Scene from "The Walking Dead" from the Jackson Street Bridge in Atlanta. Photo by Andrea David.
Track Down Georgia Film Locations Like a Famous Photographer
Andrea David lets us in on a few tricks of the trade plus six places to capture scenes from "Stranger Things," "The Walking Dead" and more.
It's no secret that Georgia is one of the entertainment capitals of the United States. The state has doubled as a post-apocalyptic society, a far-off planet, and a small town fighting an otherworldly creature – just to name a few of its notable roles. Curious to see where so many hit movies and shows have filmed, visitors have been seeking out the places they've seen on the big and small screens.
Georgia's film landmarks have been covered by countless publications and writers, including German photographer and blogger Andrea David, who snaps her favorite locations in real life on her Instagram account @filmtourismus. She overlays scenes from movies and television shows with the real-life backgrounds from her travels around the globe.
The Hamburg native was a travel agent and tourism student before launching her own website 12 years ago, called Film Tourismus, which has been featured in Lonely Planet Traveler, CNN, and many other publications. Inspired by her trip to Scotland, she began compiling film and television sites that have grown to more than 500 locations.
This year, she visited some of Georgia's must-see locations for movie and TV fans. We caught up with her to find out some of her favorite places in the state and some photography tips. Scroll down to see some of the famous film locations she found in Georgia.
What TV show or movie made you want to see the filming locations in Georgia?
My first trip to Georgia in 2017 was mainly motivated by seeing the original locations of “The Walking Dead.” When I heard these places partially exist in an area south of Atlanta, I wanted to see it in real life and traveled to Senoia. It was great to see how the region benefitted from the show despite the [scary] storyline. The location tours I did with Atlanta Movie Tours were big fun, and I really enjoyed meeting other fans.
I’m also a big fan of old film classics, so I put Forrest Gump’s Savannah and the little village of Juliette, as seen in “Fried Green Tomatoes,” as well on my itinerary. This year, my main focus on the Georgia filming locations was dedicated to the Netflix show “Stranger Things” and various Marvel productions. Still so much to explore…
How do you find some of the places you feature?
Often it is really like doing detective work. [I’m usually] comparing film stills with Google Street View or showing them to residents and tour guides while travelling. Also, some readers and followers help me from time to time with addresses and coordinates.
What tips can you offer for getting the perfect photos?
I think the most important thing is to plan plenty of time at each location or to come back later again as traffic and light conditions might not be perfect or making it even impossible to get a good photo.
What has surprised you the most about traveling in Georgia? What have you enjoyed most?
The most surprising thing for me is in how many different roles Georgia is able to slip into. Especially in Atlanta, it was crazy to jump from a Chicago scene to a New York scene within just a few blocks.
But also the many different places that all together create “Stranger Things’” town Hawkins were big fun to detect and explore.
For me, the most awe-inspiring location is the futuristic looking atrium of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which served as the victors’ living quarters in "The Hunger Games." It looks so unreal!
6 Must-see Georgia Film Locations
Atlanta Marriott Marquis: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." Photo by Andrea David.
In 2012's "The Hunger Games," Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) narrowly escaped death, but they are summoned back to fight again for the Quarter Quell in the second installment of the movie franchise, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." The 2012 movie filmed extensively in Georgia, including at the Atlanta History Center's Swan House, which served as President Snow's mansion. In one scene at the futuristic tower of the Tributes Training Center, the real-life Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Katniss and Peeta are joined by Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) after the opening ceremonies.
Sleepy Hollow Farm, Powder Springs: "Stranger Things"
Scene from "Stranger Things." Photo by Andrea David.
Since the first season of the Netflix series "Stranger Things" in 2016, fans have been entranced by the show, which follows a gifted girl on the run from "bad men" and the group of friends who protect her. Set in fictional Hawkins, Indiana, the show films extensively in Georgia.
