Is Hawkins, Indiana a real town? Stranger Things filming locations revealed

Find out everything you need to know about where Netflix hit Stranger Things is filmed

Stranger Things behind the scenes (Netflix, JG)

Stranger Things 2 is here, and that means it’s time to return to Hawkins, Indiana.

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But where in the world could this town with a dark secret possibly be? Find out more about how and where the hit Netflix series was filmed…

Is Hawkins, Indiana a real place?

Sadly not; although the small-town 80s location felt all too real in season one (apart from, you know, deadly Demogorgons and alternate dimensions), Hawkins is not a real town.

That said, series creators the Duffer Brothers quickly discovered that their choice of location would have a significant bearing on the final nostalgic feel of the series…

Stranger Things was originally meant to be set in another area entirely. The series was first titled ‘Montauk’, named after a real-life coastal town in New York.

“We were excited about the idea of doing something coastal, Ross Duffer told AV Club in 2016. “Probably our favourite movie of all time is Jaws, and Montauk is one of the bases for [Jaws setting] Amity, so I think that’s where that idea came from.”

However, Ross added, “Logistically, it became more necessary for production reasons to set this not in a coastal town.”

And so, with the name change came a new direction: the search for the perfect Stranger Things town began…

Where is Stranger Things filmed?

The team eventually settled on Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding area as an ideal setting for the fictional Hawkins, Indiana. While many of the interior scenes are filmed on studio sets, a number of places in the Netflix series actually exist.

The mysterious Hawkins National Laboratory for example is partly filmed at Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus, formerly the Georgia Mental Health Institute.

Dr Brenner of Hawkins National Laboratory in Stranger Things Netflix, JG)
Dr Brenner of Hawkins National Laboratory in Stranger Things Netflix)

Hawkins Middle School meanwhile was filmed at a former high school in nearby Stockbridge, Georgia – if you find the spot in Google Maps you can even see ‘Hawkins Middle School’ painted on the side of the building.

Stranger Things Hawkins Middle School
Stranger Things filming location Hawkins Middle School (Netflix)

In season one, the Stranger Things kids spent time exploring the former Bellwood Quarry just outside Atlanta – which, incidentally, has also been used as a filming location for The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries.

The Stranger Things kids cycling through Bellwood Quarry in Georgia Netflix, JG)
The Stranger Things kids cycling through Bellwood Quarry in Georgia (Netflix)

Many of the scary stalks through the woods meanwhile were filmed at the Georgia International Horse Park, a large park land which played host to the equestrian events during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

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Other parts of Hawkins town itself were filmed in Jackson, a city to the south east of Atlanta. The courthouse, library and sewer authority building all feature in season one.

Everything you need to know about Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2 poster (Netflix, JG)