If you are a follower of The Snarking Dead on Facebook, you’re aware that AMC is going to offer tours of various filming locations for The Walking Dead. Yes, you’ll be able to go inside Riverwood Studios and the Hilltop set and even visit Alexandria–all for the low price of $65 per adult and $45 per child under the age of 12. In a way this is cool as those places have become pretty iconic sets for the show–
But what about all the places that have come before Season 9? I mean, they’re out there, and for the price of gas you can visit them today!
As you may know I enjoy looking for places where shows have filmed, and The Walking Dead is no exception. This means I can show you a whole lot of places you can visit, some of which are public, and you can say, “Hey, remember where Carl ate all that pudding? I was there!”
Note: a lot of the places listed are private property, so you can’t just walk up and start looking in windows and posing on their lawn and stuff like that. In those instances you can view from the street and maybe snap a quick photo, but respect these places and don’t become one of THOSE fans. I’m also going to include GPS locations so you can better find your way there, or at least look up the location on Google Maps.
Let’s get the tour going, shall we?
Season 1 Shooting Locations.
Opening Scene; Rick Shoots Teddy Bear Girl. (GPS: 33.65027, -84.66987)
Here’s where it all started on Halloween Night, 2010: the intersection of GA Roads 92, 70, and 154, outside Campbellton on the Cascade Palmetto Highway.
From Street View we sort of see the scene as it was laid out, with Rick’s car coming towards us from down GA 92. The intersection is easy to identify because of the cell tower on the left, which is visible as Rick walks across the intersection.
And there, though the trees, is Charlie’s Corner Market, aka the place where Rick looked for gas and eventually shot Teddy Bear girl through the head, starting a Walking Dead tradition of putting little girls in their place. True story: I have a friend who used to live in this area and she told me that when she watched Days Gone Bye, the first episode of TWD, she immediately recognized the location because she stopped here to get coffee on the way to work. So if you happen to be in the area, get some coffee and hold down the urge to shoot little zombie girls in the head.
Rick and Shane Have Lunch. (GPS: 33.51826, -83.73468)
Here, under the tree in the Post Office parking lot right off GA 11 in the town of Mansfield, is where Rick and Shane shared fries and tasty burgers while talking about how all women women are bitches, in particular Lori. After they got the call on the speeders they headed south out of town. Trivia: Until Season 7, this location was the furthest east The Walking Dead filmed.
Car Crash; Rick is Shot. (GPS: 33.48889, -83.74885)
About a third of a mile west off GA 11, on Spears Lane, is where the GTO flipped and Rick was shot. Needless to say this is private property, so while you can get pictures, don’t do anything else.
Rick Leaves the Hospital. (GPS: 33.81979, -84.46015)
This building is on Bolton Rd just northeast of Atlanta and adjacent to the Atlanta Mission Administrative Office, where the back parking lot represented the small military encampment that Rick encounters. Apparently you can drive into the Mission parking lot and look over the building. Just a little south of here on Bolton Road, a couple of scenes were filmed after everyone left the quarry and headed for the CDC.
Bicycle Girl (GPS: 33.73699, -84.36922)
Rick’s House (GPS: 33.73211, -84.37373)
Morgan’s House (GPS: 33.73149, -84.37514)
Now we’re getting into some Atlanta locations and these are close enough to put together, as they happened within a few blocks of each other. The first sighting of Bicycle Girl, and the locations of Rick’s and Morgan’s houses, are next to and inside Grant Park, which is the site of the Atlanta Zoo.
Here’s the location where Bicycle Girl was found and eventually shot, because Rick and zombie girls don’t go together. Visit all you like, even crawl around if you get in the mood. Remember that the houses used for filming are private residents and the owners of the one house probably don’t like people standing outside screaming, “CORAL!!!” at all hours. Get a photo from the street and move on. Don’t be THOSE fans.
King’s County Sheriff’s Department. (GPS: 33.80265, -84.42695)
The country sheriff’s location was a building in an industrial park to the northwest of Downtown Atlanta. King’s County is in Georgia, though it’s never stated where. It was named for Stephen King, whose work The Walking Dead’s creator Frank Darabont has filmed several times.
To show how different this was from the graphic novels, Rick was a police officer in Cynthiana, Kentucky, which is Robert Kirkman’s old home town. Rick’s brother hooked Rick up with Lori at a dance Rick was chaperoning, but they didn’t get married right away because they both went away to college–yes, Rick and Lori are college graduates. Lori originally left for Atlanta because her parents moved there and Shane took Carl and her. There as also never been any mention of the CDC in the graphic novels.
The Trip to Atlanta:
Rick Runs Out of Gas (GPS: 33.45289, -83.75385)
The Farmhouse (GPS: 33.44689, -83.75605)
Once more we’re out in the east on GA 11. This is where Rick’s police car runs out of gas, then, after a short walk, he discovers a farmhouse with a dead couple and a live horse–but given this is The Walking Dead, we know what will happen to that horse given enough time. Again, the house is private property, so don’t trespass.
Rick In Atlanta:
1. Rick Rides Into Atlanta (GPS: 33.7602, -84.37452)
2. Rick Enters Atlanta (GPS: 33.75198, -84.39681)
3. The Tank (GPS: 33.75598, -84.39037)
4. The Walkers (GPS: 33.75641, -84.39091)
So now we come to the most iconic moments of the first episode, Days Gone Bye. However, Rick actual trip into and through Atlanta is a bit like trying to follow a Blues Brother’s car chase through Chicago, because the route isn’t linear. So it’s a little clear, I’ve numbered the actual sequence in which the scenes were presented. (Note: I’ve also turned on the Wayback Machine, aka the Time View, for Google Earth so you can see Atlanta as it looked in April, 2010, which is probably about the time filming took place. Also, we’re looking down from the north so east is to the left and north at the bottom.)
