According to Netflix, Stranger Things hit number 1 on the Top 10 list in 91 countries, as well as it became the most-viewed English-language television series within one week on the streaming platform.
The series begins in a minuscule town in Indiana, but the characters quickly spread to locations like California, Lithuania, and the mysterious supernatural world of the Upside Down.
However, fans of the series may wonder where the popular scenes were filmed, whether it was in the locations portrayed on screen or elsewhere entirely.
Confusion is also likely because some scenes are filmed in fictional locations created by the producers.
Keep reading to learn more about where the popular television show Stranger Things was filmed at.
Where Was Stranger Things Filmed?
The television show Stranger Things takes place on screen in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana.
Hawkins is a fictional city that was created by the film’s producers.
It is commonly known that many television series and movies are not usually filmed in the location that the shows portray, which often leads to confusion regarding the true locations used to bring the plot to life.
Initially, the producers wanted to film the show in Montauk, New York which was influenced by Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws.
However, that did not happen due to high production costs.
Instead, the producers decided to create their own fictional city, inspired by Stephen King’s fictional town of Castle Rock.
The production team determined the city of Atlanta and other surrounding cities in Georgia suited the needs of the popular Netflix series.
New Mexico was also featured throughout the entirety of season four.
You can view a list of filming locations and descriptions on Netflix’s “Netflix in Your Neighborhood” website.
Within Atlanta specifically, there were several locations used to film the most popular scenes throughout the series which we will dive into more deeply.
However, perhaps the most surprising and unique location of the series is in the country of Lithuania in a once-functioning prison.
1. Atlanta’s Filming Hub Of Stranger Things
The majority of the Stranger Things series was filmed throughout the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
For this reason, Atlanta can be referred to as the filming hub of the show.
IndyStar reports that the rocky desert scenes throughout the entirety of the series were shot in Bellwood Quarry in Atlanta.
The character Billy’s summer lifeguard position was also filmed in Atlanta at South Bend Pool, a local community pool.
Atlanta is also home to the EAU Screen Gems Production studios where the Netflix series was based.
A. Bradley’s Big Buy Grocery
It is common for filming locations to draw tourists and fans to visit them after a movie or series is released, Stranger Things is no exception to that commonality.
One grocery store, in particular, located in the small town of Palmetto, Georgia, has benefited immensely from the creation of Stranger Things.
In a town of only 5,000 people, Bradley’s Big Buy Grocery store was featured a few times throughout the first three seasons of Stranger Things.
In the first season, the production crew used the store as a filming location where the main character, Eleven, stole a box of frozen waffles when she was on the run from the laboratory where she was raised and imprisoned.
The grocery store again reappeared briefly in the third season.
The manager told Fox News in an interview that fans continue to visit the store dressed in Stranger Things-themed costumes and often purchase a box of frozen waffles similar to what Eleven stole in the television show.
The store’s employees have become accustomed to the spectacle and willingly give tours of the store to interested customers.
B. Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus
Hawkins National Laboratory was filmed in two locations: in a studio and also at Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus in Atlanta.
Interestingly, Emory University has become a common location for production crews to film at.
In addition to Stranger Things, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hidden Figures, First Man, and Ozark have also been known to film at the location according to Emory University’s website.
In Stranger Things, Building A on Emory’s campus was used as the setting for Hawkins National Laboratory.
The building has a history of being used as a functioning mental health treatment facility, an academic building at Emory University, and now most recently is a vacant building with a labyrinth of underground tunnels commonly used for filming television shows or movies.
C. Gwinnett Place Mall
Starcourt Mall, the location of the secret Russian operation, was filmed in a mall near Atlanta that was largely renovated to fit the ’80s theme of the television show.
The secret Russian operation that the Stranger Things crew discovered in Starcourt Mall was filmed in Gwinnett Place Mall in the city of Duluth, Georgia.
The fictional Starcourt Mall even has its own website, which fans can visit to learn more about the history of the real mall.
Before Stranger Things’ takeover of one wing of the mall to film, Gwinnett Place Mall was struggling and much of its storefronts were vacant.
The mall also has a morbid history.
In late 2017, a woman’s body was discovered near the food court by a maintenance worker.
