A modern Christmas classic, Elf stars Will Farrell as Buddy, the human elf who travels to New York City to find his dad. The film was released in 2003 and also stars James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenbergen, Daniel Tay, Faizon Love, and Peter Dinklage. Ed Asner plays Santa, and Bob Newhart is Papa Elf. You’ll even see a cameo by Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
Elf was filmed on location in New York City, and features many notable spots that you can visit.
Empire State Building
When Buddy first arrives, he uses his snow globe to track his dad down at his office, located in the Empire State Building. Scenes were filmed outside the 5th avenue entrance as well as the main lobby. Walter’s office scenes were also filmed in the building, but in private offices not accessible to the public.
Gimble’s Department Store
Exterior scenes of Gimble’s Department Store were filmed at The Textile Building. The movie used CGI to dress up the building (and oddly make it shorter). Only the bottom few floors are recognizable from the film.
The Hobb’s Apartment
For filming of the Hobb’s family apartment, the film used 55 Central Park West. This building is much more recognizable as Dana Barrett’s apartment in Ghostbusters, known as Spook Central.
Buddy Crosses the Street
One scene in Elf features Buddy jumping on the crosswalk, careful to only land on the white strips. This was filmed at the corner of 22nd St. and 5th Avenue, just outside the Flatiron Building.
The Subway Gum
While exploring the city, Buddy decides to grab a piece of gum off the railing of a subway entrance and eat it. This scene was set up at the corner of Broadway and 23rd st. Of course, Will Farrell chewed the gum himself and it was attached to some wax paper, so it wasn’t resting right on the metal.
The Revolving Door
As he continues to explore the city, Buddy finds a revolving door. He decides to go for a little spin, until he gets sick.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
As is common in so many Christmas movies, Buddy makes a visit to the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.
The finale climax, where everyone sings to power Santa’s sleigh, was filmed at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park. The area can be seen in many other movies, including Home Alone 2 and Isn’t It Romantic.