The Walking Dead

“The Walking Dead” is famously shot around Atlanta, Senoia and the surrounding towns of Georgia.  The former Raleigh Studios Atlanta is the central hub of the show, but many famous locations have shot beyond the studio property.

Early in season 1, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, awakens from this “hospital” to discover a world in chaos.  This scene was filmed at the back of the Atlanta Mission Administrative Offices.

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LOCATION: 2353 Bolton Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Rick can be seen walking out of the door and down the stairs.

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Rick’s house can also be found in Atlanta.

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LOCATION: 817 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315

Right around the corner from Rick’s place is Morgan’s house, where the two meet for the first time.

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LOCATION: 376 Ormond St SE, Atlanta, GA 30315

The sheriff’s office where Rick worked is part of a long strip of commercial lots.  It’s a bit further down Ellsworth Industrial Blvd, with a sign stating “Complex F” (though the building itself is labeled “G”).

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LOCATION: 1737G Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

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The iconic shot of the post-apocalyptic freeway, used as the poster for season 1, can be seen from the Jackson Street Bridge, overlooking the 10 freeway leading into the Atlanta skyline.  Some CGI was added to achieve the exact look the production wanted.  The same shot (minus the CGI) can be seen in the 2015 remake of “Vacation.”

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LOCATION: Jackson Street Bridge, Jackson St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (near 210 Jackson St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312)

Season 1 concludes with the group reaching the Center for Disease Control.  This unique building is the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

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LOCATION: 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339

Season 2 was primarily set on Herschel’s Farm.  The farm is a real location, not a set.  However, it sits on private property on a gravel road off GA-85.  The owners are rumored to have distanced themselves from the show, due to the excessive attention it brought.  The property can be found at 33°18’01.5″N, 84°31’22.4″W in Senoia, Georgia, but it is not accessible to the public.

Season 3 largely took place at a prison, which was actually a set at Raleigh Studios Altanta.  After the prison story arc was completed, the set was heavily overhauled and became the Savior’s Sanctuary in later seasons.  The studio can be found at 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276, but until 2018 was entirely inaccessible to fans.  The building still remains, but the fences and towers are now gone.  At first glance, you’d probably not even recognize it as being the prison at this point.

Also in season 3, the fictional town of Woodbury plays a key role.  Main Street in Senoia stood in as Woodbury, with some sets and art decoration added.  Due to the popularity of the show, many of these properties have since become shops and restaurants themed around the series, which we’ll get to later in this article.

Here is a view of the main strip of Woodbury.  The Governor’s house was a set that has since been removed, but the area is still recognizable.

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LOCATION: 9 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

If you’re headed to the former Raleigh Studios in Senoia, along the way you’ll pass this restaurant, which stood in as a bar where Merle has a drink in season 3, episode 15.

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LOCATION: 34 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

As you approach the main studio, you’ll pass Crook Rd, which has been used in countless episodes of the show, any time a wooded road is needed.  Even though the road is not on studio property, it is scarcely used by motorists and is therefore easy to obtain filming permits, hence the frequent appearances.

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LOCATION: Crook Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

Also in Senoia, in season 4, episode 9, Carl sits atop the roof of this house eating a can of pudding.  This house is located near the the “Alexandria” site.

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LOCATION: 239 Pylant St, Senoia, GA 30276

In season 5, “Terminus” plays a central role.  The Terminus site is a real location in Atlanta.  Although there are some walls along Windsor Street obscuring the view a bit, it can still be seen with relative ease by simply looking over top.

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LOCATION: 799 Windsor St SW, Atlanta, GA 30315

Back in Senoia, another location that’s very close to the studio is Dwight’s house, seen in season 7, episode 11.

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LOCATION: 30 Golfview Ct, Senoia, GA 30276

In 2017, AMC purchased Raleigh Studios Atlanta, renaming it Riverwood Studios.  This paved the way for something the fans had long been requesting; a studio tour.  Beyond the studio itself, the tour also takes guests inside the walls of “Alexandria.”

Alexandria is filmed in a real neighborhood in Senioa, just past Main St (“Woodbury”).  Originally the area was a developing neighborhood and open to the public.  You can even see old google street views taking you through it, before the show sealed it off.  At the time AMC took interest, only one brownstone building was there, with tenants already occupying the units.  The rest of the land was vacant lots planned for residential development.  The network worked out a deal with the existing tenants to allow them to film and Alexandria was born.  They then began purchasing the empty lots and constructing houses for the show.  Due to the fact the buildings needed to remain standing for years on end, state laws required them to meet actual building codes, meaning the houses in Alexandria are fully functional.  Likewise, the massive walls surrounding the neighborhood is also built to code, which is to say they are dug deep and very sturdy.

