Fans of The Walking Dead series have a reason to be pleased, since the 6th season began a few weeks ago. Are you one of the fans of the show too? Do you follow Sheriff Rick Grimes’ small group and their struggle for survival week by week? And have you ever wondered where the scenes were actually filmed? For the show’s true lovers, I have just one thing to say: I’ll take you on a trip to Atlanta in the US state of Georgia to all the shooting locations of the hit series The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead filming locations from season 1
The series has some dark beginnings: the wounded Sheriff Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma in an abandoned hospital and has no idea how much the world around has changed. In reality the hospital, from which Rick stumbles out of in the first episode, is an administrative building of the Atlanta Mission, where mountains of corpses were piled up in the atrium. The door with the gloomy inscription Don’t open dead inside, which Rick passes on the way out of the hospital, can’t be found in the Atlanta Mission, since all the interior shots were filmed in the Riverwood Studios near Atlanta. The cosy suburbs where Rick and Lori’s house is located and which is destroyed and plundered during the apocalypse is right next to Grant Park, 15 km away from Atlanta Mission, where the Zoo Atlanta can also be found. It’s best to equip yourself with a rental car if you want to visit all the filming locations in a short amount of time. You can also use your rental car to relive the intro of the first season and drive through Freedom Parkway, the large highway through which Rick enters the city on his horse and is attacked and almost killed by a horde of zombies. His comrade in arms, Glenn, manages to free Rick from the predicament and leads him to a camp of further survivors. It’s here that Rick finds his wife Lori and son Carl again.
The survivors camp was built in the local recreation area of the Westside Reservoir Park, and from here you’ll have a great overview of Atlanta. Since the group is also constantly under attack from the Walkers and on the search for answers, and they move on to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. This centre, which is portrayed as a bunker in the series and is destroyed by a great explosion in the season finale, is really a theatre complete with a ballroom where various regular performances and concerts are shown. All the filming locations of the first season can be reached quickly with a car. You should reserve a couple of hours to explore the sites too, of course. You should plan two days for the exploration of The Walking Dead spots in Atlanta, since some Atlanta sets were also used in season 4.
The Walking Dead filming locations from seasons 2 & 3
In order to visit the filming locations from the second season, you have to travel near the suburbs of Senoia. Here, you’ll find Hershel’s family farm. Unfortunately the farm is privately owned, so you can’t explore it directly. The filming of season 3 also took place in Senoia. Not too far away from the farm, you’ll stumble across the Raleigh Studios where the scenes of the abandoned prison, which served as the groups hideout for a long time, were filmed. Woodbury, the town occupied by the rival group under the leadership of the Governor who keeps trying to expel Rick’s group from their safe haven, lies just about 10 minutes away from the prison.
Perhaps some of you will know about the ghost town which was put on sale on Ebay at the beginning of the year. This exact town became the setting for some of the scenes from season 3. After Rick’s wife Lori lost her life while giving birth to their child, Carl searches for a bed and some food for his newborn sister in his home town of Grantville, which lies some half an hour car journey away from Senoia. The home of the family from the first season was still in Atlanta, but the scenes from season 3 were filmed in Grantville. Television can be quite deceptive sometimes. ;)
The Walking Dead filming locations from season 4
During season 4, Rick and his group are finally expelled from the prison by the Governor and in small groups they make their way to Terminus, a supposedly safe haven for all survivors. The filming spot for the Terminus scenes can be found back in Atlanta, where the large goods depot served as the setting. Little by little the newer and older members of the group begin to reunite here, in a seemingly safe place which turns out to be a deadly trap by the end of the season.
The Walking Dead filming locations from season 5
After season 4 was played out largely on the railway tracks leading to Terminus, the locations of season 5 become more diverse again. When the group is able to escape from Terminus, they find refuge in the church of Father Gabriel. The church is located near Senoia, close to the Raleigh Studios where the prison scenes were filmed. The church can be accessed too. Searching for food, the remaining members of the group decide to seek refuge in Father Gabriel’s home town. You can view the settings of these scenes in the city of Griffin, a half an hour away from Senoia. Another part of the storyline takes place in a hospital. This hospital really exists. This setting is the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, which was transformed into a place besieged by zombies for the period of filming.
For the season finale, you’ll have to return to a familiar location again: Namely, the scenes in the safe community of Alexandria, into which Rick and his group are accepted, were filmed alongside the scenes of Woodbury, in the city of Senoia. I bet we’ll be seeing a lot of this location in season 6, too.
The Walking Dead Museum
To end our journey through the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead, I’d like to recommend one more detour in Woodbury Shoppe. Props such as Daryl’s bike are displayed in the café: the icing on the cake with a behind the scenes view for every fan of the series.
Unlike the filming location of Game of Thrones, for example, virtually all The Walking Dead sets can be visited in Atlanta in the period of a few days, so you can incorporate the tour into a holiday in the big city. For example, an onward journey to Miami or Georgia is also possible. Good hotels to suit every budget can be found both in Atlanta and Senoia (click here).
Are there some true Walking Dead fans among you who would like to undertake such a tour of the series filming locations?