If you haven’t noticed, Netflix’s original series “Stranger Things,” created by the Duffer brothers, brings supernatural thrills and old school 1980s nostalgia to its viewers, taking over the lives of everyone who watches it.
It features Will Byers, a boy who mysteriously goes missing from his small town of Hawkins, Ind. Then, the show follows his friends and family in their search to find him.
What most viewers may not know is the fictional town of Hawkins is not shot in the midwestern state. Filming actually occurred all around Georgia in Atlanta, Jackson, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Conyers and Winston, among others.
As a big fan of the show, especially the Duffer brothers’ attention to detail in every set, I consulted Google when I discovered the show was filmed here. Luckily for me, others had done the dirty work and found most of the show’s key filming locations.
Since some of the more prominent locations on the show were filmed so close by, two friends of mine and I climbed into my car and set out on our journey.
Moviemaps.org turned out to be the best choice to guide our adventure. It had photos from the show, details from which episodes or scenes were filmed, and most important, addresses.
Without giving too much away, the show begins with a scene at the fictional U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratory in Hawkins. So I decided to start my tour there.
The real lab is actually Emory University’s Building A on their Briarcliff campus, at 1256 Briarcliff Road NE in Atlanta. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll recognize the strange-looking T-shaped building on first glance from the road.
When I approached the site in my car, I saw a guard post and a few railings or boom gates. But no one was manning the post the Wednesday afternoon that I arrived. And the lot itself is pretty abandoned-looking, which further adds to the spooky effect.
I quickly looped around the building and drove under the walkway in my car, but didn’t get out to walk. I made that decision since I was pretty sure I was going to be taken away by the same men who took Eleven, a 13-year-old female character on the show who was tested on at the lab. Not to mention the building used to be the Georgia Mental Health Institute back in the day, according to an article about the show from Architectural Digest, which was enough to give me the heebie jeebies.
My next stop was to find the Hawkins middle and high schools, where a good portion of eight-episode series takes place. The real-life site is the former Patrick Henry High School at 109 S. Lee St. in Stockbridge. It was used for the school scene and set from different angles.
For fans of the show, it’s worth the trip. From a good angle, you can see the outlines of “Hawkins Middle School” on the brick of the front of the gym.
Once you enter from the road, the gym is the brick building on your left. Further down the road os an entrance to the back of the school on the left. It leads to the place where the boys were bullied in the show.
Several shots outside of the school were also filmed here. According to MovieMaps.org, scenes from the inside were filmed at this location.
My third location to see was the spot where Eleven flips a van in the middle of the road in episode seven. The exact spot is at 3793 Sarahs Lane in Tucker. It can be found by noting the brick house with two lattice-style decorations near the doorway.
My fourth location was Bellwood Quarry, which was also used for “The Walking Dead” and “The Hunger Games” series. However, after an hour of driving in circles and finding nothing, I gave up looking for it.
After my adventure ended and some research, I found the quarry is not open to the public. There are questionably legal ways to get inside, but it wasn’t worth the risk.
My fifth stop on my tour was to the location of the noteworthy Benny’s Burgers. It is where the viewer is introduced to Eleven in the first episode.
In real life, it is a restaurant called Tiffany’s Kitchen at 7413 Lee Road in Lithia Springs. The real restaurant is a mom-and-pop type of place, where they offer Southern-style cuisine.
Next in line was to seek out Hawkins’ downtown locale, which includes places where Byers’ mother works, a cinema and an alley. All of these can be found in downtown Jackson. According to Deepsouthmag.com, the outsides of Jackson’s shops were painted and detailed to look more like the ’80s.
Rounding out my trip were stops in Palmetto and Douglasville. Eleven gets her Eggos at Bradley’s Big Buy, which is at 504 Center St. in Palmetto. And the Hawkins Police Department is actually at 48 Pray St. in Douglasville.
Going on the tour made me feel closer to the characters of Hawkins, and brought the show to life. My addiction to finding out what happens to Will, Mike, Lucas, Dustin and Eleven.
Season two of “Stranger Things” has been confirmed by Netflix for fall 2017.