In 2018, Stranger Things set designers secured one wing of the mall and began the daunting task of transforming the abandoned wing into the bustling 1980s-themed version we see in the show.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that the original intention was for the mall to be kept as a tourist attraction for Stranger Things fans post-production, but at the time of this article, that has not yet occurred.
The mall has security guards preventing fans from sneaking, although the writer of the article above stated that they were able to sneak in for a quick tour along with two fans who convinced an employee to let them in.
D. EAU Screen Gems Productions
And lastly, many popular locations in the show were filmed on set at EUE Screen Gems Studios in Atlanta.
You can view a short video from the Stranger Things crew taking Power 96.1 radio station on a tour of the studio.
In Atlanta, EAU Screen Gems Productions held the location of many popular scenes throughout the show.
For example, Eleven’s and Hopper’s cabin in the woods was filmed in the studio.
So were the home of Mike, Will, and the infamous basement where the crew was known to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Many of the scenes involving the evil scientists’ laboratories were also filmed within the studio.
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Much of season four was filmed in New Mexico after several characters moved away from Hawkins after the Battle of Starcourt.
In response to fans’ demands, Netflix created a website detailing the locations throughout Albuquerque that were filmed at.
This allowed fans to visit locations in real time, like Cafe 66, Montessa Park, Snow Park, Skate-O-Mania, Whiting Brothers Gas Station, and Eldorado High School.
3. Lukiskes Prison, Lithuania
Hopper was imprisoned in a Russian prison throughout the beginning of season four until his eventual escape.
This setting may perhaps be the most exciting location of the series, filmed in Lukiskes Prison in Lithuania.
Lukiskes Prison was built in 1904 and functioned as a real prison, before being transformed in 2019 into a music and dance club called Lukiskes 2.0.
The prison was unique and considered to be more modern for its time, because it allowed Russian-Orthodox, Roman-Catholic, and Jewish worship locations inside its campus.
It was also known for being the holding place for imprisoned political figures and influential individuals from Lithuania, Poland, and more.
What Else Was Produced Here?
Bellwood Quarry in particular, which fans remember from season 1, and many of the scenes located in the sandy desert have been known to host film crews from a variety of popular television shows like The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, and The Hunger Games.
These locations are known for being wide open and allow for all of the crews and production equipment required to successfully shoot realistic and elaborate scenes.
Who Produced Stranger Things?
Stranger Things was produced and directed by Matt and Ross Duffer, commonly referred to as the Duffer Brothers.
The pair is unique in that they are twin brothers and work together on their productions.
The Duffer Brothers have had their professional expertise demonstrated in the psychological horror movie called Hidden, as well as the television show Wayward Pines.
Other executive producers of the popular Netflix series include Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.
The series was produced by the company Monkey Massacre Productions, owned and operated by the Duffer Brothers, in collaboration with 21 Laps Entertainment.
Interestingly, it is difficult to find verified information regarding Monkey Massacre Productions despite the popularity that Stranger Things has gathered since its release in 2016.
Open Corporates, a database that compiles information about corporate companies to ensure corporate transparency and tackle industry corruption, has very limited information as well.
The company was founded in 2015, as a for-profit corporation and appears to have dropped its accreditation in 2018.
A more prolific company is 21 Laps Entertainment, having produced films like The Adam Project, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Night at the Museum.
Neither Monkey Massacre Productions nor 21 Laps Entertainment appears to have an official website to reference.
The Duffer Brothers also launched another production company in 2022, called Upside Down Pictures.
The company is named after the Upside Down, which is a prominent location featured in the Netflix series.
Upside Down Pictures
Not only has Upside Down Pictures, alongside the other production companies, been instrumental in the creation and popularity of Stranger Things but it also has other productions coming soon.
In collaboration with Netflix, the production company intends to produce a spin-off of Stranger Things.
In a statement to CNBC, the company plans to create a live-action version of the Japanese manga Death Note, as well as an adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s novel The Talisman.
The Duffer Brothers have hired Hilary Leavitt to assist in the operations of Upside Down Pictures.
Leavitt has experience in developing several popular films and television series including Orphan Black, Ozark, and The Great.