2-2-17 / 2- 2-15 / 1-30-11 and 10/17/03
The Groundhog Day Walking Tour is the highlight of any visit to Woodstock. Following the map, any visitor can take this tour year ’round. One week out of a year, the tour is guided during Groundhog Days. This time we got it on video, especially important since Bob Hudgins (Location Manager) was retiring from conducting the tours. The tour lasted almost 2 hours (bundle up!) and he had many back stories to tell about each scene. He has done this since 2005 gratis, just because he enjoyed doing it. Thanks Bob! Join us on the tour below! It’s edited length is 1 hr-6 min.
Here is a map of most of the sites, print a pdf version here as well as more info about what is going on each day.
Bob is ready! Let’s examine the sites one by one.
1. Pennsylvania Hotel
The historic Woodstock Opera House. The place where the dance scene takes place in the movie and bar scene preceding the dance.
2 & 3. Gobbler’s Knob and Bandstand Dance – The large gazebo in Woodstock Square Park.
Phil always hears “Pennsylvania Polka” when he arrives at Gobblers Knob. In fact, there are speakers throughout the park and we heard this and other music from the movie soundtrack during the tour. It is performed by Frankie Yankovic. A classic!
The Gobbler’s Knob plaque is flat on the ground. Saw it for the first time in 2017 since there was no snow.
4. Bar Scenes – Old Courthouse – Public House of Woodstock
This was the bar as portrayed as being inside the Pennsylvania Hotel, just outside of the dance hall where the Groundhog dance was near the end of the movie. Also where Phil shared a Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks (with a twist) with Rita. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there and made a toast to world peace. The plaque is inside by the bar.
The jail scene was also filmed here, a former large cell is part of the dining area. Al pretending to be locked up.
5. Bill Murray’s Puddle
Six cobblestones were actually taken out of the street to create the hole for the puddle, as told by Bob Hudgins. He had to put them back in at the end of the day. Al stood in for Bill on our first visit to Woodstock in 2003.
6. Tip-Top Cafe
Where Phil and Rita had breakfast before trying to leave Puxatawney. Also where Phil learned everything about all the patrons in the restaurant. At the time of filming it was an empty storefront, now it is a real restaurant called Taqueria La Placita. We enjoyed a great dinner there in 2017. We sat in the area where Phil’s table was in the movie. They also had the original Tip Top Cafe lit sign in the window too.
Across the street from the cafe is the Berkshire-Hathaway Real Estate, which doubled as a Rexall Drug in the movie.
Another perspective shows this is where Phil, Rita and Larry drove into town.
7. Alpine Theater – Classic Cinema Woodstock Theater
Where Phil and his girlfriend dressed in costume to see a movie. He was dressed like Clint Eastwood, she as a cocktail waitress.
It had been refurbished and the ticket counter in the front has moved inside. I got a picture in 2011 before it changed.
Love the lit marqee at night.
8. Gas Station – Gas Depot.
Where Phil called to try to get more information on the blizzard. This is what is currently looks like. The window was blocked with stuff so you could not see outside well.
The station in 2011 before it changed.
9. Bowling Alley – Wayne’s Lanes
Where Phil was drinking with two other guys who all then proceeded to leave and drove drunk with the police hot on their tail on a high-speed chase through town.
They did not actually actually drive on the train track here, just the view of them turning onto the track was here. The actual track driving was done at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Il. The bowling alley is across the street to the left of this view.
10. The Dance
In the movie it’s in the Pennsylvania Hotel, in reality it’s the inside of the Moose Lodge. This is where the tour began after the Groundhog Breakfast in 2017. The breakfast was here too. They made no changes inside, still the same interior as in the movie.
11. Old Man’s Alley
In front of the movie theater, where Phil finds a homeless man and tries to help him.
View from the other side.
12. Ned’s Corner
Phil’s high school classmate Ned Ryerson, now insurance agent meets Phil here while he is walking to Gobbler’s Knob.
13. The Chase and Crash
Takes place after the aforementioned Bowling Alley scene. Here you see the movie scene super-imposed over the photo I took.
The garbage can was proudly displayed at the Woodstock Public Library.
After knocking over the groundhog…This once was a vacant lot, now there is a building on this site with a plaque on it.
The building there now in the former vacant lot.
We are now on our way to the Piano Teacher’s House and Cherry Street Inn (Royal Victorian Manor) and encounter another movie site not on the printed guide. The tunnel where Phil drove the red truck when he stole the groundhog. It actually is for the Metra train that stops in Woodstock. It was built in 1897.
Coordinates: N 42° 18.772 W 088° 26.625
14. Piano Teacher’s House
Phil learned how to expertly play the piano in one day here.
Continue past the house to find the tree that the boy fell out of that Phil caught.
15. Cherry Street Inn
Royal Victorian Manor. The B&B where Phil stayed. And those are all of the plaqued sites Woodstock are located. This is also where our tour concluded.
The view of the street we saw in the movie.
This concludes the walking tour of the Groundhog Day movie filming sites. It is a lot of fun to do this tour any time of the year, but doing it on or near Groundhog Day make it even more exciting!
Taqueria La Placita (Tip Top Café)