Where Was Stranger Things Filmed and When Does It Take Place?

Stranger Things has enthralled audiences with its chilling narrative, compelling performances, and ’80s-inspired nostalgia. It is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, but was actually filmed in Georgia, a region well-known for its multitude of studios and film productions.

The production team of the show primarily chose the towns of Jackson and Atlanta in Georgia as the backdrop for their storytelling. The interior sets were expertly crafted and filmed on sound stages at the prestigious EUE Screen Gems Studios in Atlanta. Throughout the series, various pivotal locations are featured, including Emory University, artfully transformed into the Hawkins National Laboratory, the old school building of Patrick Henry High School, cleverly utilized for both the middle and high school settings, and 45 Pray Street in Douglasville, an essential location representing the Hawkins police station.

Netflix’s hit sci-fi series revolves around a group of young boys entangled in a battle against supernatural forces and clandestine government experiments. As they seek answers, they become embroiled in an extraordinary mystery involving eerie occurrences and a mysterious young girl with telekinetic abilities.

Stranger Things Filming Locations

Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” known for its eerie otherworldly setting, is surprisingly shot in numerous real-world locations, providing fans with a chance to immerse themselves in the show’s world. From the quaint town of Hawkins, Indiana, to the harsh gulag in Kamchatka, the hit sci-fi series takes advantage of various settings that enthusiasts can actually visit.

However, just like the enigmatic Upside Down, these filming locations may not always be what they appear to be. Let’s take a journey through the key filming spots and unveil the true places that bring the world of “Stranger Things” to life.

Georgia – The Heart of Hawkins

Despite being set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the majority of “Stranger Things” was filmed in Georgia, a favored destination for renowned television shows due to its diverse landscapes and attractive tax incentives. Here are some key locations used in the series:

  • Hawkins National Laboratory: The exterior shots of the lab were filmed at Emory University’s Briarcliff campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Hawkins Middle and High School: Both the exterior and interior of these schools were filmed at the former Patrick Henry High School, now known as Patrick Henry Adult Education Center, in Stockbridge, Georgia.
  • Hawkins Starcourt Mall: The mall central to season three is an abandoned real-life mall just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, known as Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth.
  • Hawkins Police Department: The police station is located in Douglasville, Georgia.
  • Hawkins Library: The Butts County Probate Court in Jackson, Georgia, served as the setting for the library scenes.
  • Melvald’s General Store: The store where Joyce (played by Winona Ryder) worked is situated on a corner of the central square in Jackson, Georgia.
  • Hawkins Community Pool: Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, at South Bend Pool, 2000 Lakewood Avenue Southeast.
  • Stone Mountain Park: Located in DeKalb County, Georgia, the park served as a backdrop for significant scenes.
  • Hawkins Cemetery: The show used Bethany Cemetery in Fayetteville, GA, for cemetery scenes.
  • The Wheeler’s House: The exterior of Mike and Nancy Wheeler’s house is located at 2530 Piney Wood Lane in East Point, Georgia.
  • Palace Arcade: Located at 8415 Campbellton St, Douglasville, GA 30134, the arcade plays a vital role in the series.

New Mexico – Beyond California

“Stranger Things” ingeniously portrays California using filming locations in New Mexico. The states share climate and vegetation similarities, providing a convincing substitute:

  • Lenora High School: The scenes depicting “California” were shot at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Skate-O-Mania: The roller rink sequences were filmed at Rink-O-Mania in Albuquerque, New Mexico (400 Paisano St NE).
  • Americana Motel: For scenes at the motel, the show used Americana Motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Surfer Boys Pizza: The location where Surfer Boys Pizza appears in the series is Aliberto’s Mexican Food in Los Lunas, New Mexico (3476 NM-47).


  • Kamchatka Prison: The remote Russian prison scenes were filmed at Lukiškės Prison in Vilnius, Lithuania (Lukiškių skg. 6).
  • Yuri’s Fish Nfly- (Kyviškės Airport, Kyviškės, Lithuania)

Yuri’s Warehouse- (St. Nicholas Church, Trakų g. 75, Semeliškės, Lithuania) is another key filming location in Lithuania.

In What Year Does Stranger Things Take Place?

Stranger Things is an enthralling series that immerses viewers in a captivating tale set in the mid-1980s. The timeline of the first three seasons spans from 1983 to 1985, unfolding in the serene town of Hawkins, Indiana.

A close-knit group of friends, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will, grapple with inexplicable events as Will mysteriously disappears, prompting them to embark on a desperate search. Along the way, they encounter Eleven, a telekinetic girl with a haunting past who escaped from a secretive government facility. The series weaves thrilling suspense, eerie phenomena from the Upside Down, and the dark secrets of the Department of Energy.