There is a security guard posted at the main entrance of the neighborhood and the whole area is surrounded by cameras.  Tenants are allowed to come and go as they please, but pedestrians and motorists are not allowed in.  That changed slightly in 2018, however, with the launch of the Walking Dead Studio Tour.  Fans are now able to enter within the walls and see pretty much everything there as part of the tour.  Photo privileges are very strict, however.  There is unfortunately only one spot in the entire neighborhood where photos are allowed, which is facing toward the windmill.  Eventually after the show has ended or no longer uses the site, the neighborhood will hopefully return to being open to the public.  As is, key sites such as Rick and Michonne’s house are prohibited from photography.

This is the main entrance into the neighborhood, where the security guard is posted.  If you attempt to approach Morgan St (outside of the tour), you’ll quickly be asked to turn back.   There are signs posted stating the road has no public access.

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LOCATION: 132 Morgan St, Senoia, GA 30276

Here is another entrance, which remains closed unless the production is using it.

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This is the sole permissible photo location inside Alexandria on the studio tour.

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Here’s another look at the completed windmill, taken during the filming of the show.

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Moving on to Riverwood Studios itself, quite a lot of the show has been filmed there.  In addition to the previously mentioned prison set, Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary are all there as well.  Hilltop is a real building built to code on the outside, but the inside is completely empty.  All interior Hilltop scenes are filmed on a sound stage. The show’s production offices are also based at Riverwood Studios.

The tour opened in late 2018.  Prior to that, the studio grounds were fenced off and guarded by security.  It’s a very large place, surrounded by woods full of animals and insects, so it’s probably not the kind of place you want to go wandering around unprepared.  You’re much better off purchasing a tour ticket.  For the most part, the tour is a very enjoyable experience.  Due to the size of the property, as well as potential safety hazards, much of the time is spent in tour buses, guided by a very friendly and well-informed staff.  There are select spots where you can exit the bus for closer looks.

The biggest drawback of the tour is the strict policy on photography and video.  Video and audio is prohibited altogether. There are some areas that can be photographed.  However, they are mostly limited to the sites no longer used in active storylines on the show.  Anything being used in current seasons, while still showcased on the tour itself, is unfortunately off-limits for photos or video.  This includes Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary.  Alexandria is the only exception, but it’s very limited, allowing the aforementioned single photo spot.

While there are some minor spoilers involved with some of the sets, if specific parameters were set, as with Alexandria, the photo rules could be a bit more relaxed.  These sets have been shown on screen to millions of viewers for years, so they’re not exactly top secret places.  Having said that, the tour is otherwise excellent from top to bottom and it’s a very welcome change that the studio is finally open to fans.  However, the tour seasons are limited only to times when the show is not filming, so you need to plan in advance.

We’ll now take a look at the sites at Riverwood Studios that can be photographed.  First up is the site where (*spoilers*) Negan kills Glenn and Abraham.  The show was so secretive about which characters would be killed off that they actually filmed scenes of Negan killing every major character, in order to maintain the mystery of which ones would make it to air.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

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Next is the lake where Rick and Aaron search a houseboat for supplies in season 7, episode 7.  It’s a nice touch that they kept some body props in the water.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

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Arguably the best site that can be photographed at the studio is the Scavenger’s junkard, also known as “The Heaps.”  It’s right next to the Sanctuary, but the junk is piled so high, you’d never know by the photos alone.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

The junk is actually just a top layer.  Just beneath are large piles of dirt, giving the appearance of more junk than is actually there.

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Also on the tour are many vehicles used in the show.  These too were prohibited from photography, for reasons unknown.  Overall, if you’re a fan of the show, we still highly recommend the tour.  You’ll see virtually all of the sites available there and gain a lot of knowledge about the show, even if only a few spots can be captured.  The tour hosts did say that it’s a work in progress, so perhaps the policies and places will change as time goes on.

Beyond the actual filming locations, there are several show-themed business in Senioa.  The Woodbury Shoppe sells a wide variety of show merchandise.  The store is located along Main St in Senoia, which served as the fictional town of Woodbury on the show.

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LOCATION: 48 Main St #1A, Senoia, GA 30276

The basement of the store also features a Walking Dead museum, which houses props, posters, artwork, memorabilia and more.  There’s autographs from nearly every cast member scrawled across the walls.  Here we’ll take a look at a bit of what can be seen in the museum, but not everything.  Here is one of the motorcycles Daryl rode in the series.

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One of the main cell blocks from the prison in seasons 3 and 4, on loan from AMC.

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A kid’s bedroom in the prison from season 4, episode 9.

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To the left is the “W” zombie, on loan from executive producer Greg Nicotero.  To the right is a dental chair from season 3, episode 16, in which Andrea is handcuffed to the chair by The Governor and left for dead.

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Some knives from the show.

