In the town of Oceanside, California, about 40 miles north of San Diego, you’ll find the iconic house from the 1986 hit “Top Gun.” Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis, lives at this beachfront cottage, where she is visited by Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. The two make love while Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” plays, in one of the most famous love scenes of the 1980s.
The house sat vacant and boarded up for years, having fallen into a state of disrepair, with fencing erected around it in an effort to minimize vandalism. At the time of filming, several other houses existed along the block, but all were demolished except for this one. Hotel development has since taken place in 2020 on this block, but the “Top Gun” house drives tourism to Oceanside, so rather than demolition, the house was relocated about a block away and restored (much like what happened with the Michael Myers house from the original “Halloween“). While the restoration is much needed, we were able to capture it at it’s original site while it still remained there. The house now sits in it’s permanent location across from the Oceanside Fishing Pier, on N Pacific St, between Pier View Way and Mission Ave.
LOCATION: Originally located at 102 N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, permanently relocated to N Pacific St, between Pier View Way and Mission Ave
Here is a front facing view of the house before the 2020 restoration, where you can see a poster for the film over one of the boarded up windows.
For scenes set at the back of the house, a completely different location stood in, behind the medical building of Paramount Studios.
LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
In San Diego, you’ll find the bar where Maverick and Goose sing “Great Balls of Fire.” Kansas City Barbeque, located not far from the city’s convention center where their famous Comic Con takes place, makes no secret of their connection to the film. In fact, it’s one of the main themes of the restaurant. Here is the room where Goose played the piano, which was on the wall to the left.
LOCATION: 600 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The piano itself has been relocated to a different room in the restaurant.
The walls are adorned with tons of imagery and promotional items from the film.
In a later scene, Maverick sits at this bar.
They even have a neon sign for the film in the front windows.
It’s always nice to see places embrace their film history so much. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the San Diego area.
“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.
LOCATION: 2353 Bolton Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Rick can be seen walking out of the door and down the stairs.
Rick’s house can also be found in Atlanta.
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.
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”).
LOCATION: 1737G Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
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.”
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.
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. This same area was seen in the film “Pet Sematary II.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LOCATION: 132 Morgan St, Senoia, GA 30276
Here is another entrance, which remains closed unless the production is using it.
This is the sole permissible photo location inside Alexandria on the studio tour.
Here’s another look at the completed windmill, taken during the filming of the show.
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.
LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276
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.
LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the main cell blocks from the prison in seasons 3 and 4, on loan from AMC.
A kid’s bedroom in the prison from season 4, episode 9.
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.
Some knives from the show.
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.
A prop mirror broken by Beth, when she attempts to kill herself in season 2. Actress Emily Kinney has signed the prop.
Also on Main St in Senoia is The Walking Dead Cafe.
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.
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.
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.