In the subsequent season, set in 1984, nearly a year after the first, Hawkins faces fresh perilous threats as the aftermath of the Demogorgon’s attack and the Upside Down continues to cast a shadow over the town. Will experiences haunting visions, and the Department of Energy resurfaces, attempting to conceal its involvement in prior events.

The third season shifts to the vibrant summer of 1985, featuring the grand opening of the Starcourt Mall. As the group of friends navigates the complexities of teenage life, a dangerous new entity from Upside Down threatens their world. Set against the backdrop of ’80s mall culture and a nostalgic soundtrack, the storyline is further intensified by the influence of the Cold War and the involvement of the Soviet Union.

Season 4 marks an ambitious leap forward in time, reaching the year 1986, and delves into three interconnected plotlines that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Back in Hawkins, the kids encounter a new creature from the upside-down, leading them on a perilous journey to solve a murder mystery involving their schoolmates.

Meanwhile, in California, the group, led by Mike, races against time to track down Eleven after she is taken to a secret facility in an attempt to restore her lost powers. Joyce and Murray embark on their own investigation, driven by the hope that Hopper, their friend, might still be alive. Their search takes a mysterious turn when they receive a suspicious package, propelling them on a determined quest to find Hopper in the Soviet Union.

With each installment, “Stranger Things” continues to captivate its audience with its gripping plotlines, rich character development, and nostalgic 1980s setting, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the next chapter of the Hawkins saga.

When Does Stranger Things Season 1 Take Place?

Season 1 of Stranger Things immerses viewers in the enigmatic town of Hawkins, Indiana, during the year 1983. The series follows a thrilling and mysterious chain of events that begins with the sudden disappearance of young Will Byers while riding home from a “Dungeons & Dragons” game. His friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, embark on a determined quest to find him.

The season kicks off with a cataclysmic incident at the Hawkins National Laboratory on November 6, 1983, where researchers inadvertently open a portal to the eerie “Upside Down” dimension, unleashing the menacing Demogorgon into their world. Will’s distraught mother, Joyce, seeks help from Chief of Police, Sheriff Jim Hopper, to launch a frantic search for her missing son.

Simultaneously, a mysterious girl with telekinetic powers, known only as Eleven, manages to escape from the secretive laboratory. Her path intersects with Will’s friends, and they offer her shelter, quickly discovering her extraordinary abilities.

As the season unfolds, more characters are drawn into the unfolding mystery. Nancy, Mike’s older sister, along with her boyfriend Steve, and Will’s brother Jonathan, find themselves entangled in a new crisis when Nancy’s best friend Barb disappears after a party. Jonathan’s photographs reveal a chilling figure lurking behind Barb, deepening the intrigue.

The narrative intensifies as Joyce communicates with Will through a unique medium – Christmas lights – assuring her of his survival. The determined children, assisted by Eleven’s powers, venture into the treacherous Upside Down to rescue their friend, while Chief Hopper’s investigation leads him to shocking revelations about the missing children and the clandestine experiments conducted by the enigmatic Dr. Brenner.

The season culminates in a climactic showdown with the Demogorgon in the Upside Down. Will is ultimately rescued, but Eleven heroically sacrifices herself to defeat the menacing creature. The finale leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, with lingering questions and the revelation of a hidden creature within Will.

When Does Stranger Things Season 2 Take Place?

Set in October 1984, “Stranger Things” Season 2 continues the thrilling tale as Will, rescued from the Upside Down, returns to school in Hawkins. He faces unsettling visions of a menacing creature haunting him. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, a criminal gang led by Kali, marked with a tattoo “008,” escapes after a bank robbery.

In Hawkins, a new student named Max captures the boys’ attention. Will’s visions worsen, and a mysterious arcade player named “MADMAX” beats Dustin’s score. Joyce and Hopper seek help at Hawkins Lab, while Nancy and Steve try to expose its secrets. Mike desperately seeks Eleven, who is hiding with Hopper. Flashbacks reveal Eleven’s escape from the Upside Down and her quest to find Mike.

In the present, Eleven yearns for a normal life but remains hidden. The group faces Demodogs and a shadow monster from the Upside Down, leading them to close the gate, saving Hawkins. However, the shadow monster remains a lingering threat. One month later, life seems to return to normal, but the shadow monster still watches from the Upside Down.

When Does Stranger Things Season 3 Take Place, and When Was it Filmed?

Stranger Things Season 3 is set in the summer of 1985, and its production officially commenced on April 23, 2018. The story begins with the newly opened Starcourt Mall in Hawkins, which hides a secret underground Soviet experimental facility aiming to reopen the Gate to the Upside Down. The season follows the main group of kids, along with other characters like Dustin and Steve, as they uncover the Mind Flayer’s return and its possessing of Hawkins’ residents to create a monstrous creature.

