Christmas Vacation Filming Locations: Where was the Movie Shot?

Christmas Vacation Filming Locations: Where was the Movie Shot?

Of the funniest movies in the National Lampoon’s “Vacation” series is Christmas Vacation, a special X-mas version of a family gathering. In that movie, the Griswolds stay at home for Christmas, but only to have the wildest times across a rowdy December.

Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Juliette Lewis, and Randy Quaid, the movie is chock-full of cultural references: From the infamous chainsaw scene, Clark trying to set up the Christmas exterior lights while drowning the nuclear power plant, sledding down a snowy hill with a very polished hubcap, and of course, Clark’s daydreams of a hot summer with a luscious woman in his pool. 

As a bonus trivia fact for you, this is the only “Vacation” series movie not to feature the famous “Holiday Road” tune, but that’s because the Grisworlds stayed at home. But setting those things aside, we’re here to tell you where all the magic took place; we’re here to explain the Christmas Vacation filming locations, so strap in for a ride with the Griswolds. 

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Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold (Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Christmas Vacation Filming Locations

The script for this classic came out of the mind of the great John Hughes, the same man that brought us films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and was directed by the great Chris Columbus, another great man behind the camera for movies like “Home Alone” and “Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.” 

The photography for this movie started on late March 1989 in Summit County, Colorado, with lots of scenes shot all through Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Frisco. With some other exterior shots filmed in downtown Chicago, Illinois. After the exteriors were done, the cast and crew moved to Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank to shoot the indoor scenes. 

Warner Bros. Ranch, Burbank, California

The famous Griswold house and the street they live in are located in a mass set in Burbank, California, which belongs to the renowned Warner Bros. Pictures studios. More specifically, the scenes were shot in Stages 21 and 18. Furthermore, many pictures were shot in that location. Among the most famous ones are Sam Mendes’ “American Beauty,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Ture Lies,” and Marvel’s “Wandavision.” 

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Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
The Griswold home and street, located at Warner Bros. Ranch (Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Silverthorne, Colorado

In Silverthorne is where they shot that famous scene where the Griswolds are on their way to buy a Christmas tree, their compact family car gets dangerously caught underneath a huge logging truck, and Clark has a maniacal fit. 

Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
The highway in Silverthorne (Credits: Michael Stefan YouTube Channel)

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Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge is a city in Colorado where Chris Columbus and the cast and crew shot the famous scenes of the Griswolds going out for a day of sledding. In that scene, Clark Griswold polishes a hub cap with industrial shine and has a wild ride crashing into a Walmart. 

Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
Breckenridge during the summer (Credits: Preising Productions YouTube Channel)

Frisco, Colorado

In that final crazy ride where Clark rides a polished hubcap down a snowy hill, he ends up crashing into a Walmart parking lot. The Walmart scene took place in Frisco, Colorado. Inside that Walmart, they also shot several dialogue scenes with Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase as they went shopping. 

Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
Aerial drone view of Frisco (Credits: Quench Your Adventure YouTube Channel)

Chicago, Illinois

The Griswolds live in the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois. And several shots had to be filmed there to give the audience a sense of location. In the movie, we see several iconic locations of this midwest American metropolis, like the John Hancock Center, the famous Marshall Field & Co. Department Store, and the Chicago Loop.

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Christmas Vacation Filming Locations
The Chicago skyline (Credits: TAPP YouTube Channel)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a now-iconic period comedy with a great cast, a seasonal movie that, year after year and generation after the next, continues to make people laugh. It is one of the greatest movies ever made by Chris Columbus and the late John Hughes. Now, you know where all the action takes place.

Also Read: Home Alone 1 Filming Locations: Where was the Classic Movie Filmed?

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