Where was Groundhog Day filmed?
Apartment, Victorian, Banquet Halls, Theatres
Bed & Breakfast, Gothic/Victorian, Retreat
About Groundhog Day
How would you feel about reexperiencing your least favorite day of the year all over again? Just repeating it once sounds like a horrible idea, so imagine the protagonist’s feeling after having to relive a terrible day again and again. First released on February 12, 1993, Groundhog Day is a beloved romantic comedy starring Bill Murray, playing the character of a self-centered weatherman Phil Connors, who is caught in a time loop.
If you haven’t seen this film classic, even after its return to the big screen in 4K Ultra HD, you’re missing out. Or maybe, you just need a bit of a refresher on your favorite movie. Don’t worry because we gathered some interesting details on the scenes, including several Groundhog Day filming locations worth visiting today.
The story revolves around an egocentric and arrogant weather forecaster working for a local station in Pittsburg. He isn’t very nice to those around him, belittling them, including the news producer, Rita Hanson, played by Andie MacDowell, and the cameraman, Larry, played by Chris Elliott. But among the many things he disdains, he probably specifically loathes Groundhog Day the most.
He doesn’t like that he has to travel all the way to Punxsutawney only to cover a Groundhog Day festival, which he has been doing for four consecutive years. While he does his current job, he constantly mentions a great job waiting for him in the future. He seems to be living in the future, caught up in his desires for success in the coming years, and wants his present to pass as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, instead of the days swiftly passing by, he encounters a dead-end in the form of a time loop. Initially, he uses his knowledge of the repeated day and events for selfish purposes. But he eventually has a change of heart and starts becoming a better person.
Groundhog Day Locations
This 1993 comedy film is set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a borough in Jefferson County. But none of the scenes from the movie were filmed there. Instead, the Groundhog Day production took place in different locations around Woodstock, Illinois, approximately 61 miles northwest of Chicago.
You can even find a plaque on the sidewalk outside 108 Cass Street that reads, “Bill Murray stepped here.” In the movie, Bill’s character, Phil Connors, continually steps off a curb and into a puddle. This location is now marked with a sidewalk plaque.
The movie's filming was a big deal and a wonderful occasion for the residents. Everyone was supportive that many locals even brought heaters for the cast and crew to keep them warm since Groundhog Day was filmed in the middle of the freezing winter.
Until this day, Woodstock residents gather to celebrate their own Groundhog Day festival since the movie’s making in 1992. It involves dinner dancing, free showings of the film, and a walking tour of some of the notable Groundhog Day locations in the town. It’s a fun and exciting gathering that has been going on even after virtually three decades since the filming.
Perhaps, it’s hard to imagine the classic Groundhog Day without Bill Murray. But he was not the only actor considered to play Phil Connors. Even Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks were approached for the role.
The Pennsylvania Hotel scene in Groundhog Day
Woodstock Opera House, Woodstock, IL
At the beginning of the movie, you’ll see the trio driving to Punxsutawney, PA, until they reach the grand Pennsylvania Hotel. But Phil immediately refuses to stay at the hotel because he was miserable the last time he was there two years ago. “It’s a fleabag,” he describes. Thankfully, the majestic building is not a hotel in real life, so you don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep because of fleas.
Serving as a backdrop for this Groundhog Day film scene is the Woodstock Opera House, a historic venue that was built in 1889. It’s one of the key points of interest in the downtown area that serves as a home for the City Hall, Auditorium, Library, and the Police and Fire Departments.
Today, it remains the center of the community, hosting several performances, concerts, art exhibitions, and other events throughout the year. With more than 500 professional and amateur events and activities happening here every year, there’s a big chance you’ll be able to catch one when you visit. It is also equipped with modern facilities and experienced staff for special events, parties, and private functions.
If you’re on a filming tour, it’s one of the first sites you shouldn’t miss. It is located at 121 Van Buren Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Woodstock Metra Station. It is open from 11 am to 4 pm, from Sunday through Friday, except Monday and between 8 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.
Phil meets Ned scene in Groundhog Day
100 Cass Street, Woodstock, IL
On his way to cover the Groundhog Day festival in town, Phil meets a man who’s so enthusiastic and thrilled to see him. He introduced himself as “Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky), Niddlenose Ned, Ned the Head” from Case Western High, who once dated his sister. But Phil isn’t very keen to converse with this man, who is now selling him life insurance. While trying to escape from Ned, he steps into a puddle, where a small plaque is currently located.
This outdoor setting where Phil repeatedly bumps into Ned is on the northeast corner of the Town Square in Woodstock. To be specific, it’s at Cass Street with lines of shops, boutiques, and cafes. You can walk around the street to buy interesting items, go window shopping, or eat at one of the cafes and hang out with friends.
Since it’s centrally located, it is close to several bus stops and other main attractions. You can take buses 808 and 807, with stops close to the street.
The Bread & Breakfast scene in Groundhog Day
Cherry Tree Inn B&B, Woodstock, IL
Phil hates the Pennsylvania Hotel but doesn’t mind the Cherry Street Inn. It’s B&B, wherein he’ll find himself waking up every day to find out he’s reliving February 2, Groundhog Day. While Mrs. Lancaster (Angela Paton) tries making small talk with him, he is being sarcastic and insincere with his interactions with people.