1. Rick enters the city coming down the John Lewis Freedom Parkway, though there really wasn’t any actual filming here. The scene (as seen below) was photographed:
1a. Then footage was filmed showing Rick riding the horse
And then it was all combined along with a butt-load of CGI to get the shot we all know and love.
And how does it compare to the panel in Issue #2? Well, it’s close:
The least the show could have done was give us a Simpson billboard…
Then Rick enters the downtown area from the other side, riding across the bridge on Nelson Street SW. Scene #3 has the tank located six blocks to the north at the intersection of Forsyte Street NW and Walton Street NW. And lastly, the zombie mob is located a block to the northwest, around the corner of Walton on Fairlie Street NW.
Rick Meets The Gang:
5. Glenn in the Alley (GPS: 33.75578, -84.39068)
6. Up On the Roof (GPS: 33.75177, -84.39651)
7. The Department Story (GPS: 33.75168, -84.39451)
8. The Roof Where the Truck is Seen (GPS: 33.75174, -84.39474)
9. Truck At Construction Site (GPS: 33.75264, -84.39606)
10. Walking With Zombies (GPS: 33.75185, -84.39469)
11. Making Their Getaway (GPS: 33.75058, -84.39718)
Okay, get ready for a wild ride ’cause we’re about to jump all over downtown Atlanta while presenting scenes that were supposed to be happening in the same location.
Rick meets up in an alley with Glenn at #5; this is between buildings at 40 Forsyte Street NW. Then they head across the rooftops and meet the rest of the gang at #6, and it’s here that Officer Friendly handcuffs Merle to the pipe. (Note: this building and the area around it was also used for filming of scenes in Captain America: Civil War.) Then they go downstairs and end up in the department building at #7, which Andrea tells Rick she should blow his head off. They are on the roof of the same building at #9, when they spot the truck at the construction site, #9, so Rick and Glenn take a walk down Mitchell Street to get the truck. And after getting it they boogie out of town on the blue line at #11, heading out of the city. (Note: the buildings are private property, so if you try entering them and get caught, don’t contact TSD and ask for us to bail you out. Don’t Do the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time.)
The Quarry (GPS: 33.780536, -84.439231)
We know it, we love it, we sometimes see it in other movies and TV series. Yes, it’s the Bellwood Quarry, just a few miles from Downtown Atlanta, if you can believe that. It’s here that The Atlanta Survivors stayed, where Rick found Lori and Carl and Shane, and where eventually Ed got the shit beat out of him and Amy and he died. (Trivia: Emma Bell, who played Amy, was “killed” by Greg Nicotero, then production designer and future director. He created the prosthetic patch on Emma’s neck and wanted to make sure the bite was done right.)
At the time of filming the Quarry looked like this:
Today it’s back to being a working quarry and looks like this:
So you know what I’m going to say: No Trespassing! Keep Out! Though people do still sneak in there.
Abandoned Building (GPS: 33.78535, -84.41673)
Retirement Home (GPS: 33.75458, -84.37579)
These locations were used for the meetings with The Vatos, the people who were caring for their relatives and others as an abandoned retirement home. The first location was used as the place where The Group meet The Vatos and tried to get them to release Glenn. Remember this location as you see it again in another season.
All the way across the city, at the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and William Holmes Borders Senior Drive you’ll find the actual building used for the interior shots of the retirement home. As I’ve already warned, most of these places are private property, so if you try to enter, beware of what could happen.
And to give you an idea of how film locations aren’t always that close–or closer than you think–here’s the two shooting locations for the Vatos episode in relationship to the Quarry. As you can see, the Quarry isn’t as far from Atlanta as one might be left to believe.
Trivia: In a Season 1 deleted scene Rick and The Gang returned to the Vatos home to let them know they were heading for Fort Benning and discovered everyone dead and zombies munching on the bodies. While it has not been openly stated, it’s believed they were killed by officers from Grady Memorial Hospital who then took all their shit.
Leaving the Quarry (GPS: 33.76717, -84.58139)
After it was decided to head to the CDC the gang leaves the quarry and hits the road, with the Morales’ heading off in another direction. This location, on Bob White Road, was their departure point. And in case you’re wondering, they’re 8.3 mi/13.33 km from the actual quarry.
Don’t go to this location today and expect it to look the same. It’s been developed considerably since 2010 and now looks like this:
Jim Left Behind (GPS: 33.72396, -84.60876)
On the way to the CDC Jim is left behind to die and turn, which wouldn’t happen these days, but hey: Rick was feeling generous back then. This location on Riverside Parkway was used for the scene. As with the location used for leaving the quarry, don’t go here expecting it to look the same: the top of the hill is now the location of a warehouse for Gordon Food Services and most of the trees along the side of the road where Jim was left are gone.
The CDC (GPS: 33.8844, -84.45855)
And now we come to the end of the Season 1 road. This is the exterior location used for the CDC, which in reality is the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Cumberland, GA.
From the ground it looks rather nice:
And the interior is befitting the Atlanta Ballet:
But with a bit of CGI you, too, can turn this location into a fake CDC overrun by zombies!
And in case you find yourself in the zombie apocalypse and you want to go to the CDC to die an explosive death–which wouldn’t actually happen–here’s the location of the real CDC in relation to where The Walking Dead filmed their CDC.
Trivia: The CDC location remains, to this day, the farthest north The Walking Dead has filmed.
There you are: all the important filming locations used by The Walking Dead in Season 1. And here they are on the big map:
In a few days, you’ll see all the film locations used for Season 2. And won’t that be a treat?