Cleveland became the stand-in for the beloved midwestern hometown of Ralphie and his family — and you can actually stay in his house there!
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You have to love the holiday underdog tale behind A Christmas Story. Adapted from the many vignettes in Jean Shepherd's 1966 novel, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, the charming, nostalgic tale — about a 1940s-era Indiana boy, Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) who simply wants a BB gun for Christmas — was released in November 1983 to modest box office success, earning just around $20 million in theaters. But, like so many other sleeper hits, the movie got a second life with home viewing and cable TV airings, including a still-popular 24-hour marathon each Christmas.

Now, fans are re-entering the Christmas Story world with the new sequel A Christmas Story Christmas (now streaming on HBO Max), which reunites Billingsley with some of his original castmates almost 40 years later. But if experiencing Ralphie's story from your couch just isn't enough, you're in luck: Not only has the residence that served as the Parker family home been transformed into a Christmas Story museum, but you can actually spend the night there — in Randy (Ian Petrella, also in the new sequel) and Ralphie's beds!

Though Ralphie grows up in Hohman, Ind. — an homage to Shepherd's hometown of Hammond, Ind. — director Bob Clark found 1980s Hammond rather charmless (sorry, Hammond) and so found a substitute: Cleveland. You might think that explains why the Parkers live on Cleveland Street in the film, but that's actually because Shepherd grew up at 2907 Cleveland St. in Hammond. That house still stands, as do the nearby childhood homes of his best friends Schwartz (6810 Arizona Ave.) and Flick (3024 Cleveland St.). The real Flick's dad even ran a tavern in town, Flick's Tequila Bar, which operated until just a few years ago.

While you can no longer grab a margarita at Flick's, there are still a handful of Christmas Story locations that would love to have you drop by for some target practice.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Ralphie's house (Cleveland)

When the Cleveland house where the movie was filmed (at 3159 W. 11th Street) went up for sale on eBay in 2004, Christmas Story fanatic Brian Jones bought it for $150,000. He then set out to restore the legendary cinematic home — spending hundreds of thousands more on the period-perfect design and decor — right down to the Red Ryder BB gun propped up against the sofa — and opened it as A Christmas Story House & Museum in 2006. It functions as a museum during the day, featuring many artifacts from the movie (Randy's zeppelin! The leg lamp!), photos donated by the film's stars, as well as items for true buffs, like objects from a deleted scene in which Ralphie battles Flash Gordon villain Ming the Merciless.

The third floor of the Christmas Story House has been transformed into a guest suite, complete with Ralphie and Randy's twin beds in one of the three bedrooms. Those who book stays have the run of the third-floor suite at all times, but can only access the main floor once the museum has closed. After the visitors leave, you are free to curl up under the Christmas tree in the living room or hide under the sink in the kitchen. Nightly rates start at $545 in the off-season, and go up during the holidays.

But Jones has recently announced that he's selling the whole Christmas Story complex. According to the online listing, all the above buildings will be included, as well as a few extra lots for parking. While the proprietor says it's time for him to move on, he's apparently hoping to sell to someone who wants to keep the A Christmas Story House & Museum intact (although the price is confidential in the listing, estimates place the whole campus price at over a million). Jones told Cleveland's ABC News 5 that "several years ago we had it designated a landmark to make sure it would be protected no matter who owns it." And not to worry if you already have reservations. Jones says that even though it's up for sale, the business will be operating as usual.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

The Bumpus house (Cleveland)

The Bumpuses were never seen in the movie, but their presence next door was still strongly felt due to the frequent barking from their hound dogs, who famously steal the Parker family's Christmas turkey.

The enterprising Jones also bought the "Bumpus house," as well as a house across the street (at 3166 W. 11th St.) to serve as a gift shop where you can purchase movie-related items like bunny pajamas and decoder pins. (Savvy 11th St. neighbors offer paid parking on their driveways.)

