Christmas isn’t quite the same without great holiday movies like A Christmas Story, which is at the top of the list for most who have watched it since its release in 1983. Based on the novel of the same name by Jean Sheppard, this Americana classic is so popular that it has it’s very own day in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s right, the city has declared November 18th, “A Christmas Story Family Day”.
If you haven’t watched the classic… pause here, go watch it and then come right back. For those who have, let’s wait a minute and wait for everyone to catch up. 😉
Ok are we all on board now? Great!
A Christmas Story Museum Tour
Set in the 1960’s, this slice of tradition is set in Cleveland, Ohio and luckily for us, the house is now a museum and vacation rental. You read that right! Now you can pretend to be the characters from the movie. Not only can spend the night exploring the house, you can sleep in it. Your childhood dreams come true!
Hopefully, a pink nightmare will be the only nightmare you have. If you don’t get that reference, you didn’t watch the movie, so go back and watch it, for real though. 😉
The tour itself includes a guided tour/introduction on the main house as well as the Bumpus house next door, which is where Ralphie’s hillbilly neighbors, The Bumpuses live with their 785 smelly hound dogs responsible for eating Ralphie’s family’s Christmas Day turkey.
The Main House
The house itself is exactly as it was during the filming. During your tour, you’ll encounter props from your favorite scenes from the film. Everything from the overcrowded extension cords, the Christmas tree where Ralphie opened his Red Ryder BB Gun and the cabinet Ralphie’s little brother, Randy hid in, to the chalk board teacher Miss Shields wrote on and the gated fence the bandits climbed over and the window where Ralphie shot at them… and more.
In the kitchen, you will find the turkey cooking and can even sit at the table and eat your mashed potatoes like a little piggy.
You can even open the great PRIZE marked F.R.A.G.I.L.E and pose with the risqué leg lamp.
Heading on up to Ralphie’s room, you can see where his fascination of the Red Ryder BB Gun comes from. Sit at his desk and you too can decipher the secret code from the Little Orphan Annie Ovaltine newspaper ad.
6 custom Red Ryder BB guns were made for A Christmas Story. The one Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) used had to be custom made since he was left handed. Production got help from Gene Hackman to help make it authentic like the ones sold back in the 60s. After years of trying to acquire the gun he used in the film, it is now on display in the museum.
In the hallway, you can pick up the phone and hear the mom screaming as she learns her little one used the F word that Ralphie spouted, (which of course isn’t where he learned it at all).
In the bathroom, you’ll find the soap ready to wash your dirty mouth out before you head back down to the backyard where you too can see bandits climbing over the fence, (if you have a great imagination anyways).
Once you have completed the tour, you can head to a special location on the property with all of the movie memorabilia. It really is a fun tour.
How the House Was Chosen for A Christmas Story
My favorite part of the tour was hearing the story of how this house in the suburbs of Cleveland came to be known as the site of one of America’s favorite Christmas movies.
Right on the corner, you’ll find the Rowley Inn Bar & Restaurant. This, my friends, is where the magic all started.
In preparation of filming, A Christmas Story’s producers were on the hunt to find a house with a smokestack steel factory in the background for the movie. After spotting the only house in the area that achieved that look, they knocked on the door ready to make an offer.
Unfortunately the owner of the house wasn’t home. So, they went across the street to the bar to kill time until he came home. As they waited, they chatted up the bartender who happened to know the owner of the house. It just so happened that there was also a man sitting at the bar who overheard the conversation. He asked, “how much do you want for my house?”
It is said that he he didn’t trust Hollywood and was ready to turn them down when they said, “How’s 20,000?”. Needless to say, he changed his mind.
You can dine at this restaurant which also serves as a bar and inn with themed Christmas Story elements. You can even order a Red Ryder cocktail.
The characters who play Ralphie’s mom and dad were not told what was inside the “FRAGILE” box. Their reactions were completely genuine as was the mom’s reaction whenever they chopped off the duck’s head at the Chinese restaurant. In fact, that whole scene was improvised on the part of the Asian actors.
It’s a Bit Controversial
We can’t really talk about it… Okay, let’s talk about it.
There has actually been a fair amount of controversy surrounding this property in recent months. For starters, the owners have put it up for sale. According to gossip TV ala TMZ and the rumor mills of the internet, several of the actors who were originally in the movie have expressed interest in buying the house and properties.
I’ll continue to update this blog as things change, but as of now, the owners have assured the general public that the home will remain open through this Christmas (2022). It’s a great time to visit Cleveland and see the Christmas Story house for yourself.
Bunny Suits are available for rent during your tour so you can take some of those classic Christmas Story photos. If rental suits of fuzzy animals is not your thing, you can order one off Amazon here.
Other Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio
Chances are, you aren’t heading to Cleveland solely for the Christmas Story house, so here are a few more fun things to do…
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Catch a football game at Cleveland Browns Stadium
- Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, Ohio)
That’s a Wrap!
Thank you for reading the blog! I hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for my full blog about Cleveland, Ohio!
Have you been to the Christmas Story house? Would you go? Tell me about it in the comments below and subscribe to the blog for travel adventures, tips & how to get in on travel rewards for free trips!
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
Best Travel Insurance
Accidents happen. Make sure that you’re covered on your next trip. Compare travel insurance here.
Earn Travel Perks & Free Trips
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Read my in depth travel rewards series on how to earn points and miles toward free hotel stays, flights, car rentals and more! Book smart, travel more.
Compare prices for car rentals, trains and flights
Discover best transportation deals to and around Boston with Omio here.
How to Travel with a Chronic Illness
There are ways to travel even with a chronic illness. Check out my chronic illness travel tips and how I travel despite having Lupus.
Check out my packing guide curated to your personality.
Every woman should be able to date without being the next victim. Check out my safety tips guide for women.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like…
At Real Girl Review, we value truth and always strive for accuracy. Posts are updated regularly. If you read something that still doesn’t sound right, contact me at email@example.com. I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary.