Like many fans, I’ve been watching The Walking Dead since episode 1, “Days Gone Bye.” From the moment Rick Grimes stumbles out of the hospital through the abandoned town, I tried to imagine how I would feel in the same situation. The confusion and desperation of trying to make sense of what catastrophic event happened around you during a time where you were unconscious throughout the initial harrowing events. There’s an innate sense of realism attempting to visualize how you would act in this situation and not completely collapse from the fear setting in. That episode and the ones following throughout the season, immediately drew me in and I was hooked like so many millions who’ve followed the show over the years.
Those earlier seasons will always stay with me and it’s one of the biggest reasons why I decided to visit one of the show’s many filming locations in Georgia when I had the opportunity.
Located 50 minutes southwest of Atlanta, it features some of the most memorable visual locations in the show. Primarily the town of Woodbury from season 3 and more recently the town of Alexandria in the later seasons. In the story, they are set in different states but in reality, the two filming sets are located just across the street from each other.
Exploring main street in downtown Senoia is very enjoyable, especially on a fall afternoon. On the top of the hill is the Governor’s place and a host of familiar-looking buildings usually featured in some scene with Andrea or the people of Woodbury.
It’s clear Senoia has taken advantage of the hit-show with many shops promoting many Walking Dead-themed products such as coffee and beer.
The Walking Dead Shoppe offers the most variety of merchandise with the unique feature of having a Walking Dead museum in the basement which includes select props on loan from the show such as Daryl’s motorcycle and the original hospital door – “Don’t Open Dead Inside”.
The town is calm during off shooting days and you’ll find many locals very welcoming and ready to share stories of their experiences. Some have appeared as walkers on the show or have had drinks with cast-mates at a nearby tavern. Ask around and you’ll sure to hear a few good stories. Just be warned, not everyone is happy with the influx of tourists and attention. Being a resident means you’re subjected to the occasional noise of gunfire and explosions from the filming locations, often in the middle of the night. The set design even created a fake building in the town for filming that still stands today (pictured below).
Armed with your phone and the internet, it’s easy to explore and take a self-guided tour. Pull up some photos from Woodbury and you will instantly recognize locations around you with the Governor. However, if you like more instruction and a direct path to follow, The Georgia Tour Company offers professional tours with a guide in cosplay to show around.
Price: $25 and up
Hours: Sun – Sat 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Alexandria is more closed off especially during the filming schedule so most of the time you’ll only be able to enjoy the set from a distance.
But if you look closely you can recognize some important places such as the church and the burned watch tower.
The Walking Dead has more film locations around such as Grantville and Atlanta, but if you ever find yourself driving in southern Georgia, it is definitely worth a detour in Senoia.
If you plan to make a whole day trip, I recommend the following places:
- Breakfast – Katie Lou’s Cafe
- Lunch – Maguire’s Family and Friends Restaurant and Irish Pub
- Dinner – Nic & Norman’s (Owned by Walking Dead co-executive producer, Greg Nicotero and Daryl, played by Norman Reedus)
- Coffee and Tea – The Walking Dead Cafe