Itinerary: Filmed in CLE
Movie Fans Can Explore Movie Locations From Flicks Filmed in Cleveland
By Lexi Hotchkiss, Image by Howard Agriesti
Ever wanted to step foot in the very places where many of your favorite movies were filmed?
Reroute that planned flight to Hollywood, and head to Cleveland to rock your IMDB-loving world.
Fun fact: The city is a haven for some pretty popular movie productions that range from classics like A Christmas Story to high-action flicks like The Avengers.
Thanks in large part to the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, the movie industry is seriously mugging on C-town.
Add to that, the region is, frankly, close-up ready with its unique locales ranging from deep forests and large bodies of water to innovative attractions and urban cityscapes.
And, it’s the esteemed Greater Cleveland Film Commission that is coordinating these productions, which have generated an estimated $400 million in economic impact, as well as hundreds of new jobs.
Where to go? What to see?
Rise and Shine: Splendid Cleveland
In 2003, actor Paul Giamatti portrayed legendary Clevelander and comic book series creator Harvey Pekar in the film American Splendor.
Make way to Shay’s Restaurant (4001 Saint Clair Ave.), the authentically Cleveland breakfast joint where — in both the movie and real life — Pekar convinced Robert Crumb to be his illustrator. Shay’s serves up massive plate-loads of breakfast faves like eggs, bacon and some butter-drenched grits.
A.M.: Art in Action
Grab your cape and tights! It’s time to check out the Cleveland Museum of Art and its esteemed collection of more than 30,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years—free of charge.
What’s with the super hero look?
The museum’s opulent, 39,000-square-foot, three-story, glass-enclosed atrium was depicted as the SHIELD headquarters in the 2014 high-action blockbuster Captain America: Winter Soldier.
While you likely won’t run into Black Widow or Captain America there, it’s favorable that you’ll cross paths with a Monet or Picasso.
Lunch: Yum Size
Tommy’s Restaurant in Coventry Village has been a treasured neighborhood tradition for decades. The restaurant, which boasts a menu of whole and healthy foods (long before that was the cool thing to do), was once an old stomping ground for Harvey Pekar, the main character in the movie American Splendor.
After you’ve had one of Tommy’s famous chocolate peanut butter milkshakes, take a gander down the eclectic Coventry Ave., which served as a major set location for the 2012 Nickelodeon movie Fun Size, starring Victoria Justice.
P.M.: Welcome to Waterloo!
Back in 2002, the film Welcome to Collinwood hit theaters. Starring William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter and George Clooney, the comedy — set in the very neighborhood for which it was named — tells the story of a group of nitwit delinquents who epically fail at becoming pro criminals.
Get cozy with Collinwood inside the neighborhood’s funky Waterloo Arts District featuring the ever-popular Beachland Ballroom. Quirky and artsy meets history and diversity in this burgeoning east side spot that boasts cool events, live tunes, art studios, vinyl shops, indie boutiques, craft beer and cafes.
Evening: Pitch Perfect Palace
Whether you saw it in theaters when it came out in 1997 or simply enjoy the couch-surfing weekend reruns, Air Force One showed us that Harrison Ford would make for one bad-ass President. We also learn that Cleveland’s got its very own royal castle.
During the opening credits of Air Force One, there’s a scene portraying a nighttime raid on the palace of the president of Kazakhstan. It turns out that this “palace” is actually Severance Hall, the majestic home of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Score tickets to an evening performance by this world-class orchestra and scope out the concert hall’s strikingly beautiful neo-classical design.
Rise & Shine: To Market To Market
Marked by its 137-foot-tall clock tower, 44-foot tile ceiling and hundreds of vendors, the historic West Side Market is quite the spectacle of culture, history and food. So, it’s unsurprising that filmmakers would want to highlight this gem.
In the 2015 film Jenny’s Wedding starring Katherine Heigl, the main character lunches at the historic market.
Turns out, IRL you can dine at the West Side Market by perusing various vendor stands or by smashing a sit-down meal in the attached West Side Market Café.
