A Christmas Story is undeniably one of the greatest holiday movies of all time. Released back in 1983, the movie was only a moderate success at the box office, grossing nearly $21 million on a $3 million budget. However, the movie’s stature quickly grew thanks to home viewing and repeated TV airings, eventually leading to its status as a bonafide classic. It is now in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
As it’s been over 30 years since release, the filming locations look quite different than they did in the early 80s. We’re here to show you. These are ten filming locations from A Christmas Story, then vs. now.
10 The House
Luckily for all you Christmas Story fans, the house is still standing. Not only is it still standing, but it has been renovated both inside and out to look exactly like it did in the movie, and you can visit the house and surrounding complex for a full tour year-round.
The house is located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, at 3159 W 11th Street. In 2004, an entrepreneur bought the house off eBay for just $150,000 and completely reconfigured the interior and exterior to make it look exactly like it did in the movie (despite the interiors being filmed on a sound stage).
Higbee’s plays a major role in A Christmas Story. Ralphie first sets eyes on the BB gun in the window of Higbee’s at the beginning of the movie and later visits the department store to see Santa. It’s probably the most iconic scene in the whole movie. Unfortunately, Higbee’s went defunct in 1992 and was converted to Dillard’s, and, in 2011, it underwent significant remodeling and reopened as the Horseshoe Casino. It is now known as the Jack Cleveland Casino after a change in management.
8 Cleveland Public Square
Cleveland Public Square is directly tied to Higbee’s (and the sequence where Ralphie goes to see Santa). In the movie, Ralphie and his family watch a parade just outside Higbee’s. This parade goes through Cleveland Public Square, which was shot on location at 3:00 in the morning!
In fact, you can sort of make out the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the background of the scene. The area was significantly redesigned in 2016 to include significantly more green space and to make the general area more pedestrian-friendly.
7 Ralphie’s School
Ralphie attended school at Warren G. Harding Elementary in Cleveland, the real school that the book’s author, Jean Shepherd, attended. However, to visit the real school, you’ll have to make your way up to Canada. The real school was called Victoria School, and it was located in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, a small city just south of Toronto. While the school closed in 2002, the building remains standing and is now the home of a women’s shelter called Gillian’s Place.
6 The Antique Fire Truck
Okay, this isn’t really a filming location, per se, but it’s involved in the “tongue stuck to the pole” scene and can still be found in a specific location, so we’re counting it! When Flick gets his tongue stuck on a pole, a vintage fire truck can be seen arriving to help him out. This fire truck is informally known as the Chippawa Fire Truck and is still in working order! The fire truck is an authentic 1938 Ford La-France and is available for public viewing at the Chippawa Volunteer Firefighters Association in Chippawa, Ontario, a small town just outside Niagara Falls.
5 “Ohhhh Fuuuudge”
If the visit to Higbee’s isn’t the film’s most iconic scene, it’s probably when Ralphie uses a dirty word in front of his father. You may not recognize much from this scene thanks to its darkness and many close-up shots, but this scene was filmed in Toronto. It was filmed on the Cherry Street lift bridge, a bascule lift bridge that spans the Don River. The bridge suffered significant corrosion damage over the years, but was eventually restored to full working order in 2011.
4 Chop Suey Palace
A Christmas Story famously ends in the Chop Suey Palace, as the dogs ruined the Christmas turkey. Guess what? This too was filmed in Toronto! Who knew Toronto could pass so easily for Cleveland? The building itself is located in Toronto’s East Chinatown at 744 Gerrard Street East. Despite being located in Chinatown, the restaurant is now called Batifole and hosts expensive French cuisine. Not only that, the 4.8 stars on Google seems to indicate that the restaurant is pretty darned good!
3 Shopping For Christmas Trees
In one of the movie’s segments, Ralphie and his family head out to buy a Christmas tree and the Old Man haggles the price. The movie would make you believe that this location is in Cleveland, but, nope, Toronto. Again.
In fact, it’s just a quick walk north from the CN Toronto, the very symbol of Toronto itself! Most modern research places the tree farm around 232 Queen St W, which today serves as a parking lot. Fun fact: right next door at 299 Queen St W is the CTV studios! Like we said, this little location is right in the heart of Toronto!
2 Fight With Farkus
Another popular sequence is when Ralphie beats the crap out of Farkus, the yellow-eyed bully. Attentive viewers will notice that this takes place in an old subdivision, as old-fashioned houses can be seen in the background. According to torontoist.com, this fight sequence was filmed at 64 Sears Street in Toronto, an old subdivision east of downtown. As you can imagine, the area looks significantly different today, what with all the modern calls and buildings…
1 Chased By Bullies
One of the earlier scenes involving Farkus sees him and his tiny crony chasing the protagonists down an alley. There’s not much to the alley itself, as it’s covered in snow, bordered by a traditional wooden fence, and capped with a graffiti-ed sign reading “keep out.”
According to the same website as above, this little area was filmed just east of the aforementioned Sears Street. While the location is tough to pin down, it can be traced to a small alley on Minto Street. As you can see from the above picture, it’s been built up a little…
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