10 places from Stanger Things to discover near Atlanta
If Dustin and his friends’ story takes place in 1983 in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, this place doesn’t actually exist in real life. But it is possible to visit the sites filmed in the Duffer Brothers’ show. To discover them in the real world, you will have to travel to another state, in Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta. “Atlanta was actually quite the perfect location to play Hawkins because of its similar topography as well as the treasure troves of set décor we discovered at estate sales, says Production Designer Chris Trujillo in Deep South Magazine. We’d freak people out. We’d find these amazing homes that look like time capsules from the late ’70s and early ’80s and go in and basically buy everything, including what was in the junk drawers.” Other advantage, Georgia has one of the most competitive tax incentives for television and film in the United States.
Hawkins National Laboratory
With its ‘70s style architecture, Hawkins National Laboratory, the origin of all the disturbances, is actually located on the grounds of the Briarcliff Estate, the residence of Asa G. Candler, Jr., son of the founder of Coca Cola. In the series, it is the set of the Mkultra project : where Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) leads strange and unsavoury research on the human brain, using children like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) as guinea pigs. A situation that echos the building’s past, however less supernatural, as the site was first used as a state psychiatric hospital. It was then called the Georgia Mental Health Institute. The 141-bed hospital operated between 1965 to 1997 and was then sold to Emory University. Only the façade of the building was used, the interior shots were filmed in a studio.
Hawkins High School
Appearing on screen many times and the site of the outcome of season 1, the school where the teenagers study is The Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge. This alternative school where the Henry County learning method was delivered, closed in 2015 due to very high maintenance costs for these old buildings originally used by Stockbridge High School.
Mined during a century, the granite quarry where the body of the fake Will Byers is found in season 1 also appears in The Vampire Diaries, Hunger Games and in the season 4 of The Walking Dead. Following its closure, the Bellwood Quarry was purchased in 2006 by the city of Atlanta and is destined to become one of the largest parks in the city. This is why the authorities have let the surrounding groundwaters flood it to turn the extraction site into a lake. Because of the works being carried out, it is currently not possible to visit it.
The Wheeler House
The house where Mike, Nancy and the young Holly Wheeler live with their parents is located in East Point. Only the outdoor scenes were filmed here, the interior shots were filmed in the Atlanta Screen Gem Studios. We can point out that Mike lives very close to his friend Lucas Sinclair. The Wheeler home is located at 2530 Piney Wood Lane and the Sinclair family at 2550.
The Byers House
Only the outside of this small house in Fayetville was filmed to depict the one where Joyce Byers and her two sons, Will and Jonathan, live. The many interior scenes where the occupants are faced with supernatural phenomena were filmed at Screen Gem Studios in Atlanta. Keep in mind that the real owners of the house don’t appreciate their home’s newfound fame and we ask you to respect their tranquility.
When the producers prospected to find the shooting spot, they quickly fell in love with the city center of Jacksonville to depict downtown Hawkins. Some buildings were even painted by the film crew to make the ‘80s throwback more realistic. A few blocks from the shops and the courthouse, you can find the library. This is where Sheriff Hopper does some research about Hawkins Lab in season 1. In season 2, Dustin goes there to borrow books to try and discover what type of animal “Dart” could be. In real life, the exterior is the Butts County Probate Court and the interior shots were filmed in Old East Point Library.
The Palace Arcade
You will not be able to imitate “Mad Max” and beat her “Dig Dug” 751.300 points high score. This placed was specially created by the production in an old laundromat in Douglasville. The name Palace is a reference to Crystal Palace, the code-name for the command center of the U.S. Army (North American Defense Command), in the movie WarGames, dated from 1983. This is a huge hint as it is precisely the year during which the plot of Stranger Things takes place. When the movie was filmed, this set was considered the most expensive created by MGM. It required 120 video monitors and 12 projectors, all synchronized with three cameras and 12 of the most powerful stroboscopes in the world at the time of the shooting.
Hawkins Police Station
The police station run by Sheriff Hopper is in real life the former city hall of the small town of Douglasville. Around twenty movies were shooted in this small city located twenty miles from Atlanta.
Used in 1996 for the equestrian events of the Atlanta Summer Olympics, the huge Georgia International Horse Park of 566 hectares hosted 600.000 spectators during the competition, between July 19th and August 4th. It was then turned into a nature preserve open to the public that is also home to many concerts several times a year. This is where many of the woods shots were taken.
Melvald's General Store
The store where Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) works in season 2 hosts in real life a musical instrument shop. On the other side of the block is located the building used as a decor for the Hawk Theatre.