movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where Was Cheaper by the Dozen Filmed?

2003

About

Cheaper By the Dozen Synopsis

The family comedy movie Cheaper by the Dozen, which was released in theatres in 2003, is actually a remake of a movie that came out in 1950. The movie starts out in a fictional town called Midland City, Illinois where Tom and Kate Baker are raising their twelve children. Tom is a football coach at the local college and Kate is working on her book that details her life and time as a mother.

When Tom is offered a job teaching at his old college in Evanston, Illinois, he and the entire family move. He does this even though he loses the family vote, which causes things to be tense for the entire family when they do get to their new home.

There are several wild occurrences in the house with all of the children, and when Kate gets her memoir published she has to leave Tom alone as head of the house while she embarks on her book tour. Tom decides that while Kate is gone he will hire their oldest daughter, Nora, and her boyfriend, Hank, to help him take care of the other children.

In a prank that involves soaking Hank’s underwear in meat and sending the family dog after him, Nora and her boyfriend decide they won’t be helping with the kids anymore. When Tom realizes he will not be able to handle the kids he attempts to hire a housekeeper but has no luck. He ends up having the football players practice at his house, so he is able to watch the children.

The kids continue to cause trouble while Kate is on her book tour, and she ends up canceling it. In response, her agent gets Oprah to agree to filming a segment at the Baker house. However, due to all of the chaos in the household the cameraman cancels the segment, and one of the Baker sons, Mark, runs away when he sees his pet frog has died. The family frantically searches for him, and Tom ends up finding him on an Amtrak heading to their old home. Tom decides to leave his new coaching position, and the movie closes with the Baker family enjoying Christmas dinner together.

Spoiler alert: This guide has descriptions of some of the best scenes in the movie.

City Locations

Petaluma, CA. Santa Rosa, CA. Los Angeles, CA

Location Types

Houses, outdoor locations, schools

Location Styles

family homes, football stadium, city streets

Locations

Cheaper by the Dozen Locations

Cheaper by the Dozen, directed by Shawn Levy, is a popular family comedy that was filmed in various regions across California. Cities in Santa Rosa and Petaluma were used for the fictional Midland City, Illinois. This is where the Bakers live in their first home as a happy and carefree family. The home used for filming sits on Walker Road in Petaluma, California, and is still standing today. The second home that the Bakers live in Evanston, Illinois is actually located in Los Angeles, California. The large family home is still sitting on Lorraine Boulevard. The school used for Evanston Elementary, where the younger Baker children go to school, is located in Pasadena, California.

The older Baker children attend Lakeside High School, and the school used for filming was found in Long Beach, California. Both of the schools can still be seen today. The first football field featured in the movie is actually a football field on the El Camino College campus in Torrance, California. The football field in Evanston where Tom accepts his new job is in Pasadena, California on Rose Bowl Drive. The train station where Mark runs away to and is reunited with his family is a train station located in Santa Rosa, California, and it can still be seen by fans of the movie today.

Baker breakfast scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

Walker Road, Petaluma, CA

One of the first scenes in Cheaper by the Dozen shows the Baker family sitting down for breakfast, and it introduces the family to the way this chaotic family acts. Despite all of the chaos, the children and their parents do have a method to their madness, and clearly function well as a family unit. Tom and Kate Baker are the parents of 12 children, Lorraine, Mark, Charlie, Nora, Sarah, Jake, Henry, Jessica, Nigel, Kim, Kyle, and Mike. Nora is the oldest of the children and has a boyfriend named Hank who the other children do not like. All of the children work with their parents during this first scene to prepare breakfast and stay on track when things get a little too crazy.

Tom and Kate are also a happy and in love couple, who have multiple romantic scenes together.

At one point early on Tom asks his wife, “You were checking me out, weren't you?”

Kate’s response is, “Yes, I was. You got a problem with that?”

The opening breakfast scene is at the first Baker house, which is in Petaluma, California.

Chasing Beans scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

Walker Road, Petaluma, CA

While the first scenes of Cheaper by the Dozen show the family working together, they also show the chaos that the family of fourteen frequently has to deal with. While creating breakfast together, Mark loses track of his pet frog Beans, and the entire family has to work to catch him. He is found in the lamp hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen, and the family goes on a hilarious chase to catch him. Fans consider this one of the funniest scenes in Cheaper by the Dozen.

At one point one of the kids exclaims, “He's headed for the waffles!”

This is also when Mark is called FedEx by one of his siblings, and reveals he was given the nickname because the other kids say he doesn’t fit in.

Before leaving the house after chasing Beans, Mark says, “Everybody says the FedEx guy dropped me off...'cause I don't fit in with this family.”

