The world has played a starring role in many blockbuster Christmas movies. If you’re after a unique way to go sightseeing, why not explore the globe via Christmas film locations? ACTION.
Elf (New York City)
Here’s a quick plot summary: Buddy, a baby who found his way to the North Pole, was raised by elves who did such a good job that he believed he was an actual Elf. But he finds out that he isn’t an actual elf, but a human, gutting! So Buddy sets out to New York City to find his birth father (who happens to be on the NAUGHTY list, yikes!). Little fact: Elf was only shot on location in New York when it was really needed. Like many film productions, the movie took advantage of the financial benefits of shooting in Canada, so a lot of Elf was actually filmed in Vancouver. Sorry if that just ruined your Christmas, but lots of famous NYC spots are still featured!
• Empire State Building – Buddy’s Dad’s office
• Ice skating at Rockefeller Center – Buddy’s first date with Jovy
Love Actually (London)
Awww Love Actually! A British Rom-Com classic but when you look at it, it isn’t all that romantic really… Alan Rickman breaking Emma Thompson’s heart actually makes us lose faith in love a little bit. But there is that famous Heathrow Airport scene where everyone hugs each other at the end and that helps warm the heart right back up! What better way to see the city than via Richard Curtis?
• Heathrow Airport – Where everyone hugs each other to the sound of The Beach Boys
• Selfridges & Co – Where Alan Rickman’s character buys a necklace that ISN’T for his wife. Bad man…
• Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, Mayfair – The elaborate wedding scene where guests suddenly pop up with instruments.
• 10 Downing Street – This was actually filmed at a movie studio but you can go see the real thing, it’s pretty much identical.
• 27 St Luke’s Mews, Notting Hill – Remember the scene where that guy from The Walking Dead confesses his love to Kiera Knightley via cue cards? This was shot here!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (New York City)
So Kevin ended up home alone, AGAIN! First he was left at home while his parents and siblings jetted off to France. This time he’s managed to get on the wrong flight. Silly Kev. Instead of heading to the sunshine state of Florida, he finds himself in New York (which isn’t as bad as it sounds because he’s got his Dad’s credit card!). So of course, he checks himself into The Plaza Hotel. Lucky Kev.
• Battery Park – Grab your binoculars and gaze out at the harbor.
• Central Park – Kevin met the famous Pigeon Lady here, feed the birds!
• The Plaza – This is where Kevin decided to check himself in for a few nights. Keep the change, ya filthy animal!
The Santa Clause (Toronto)
Imagine your Dad becoming Santa, weird thought right? Well now imagine that The Santa Clause wasn’t shot in Illinois, in fact, it wasn’t even shot in the UK. Like Elf, this production also benefited from Canada being a cheaper filming location. Oakville, Ontario plays the role of an Illinois town. This town should have won an Oscar.
• Hillcrest Park – Remember the scene where Tim Allen is getting bugged by a little girl who asks for a bike? This was shot at this park.
• Toronto Zoo – Little fact: Santa’s reindeer were played by the reindeer at this zoo!
Jingle All The Way (Minnesota)
Nothing says Christmas film more than Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you’ve never seen this 1996 classic then search your Netflix or Prime or wherever you watch movies these days, because it’s gold! Jingle All The Way sees Arnold searching the streets of Minnesota for a very specific action figure toy for his son. SO much better than it actually sounds! So if you ever find yourself in Minnesota, you can head to some of the locations where the film was shot.
• Play Co. Toys – West 7th Place, Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
• Minnesota Children’s Museum
• State Theatre
Die Hard (Los Angeles)
OK, it’s not the most festive of films… but it is one of the best! The first film begins on Christmas Eve when John McClane reunites with his ex-wife in Los Angeles at her company’s Christmas party. Then Alan Rickman’s character turns up with a bunch of his pals and a questionable German accent and takes the party-goers hostage. (You thought your Christmas party was bad!) Of course, good old McClane comes to save the day. Then again Die Hard 2… and again in Die Hard 3… and 4… and, well… probably forever!
• The ‘Nakatomi Tower’ is actually the 34-story Fox Plaza, 2121 Avenue
• Century City – a 180-acre complex of malls, towers and entertainment centers