New York City: A Holiday Movie Tour
November 08 2021
What are the Holidays without relaxing evenings in front of fire, with a hot cocoa and rewatching your favorite festive movies? New York City has been the film set and backdrop of some of the best Christmas movies over the last 70 years – earning Central Park the title of “most filmed location in the world”.
If you’re staying on the Upper West Side this winter and want to try something different, a holiday movie tour is a unique way to see the city. The wintery weather and snowy streets make it the perfect time of year for recreating your favorite scenes with friends or family (great for this year’s holiday card!).
Home Alone 2
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York City is a family favorite set and filmed in NYC. Despite the film being almost 30 years old, many of the filming locations are unchanged and easy to find in the city.
The Queensboro Bridge
As soon as Kevin arrives in the city, he hails a cab and takes it over the Queensboro Bridge. The bridge is almost a mile long and the pedestrian walkway is a great location to photograph the New York City skyline as well as the Home Alone 2 scene.
Radio City Music Hall
Just a 30-minute walk from the Hotel Beacon, south of Central Park, the Radio City Music Hall’s exterior is completely unchanged from the scene. The location gets very busy in the holiday period thanks to the Rockette Christmas Spectacular, so avoid visiting as a show starts or finishes if you want to skip the crowds!
Statue of Jose de San Martin, Central Park
After running from the pigeon lady, the statue of Jose de San Martin points Kevin in the right direction back to his hotel. The statue isn’t as well known as others in the park, but it’s unchanged since the time of shooting for fans of the film.
Wollman Rink, Central Park
Bad guys Marv and Harry enjoy an afternoon at the Wollman Rink while brainstorming their next move. The ice rink changes slightly year on year but is mostly unchanged – and no trip to NYC would be complete without a trip to the Wollman Rink and an alfresco ice skating session in the park.
Towards the end of the film Kevin heads to Times Square. It’s unlikely you’ll find the square as quiet as it is in the movie – but you can’t visit NYC without visiting the most famous spot. There’s no time of day when it's quiet to visit the area – but it often gets busiest between 7 and 8pm as the guests arrive for the Broadway shows so it’s best to avoid the early evening.
Christmas Tree, Rockefeller Plaza
Perhaps the most famous scene in the movie was filmed at the Rockefeller Plaza, where Kevin finally reunites with his mom. A giant Christmas tree is erected every year, and it’s a huge tourist attraction for visitors during the festive period - the site gets busier the closer it is the Christmas, so go early if you can.
Miracle on 34th Street
Did you know the original Miracle on 34th Street movie was released in May and the fact it was a holiday movie was kept under wraps until it’s release in theatres? Film producers wanted to encourage more people to visit the cinema in the summertime – and despite the time of year Miracle on 34th Street is one of the most popular Christmas films ever made.
Macy’s Department Store
All scenes in Macy’s were filmed on location in the department store. The exterior of the store is mostly unchanged, creating a great photo opportunity of the original scene. While the interior has been updated multiple times, during the holiday season the store transforms into Santaland and is a must-see for any family. Visit the 8th floor to see Santa (reservations are recommended) and explore 13,000 square feet of Christmas displays.
The Real Thanksgiving Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place every year on last Thursday in November and attracts 3.5 million spectators. The original film uses footage from the 1946 parade – the event is ticketless so it’s not too late to plan your visit and see the event live, read our tips for seeing the Parade to make the most of the day.
New York County Supreme Court
The ongoing court case throughout the film is filmed at the New York County Supreme Court. The exterior of the building with the grand pillars and steps were seen in the film and are open to the public. Guests to the court are invited to tour the public portions of the building and any exhibitions taking place – giving you a chance to visit the location of the interior scenes too.
Empire State Building
The first place Buddy the Elf visits when he arrives in New York City, is the Empire State Building to see his dad at work. You won’t be able to sneak into his office, but there are many areas of the building that are open to the public – including the unmissable viewing deck offering some of the best views across the city.
Dad’s Apartment on the Upper West Side
Right here on the Upper West Side – just a 15-minute walk from the Hotel Beacon – you can find Buddy’s Dad’s beautiful UWS home. Find the house at 55 Central Park West – the home is also the filming location of Dana Barrnett’s home in GhostBusters.
Central Park Pinebank Arch
By December the first snowfall of the year will likely have fallen across the city – meaning you can recreate the famous snowball fight in Central Park at the Pinebank Arch, but remember to wrap up warm!
Central Park Bethesda Fountain
While you visit Central Park another famous scene in the movie is the crash of Santa’s Sleigh. The crash takes place in front of the Bethesda Fountain – it’s unlikely to be very busy in the winter months and there are plenty of other attractions close-by for the whole family to enjoy.
Rockefeller Center Ice Rink
Buddy takes Jovie to the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink on their first date – this years’ ice rink opened on November 6th and will be open into the new year. It’s recommended to buy tickets online, rather than at the box office – especially as it gets closer to Christmas. Located in front of the famous Rockefeller Tree, the ice rink is one of the most popular in the city and shouldn’t be missed!
If you’re visiting New York City this holiday season, The Hotel Beacon is located in the heart of the action. Learn more about our apartment-style suites a stone’s throw from Central Park.