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Christmas Movie Locations in California You Can Visit
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Christmas Movie Locations in California You Can Visit

Get ready to feel closer to your favorite Christmas characters and make new memories while visiting famous holiday movie locations.

California.com

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5 min read

December 06, 2021

What’s one thing more magical than watching a feel-good Christmas movie? Visiting the holiday filming location where an iconic scene from the said movie took place, of course. While many holiday films are shot in studios or backlots that we never get to witness, lucky for us, California streets and landmarks have hosted a number of cult-classic Christmas favorites throughout the years.

If you’ve been struggling to find your holiday spirit this year, we have the optimal cure. Get ready to feel closer than ever to your favorite Christmas characters and make new memories prior to welcoming the new year. Christmas movie location road trip, anyone?

Picture-Perfect Holiday Movie Sets in the Golden State

Feeling like you’ve run out of fun things to do during the holidays in California? Looking to gift a California experience to a loved one that they’ll cherish forever? A big fan of Christmas movies in general? Get ready for a holiday adventure straight from the silver screen.

holiday filming locations around California

Check out Santa's Magic Village at the Culver Studios, where several holiday classics have been filmed.

Santa’s Magic Village from Surviving Christmas

Location: 3912 Van Buren Place, Culver City

Wealthy and obnoxious advertising executive Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) has no plans for Christmas after getting dumped. Bored and desperate, Drew goes back to his childhood home to find it occupied by a new family and spontaneously offers $250,000 to let him spend Christmas with them. In one scene, they all go Christmas shopping and take pictures with Santa inside an Airstream RV at Santa’s Magic Village. The said Christmas movie location is at The Culver Studios lot right here in California.

The Department Store from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Location: 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Koreatown

It’s Christmas time and the Griswolds are getting ready to welcome the new year. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) plans to have the perfect Christmas vacation in this 1989 comedy film—until everything goes downhill. Clark and his family face a series of hysterically portrayed unfortunate events that seriously threaten their holiday spirits.

In one hilarious scene, the over-ambitious Clark goes on a holiday shopping spree in a Downtown L.A. department store. The scene was shot at what is known today as the Southwestern Law School. However, before being purchased in 1994, the former holiday movie set did actually operate as a department store for more than 60 years.

Walk hand in hand with your beloved as you explore the grounds of the majestic Greystone Mansion.

Grill on the Alley and Greystone Mansion from The Holiday

Location 1: 9560 Dayton Way, Beverly Hills
Location 2: 905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills

If you love this 2006 holiday rom-com about two women swapping homes before Christmas, you’re in luck. Not only can you visit two holiday filming locations from the movie, but you can also have dinner at one. The Beverly Hills restaurant The Grill on the Alley, where Kate Winslet’s character dines, is real and ready to serve you a delicious meal. While Cameron Diaz’s character supposedly travels to the English countryside, there's one scene in which she's seen dining in a beautiful restaurant that is actually another Los Angeles landmark: the Greystone Mansion. Find the Kate Winslet to your Cameron Diaz and live out your own version of The Holiday by visiting both Christmas movie locations in the Greater L.A. area.

The swimming pool and gym from It’s a Wonderful Life

Location: 241 Street Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills

It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic Christmas film from 1946 that almost everyone's seen. The movie follows a frustrated businessman, George Bailey (James Stewart), who stops short of killing himself after a guardian angel appears to show him what life would be like if he never existed. One scene from this tearjerker prominently shows the famous “swim gym” from Beverly Hills High School. This unique landmark is a basketball court that separates to reveal an Olympic-sized swimming pool built in 1939. Pretty cool, right? Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the movie, visiting this ambitious holiday filming location is still a cool experience to have. 

The festive romantic movie was filmed on location in and around Petaluma, the beautiful small city in Sonoma County.

The Ranch from A California Christmas 

Location: Petaluma

A California Christmas has all the characteristics of a holiday comfort movie. A fairytale love story, feel-good ending, romance-style drama, and, of course, a beautiful backdrop. Telling the story of a wealthy businessman who pretends to be a ranch hand to trick a hardworking woman into selling her family's land, this Netflix movie is perfect for a chill holiday date night at home.

If you end up falling in love with the ranch after watching the film, all you have to do is plan a little getaway to Petaluma. Located in Sonoma County, this charming little town is home to executive producer Ali Afshar's own family ranch, which is the holiday filming location for a majority of this cheery Christmas film.

Hallmark Movie Locations

Go for a romantic adventure and get lost wandering the charming locales in Nevada City.

Nevada City from The Christmas Card

Location: Nevada City

Many of this Hallmark movie’s locations are set in the small town of Nevada City. Telling the story of a U.S. soldier who sets out to visit Nevada City after receiving an inspirational Christmas card from a stranger, the Hallmark movie captures all that Christmas is about. From the close-knit community to the beautifully decorated streets, The Christmas Card showcases Nevada City’s winter charm.

The Nevada City Methodist Church plays a significant role in the film. Now, every Christmas season, the church screens the movie for free for anyone who wants to drop in. Make Nevada City a stop on your winter weekend getaway, visit the memorable Hallmark movie’s locations, and experience all of the holiday cheer the town has to offer.

The Ski Village from A Merry Christmas Match

Location: Idyllwild, San Jacinto Mountains

In A Merry Christmas Match, Corey (Ashley Newbrough), a girl working in her mom’s antique shop in a small ski village, decides to organize a Christmas pageant in honor of her late father. When a man named Ryder (Kyle Dean Massey) visits the antique shop, Corey starts second-guessing her decision to give up her dreams of becoming a theater director. The village in this Hallmark Christmas movie is set in Idyllwild, a town tucked away in the San Jacinto Mountains. Visit the Christmas movie location and experience some of the top ski resorts in the country; you can totally make a weekend getaway out of this one!

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and go on a holiday retreat to Big Bear Lake, making sure to visit famous film locations along the way.

The Mountain Resort from Snow Bride

Location: Big Bear Lake

The 2013 Hallmark movie Snow Bride was filmed in and around Big Bear Lake, a Southern California city that's popular for its scenic mountains and ski resorts. The movie tells the story of Greta Kaine (Katrina Law), a Los Angeles celebrity gossip reporter, who heads to Big Bear to cover a story on a wealthy family. Accidentally finding herself in the middle of things, Greta mistakenly ends up as a guest of the family she wants to write an exposé on. To her surprise, the family ends up being much more down to earth than she anticipated, which forces Greta to decide how far she's willing to go to write a juicy story. Whether or not you're a fan of the film, a visit to this California Hallmark movie location in Big Bear is a must for anyone who hasn’t been during the holiday months—it’s a snow-capped winter wonderland.  

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