One of the great parts about living in Atlanta is its booming film business with sets, celebrities, and income flooding into the city. But there are some allowances you make as a local to living in a community where film sets are now the norm. Like when my 5-year-old would yell at the film crew of Bad Moms Christmas to tell them not to ruin her preschool festival over the weekend. She had a point. They did kind of take over the building and parking lots for months.
She had a point. They did kind of take over the building and parking lots for months.
I’m a little oblivious to most celebrities but was a Walking Dead fan up until it turned a little too gruesome for me, though I still love seeing the cast and crew around town. But there’s something you should know about Andrew Lincoln who stars as Rick Grimes in the Walking Dead. He’s a fantastic Atlanta part-time resident and his family is lovely, but he holds up the coffee line at Aurora to chat with the baristas. Sure it’s fun seeing him around Candler Park and Virginia Highlands, but I think someone needs to tell him to buy everyone in line some coffee or keep the line moving.
There are plenty of ways to embrace the film community in Atlanta and get in some family bonding time, but a Walking Dead selfie tour is super fun, even with little kids. My 2-year-old screams in terror over zombies and bees alike, but my 5-year-old daughter thinks zombies are generally “total sweeties.”
So it really depends on your children’s temperaments and what they’re into. That being said – none of these locations are full of zombies on the prowl, so making it into a fun scavenger hunt where the winner gets an ice cream at the end is a perfect way to introduce the little ones to your love of zombies. One caveat is to check with any of the tour organizations listed here to see if they’re family friendly and low on zombies.
Here’s your challenge. Take a Walking Dead selfie tour around Atlanta and post it to your own blog or social media channels. And let me know if I missed any on the list!
Remember this scene?
Rick Grimes in a hospital nightie stumbling into the new dawn of the dead. Guess where it is?
In the series’ first episode, Rick wakes up in a hospital from a coma, only to realize the zombie apocalypse has begun. In real life, it’s not a hospital. It’s actually the administrative campus of the Atlanta Mission, a local non-profit that combats homelessness (GPS: 2352 Bolton Rd, Atlanta, Georgia 30318)
Jackson Street Bridge
I love this shot. All it needs is a horse and Rick Grimes ready for action. Take this selfie from the Jackson Street Bridge in Atlanta.
Jackson Street Bridge (S1-E1 “Days Gone By”). In the series’ first episode, after breaking out of the hospital, Rick Grimes sets out in search of his wife and son. As he heads toward Atlanta, he runs out of gas. He snatches a horse from a nearby farm and rides into Atlanta in one of the show’s most iconic shots.
The shot can be recreated by heading to the Jackson Street Bridge, a spot with a gorgeous view of Atlanta’s skyline.
(GPS: 170 Jackson St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312)
If you’re from Atlanta, you’ll know Rick’s house looks creepily like any other house in a leafy city neighborhood. Or suburb. Or your own house.
Rick Grimes’ House (S1_E1, “Days Gone By”). After Sheriff Rick Grimes awoke from a coma in the hospital and made his escape, he frantically rode a bicycle back to his house wearing just a hospital gown to look for his family. He didn’t find anyone at home. In reality, the beautiful 19th-Century Victorian home is located in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood, just steps from Zoo Atlanta. And if you are a really big fan of the show, and looking to relocate to Atlanta, you’re in luck. The home is for sale.
(GPS: 817 Cherokee Avenue SW, Atlanta, GA 30315)
I’m a big fan of the Quarry, and never understood why they didn’t stay there longer. It was back when Daryl was a true redneck and Carol still had a southern accent and was up for washing all the men folk’s clothes before she turned FIERCE.
The location where we are first introduced to the group of survivors and Rick is reunited with Lori and Carl. In the show, the location of the quarry is said to be on “the outskirts of the city,” and it is eventually overrun by walkers. In reality, Bellwood Quarry, a 100-year-old granite quarry, is on Atlanta’s west side. The quarry was bought by the city of Atlanta in 2006, and is being converted into a 300-acre park and reservoir. You can take an Atlanta Beltline tour and hike down to the bottom. (GPS: Lois Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30318)
Elders Mill Road Waterfall
Remember Herschel? Poor guy…
After Herschel’s farm is destroyed, the survivors flee to a secluded camp by a waterfall. Here, Rick cements his position as the alpha male of the group. The location is Elders Mill Road Waterfall and Campsite, a campground featuring the stone remnants of old grist mills.
The site is on gated private property, but with a $10 entry fee, you can get a selfie next to the famous waterfall. (GPS: 1739 Elders Mill Rd, Senoia, Georgia 30276)
I had high hopes for Woodbury – why couldn’t the Walking Dead teamsters just retire there? The town of Woodbury is actually in Senoia, where you can also join the Big Zombie Tour 2 narrated by real-life zombie extras from the show.
After being captured in the woods, Andrea and Michonne are led to the rural town of Woodbury, where 60-70 survivors have recreated a pre-apocalypse haven. The episode sets up the entire season and the survivors’ eventual battle with “The Governor” and his Woodbury crew. Fictional “Woodbury” is actually Senoia, Ga., a real life-town that experienced a huge revival thanks to the show. (GPS: 1 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276)
This is when Morgan goes deep, deep into the red. Then later becomes a peace-keeping zombie slayer.
In one of the most critically acclaimed episodes, Rick, Carl, and Michonne go on a supply run for the upcoming battle with The Governor. There they meet Morgan, who is dealing with the grief of losing his family and trying to “clear” himself of his demons. Most of the episode was filmed in the area. There’s also a guided tour, The Grantville Walking Dead Tour, where you can visit Morgan’s actual apartment used in the show.
Rick vs. The Governor
I’ve been to this location – and it’s a great stop to see here Rick Grimes and The Governor. I read that the actors didn’t spend any time together on set to maintain that icy distance.
Castaway survivor Andrea arranges a meeting in an abandoned feed store to negotiate a truce between Rick’s group and The Governor. Instead of seeking common ground, The Governor makes a plan to destroy Rick and the group of survivors. At the mill, you can stand on the spot where Merle Dixon tries to take out The Governor. The actual location is the Esco Feed Mill. It appears in every episode in the opening credits, too. (GPS: 10 Line Creek Rd, Haralson, GA 30229)
This is by far one of the creepiest locations of The Walking Dead. I think I still have nightmares about it…
We all know how this turned out. After seeing signs for “Terminus” and hearing a brief radio broadcast promising “sanctuary for all,” the group find their way to Terminus, a pivotal location for The Walking Dead. Here, the survivors nearly fall prey to Gareth and his group of cannibalistic tormentors. Thanks to Carol, the group moved on. The actual building, located by a train yard near downtown Atlanta, does not have the Terminus branding, but is immediately recognizable to any TWD fan. We don’t recommend you try the BBQ, however! (GPS: 790 Windsor Street SW, Atlanta, GA 30315)
This location will give your next family beach vacation a whole new meaning…
Four cast members are on Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach with a human corpse half buried in a small tidal pool. Further down the beach, another person has washed ashore alive and carried to a drier section of the beach. After being revived, the survivor slips away from the rescuers while they are distracted and is seen moving inland. (North end of Jekyll Island, Jekyll Island, GA 31527)