He even gave a detailed and technical explanation of the weather condition when Mrs. Lancaster mentioned the blizzard to chitchat. Unfortunately, Phil isn’t much of a friendly conversationalist.
The fictional Cherry Street Inn was one of the primary Groundhog Day locations worth exploring today. It used to be the Royal Victorian Manor but is now known as the Cherry Tree Inn B&B. It’s a charming late 19th-century building, celebrated as a historic and relaxing destination in the town. It takes pride in its quiet and welcoming atmosphere, as well as its friendly and accommodating hostess.
If you want to stay where Phil Connors lived, consider checking in one of Cherry Tree Inn B&B rooms. You can choose from several rooms, but you can also rent the entire house if you prefer a vacation rental. This way, you’d have access to more than 4,000 square feet indoors, gardens, and a porch. There are large common rooms for your guests and family, a lovely dining room, a game room, and more.
The Town Square area, with cafes, arts, and shops, is within a short distance from the Inn. It means you’ll have access to some entertainment and activities. It is also close to several bus stops and the Union Pacific/Northwest Line.
Rita and Phil dance scene in Groundhog Day
Town Square, Woodstock, IL
It’s probably one of the best scenes in Groundhog Day, especially for those who love romantic movies and sweet, lovey-dovey scenes. It’s when Rita and Phil dance on a wintry night with a sentimental song, You Don’t Know Me playing in the background.
The bandstand at the Historic Woodstock Square provides the dreamy outdoor setting for this scene. It has also been featured in multiple parts of the movie, so eagle-eyed fans will quickly recognize it in the film.
The Victorian Town Square in Woodstock is a key filming location for Groundhog Day. Besides the bandstand, it also features a gazebo and is the setting for many art galleries, antique stores, shops, and eateries in the town. It is also home to an array of events in and around the area and a popular film site for this hit classic movie.
If you walk around this historic Town Square, you’ll be able to get to other places where the movie was filmed and see behind the scenes of Groundhog Day even years after the shooting. Even to this day, it hosts open-air festivities and events, including movie viewings, charity events, farmer’s markets, and more.
Party scene in Groundhog Day
The Moose Lodge, Woodstock, IL
Larry introduces Nancy (Marita Geraghty) to Rita, who asks where Phil is, but Nancy says he is already at the party. Sure enough, Phil is having the time of his life at the festival banquet. But he’s not dancing and showing off some moves. Instead, to Rita’s great surprise, he’s playing an expert-level rock and roll piano.
Then he started playing Rachmaninoff’s, which quickly shifty to some jazz. All his piano lessons certainly paid off, and his teacher (Peggy Roeder) couldn’t be prouder of her student. Of course, Rita is more than impressed, and more so when people he had helped that day started coming up to him one by one to express their gratitude.
This heartwarming part of the movie was filmed at the Moose Lodge at Woodstock. It gained national recognition after being featured in Groundhog Day, especially when the crew used the auditorium for the dance and party scene. The filmmakers set up in the lodge for two to three weeks to complete the pivotal scene.
The Woodstock Moose Lodge was founded on January 25, 1918. It only had 54 members when it started, and its membership continues to grow up to nearly 1000 today. It has various events almost daily and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. It is close to several bus stations and the UP-NW commuter rail line.
Bowling alley scene in Groundhog Day
Wayne’s Lanes, Church St., Woodstock, IL
For those who have seen the movie, do you remember the part where Phil reminisces about his time spent in the Virgin Islands? “I met a girl, ate lobster, drank Piña coladas, and at sunset, we made love like sea otters,” he recalls. Then he wonders why he couldn’t get that day over and over and over. Indeed, it sounds like a pretty incredible day worth repeating.
Although Phil’s perfect bowling game didn’t make it into the movie's final version, it’s hard not to notice the old-school bowling alley behind them while they’re having a serious discussion. It's only a short scene where Phil talks to his two newly found friends before they leave the bowling place. But it’s also quite insightful, especially when one of them started talking about the “half-full and half-empty glass” proverbial phrase.
If you want to bowl on the same lanes where Phil Connors bowled, you must go to Wayne’s Lanes at Church Street in Woodstock. It’s been around since 1941, providing one of the bowling spaces in the area. For first-timers or those who want to bring their game to the next level, come every third Tuesday of the month and learn from an on-site coach who will teach you some vital bowling techniques.
Making a movie often requires a lot of travel to different places, cities, and even countries to capture the perfect scene. There’s no shortcut to creating a masterpiece; the right backdrop is crucial to creating authenticity and bringing a story to life.
Thankfully, the Groundhog Day production didn’t need to travel to another country or shoot in multiple cities. The quintessential small lovely town of Woodstock is the ideal stand-in for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the movie was set.
However, though the filmmakers didn’t have to deal with lots of traveling, they also encountered different challenges while filming the movie. One of those comes from having to repeat various scenes repeatedly with thousands of extras. They also had to take over storefronts, making a significant impact on the town. Nevertheless, everything paid off with its success later on.