Favorite pop-culture field trips

Homealone_lAs much as I’ve enjoyed reading about Mandi’s (and your) prized pop-culture possessions, I can’t help but feel a little left out considering I have nary a New Kids on the Block Trapper Keeper or signed Ricky Schroder glossy to my name. But what I lack in the memorabilia department I make up for with something a bit less tangible (though equally fulfilling) — pop-culture field trips.

Whether it’s a cafe featured in You’ve Got Mail or an Alexander Calder sculpture that got two seconds of screen time in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I’ve been there. But there is one hollowed ground that stands bricks above the rest, my Mecca: The house from Home Alone.

When the holiday caper flick hit theaters in 1990, I was the same age as burglar-bashing hero Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin, pictured). Something about a kid my age kicking adult butt really resonated with me, and it’s been one of my favorite movies ever since. So when I moved to the Chicago suburbs a few years ago and found out the house was only a few miles away, I just had to see it. I googled the address (which, funny enough, is almost the exact same street address Culkin gives the grocery store clerk in the movie), and headed out into Illinois’ sub-freezing tundra. Sadly, much like a larger-than-life screen star, the house seemed downright tiny. But that didn’t stop me from taking every single guest that visited me that year in Chicago on an excursion to the house (no matter how they felt about the movie).

But I can’t be the only one who enjoys these kinds of outings. What about you, PopWatchers? Have you ever surreptitiously stalked a famous house or bought a bagel just ’cause the joint was in a movie? Or do you prefer more "legit" trips? (I’m thinking of places like Graceland, Dollywood, or Dallas’ Southfork, which still gets 300,000 visitors a year even though the show ended 17 years ago.) Please tell us about your favorite pop-culture field trip.

addCredit(“Home Alone; Everett Collection”)

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  • Jennifer

    Everytime I’m in New York I HAVE to swing by the NY Public Library and say hello to the lions… Because they were the opening shot of Ghostbusters. (I still haven’t found the fire station that served as Ghostbusters headquarters; I think it’s in Tribeca somewhere)

  • Leslie

    Hey, Amy, where is this house? I just moved to Chicago burbs myself, so I’ll hafta visit. The only pop culture-y visit I’ve had since I’ve been here is to hold hands with a group as we “danced” through the Art Museum. Oh, and my old college downtown was in a scene from the Untouchables, but that doesn’t really count.

  • Leslie

    dancing through Art Institute from Ferris Bueller.

  • Leslie

    dancing through Art Institute from Ferris Bueller.

  • Winona

    I’m going to Cleveland in September, and am hoping to visit the Christmas Story house.

  • Lola

    I always wanted to go to Serendipity in NYC because of a scene in One Fine Day where Michelle Pfeiffer takes her son and a neighbor for lunch. Maybe one day I’ll have that Frozen Hot Chocolate. sigh.

  • katie jane

    i went to high school directly across the street from ABC studios on Buena Vista in Burbank, during ALIAS’s 2,3,4&5 seasons. i pretty much thought i could be Sydney Bristow ‘when i grew up’, so knowing they filmed my favorite show mere feet away from me while i was stuck in PE drove me nuts. they often filmed around the ABC building and streets, so i’d make my friends go with me after school, in our little catholic school girl uniforms, to find the spots where they filmed. the secret extrance to their spy headquarters (under the freeway over pass) was one i really wanted to see, and LITERALLY ALMOST GOT MY FRIEND RUN OVER, crossing the dangerous street. if she’d have died at 15 i’d have felt really bad, but i DID get to take a picture.
    also, my friend’s mom is a producer on boston legal, so i was always pestering her to get me on the ABC lot. the first time i got on, i ran around in from of the ABC building pretending i was Sark, shooting the place up. my friend was mortified.

  • Sarah

    My dream vacation is to go to New Zealand and go on a Lord of the Rings tour. Hopefully I’ll get to do it while they are filming The Hobbit so we can see some sets!

  • Nicole S.

    Oh, I’ve definitely done some of these. I went to the Dresden (Swingers) to see Marty and Elaine. I went to Serendipity in New York (Serendipity) to have frozen hot chocolate, their specialty. AND I went to the cafe in You’ve Got Mail…because I had to!

  • Rahul

    The only place I visited specifically for pop-culture satisfaction was the Griffin Observatory in LA, which was used in a lot of TV shows and movies, greatest of all being ‘Rebel Without a Cause’.
    I stumbled upon the Park Luncheonette that was seen in ‘The Departed’ last year. Sorry to spoil it for the Boston fans, but that locale is actually in Brooklyn, NY.
    And yes, I was also dragged to Cafe Lalo (sp?) from ‘You’ve Got Mail’.

  • Kelly

    last year when I went to London, I made my friends go to Portobello Road! Ever since Bedknobs and Broomsticks I have been dying to go!

  • Stephanie T.

    A few times my younger brother and I made Encino Man jokes at a 7-11. “Hot on the outside, icicle in the middle!’ “Two minutes, haha!”

  • E.B. Berman

    Fell’s Point in Baltimore. So I could see Homicide: Life on the Street’s police station, Waterfront bar, and Jimmy’s (where I got an egg cream.)

  • Saybo

    I work in Boulder, Colorado so I love driving people past the Mork & Mindy house.
    When I lived in Chicago, the city is in so many movies, I felt like everywhere I turned was a pop culture hotspot. After seeing Dark Knight, & seeing the crazy semi-truck chase scene, I was reminded of how much I loved driving on Lower Wacker Drive to be like the Blues Brothers.

  • Jennifer

    I few years ago I flew up to Indiana to visit James Dean’s hometown. I saw his high school, the farmhouse where he grew up and the shop where he bought his first motorcycle. Then I visited his grave and took some dirt from it. On the way back to the airport in Indianapolis I stopped at a tattoo parlor and gote the date that he died (9-30-55) inked on my ankle. I called the whole trip my “pilgrimage to Mecca.” :-P

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