Atlanta Movie Tours turns things “upside down” to give fans a closer look at the fan favorite series Stranger Things.
I had the pleasure of going on the inaugural run of the latest tour from Atlanta Movie Tours (AMT). It features locations from the Netflix original Stranger Things.
At So Many Shows we like to talk about our favorite series long after the credits roll. Atlanta Movie Tours (AMT) takes a different approach. They want to help fans experience their favorite shows by visiting memorable filming locations used in the Atlanta area.
AMT is now offering a Stranger Things themed tour aptly named “Atlanta Upside Down Tour”. The name is a great callback to the mysterious parallel universe that torments our protagonists in Stranger Things. I think the name is especially appropriate for another reason, though. Much like the “Upside Down” resembles our world, it doesn’t look exactly the same. In the case of the “Upside Down”, it is a darker, drearier and scarier version of the regular world.
Filming locations are similar in that they usually resemble what you see on TV or in the movies, but there may be differences in real life. Maybe a production will “age” a location with decor from a different period in time. Perhaps they will digitally alter a physical structure to accommodate the scene.
Seeing filming locations in their current state may require that you use your imagination to visualize how it was portrayed on screen. Then again, some spots require almost no alterations and look virtually identical up close.
AMT utilizes industry insiders who have actual experience working on sets that can shed light on how some of the “magic” happens.
Let’s consider a few examples of Stranger Things locations included in the tour.
The Hawkins Community Pool requires little imagination to picture it in Stranger Things. Save for the pool deck seating that has been packed away or the cover being placed over the water, this location is very easily recognizable as the spot where Billy struts to the lifeguard stand.
The tunnel Kali drives through in season 2 looks familiar but not quite the right size. AMT insiders share that the actual structure was digitally elongated for what we see on TV.
A drive by “Benny’s Burgers” (aka Tiffany’s Kitchen) proves that some structures look almost identical to what we see on film. In the case of “Benny’s Burgers”, the restaurant still uses the curtains production left behind according to our AMT guide, Colin Cary.
Hopper lives on
Did I mention that our tour guide Colin wore a great Chief Hopper costume? This made for great photo ops, particularly ones at the version of Hopper’s cabin used for exterior shots. The cabin located at Sleepy Hollow Farm is a great example of how things are often aged for filming. Colin described how production built the cabin from scratch and then aged it to look much older.
Speaking of Hopper, the location where he requires “coffee and contemplation” to get his day started requires quite a bit of imagination to picture it from the show. It is currently undergoing renovations so the entrance is no longer as recognizable. A look around the area does provide help in “placing” the police station.
Not too far away is the building that doubled for the “Palace Arcade”. Adjacent to the arcade is the space for Keith’s latest entertainment venue “Family Video”. While the iconic rotating sign for the “Palace Arcade” is no longer present, there is no denying that the purple and orange painted exterior belongs to the arcade where Max boasts the high score on Dig Dug!
One of my favorite locations from the tour was our drive by the location used for the “Brimborn Steelworks” building. This one was definitely easy to spot. Despite there not being any “Brimborn” signage present, the tell-tale windows and entrance are absolutely recognizable. I don’t mind that we did not get off the bus for this one as it was very reminiscent of all the flaying that ensued in Stranger Things season 3. Yikes!
These are just a sampling of the many locations featured on the tour.
Keeping things “cool”
Much like the Mind Flayer, I like to keep things cool, especially in the heat and humidity of Atlanta. The opportunity to return to an air-conditioned bus after stop-offs was welcomed.
Aside from literally staying cool on the bus, the tour has several other amenities to keep guests happy and comfortable. The fact that we did not have to worry about directions driving around the city was a luxury in itself. There is also an opportunity to stop for a snack and restroom break about halfway through the tour.
Even when the drive to the next location is a little longer than some, guests can enjoy trivia and clips from the show along the way. Tourists get to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow Stranger Things fans and the excitement of being up close with locations from the show.
The tour concludes with a special bonding moment among the guests in a fun nod to Stranger Things season 3. While we wish the tour was “never ending”, it wraps up after about 3.5 hours with a return to AMT’s headquarters (and retail space!) in Castleberry Hill. Guests can shop for fun merchandise and t-shirts from a wide variety of productions filmed in Georgia.
As AMT’s tagline suggests, the Atlanta Upside Down Tour is a great way to “get in” and “geek out” over Stranger Things.
Tickets are available for purchase at the Atlanta Movie Tours website.
Enjoy more Stranger Things memories with our “Eighties Things” podcast episode on So Many Shows.
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