They face a horror-filled adventure, fighting the Mind Flayer and struggling to close the Gate again. Tragic sacrifices are made, and the season ends with Eleven and the Byers family leaving Hawkins. In the post-credits scene, there is a hint that Hopper may still be alive and held captive by the Russians.

Where Was Stranger Things 4 Filmed?

Stranger Things Season 4 marked a departure from the filming locations of the previous seasons. While the first three seasons were primarily filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia, Season 4 expanded its horizons and ventured into various new locations, both within the United States and internationally.

One notable difference was the incorporation of international settings, as the cast and crew traveled to more locations than ever before, adding a global dimension to the series.

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico

The fictional town of Hawkins, California, where Eleven and the Byers family relocated, was recreated in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Locations such as Lenora Hills High School and the roller rink Rink-O-Mania were filmed at Eldorado High School and Roller King in Albuquerque, respectively. The use of these new locations added a fresh dimension to the series and allowed the production to explore different visuals and atmospheres.

  • Lithuania

Another significant change was the depiction of the Russian prison scenes. In Season 4, Hopper is held captive in a snowy gulag in Russia. To create the chilling and remote prison camp setting, the production traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, and used the Lukiškės Prison. The addition of an international setting not only expanded the show’s scope but also added an extra layer of authenticity to the storyline.

  • Atlanta, Georgia

Despite the inclusion of new locations, the show still maintained its ties to its traditional filming base in Atlanta, Georgia. Certain familiar locations, such as Hawkins High School, doubling as the middle school as well, were filmed at the former Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge, Georgia. The Hawkins Cemetery was depicted using the Stone Mountain Cemetery in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Additionally, Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia, a deserted mall, was utilized for filming, providing a perfect backdrop for certain scenes in the series, and other landmarks in the fictional town of Hawkins were reused for Season 4. This continuity helped retain the show’s familiar feel and visual consistency while exploring new territories.

The decision to explore different locations for Season 4 was driven by the narrative’s aim to expand beyond Hawkins and delve into the repercussions of previous events on a broader scale. Thorough location scouting was undertaken before production, with the team meticulously evaluating potential places to realize the script’s envisioned settings. Early exploration allowed them to assess each location’s suitability and feasibility in recreating the desired looks.

For the crucial setting of Lenora Hills, California, the team sought to capture the essence of Southern California and the Nevada desert, integral to the storyline. After scouting New Mexico, specifically around Albuquerque, the decision was made to film there, as the beautiful foothills and surrounding landscapes closely resembled parts of Southern California, providing the ideal backdrop for Lenora Hills.

For the Russian prison camp, Vilnius, Lithuania, emerged as the perfect choice, with the historic Lukiškės Prison serving as a compelling stand-in for the gulag. This meticulous attention to location selection contributed to the show’s immersive storytelling, creating authentic and visually striking environments that brought the narrative to life.

When Does Stranger Things 4 Take Place?

Stranger Things Season 4 transports us to March 1986, approximately eight months after the Battle of Starcourt, which concluded the previous season’s events. The narrative unfolds in multiple locations, including Lenora Hills, California, and Hawkins, diving into the aftermath of the battle and the group of friends’ struggles as they navigate high school life.

The season kicks off with a flashback to 1979 at Hawkins National Laboratory, where Dr. Brenner conducts experiments on test subject 010, leading to a mysterious incident resulting in the death of all subjects except Eleven. In 1986, Joyce, Will, Jonathan, and Eleven relocated to Lenora Hills, California. Here, Eleven grapples with the loss of her powers and endures bullying at Lenora Hills High School.

Meanwhile, in Hawkins, Jonathan and Nancy’s long-distance relationship is explored, with Jonathan befriending pizza delivery boy Argyle and Nancy engaging with Fred Benson, a fellow reporter from The Weekly Streak. Joyce receives a chilling porcelain doll in the mail, seemingly from Russia, sparking a journey that ultimately leads her to a hidden note, hinting at Hopper’s survival. Amidst their individual challenges, a horrifying supernatural threat emerges, known as “Vecna,” a sentient humanoid figure linked to disturbing murders in Hawkins. As the group investigates Vecna’s origins and its connection to the town’s dark past, they are faced with a daunting mission to protect their community.

Simultaneously, a significant portion of the season delves into Hopper’s survival and imprisonment in a Russian prison camp in Kamchatka. Joyce and Murray embark on a daring mission to rescue him and uncover secrets about the Russians’ experiments with Demogorgons. The narrative intensifies as the group unites to confront Vecna and its menacing gates, threatening to unleash terror upon Hawkins. As the Upside Down’s spores descend upon the town, a supernatural storm looms, leaving the fate of Hawkins hanging in the balance.