At Sleepy Hollow Farm, a cabin was used solely for exterior scenes of Hopper's Cabin, where Hopper (David Habour) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) live in seclusion in season two. The cabin has since been turned into one of the outdoor escape rooms for Escape Woods, a family-friendly Stranger Things-themed escape room game that lets visitors explore the cabin to decipher clues, unlock doors, and solve the mystery to get out before the timer runs out.
Sleepy Hollow Farm also serves as the location for Merrill’s Pumpkin Patch from season one of the show. It was here that Hopper sees the decayed pumpkins and later digs into the “Upside Down.” The farm offers a seasonal pumpkin patch, corn maze, and Christmas tree sales.
Fans of the show also can join the Upside Down tour by Atlanta Movie Tours to visit the cabin along with other show locations like City Hall, the Hawkins Swimming Pool, and the Palace Arcade.
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island: "The Walking Dead"
Scene from "The Walking Dead." Photo by Andrea David.
Although the majority of filming on "The Walking Dead" has occurred in Atlanta and Senoia, recent seasons also have extended into the Golden Isles of Georgia. Starting in season seven, Tara (Alanna Masterson) washes up in Oceanside after separating from Heath (Corey Hawkins). From there, she's greeted by an all-female group that are unsure of their new arrival. It was filmed on Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island's northernmost point. The location is known for the wild, sun-bleached trees that cover the area like a natural jungle gym. In the first episode of season 10, the Survivors are back on the beach for training. Fans staying at the Jekyll Island Club Resort can see the signed poster from when the crew stayed on the property.
Many tour companies offer Walking Dead experiences for fans in Senoia, including Georgia Tour Company, Atlanta Movie Tours, and Walkin' Dead Tours. While you're in the area, don't miss a chance to dine at Nic & Norman's, a restaurant owned by Norman Reedus and Greg Nicotero. You never know who you might see!
Wheat Street Towers, Atlanta: "Black Panther"
Scene from "Black Panther." Photo by Andrea David.
When the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe opened in 2018, it broke box office records and became the second-highest-grossing film of the year. "Black Panther" filmed at several locations in Atlanta, including the High Museum of Art, where Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) stole artifacts from the museum. Atlanta City Hall was used as the United Nations. Atlanta Movie Tours has a Hero Tour that covers the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including "Black Panther" locations.
In the movie's final scene, set in Oakland, California, Shuri (Letitia Wright) cheekily tells T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), "When you said you were taking me to California for the first time, I thought you meant Coachella or Disneyland." The pair stand in a basketball court, staring up at the building where Killmonger lived and where T'Challa's father was killed. The real-life building is Wheat Street Towers in Atlanta's Sweet Auburn Historic District.
Piedmont Park, Atlanta: "Avengers: Infinity War"
Scene from "Avengers: Infinity War." Photo by Andrea David.
Atlanta's Piedmont Park has been featured in countless films, but in "Avengers: Infinity War," it stood in for New York City’s Central Park. Coincidentally, both parks were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his associates.
In this film, the team of superheroes battle Thanos (Josh Brolin), who has the Infinity Stones. In one scene, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) go for a walk in the park near the real-life sports fields around 14th Street and Piedmont Road. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) makes an appearance from the opposite direction in the gates to the city’s largest green space.
Today, Piedmont Park is home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and hosts countless annual events like the Dogwood Festival and Music Midtown.
Whistle Stop Cafe, Juliette: "Fried Green Tomatoes"
Scene from "Fried Green Tomatoes." Photo by Andrea David.
In one of Georgia's most beloved film projects, "Fried Green Tomatoes" tells of an unhappy housewife (Kathy Bates) who meets an elderly woman (Jessica Tandy) at a nursing home and hears stories from her past. The elderly woman tells of Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary Louise Parker), two women living in 1920s Alabama and running the Whistle Stop Café. Ruth’s ex comes up missing, and suspicion turns to the women.
The building that was used for the Whistle Stop Café in the 1991 movie first opened in 1927 in Juliette as a general store. Once the crew left, the Whistle Stop Café location became a real-life restaurant that welcomes diners daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves classic Southern food, including, of course, fried green tomatoes.