A.M.: Tremont Technicolor
The community of Tremont isn’t just known for its collection of cool boutiques, nationally touted eateries, hipster art galleries and laid-back bars. In fact, the neighborhood has served as filming locations for two major motion pictures.
Most notably is the 1983 cult classic A Christmas Story, in which several scenes were shot right here in Cleveland, including the exterior of the Parker family home.
Today, that very home is now a visitor attraction — one that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Opened in 2006, every nook and cranny inside A Christmas Story House has been completely renovated to look exactly as the home was portrayed in the movie.
Hide under the sink like Randy when he was sure “Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie.” Snap a selfie next to the Christmas tree holding a Red Ryder BB Gun. And, run outside to escape Black Bart and the bad guys.
Head north into Tremont and you’ll uncover several filming locations from the 1978 film The Deer Hunter starring Robert De Nero, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep.
Schedule a tour (216.741.1310) of the ornate St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Tremont where Steven wed Angela. Get some pics in front of Lemko Hall on the corner of W. 11th St. and Literary St., which was the location of the famous wedding reception scene.
Then, get noshing at Lilly Handmade Chocolates, a charming boutique chocolate shop that was, during the movie filming, the location of the Eagle Supermarket where Linda worked.
Lunch: Crash, Chase, Chomp
If you think eating at a downtown grocery store for lunch seems strange, you obviously haven’t visited Heinen’s Downtown Cleveland on the corner of Euclid Ave. and E. 9th St.
The huge grocery store (which boasts gourmet prepared foods) is located inside the breathtaking Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building, an architectural masterpiece of the early 20th century.
Step outside, however, and you might imagine a high-intensity, edge-of-your-seat action film unfolding before your eyes. This very location was featured in the 2007 blockbuster Spider-Man 3 in which Spider-Man is dragged and pulled from an armored truck leading to a destructive attack scene escalating down Euclid Ave.
P.M.: Things’ll Be Great When You’re Downtown
Spend the afternoon exploring Downtown Cleveland while scoping some movie locales. Who knows, you might just celeb-spot while in town.
If, when standing on the newly revived Public Square, you suddenly feel the urge to defend the world from an alien army, we’ll understand. After all, that was from a famous scene from The Avengers, which required the entire area to be transformed into Stuttgart, Germany during filming.
Public Square also played set location in A Christmas Story during the scene when Ralphie, Randy and the family are bundled up together watching the downtown Christmas festivities.
Along the lakefront, schedule a tour (or go to a game!) at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns. Built in 1999, this open-air stadium was a key filming location for the 2014 sports drama Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.
Prior to its construction, the site was once home to the city’s beloved Cleveland Municipal Stadium. It was on those hallowed grounds that shots from the 1989 comedy Major League and 1966 movie The Fortune Cookie were filmed.
Dinner: Well Done Drama
In the 2014 drama Alex Cross, Tyler Perry plays a Detroit homicide detective who’s on a mission to bring down a serial killer. In one of the film’s pivotal scenes, Alex Cross is seen dining with his wife when the serial killer calls his cell phone.
The restaurant where they’re dining is actually XO Prime Steaks located in Cleveland’s historic Warehouse District. The upscale steakhouse adorned with crystal chandeliers and sexy city streetscape views is known for its USDA prime steak.
Evening: Cherished Chances
The disappointment was palpable when Santa Claus gave Ralphie an emphatic thumbs down on the Red Ryder BB Gun during the department store scene in A Christmas Story.
That scene was shot inside Cleveland’s cherished Higbee Department Store that closed its doors in 2002 after more than 60 years of operation.
Lucky for you, that historic building is now home to JACK Cleveland Casino, featuring 1,600+ slot machines, 119 table games and 35 electronic table games. Much of the building’s interior architecture has been maintained over the years so that visitors can still view the brass facades and other ornate details that you can spot in the movie.
Want to check out more filming location? Visit our friends at the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.