The Bumpus House has two suites available to rent: the "Hound Dog Haven" and the "Stolen Turkey Suite," both decorated in a style the Christmas Story House website calls "vintage eclectic in a 1940s style with a slightly hillbilly Bumpus flare while still providing all the modern amenities." The site also notes that the barking hound dogs are not included.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Viewing of the leg lamp (Cleveland)

Director Bob Clark actually cameos in the movie as "the Swede" who questions the Old Man (Darren McGavin) about his "major award," that unforgettable lamp that adult Ralphie (Shepherd, serving as narrator) describes as "the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window." There's now a Bob Clark memorial bench on the site where the "major award" scene was shot, directly across the street from the Christmas Story House & Museum.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Higbee's department store (Cleveland)

The Christmas parade scene that opens the movie was filmed just outside of Cleveland's legendary Higbee's department store — where Ralphie spies the Red Ryder BB gun through the window — on the public square at 3 a.m. Then, of course, Ralphie goes inside the store to wait in a line that stretches "all the way to Terre Haute" to be able to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas, only to receive his most-repeated, hated response: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." The Big Guy adds, "Merry Christmas. Ho, ho, ho!" and pushes Ralphie down the giant slide with a boot to the forehead.

Higbee's, which actually kept the slide for several years after the movie, became a Dillard's in 1992 before closing in 2002. But you can still visit the building. It's now home to Jack Cleveland Casino,which in recent years has attempted to keep the holiday tradition alive with its "Holidays at the Higbee" event.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Warren G. Harding Elementary School (St. Catharines, Canada, and Hammond, Ind.)

Lucky for us, a few Christmas Story fans have already done a lot of the leg (lamp) work on this one (we promise, that's the final leg lamp reference). In the 2008 documentary Road Trip for Ralphie, self-described "megafan" Tyler Schwartz and his then-fiancée, now-wife Jordie go on a two year quest to track down and visit every location used in the movie.

Since they're Canadian, one of their first stops is Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario (173 Niagara St.), where the scenes set at Warren G. Harding Elementary School were filmed. Ralphie's classroom was actually the science room at the school, and Road Trip sees Tyler and Jordie save Miss Shields' (Tedde Moore) A+++++ blackboard from demolition. (In St. Catharines, the Schwartzes also find Christmas Story treasures like the fire truck that came to save Flick's frozen tongue from the flagpole and a streetcar seen in the movie.)

There's also the actual Warren G. Harding school that Shepherd attended in Hammond. A new school is now at the site of the author's old frame schoolhouse located at 3211 165th St. — but yes, a flagpole still stands in the schoolyard.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Christmas tree lot (Toronto, Canada)

The Road Trip researchers had a few other fortunate finds in Canada after traveling from St. Catharines to Toronto. By freeze-framing a shot in the original movie, they were able to discern the address of the Christmas tree lot where Ralphie and his family purchase their tree after the Old Man bargains like a champ. A nightclub in downtown Toronto now stands where there was once a vacant lot, fake-filled with Christmas trees in 1983.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

The flat tire on the bridge (Toronto, Canada)

You may recall that on the way home from buying their Christmas tree, the family gets a flat tire. When Ralphie goes out to help his dad change the tire, he accidentally drops the lug nuts, causing him to exclaim "the big one, the queen mother of dirty words" (hint: It's not "fudge"). This leads to another in a series of Lifebuoy tastings, in the time-honored early 20th-century tradition of washing kids' mouths out with soap for swearing.

The Road Trip-ers peg that particular incident as happening on the Cherry Street Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge near downtown Toronto. In 1992, the bridge was listed under the Ontario Heritage Act as architecturally historical, and it's still a great site for spotting ships in the Toronto Harbour Ship Channel.

christmas story filming locations
Credit: Warner Bros.

Bo'Ling Chop Suey Palace (Hammond, Ind., and Toronto, Canada)

Our final stop on this Christmas Story tour appears near the end of the movie. After the Bumpus hounds take off with the Parker family turkey, the Old Man announces, "We are going out to eat!" and they wind up at a Chinese restaurant. Cue the heartwarming takeaway that it doesn't matter where you eat, as long as you're together.

The Indiana Historical Society surmises that the Bo'Ling (inspired by a missing "w" in the neon sign) Chop Suey restaurant was based on a Chinese establishment in Hammond called the Cam Lan Restaurant — though the eatery was never open on holidays!

It took a while, but the Road Trip filmmakers eventually deduced that the building where the Chop Suey Palace scene was filmed in Toronto was not even a restaurant at the time. That said, it's now a popular high-end French restaurant called Batifole. No word on whether the servers will sing carols to you… 

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