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Little does he know, Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human living in an elf’s world. After climbing into Santa’s sack of gifts as a baby, he was brought to the North Pole and raised as an elf.  But being 6’3” Buddy cannot ignore the differences between himself and the elves. Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) finally breaks the news–Buddy’s biological father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), lives in a far-off place called New York City. But the biggest shock of all-his father is on the naughty list!  And so Buddy sets off for New York City to meet his dad, and hopefully change his standing on Santa’s list.

If only Buddy was on a NYC TV & Movie Tour to show him the sites and teach him some critical rules–like watch out for taxis, and don’t eat used chewing gum! An excited Buddy makes his way to his father’s office at the Empire State Building but is greeted with a not-so-excited reception. Luckily Buddy is much more welcome at Gimbels — his elf outfit gets him mistaken for a toy department employee. Fun fact: Producers wanted to feature the famous Macy’s 34th street location, the largest store in the world, but Macy’s refused to have their name used. So they settled on Gimbels, a now defunct NY department store–the exterior was shot at 5th Avenue and E 30th St and decorated with CGI. If you’re in New York for the holidays season, see even more Elf filming locations on the Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour.

Buddy’s luck picks up on a first date with co-worker Jovie ice skating at Rockefeller Center under the biggest Christmas tree he’s ever seen, even having his first kiss! In the meanwhile, he’s crashing at his dad’s apartment in the chic Upper West Side at 55 Central Park West. Trying to bond with the family, he accompanies his brother Michael to Central Park,where Buddy’s snowball fighting skills go unmatched, earning him Michaels respect. Feeling lonely still he climbs the Queensboro Bridge to get away from it all; but don’t worry he’s not going to jump! He spots Santa’s sleigh crash and races to find him.

The film culminates in Central Park after Buddy sees Santa’s sleigh crash – due to the lack of Christmas cheer.

Quick-thinking Jovie remembers “the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear” and leads the  gathering crowd in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  The sleigh still struggles to fly, clipping the Bethesda Terrace fountain and almost crashing. The sleigh finally clears the treeline and flies into the distance. Relive Buddy’s triumphant moments on the Central Park Tour of TV & Movie Sites and the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour.

In November of 2018, Elf turned 15 years old! In honor of this monumental anniversary, upload a picture with your favorite Elf quote and tag @onlocationtours to get a free gift certificate for a tour of your choice (valid through the end of 2018.)

* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.