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Some pieces of the Woodbury Town Hall, from season 4, episode 6.  This was part of a set, which was later destroyed, but these fragments were collected.

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A prop mirror broken by Beth, when she attempts to kill herself in season 2.  Actress Emily Kinney has signed the prop.

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Also on Main St in Senoia is The Walking Dead Cafe.

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LOCATION: 48 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

For those looking for a full course meal, just a few buildings down is Nic & Norman’s, owned by executive producer Greg Nicotero and actor Norman Reedus.

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LOCATION: 20 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

Here is some artwork inside the restaurant, done in the style of the famous closing photo from “The Shining,” depicting most of the cast from the show.

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It’s always a challenge photographing anything actively in production.  It’s usually easier to do after filming has ended, so production agendas won’t interfere.  In some cases, however, sites only exist as long as the production does.  We’ve tried to show a mixture of both and we’ll add what we can when the opportunity presents itself.  It’s likewise a challenge capturing the sheer volume of filming locations a long-running show such as “The Walking Dead”  has utilized over its run. We barely scratched the surface here. There are of course dozens more locations we did not cover and new ones always keep popping up as the show continues onward. Atlanta has a lot of sites to offer fans of the show, particularly from the early seasons. The town of Senoia in particular thrives on the show, driving tourism, employing locals at the studio and inspiring show-themed businesses.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

One of our favorite movie locations is the prison from “The Shawshank Redemption.”  While the film is set in Maine, tucked away in the fields of Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory hosted the production of the film in 1993, after it had permanently closed from active prison use three years prior.

Originally built between 1886 to 1910, the facility was built in three architectural styles; Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne.  In the wake of a class action suit by the prisoners, which cited overcrowding and inhumane conditions, the prison was shut down in 1990, with a replacement prison built directly behind it, which is still active today.

After the enduring success of “The Shawshank Redemption,” The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society began work to restore the facility to its original state, as well as recreate many of the film’s sets.  They offer daily tours from April to September and weekend-only tours during the remaining seasons.  The restorations are funded through donations and tour fees.  The building housed a great deal of horrors, which can be felt as you explore the facility.  Over 200 people are said to have died inside the prison walls.  During Halloween season, the Preservation Society offers haunted tours in lieu of the film tours and a number of ghost-themed television shows have filmed at the location.  Yet outside, the place feels quiet and serene.  Other films to have shot at the prison include “Air Force One” and “Tango & Cash.”

If you find yourself in the area, I highly encourage you to take the tour, as it remains one of our all-time favorite film locations.  We do not wish to overlook the unfortunate history of this facility, however, with all of the atrocities that took place here.

LOCATION: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

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The front of the prison.  During tour hours, music from the film score plays over loud speakers.

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“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”  The back of the prison is particularly difficult to photograph, as the tours do not cover this area, due to the facility directly facing an active prison.  You are not allowed to turn your camera towards the active prison at any time, under the warning of immediate expulsion from the property, if you are caught doing so.  There are guards from the active prison on constant lookout, to make sure no one is photographing the wrong prison.  However, we can provide a brief glimpse of the “yard” where Red and Andy would meet.

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The parole room, where Red keeps returning for his hearings.  The table and chair props are not the originals, however, if I recall correctly.

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This is where the inmates first line up to face the warden.

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This is the warden’s office, where Andy locks the door and plays the music.  The actor playing the captain really did break the window to the door in the scene, which is still missing today.

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The warden’s office, where his fate is met.

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This is where the production cut a hole in the wall, for the warden’s safe.

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The showers seen in the movie were the prison’s real showers.

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The hole Andy makes in the pipeline.  This is the actual prop from the film.

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This is a wide shot of the pipeline prop that Andy crawls through.  Might ruin a little movie magic for you.

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While similar looking, this is the prop used for the hole in the wall, behind the Rita Hayworth poster.

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Brooks’ apartment.  It was actually another room inside the prison.

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This is unfortunately a replica.  The real ceiling beam was, at one time, located in this room, but it was stolen.  The Preservation Society recreated it.

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Autographs from the film’s actors.

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Autographed poster.

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The cover from the crate prop, holding the library books that Andy had so frequently requested.

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There’s really so much more to see inside the prison tour, such as the world’s tallest prison cell block.  These were not the cell blocks seen in the film, however.  The production opted to rent out a nearby warehouse and build their own set for the cell block, likely due to the unsanitary conditions of the real cell block.  You are warned not to touch anything in this area, for risk of needing a tetanus shot.  Since the rest of the features of the tour do not directly relate to the film, we will leave you with just one image of the many other, highly interesting things the tour has to offer.

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Last, but not least, we leave you with one of Red’s prison shirts, which can be seen on display at Planet Hollywood in Florida.

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LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830