Throughout the season, the characters undergo personal growth and confront their inner demons while standing united in their quest to protect their town from the horrors of Upside Down. The events of Season 4 bring closure to previous storylines and set the stage for new challenges and mysteries in the future of Stranger Things.

Where is Stranger Things Hawkins’s Location?

Stranger Things
image source

The captivating town of Hawkins, situated in Indiana, depicted in the hit TV series “Stranger Things” is entirely fictional. The actual filming of the show takes place in  Georgia. Though the setting and references transport us to the captivating world of Hawkins, the actual filming takes place in scenic locales across the state.

Throughout the seasons, we traverse various avenues in the fictional town of Hawkins, which is ingeniously brought to life in various real-life locations, mainly centered in Georgia.

  • Downtown Jackson, Georgia

This served as the core setting for Hawkins, with its charming streets like 2nd Street and Oak Street capturing the essence of a vintage 1983 town. To maintain the authentic small-town vibe, the filming crew carefully redesigned certain parts of the area and buildings, giving it a distinct Midwest look and feel.

Key landmarks were seamlessly incorporated into the filming process. Melvald’s General Store, located at the corner of 2nd Street and North Mulberry, became the place where Joyce purchased the iconic Christmas lights to communicate with Will in the Upside Down. Bradley’s Olde Tavern, situated on Oak Street, took on the role of the local movie theater, and it is where Steve and Jonathan had their memorable confrontation.

  • The Hawkins Laboratory

The foreboding Hawkins Laboratory, where sinister government experiments occur, is brilliantly represented by a part of the Emory Briarcliff Campus. The crew ensured the exterior reflected the desolate and chilling ambiance befitting a sinister, illegal experiment-fueled lab. While the eerie interior scenes were carefully crafted in a studio.

  • Hawkins Middle School

Scenes from Hawkins Middle School in the series came to life through Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge, Georgia. This location effectively captured the essence of the characters’ school life, providing a convincing backdrop for the teenage adventures in the show.

  • The Hawkins Police Department

The police station where Sheriff Jim Hopper worked found its real-world counterpart in Douglasville, Georgia. To maintain the integrity of the setting, the building used was the former town hall of the municipality.

  • The Hawkins Community Pool

This pivotal location in the third season was, in reality, the South Bend Pool in Atlanta, Georgia. The pool’s close proximity to Screen Gems Studios, where interior scenes were predominantly filmed, allowed for seamless integration of poolside moments and other indoor sequences.

These real-life filming locations successfully breathe life into the fictional town of Hawkins, showcasing the artistic brilliance of the production team in recreating a vintage 1980s setting. The attention to detail and creative adaptations authentically portray the charm and mysteries of Hawkins, captivating the show’s devoted fans.

What Mall Was Stranger Things Filmed in?

Stranger Things Season 3 introduced the prominent setting of Hawkins Starcourt Mall, which was brought to life in the real-life Gwinnett Place Mall, located just outside Atlanta, Georgia in Duluth. At the time of filming, Gwinnett Place Mall had recently closed its doors due to difficulties attracting tenants to its shops. Interestingly, a few months before Season 3 production began, an unfortunate murder occurred in an old Subway within the mall’s food court.

To ensure an authentic ’80s mall ambiance, a dedicated section of the mall was meticulously remodeled for shooting, recreating around 40 stores’ interiors and facades, including iconic references like Orange Julius.

Starcourt Mall served as the backdrop for Scoops Ahoy, the ice cream shop where Steve and Robin work. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that the mall is a secret front for a Russian Base, leading to an epic battle with the Mind Flayer and ultimately resulting in the mall’s fiery destruction. Despite its prior abandonment, the production team worked diligently to rebuild numerous storefronts, successfully portraying a vibrant and functioning ’80s mall environment.

Is Stranger Things 5 Filming?

Stranger Things Season 5, confirmed as the final installment of the beloved Netflix series, was initially slated to begin filming in May/June 2023. Unfortunately, production has been put on hold due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, which has potentially extended the wait for the highly anticipated new season.

As of now, the exact timeline for resuming filming remains uncertain, and this has a direct impact on the overall production schedule. Despite the delay, Matt Duffer revealed that much of the season’s storyline has already been outlined, ensuring that fans can still expect an engaging and well-crafted conclusion.

David Harbour has hinted that the filming for the final season might span around 8-9 months, though a more precise estimate will only emerge once production officially resumes. Depending on the resumption date, if shooting were to commence in mid-2023, a late 2024 or early 2025 release date is a possibility.

Chizzy Onukogu
Chizzy Onukogu
Chizitere is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in producing articles on various subjects. My writings have been published on multiple websites and publications


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