffles, and marzipan cherries costs $1,000. If you’re going to indulge in this dessert experience give the restaurant 48 hours notice, as they have to fly ingredients in from around the world.
John Hughes superfans can drive by the iconic home that played a starring role in his 1990 classic film. Located in Winnetka, Illinois, the Georgian-style house was built in 1920s and has 4,250 square feet. In 2011 the house went on sale for $2.4 million but eventually sold a year later for $1.585 million, a relative bargain. Though the high-profile house is a fan favorite, visitors still must observe the location from outside red brick walls.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
You may not be about to venture into the McCallister’s home in Illinois, but you can step foot in the hotel Kevin stays at in the sequel. Christmas-themed events fill The Plaza Hotel during December. Guest may enjoy a variety of holiday themed packages including The Plaza Holiday for $1,995 per night in a deluxe room. The package includes a $250 Saks Fifth Avenue Gift Card, a private shopping experience at Saks, messenger service, a snow globe of the Plaza, and a $200 food and beverage credit usable at the Plaza’s restaurants.
Fans of the 2003 Will Ferrell film have a few New York favorites to choose from when following in Buddy’s footsteps. When the elf Buddy first arrives in Manhattan, he heads to where his real father works, the Empire State Building. Lighting color of the Empire State Building changes throughout the holiday season. No matter the lighting, visitors may take venture to the observation deck and view an array of lights for the holiday season.
After a trip to the Empire State Building, head to Rockefeller Center and one of the world’s largest Christmas trees. Jovie took Buddy to see this New York classic and it’s a must see during the holidays. After taking in the enormous holiday tree, don some skates and take a spin on the Rockefeller’s world famous ice rink.
Jingle All the Way
Set and filmed in the Twin Cities, the 1996 holiday comedy’s most memorable scenes take place in the Mall of America. Visitors to the mall with more than 4.2 million don’t need to fight over making it to Christmas fun. Just a few of the mall’s holiday events include Holiday Happy Hour with complimentary valet and free Caribou Coffee, Photos with Santa, and the Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience.
Get into the Christmas spirit with:
- The Best Theme Park Christmas Events
- Take the Train to Christmas Town
- When to Book Christmas Flights
By Darra Stone for PeterGreenberg.com