'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' Found Solace in the Centennial State

'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' sets the mood with a festive backdrop in Chicago. Did the movie film on location or somewhere else?

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Dec. 9 2021, Published 3:45 p.m. ET

The Griswold family in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' (1989)
Source: Warner Bros.

Despite the title and travels in previous installments, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation sees the Griswold clan at home. The Christmas comedy follows patriarch Clark Griswold's (Chevy Chase) attempt to provide his family with a good old-fashioned Christmas celebration.

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Of course, holidays are all about spending time with family and basking in the festive spirit, but things don't always go as planned. With one disaster after another, the Griswold family Christmas looks like a failure until everything that went wrong gets better. In the end, everyone has a wonderful holiday, as the spirit of the season calls for.

Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, and Miriam Flynn in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
Source: Warner Bros.
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Now, we know that most of the film takes place at the Griswold residence, and might we say it's breathtaking. The wintry backdrop and various landscapes capture the essence of the holiday season, and if you're like us, then you're curious to know where Christmas Vacation was filmed. Luckily, we have you covered — keep reading to learn all about the filming locations of the 1989 classic!

Where was 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' filmed?

Though the story takes place in Chicago, Ill., less than half of the movie was filmed in the Windy City. Chicago was used primarily for establishing shots.

Per the official Christmas Vacation IMDb page, the flick filmed partly at the Marshall Field & Co. Department Store located on 111 N. State Street in Downtown Chicago. Also, the John Hancock Center, located at 875 N. Michigan Avenue, was used for Clark's boss Frank Shirley's office.

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The moment after Aunt Bethany's cat get's electrocuted in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
Source: Warner Bros.

A large amount of Christmas Vacation was filmed in Colorado, aka the Centennial State. Several comedic scenes in the movie were filmed in Breckenridge, Colo. The GoBreck blog revealed, "The Christmas tree cutting scene was filmed at the Breckenridge Golf Course/Highlands area near Tiger Rd."

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Additionally, filming took place around Frisco: "After Clark rides down the hill on his silicone sprayed saucer, he is seen dodging traffic on the road. That section of road is in Frisco on Summit Boulevard. He eventually ends up in the Toys for Tots bin in front of the Walmart in Frisco," the blog added.

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The opening scenes with Clark's road rage and dangerous experience with the logging truck "were shot north of Silverthorne near the Maryland Creek Ranch/LG Everist," GoBreck reported. "The final landing of the car was at the Breckenridge Golf Course, near Georgia Pass on Tiger Rd."

A lesser-known fact about the Christmas Vacation is that the Summit High School (now Summit Middle School) gymnasium floor stood in for Clark's attic. The school, located in Frisco, was used for the scene where Clark watches old home movies. During this time, "There was a huge snowstorm during this portion of filming," and, "Breckenridge received 87 inches in five days," according to GoBreck.

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Along with Chicago and Colorado, the film was shot in California. The Griswold's residence exterior was filmed at the Warner Bros. Ranch.

Glendale was another filming location, specifically for the home of Clark's boss Frank, located at 727 West Kenneth Road.

The Cinemaholic also stated there were two other areas filmed in Cali, including, "Clark’s office building’s interior, which was filmed at 444 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles."

The publication also reported, "The interior of the mall, where Clark has a visibly uncomfortable conversation with a lingerie saleswoman, was filmed at 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles."

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