His mom promptly assures him that he does fit with them. This scene was also filmed at the first Baker home which sits on Walker Road in Petaluma, California.

Training the team scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

4th Street and Lorraine Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

When the Bakers move out of Midland and to their new home in Evanston, chaos follows. Kate gets her book published and has to leave for a book tour, which means Tom will be alone and in charge of the kids. Nora and Hank promise to help babysit, but when the kids pull a prank on him, they storm out and leave Tom on his own. He even tries to hire a nanny but is repeatedly turned down because of all the children he has.

During one call he says, “There's only two, oh plus ten,” and in another call he says, “How many kids? Well, uh, when you get here we can just count 'em up.”

After making the final call Tom states, “Hello, I'll just hang up by myself,” before giving up on finding a nanny.

As his last resort, Tom decides to train his football team at the house so they can help him with the Baker children.

After telling the team his plan he says, “Get my kids and meet me at my house. Ready? Break.”

The training scene film shoot is at the new Baker house, which is located in Los Angeles, California on Lorraine Boulevard.

The meat prank scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

4th Street and Lorraine Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

One of the funniest scenes in Cheaper by the Dozen is the meat prank that the children play on Nora’s boyfriend Hank, who is an actor and model that actively states his dislike for kids. This scene was also filmed at the Lorraine Boulevard location in Los Angeles, California. When Nora and Hank come over to help with the kids while Kate is gone, they soak his underwear in raw meat before he puts them on. While they are sitting down for dinner, the kids send the family dog after Hank, and another chaotic scene erupts. This leads both Hank and Nora to storm out, refusing to help anymore.

When talking to the kids about their prank, Tom says, “You soaked his underwear in meat. That is so wrong. Funny, but wrong.”

Sarah Baker is the kid behind many of the pranks played against Hank, and Tom tells her, “You have a dark gift, Sarah Baker.”

Oprah cancels scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

4th Street and Lorraine Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Towards the end of the movie, Kate is trying to get her family under control to film a segment with Oprah Winfrey about her book. The book is about Kate’s life with twelve kids, and she wants them to act like the functioning and well-behaved family that she wrote about. However, it becomes clear to the parents and the cameraman that this will not be happening, and the segment ends up getting cancelled. During the height of the arguing, Mark reveals that his pet frog Beans has died.

Sarah tells Mark, “Nobody cares about your stupid frog right now, FedEx, OK?”

This upsets Mark, so he says, “Stop calling me that,” before running off.

This scene takes place in the new Baker house, but quickly after Mark runs from his family he decides to run together completely.

Mark runs away scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

Old Train Station, 4th Street and Mendocino Avenue, Palo Alto, CA

After his frog dies and Mark gets in a fight with his family, he runs away to the Amtrak station to try and take a train back to the old Baker home. However, the family does not realize this at first, and they all split up to look for him. This is also what leads Nora to break up with Hank when he expresses no concern for Mark being gone.

When Nora asks, “Did you not hear me? My brother is missing!” Hank's response is, “Did you not hear me? I'm on TV!”

Tom is the one who ends up finding Mark at the train station, after realizing his son would likely try and return to their old house. After finding Mark, he is reunited with the rest of the family.

The train station meant to be the Amtrak station that Mark runs to is actually located in Santa Rosa, California, and it is still standing today.

Christmas with the Bakers scene in Cheaper by the Dozen

4th Street and Lorraine Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

The final scene in the movie shows the Bakers together as a happy family again after Mark has been found, and they are sitting down to enjoy Christmas dinner. Shortly after they do, the chandelier that has fallen multiple times since moving into their new home falls down once again.

After this last scene in Cheaper by the Dozen, Kate has a voiceover about how 12 has always been their number. This is similar to the voiceover she has at the start of the movie when she is also talking about her family.

“I guess you could say that when Tom and I left Midland we had a mess of theories about how to raise children. We still have a mess of children, but no theories. Sure, 12 is still our number. It's the number of months my book was on the bestseller list. It's the number of job offers Tom turned down before we found one close to home. And each day it's the number of times I'm thankful there's such a thing as family,” Kate says.

Conclusion

Cheaper by the Dozen Conclusion

Cheaper by the Dozen, starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt and directed and produced by Shawn Levy, has been an iconic family film since it was released in theatres on Christmas Day of 2003. The movie follows Tom Baker, who has accepted a new coaching job and has to uproot his family in the process.

The children are upset about this, and what was usually a happy family becomes one full of fighting and tension. As the tension gets worse, young Mark runs off and leads his family on a frantic search, before everyone is brought together for Christmas Dinner. While the movie shows fictional locations in Illinois, the locations used were found across Southern California. The cities of Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma were all used, and these locations can be visited by fans today.