Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties because it’s COOLD out there today.” Happy Groundhog Day! Today we’ll take you on a virtual tour around Woodstock, Illinois, where much of the filming of the famous movie “Groundhog Day” took place. However, if you find yourself in Woodstock, here’s how to retrace the scenes of this cult-movie classic.
We’ll present an overview of the top filming locations in Woodstock, IL, explaining why this town was chosen and the significance of each spot. Woodstock’s appeal lies in its charming small-town atmosphere and diverse filming locations suitable for various movie scenes. We’ll also recommend a nearby budget-savvy accommodation for those interested in visiting these sites and overnighting.
As a special surprise, we’ll reveal one lesser-known movie location that often goes unnoticed. This spot, #16 on the list below, although often overlooked, holds its own unique charm and adds to the richness of Woodstock’s cinematic history.
Why Woodstock, IL?
Pennsylvania’s official Groundhog Day ceremony occurs in a field just outside the town. During location scouting, it was found that Punxsutawney wouldn’t work for the film due to its forest-like backdrop. Additionally, it lacked a visually appealing town center suitable for filming.
Film crews were instructed to find a suitable destination within a 5-hour radius of Chicago. The team searched southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. A town in Wisconsin was close, but Harold Ramis told Bob Hudgins, the location manager, that it just wasn’t “it.”
The production crew finally arrived in Woodstock, Illinois, climbed the Bell Tower (an opera house with fantastic concerts and events), and realized they found the perfect place. The small charming town was ideal for filming because everything could be set around the picturesque, historic square. Today, it’s easy to visit the sites of one of America’s favorite movies.
“Groundhog Day” Filming Locations
Around town, gold plaques mark the “Groundhog Day” filming location stops. Some highlights on the walking tour include the historic Alpine Theater, the Woodstock Opera House, and Gobbler’s Knob. Our favorite part of the tour was the Mural Pedway down Main Street—this lane is a cool part of the town with some great photo opportunities.
Use this self-guided map to explore Woodstock’s “Groundhog Day” filming locations.
1. Pennsylvanian Hotel (Woodstock Opera House)
Interestingly, the Woodstock Opera House was never used for any inside footage, only for exterior shots. However, the iconic bell tower is a memorable backdrop for Gobbler’s Knob and Bill’s infamous sad jump.
2. Gobbler’s Knob (Historic Square)
Woodstock’s historic square serves as the location for Gobbler’s Knob. Upon arriving at Gobbler’s Knob, Phil always hears the “Pennsylvania Polka.” Woodstock lovingly embraces its correlation to the 90’s movie. So much so, that the speakers in the town’s square play various polkas and the movie’s token song, “I Got You, Babe.”
The Gobbler’s Knob and Bill Murray’s Puddle plaques are the only ones to lay flat on the ground. Please note that visibility might be compromised if there is snow on the ground.
3. Band Stand Dance
“Groundhog Day” fans can recapture the magic of Phil and Rita’s romantic snow dance in the historic square gazebo. We had fun recreating the romantic moment where Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray dance in the gazebo as seen in the beloved film “Groundhog Day.”
4. Bar Scenes (Old Courthouse and Public House of Woodstock)
This was the bar depicted as being within the Pennsylvania Hotel. It’s the place where Phil shared a Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks (with a twist) with Rita. Consider enjoying a drink and toasting to world peace. The plaque commemorating the location is situated inside near the bar.
5. Bill Murray’s Puddle
Walk in the steps of Illinois-born actor-comedian Bill Murray but be sure to “whoa-ho-ho-howatch out for that first step, it’s a doozy!” Four cobblestone blocks were removed from the street to make way for the puddle during the filming which had to be reinserted back into place by the end of the day.
6. Tip Top Cafe
Initially, the Tip Top diner was a vacant storefront. The design team created an entire fake restaurant inside the space. After filming wrapped, the town wanted to maintain it as an operational diner. However, their attempt to sustain it ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Bill Murray was presented with a spit bucket during the diner scene, where he indulged in pastries and various breakfast items, but he declined the offer. He was recorded stating that the angel food cake made him feel ill, likely due to overeating.
7. Alpine Theater
This location is where Phil and his girlfriend adorned costumes to attend a movie. He opted for a Clint Eastwood look, while she chose to dress as a cocktail waitress.
