Atlanta, Georgia, is nicknamed “Hollywood of the South” for its many film productions. Thanks to tax incentives, there’s never been more going on, including blockbuster hits and popular television shows. If you see yellow signs with random black letters, it signals an active production, so you never know what (or who) you might see. There are many ways to spy your favorite filming locations, including hopping aboard a bus with Atlanta Movie Tours, but if you’re short on time, check these neighborhoods.
Settled as a rural community in the 1800s, Buckhead is now one of Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhoods, popular for shopping and dining. And it’s one of the best places to spot celebrities out on the town. It’s also where visitors can find some iconic filming locations. The Swan House was built in 1928 for the Inman family by architect Philip Trammell Shutze. After the family died, the house was passed on to the Atlanta History Center, which operates it as a museum. The Swan House was used as a filming location for shows like "The Amazing Race," but is best known as President Snow’s home in "The Hunger Games" series. The history center operates its own tours that provide background information and show props. You also might see Buckhead locations like the InterContinental Hotel in reality programming such as "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."
This neighborhood adjacent to Downtown is easily the most frequently used part of the city for filming. Originally home to warehouses, the post-apocalyptic appearance of Castleberry Hill made it the perfect backdrop for early films like "Freejack" and "Kalifornia." In later years, Academy Award-winning film "Driving Miss Daisy" filmed here. But it was "The Walking Dead" that really put Atlanta on the map with its first episode shot in The Gulch. This area where the trains once ran underneath the city is currently being redeveloped, but The Gulch was used in countless Marvel films. Shows like "MacGyver" and "Being Mary Jane" have also filmed in the neighborhood’s lofts, restaurants and art galleries. Visit the local filming locations on a walking tour with Atlanta Movie Tours, whose offices are here, and pick up some movie souvenirs.
Visitors to Atlanta usually stay Downtown, where the major tourist attractions are located. But did you know that some of these landmarks have been used as filming locations as well? The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest, home to whale sharks, otters and stingrays, but was also featured in "What to Expect When You’re Expecting." The high octane film "Baby Driver" used many places throughout Downtown, and many of the car scenes were filmed in the loading bays at the Georgia World Congress Center, the state’s largest convention center and the nation’s third largest. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" also used this as the Victors training center. And while "Black Panther" was mostly filmed at Pinewood Studios in Fayetteville, one scene featured Atlanta City Hall.
Atlanta’s cultural attractions like the Fox Theatre and High Museum of Art are located in Midtown, but they’re not the only draw. Piedmont Park is the city’s largest green space, designed in part by the Olmsted Brothers. It’s where some of Atlanta’s most beloved annual events take place, including Atlanta Pride, the Dogwood Festival and Music Midtown. But it’s also been one of the backdrops for films like "What to Expect When You’re Expecting" when the dad group walks their kids around. Midtown has also seen its fair share of reality television, including the recent "Queer Eye" reboot that filmed at My Sister’s Room and the rainbow crosswalk. The "Real Housewives" also filmed an episode at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, an iconic Atlanta restaurant.
The neighborhood near the airport was settled as the train terminus in 1870. East Point has a thriving downtown with shops and restaurants. The Netflix hit "Stranger Things" has used a number of locations to capture the 1980s style of the series. First Baptist Church was used as the exterior of the hospital where Will is taken, while the Old East Point Library’s interiors were used as the school library. The mid-century homes of this area were used as the exteriors for the Wheeler home and others, while the interiors were created at the studio. But remember: these are private homes, so don’t trespass.
Caroline Eubanks is a writer, author, and metro Atlanta native. You can see her work on ThisIsMySouth.com and CarolineEubanks.com.