December 16, 2019
The Hilton Garden Inn — we triple dog dare you to find a better place to stay — lies just a short drive from the home where the 1983 yuletide classic A Christmas Story was filmed. In case you’re not one of the millions who tune in to TNT or TBS annually for the film’s 24-hour Christmas Eve marathon, a quick primer: The 1940s-set tale follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to obtain a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa and survive the school bullies — not to mention his own family.
Don’t shoot your eyes out, kids, because you’re going to need ‘em: The Parker clan’s onetime abode is open for tours year-round, with extended hours this month. Visitors can walk through the familiar set, including the bathroom where Ralphie frantically decodes Orphan Annie’s secret — and devastating — message.
Across the street from the Parkers’ yellow clapboard digs, a museum displays original props from the film — including the family’s 1937 Oldsmobile and little brother Randy’s ill-fated snowsuit. Rabid fans can also pop next door to visit the Bumpus House, the fictional dwelling of the eccentric neighbors and their pack of turkey-pilfering hound dogs.
A recent visitor to Cleveland’s Christmas (story) village: MCR’s Senior Vice President of Construction Jason Garone, a superfan who has seen the flick “around 100 times.” His top moment? Posing with the fabled fra-gee-lay leg lamp won by Ralphie’s dad (and hated by his mom) in all its fish-netted and fringed glory. “I would love to get one of those,” admits Garone, who already owns a nightlight version. Luckily, the gift shop sells the shapely décor in a variety of sizes, along with Red Ryder BB guns and soap (in case you need to wash someone’s mouth out).
After your tour, head back to the Hilton Garden Inn for an Old Man-approved family dinner at the on-site Garden Grille. Then slip into your pink bunny PJs and watch A Christmas Story — we have a feeling it’ll be on.
The Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown is located at 1100 Carnegie Avenue and features:
• 240 guestrooms and suites with mini-refrigerators, microwaves and coffeemakers
• Free fast Wi-Fi
• The Garden Grille, serving a daily breakfast buffet and dinner from 5 PM to 10 PM
• Harvey’s Sports Lounge, offering a full bar and local brews
• A 24-hour convenience store, the Pavilion Pantry Market
• Room service
• A 24-hour fitness center with cardio equipment and free weights
• An indoor saltwater pool
• A 24-hour business center
• On-site laundry service
• 11,000 square feet of meeting and event space for up to 400 people
Reserve rooms by phone at (216) 658-6400 or online at hilton.com.