Lights, Camera, Atlanta: Movies and TV Shows You Didn’t Know Were Filmed Here
Georgia’s Hollywood of the South is full of must-see filming locations
Stroll the same paths traveled by stars from The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, The Vampire Diaries and The Hunger Games in this active showbiz town.
Although some of your favorite films and TV shows might look like they take place in a land far, far away—think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Stranger Things—many were actually filmed in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs. According to a 2017 study by FilmL.A., 15 of 2017's top 100 movies were shot in Georgia. That’s five more flicks than were filmed in California the same year.
While this has officials in the Peach State seeing stars (film and TV production brought in a whopping $9.5 billion in fiscal year 2017), it’s also great news for fans, who may find themselves strolling through scenes from these shows while exploring the capital city. So, book an Atlanta hotel and check out the locations on our list of recent TV shows and movies filmed in "Hollywood East."
While hundreds of movies are shot in A-town, few are set in the city. Baby Driver is one of these few productions that is actually a celebration of the city itself. Edgar Wright’s 2017 Oscar-nominated heist movie about a young getaway driver was originally set in Los Angeles, but production was moved down south and the end result truly captures the distinctiveness of the city. This action-packed blockbuster is actually a high-octane love-letter to Atlanta, highlighting local businesses, the famous downtown area, and various neighborhoods—all of which shines a light on the city that locals know and love.
The Walking Dead
Prepare for the zombie apocalypse by grabbing a coffee to go—and exclusive merchandise—at The Waking Dead Café, an extension of The Woodbury Shoppe in Senoia, Georgia.
Even though AMC's hit TV show moved zombie apocalypse survivor Rick Grimes from Atlanta to Virginia, Georgia remains the production’s home. One of the show’s most iconic scenes from the pilot episode—immortalized on everything from posters to T-shirts—is when Rick rides on horseback into an abandoned Atlanta. This scene was shot in the Old Fourth Ward, from the Jackson Street Bridge over Freedom Parkway. Go check it out at sunset for the best view and the best photo; chances are you’ll bump into another fan while you snap your pic from the sidewalk.
Senoia, about 40 minutes south of Atlanta, hosts the show’s fictional town of Woodbury and is home to the TWD gift shop and micro-museum, The Woodbury Shoppe. Less than half a mile to the south, you’ll spy a neighborhood literally walled off by corrugated metal. This is the filming site for the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the survivors’ camp highlighted in the show. Visit during the summer, and you might even be lucky enough to see crews there. For dinner, stop at Senoia’s Nic and Norman’s, a restaurant owned by cast member Norman Reedus and co-executive producer Greg Nicotero.
Marvel’s Top Superhero Franchises: Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Ant-Man, Spider-Man
If you live and breathe comic book heroes and villains, Pinewood Atlanta Studios, located roughly 30 minutes south of downtown, in Fayetteville, has brought many Marvel favorites to life. Interior and green-screened special effects are filmed in the studio for many of these blockbusters, although that area’s off-limits to fans. The real fun begins when the crews leave the lot and head out to shoot on location.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for example, scenes featuring the hometown of Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt) were filmed in downtown Cartersville, a northwest suburb of Atlanta. In fact, you can clearly spot Main Street’s Mellow Mushroom pizzeria and many other downtown buildings in the film. For the first action scene of Captain America: Civil War, a fight set outside the fictional Institute for Infectious Diseases was actually shot at the Atlanta Civic Center, which is downtown on the edge of the Old Fourth Ward. Crews flipped a garbage truck during filming, giving onlookers an incredible show.
Atlanta’s downtown Fairlie-Poplar Historic District is also popular with filmmakers, thanks to its impressively diverse architecture. For Ant-Man, the late 19th- and early 20th-century business district was transformed into San Francisco for many outdoor shots, while Spider-Man: Homecoming turned the area immediately surrounding the neighborhood into New York City. Another bonus? After you explore Fairlie-Poplar and walk in the footsteps of Paul Rudd and Robert Downey Jr., you’ll also be within walking distance of other major Atlanta attractions like Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.
The Hunger Games
Step back to the Jazz Age at the Swan House in Buckhead, which you might recognize from The Hunger Games.
Three of the four installments of The Hunger Games series (Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films) were filmed in Atlanta, so there is plenty to see here for fans craving a taste of the action. Start off with a tour of Swan House in the chic Buckhead neighborhood. The opulent grounds here were used as evil President Snow’s mansion in the films.
In the West Midtown area of Atlanta is the Goat Farm Arts Center, an artists’ community complete with free-roaming chickens. It’s also District 12, home to hero Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence). While exploring on foot, keep an eye out for lumps of coal on the ground. During production, the prop department scattered fake pieces of coal to bring to life District 12’s coal mining industry. Finding a piece is rare, but it’s a perfect souvenir.
While the 1980s-themed sci-fi series takes place in a fictional Indiana town, many scenes of the Netflix show are filmed in the Atlanta area. Hawkins National Laboratory—the place where science opened a portal to the mysterious Upside Down universe—is located at Emory University’s Briarcliff campus. And scenes involving the the third season's quintessential 80s shopping center, Starcourt Mall, were actually recorded at Gwinnett Place Mall, a suburban Atlanta retail center built in 1984.
If you head about 25 miles southwest of Atlanta on I-85, you'll reach the small city of Palmetto. Enter 506 Center Street in your GPS to arrive at Bradley’s Piggly Wiggly Express. You’ll see where psychic warrior Eleven steals waffles—one of the most memorable moments from the first season. Just try not to break the glass doors on your way out.
The Vampire Diaries
Newton County’s big-screen hits are memorialized at the Walk of Stars in Covington’s Historic Square.
Covington, roughly 30 minutes east of Atlanta on I-20, is the town behind the supernatural hit The Vampire Diaries. During filming, the town was transformed into the show’s fictional Mystic Falls, Virginia, and used for nearly every exterior shot. As with The Walking Dead and Senoia, expect to find wall-to-wall filming locations and a shop full of the show’s merchandise.
As you explore Covington, keep an eye out for the Walk of Stars along the Historic Square. Here, you’ll find stones marked with actors’ names, their characters, the project, and when it shot in Newton County. Look for stones from My Cousin Vinny, The Dukes of Hazzard, Flight, Zombieland and Remember the Titans.
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