“A Christmas Story” began as a low-budget adaption of a novel by Jean Shepherd. From there, it’s grown into a cult-classic, 24-hour movie marathon hit that shows the funny, heartwarming and real aspects of the holiday season in the Midwest.
While the movie is set in Indiana, it was filmed partially on a sleepy street in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. Bob Clark, the director of the movie, loved the location because you could see the smokestacks from the nearby steel mills, giving the filming the Rust Belt feel he wanted.
The house where parts of the movie were filmed still sits on that sleepy street in Tremont, but now lives on as “A Christmas Story House.” You can tour the house, peruse a museum packed with movie memorabilia, shop in the gift shop, and even spend the night at the “Bumpus House.”
You begin your visit to in the gift shop, which is packed with everything from leg lamp ornaments, sweaters, and coffee mugs to bunny suits to Ovaltine. Whatever your favorite scene from the movie, you can find the gear to help you recreate it at home!
From there, you head across the street to the house where scenes from the movie were filmed, including the iconic delivery of The Old Man’s “Major Award” and the Black Bart backyard battle. In this house, everything is touchable, so you can fully interact with all your favorite “A Christmas Story” moments. Hug the leg lamp. Sit in The Old Man’s chair. Come down the stairs in the bunny suit you just purchased. Hide under the sink just like Randy.
Your tour guide will share fun facts and trivia from the filming, including how to how the house came to be acquired by the film’s director, how to spot which scenes were filmed in the house, and the lengths to which the crew had to create snow when the Cleveland weather wasn’t cooperating.
Back across the street, you can explore the museum, which houses actual props and memorabilia from the movie, like Randy’s infamous snow suit, the A+++++ chalkboard, and more. You can also check out the antique fire truck and Oldsmobile (not the original Old Man’s car from the movie.)
A Christmas Story House came into existence when the house was listed on EBay in December 2004. A lucky bid and the desire to preserve a piece of Cleveland history started a movement that has grown into a year-round tourist attraction. A Christmas Story House grew to encompass the museum, gift shop, overnight stays at the Bumpus House, and an annual 5K/10K run that is always a sold-out event.
Caddy corner to the house sits the Rowley Inn, a 100-year-old bar that serves up delicious food and drinks in the shadow-of-the-steel-mills environment that the neighborhood still embodies. Your tour ticket from A Christmas Story house will save you 10% on a meal afterwards. Sit at the bar and sip a nutty Nocino Old Fashioned, nosh on a hearty chicken pesto grilled cheese, and chat with the locals and tourists alike.
A Christmas Story House and The Rowley Inn both are preserving a slice of Cleveland history, with pride for both their role on the national stage, as well as for the people and work ethic that created and sustained the neighborhood. You’ll feel like you stepped back a bit in time, with all the cozy nostalgia that makes the holidays, particularly in Cleveland, so special.