The small movie theater typically features “Groundhog Day” around the holiday. It has since been refurbished and the oldtime ticket counter in the front has moved inside. Of course, as the town’s iconic movie theatre, there are a few memorabilia pieces you may want to stop and see.
Screen 1 is now known as the Harold Ramis Auditorium and there is a commemorative plaque in his honor. There is also a thank you letter from Director Harold Ramis to the city of Woodstock and some movie posters.
8. Mural and Groundhog
Be sure to stroll down the little alley. It offers movie murals and informational signs from Illinois film culture. Woodstock’s also home to Dick Tracy cartoonist Chester Gould and actor Orson Wells.
9. Gas Station
This is where Bill Murray makes his phone call outside the gas station. In 2021, the decrepit building was remodeled into an insurance agency.
10. Bowling Alley
Conveniently located near the historic square, this is where Phil drank with two companions, one of them being Gus (Rick Ducommun from “The Burbs”) before they all left, engaging in a high-speed chase through town with the police in high pursuit.
11. The Dance
In the film, the scene is set at the Pennsylvania Hotel, but in reality, it’s the interior of the Moose Lodge. No alterations were made to the interior, preserving the same setting as depicted in the movie. It is typically closed to the public unless open for a Groundhog Day celebration. Finally, there is movie memorabilia inside.
12. Old Man’s Alley
The alley where Bill Murray tries to save the old homeless man from dying. The representatives from the studio seemingly had reservations about the segments involving the elderly homeless man whose death is inevitable, regardless of Phil’s attempts to prevent it. Ramis, rightly so, believed that this element was crucial to Phil’s character development and his realization that he is not a god, nor God.
13. Ned’s Corner
Phil encounters Ned Ryerson, his former high school classmate turned insurance agent, while walking to Gobbler’s Knob. Ned goes on to say:
Phil Connors? I thought that was you! Don’t tell me you don’t remember me. I sure as heck-fire remember you. Ned Ryerson! Needlenose Ned. Ned the Head. Come on, buddy. Case Western High. I did the whistling belly button trick at the high school talent show. Bing! Got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate. Bing again! I dated your sister Mary Pat till you told me not to anymore.
14. Piano Teacher’s House
This is the residence where Bill Murray attended piano lessons to learn how to play. Also, if you look a few feet down the street, you’ll see where Bill Murray catches the boy falling from a tree.
15. Cherry Tree Inn
While exploring beyond the city center, take a short drive through the surrounding neighborhood to see the Cherry Tree Inn. This is the historic B&B featured in the movie, where Bill Murray stays while living his Groundhog Day.
During filming, the property was a private home utilized for external scenes only. Thus, no filming was done inside the house. Instead, the interior scenes were filmed in a soundstage constructed inside a warehouse about 15 miles from Woodstock. Today, the inn embraces the movie’s contribution to the city. Finally, it’s a great example of Victorian architecture prevalent in the region.
16. Escape Tunnel
Not mentioned in the printed guide is the tunnel where Phil drove the red truck during the groundhog theft scene. Moreover, it serves as a passage for the Metra train that makes stops in Woodstock, and its construction dates back to 1897.
Woodstock Weekend Getaway
With lots of boutique shops, restaurants, pubs, and Groundhog Day memorabilia, Woodstock can be a fun unique getaway in the Midwest. For example, we organized a weekend exploring McHenry County and ended up having a really fun staycation.
Woodstock, Illinois, a truly charming town, beautifully captures the essence of movie magic! Furthermore, we hope this inspires you to watch “Groundhog Day” tonight.
Woodstock Walking Tour Guide
Woodstock has made it easy for visitors to explore historic Woodstock Square. Also, there are 3 options to help you see all of the filming sites. They include:
- Download the self-guided map.
- Walk around town looking for the bronze plaques.
- Visit the tourism office to get a free brochure.
We Need Your Help
Did you find this article helpful? If so, bookmark it and when you’re planning your next vacation click on any of the links below before finalizing reservations. You’ll get the best price, we’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll help support future articles.
BEST TRAVEL SEARCH ENGINES
🏘️ Book Your Accommodation
✈️ Book Your Flight in Advance