Christmas movies are all about spreading the family cheer, which the 1989 movie, ‘Christmas Vacation’, does wonderfully. Based on John Hughes’ short story “Christmas ’59”, which came out in Lampoon Magazine, the film is often regarded by many as a modern Christmas masterpiece. The story centers around a family who want to spend Christmas together, but their plans of getting together result in one disaster after another, until things finally look up. True to the spirit of the season, everyone has a great time and troubles seem to be far away from their mind.
Now, the important thing is that ‘Christmas Vacation’ has several iconic locations, one of which is the household where most of the action takes place. We get shots of snowy landscapes and witness other people as they try to bring in the holiday season in their own ways. As you can understand, the setting is primary for a movie like this, in order to capture the essence of the festive spirit. Therefore, you might be wondering where ‘Christmas Vacation’ has been filmed, and we have got you covered in that regard.
Christmas Vacation Filming Locations:
The story of ‘Christmas Vacation’ is set in Chicago and follows the life of a Chicago resident. Naturally, you might have assumed that the streets, storefronts, and even the Griswold house is within the city limits itself. However, you would be wrong in drawing that conclusion, because although some establishing exterior shots were indeed filmed in Chicago, the crew headed to other, quieter locations that would act as a substitute for the Windy City.
Among the places where ‘Christmas Vacation’ has been filmed, are Chicago itself, and Colorado primarily. However, the production also headed to California, making use of the studio’s ranch at Burbank to shoot some of the important scenes of the movie. Let us look in detail about the specific locations where the shooting for ‘Christmas Vacation’ took place.
It is best if we first explore the locations in Chicago since most of the establishing shots go towards setting the space for the movie’s story to play out. The places shown to us include Clark’s office, which is actually located at 69 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois. A big Christmas tree can be seen in this location in downtown Chicago, but reports suggest that the tree is no longer put there.
The historic Water Tower of Chicago is also shown, which is located at 806 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Shopping is an important part of Christmas, and we see a store called the Marshall Field And Company. It is at 111 N State Street. A Lord & Taylor outlet that can be seen in the movie was filmed at 835 N Michigan Avenue.
Breckenridge and Frisco, Colorado:
While we know that Chicago is the actual location where the story is set, the crew headed to Colorado to film some of the most important scenes in the movie. Among these is the drive to get the Christmas tree, which results in the iconic tree cutting scene. This was filmed at the Breckenridge Golf Course/Highlands area near Tiger Road.
Even Clark’s sledding adventure, where he is seen dodging traffic, has been shot at Summit Boulevard in Frisco. If you’ve seen the movie, you know this incredible ride comes to an end when Clark lands in a Toys For Tots bin, located in front of a Walmart in Frisco.
A couple of other scenes shot here include the one with the logging truck, that was filmed north of Silverthorne, near the Maryland Creek Ranch or LG Everist. The landing of the car was filmed at the Breckenridge Golf Course, located near Georgia Pass on Tiger Road. A lesser-known fact might be that Summit High School in Frisco served as a cover set where we see Clark watching old home movies.
Los Angeles, California:
The Hollywood movie did come to its proverbial home, that is, Los Angeles, to shoot some of the interior scenes of locations whose exterior shots were established in Chicago. Among these are Clark’s office building’s interior, which was filmed at 444 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, and the interior of the mall, where Clark has a visibly uncomfortable conversation with a lingerie saleswoman, which was filmed at 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles.
Among other places in California that we see is Glendale, where Clark’s boss, Frank’s house is. The house is located at 727 West Kenneth Road.
Warner Bros. Ranch, Burbank, California:
The Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank serves as one of the most pivotal settings for the movie because the Griswold house is located there. Yes, the house is a studio set piece, and not an actual location. Over time, the house has been featured in a number of movies including ‘American Beauty‘. Naturally, as a result, it might still be standing, but the exterior facade is visibly more different from what we have seen in ‘Christmas Vacation’.
In conclusion, ‘Christmas Vacation’ heads to a number of locations, making smart use of the settings, to narrate a Christmas tale that has only gotten better with time.
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