Everything You Need to Know About Cleveland’s Famous “A Christmas Story” House
“Fragile… Must be Italian.” “Naddafinga.” “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
Since its release in 1983, “A Christmas Story” has been a seasonal classic. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without watching Ralphie Parker sulk in his bubblegum pink bunny pajamas and wish desperately for a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.
While “A Christmas Story” is a movie that is close to pretty much every American’s heart, for Clevelanders — it’s so much more. The famous home where the Parker’s story takes place is located just outside of downtown Cleveland in the Tremont neighborhood. A Christmas Story House has become a Cleveland landmark and is now open to the public year-round as a museum.
While a lot of “A Christmas Story” was shot in Toronto, Canada, the exterior shots of the Parker residence were of a modest 19th-century Victorian home in Cleveland. The creators of the movie scoured Cleveland neighborhoods to find the perfect place that would resemble story creator Jean Shepard’s childhood home. They finally found it at 3159 West 11th Street.
Bob Clark, director of the film, ultimately chose this specific home because it gave off a classic-American feel while also having features that they were looking for such as steel mills in the backyard, a wrap around porch and an empty lot next door — perfect for the crew to set up camp.
In December of 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur, bought the house on eBay for $150,000. He had been a massive fan of the movie since childhood and had even founded his own business based off of the film; the Red Rider Leg Company, which manufactures replicas of the “major award” Ralphie’s father wins.
The previous owners of the home had remodeled the house, installing new windows and covering the original wood siding with blue vinyl. Jones watched “A Christmas Story” frame by frame to draw detailed plans of the interior and spent $204,000 to gut the structure and reconfigure it into the floor plan we know and love. Today, the house sits as a near-replica of the set.
The “A Christmas Story” House Today
A Christmas Story House is open year-round, seven days a week excluding major holidays. When you visit, you’ll be able to tour the home and have an incredibly interactive experience. Take photos next to the famous leg lamp or even under the sink, act out your favorite movie scenes, and more! You can even stay in the house overnight in the private third floor with up to five of your friends or family members. Or, for a more eclectic experience — you can stay next door at the Bumpus House, the fictional home to Ralphie’s hillbilly neighbors and their 785 smelly hound dogs. The interior of the Bumpus House is decorated in a 1940’s style with a slight redneck flair, while still providing all the modern amenities you could want. You can see the inside of the suites available here.
The neighborhood is also home to two more “A Christmas Story” inspired buildings — the museum and gift shop! At the museum, you can see behind the scenes photos, props, costumes and memorabilia. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Higbee’s Department Store holiday toys, Randy’s snowsuit and zeppelin he receives for Christmas and even the family car!
After spending a day immersed in the Ralphie’s world, you’ll definitely want to pick up a souvenir, which you can do at the A Christmas Story Gift Shop. There, you can purchase your own leg-lamp in any size you please as well as apparel, miniature figurines and more. If you can’t make it to the gift shop in person, visit their website where you can purchase memorabilia from “A Christmas Story”, “Christmas Vacation”, “Home Alone” and many more classic holiday movies.
Local Holiday Festivities
The lovely neighborhood of Tremont has fully embraced the holiday attraction and is filled with festive events all season!
Soak up some art this holiday season at Walkabout Tremont! Art galleries and retail shops will have extended hours, with special art installations displayed around town. Several bars and restaurants will host live music and special menus. Get a little holiday shopping done while supporting local artists and businesses! You can see a full itinerary and list of the featured art on display here.
Throughout the Christmas season, Tremont homes are adorned with beautiful lights and decorations. Make sure to visit this suburb after dark to take in the breathtaking displays! Also, make sure to drive by A Christmas Story House while you’re at it — the festive lights and perfectly backlit leg-lamp in the window make for a stunning sight.
This holiday season, The Rowley Inn, the restaurant right across the street from A Christmas Story House, will be serving up several “A Christmas Story” themed cocktails and dishes! Make sure to check out this special spot and see where the cast and crew of the movie hung out after filming.
Join the Spotted Owl during their special Christmas cocktail popup this season! They’ll be hosting this special event until December 30th in their vintage 1850’s bar space. The bar will be decorated head-to-toe in Christmas decor and they’ll be serving up original Christmas cocktails every day!