Before leaving Cleveland, we discovered the house from the movie “A Christmas Story” was nearby and might be worth a visit. This movie was a holiday staple when I was a kid, and since we had a little extra time, we decided to stop by.
The new owners of the house have worked above and beyond at recreating the look from the movie. They also own two other properties across the street, that act as the museum and gift shop, and all three are incredibly well maintained.
For a nominal fee (as of this writing $10 for adults | $6 for kids), you get a guided 45 minute tour of the house and entrance into the museum to view movie props.
The tour guide takes you into the living room of the actual house and gives a very knowledgeable 10 minute account of the house’s history, explains how the house was chosen for the movie, some of the difficulties in filming, what scenes were (and were not) shot in the house, and how the current owner purchased and renovated the house.
Throughout the house, there are replica props such as hats of major characters from the movie, Red Rider B.B. Guns, Lifebuoy soap, The Old Man’s newspaper, and a Little Orphan Annie decoder pin just to name a few.
The guide makes it clear that everything in the house is interactive and to have fun recreating scenes from the movie. The only stipulation is that you cannot shoot video.
The entire family had fun playing with and posing with the props.
In my opinion, they should have reversed the order of the tour starting with the museum first, then the house, and end it with the gift shop. In that order, it would have helped visitors get the full scope of the work that went into the house, given them ideas of scenes to recreate from the movie, and built excitement for the main event (the actual house).
The museum has a lot of the actual props from the movie; newspaper articles, behind-the-scene photos, and posters. On the small side, the museum only takes 10 – 20 minutes to see it all, which is good because our youngest (eleven at the time) started to get bored just before we were ready to go.
On the property, they have a replica of the 1937 Oldsmobile Six and firetruck from the movie. The actual cars used during the filming of the movie were donated by Cleveland’s antique automobile club members. The original car used in the movie is unknown.
The schoolyard scenes were filmed in Canada, and the firetruck that rescues Flick from the flagpole is owned and operated by the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Association in Niagara Falls, Canada. We were just in Niagra Falls the day before. If we would have known, we could have stopped by for a visit! However, the firetruck at the museum is a great replica and has some nice hidden touches that honor the movie.
The Gift Shop
Now, I’ve seen my fair share of gift shops (and most of them are awful), but this was a great gift shop. They had fun novelty shirts (as you would expect), nice replicas from the movie (like the little orphan Annie decoder pen), and even items from other Christmas movies like Elf, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Tips for your visit
- Make sure your travelers have seen the movie! We were surprised that our youngest two boys had not seen the movie in its entirety (or were too young to remember). Digitally available to rent or own on Google Play (A Christmas Story)
- It is extremely busy during the Christmas season. We visited during a weekday in July, so it was busy but not crowded.
- Unless it is crowded, don’t follow the guys flagging you down into the paid parking spots. There is plenty of free parking along the curbs.
- Known discounts: 10% AAA
- Google Maps: A Christmas Story House, Cleveland Ohio
- Visit their website for updates: A Christmas Story House