For most of its 150 year history, Senoia, GA, has, in many ways, remain untouched. The small town southern culture is reflected through humble shops featuring handcrafted items, signs preserving significant historical periods, and an obvious touch of southern hospitality from locals. It was a little known place to just about everyone except residents. However, this has begun to change in recent years as AMC has set up several Walking Dead filming locations in and near Senoia, GA. As a huge fan of the show, I was excited about traveling to Senoia and seeing some of the Walking Dead’s filming spots up close.
Arriving in Senoia, GA
I decide to arrive in Senoia early. Although I plan to take the tour, I still want to explore a little on my own and get some pictures before the tourists begin crowding in. Even though it’s only 9 AM, the weather is already hot and humid. It’s a bright, sunny morning, quiet except for the chirping and humming of birds. Only a few cars are parked along Senoia’s Main Street. I park mine in front of City Hall and set out.
Main Street, at least in downtown Senoia, is actually a hill. With City Hall situated at the top, I will be heading downhill to explore the rest. Despite its recent rise in popularity, Senoia aptly maintains its small town charm, a sentiment further enhanced by the current lack of crowds. The rustic brick and wooden buildings are largely indicative of an older period in American history. With names like “Table Talk” and “Katie Lou’s Cafe”, it’s pretty clear that these are largely small, locally owned businesses. Of course, they’re all taking advantage of the extra attention from The Walking Dead by offering zombie themed items. Most of the stores even sell a “Zombie Filming Location Map” for $10. The sidewalks are spacious enough for the looming crowds, and brick flower holders have been placed along the way. The sidewalks also feature plaques for the various movies and TV shows that have been filmed here. A few old-school black clocks with “A Better Way Ministries” written across the top can be found at various intersections. And, of course, there’s the water tower rising above it all, a nonfunctional monument that is actually being preserved exclusively as a Walking Dead filming spot (though there are plans to turn it into a bar, as I would later find out during the tour). With just over 3000 residents, it still isn’t exactly a populace area, though this is sure to change in the near future.
Approaching the Alexandria Safe Zone
As I reach the bottom of the hill, the road turns to the left. If I instead continue straight, I will cross it into a small park with some plants surrounding a gazebo (which is also a Walking Dead filming spot). Trees line the back of the small park, and just past them is a railroad line. Crossing over it brings me to another street, across which I can clearly see the wall of the Alexandria Safe Zone from the show. Some homes, an apartment building, and a church can be easily seen rising above it. To the left of the wall, a burned area matches events from the series. (Begin Spoiler Alert) This is where the tall white tower used to stand that fell across a section of the wall in season 6 (End Spoiler Alert). There are small side streets that lead closer to the wall, but they all have barriers reminding visitors that this is private property and asking them not to trespass.
While viewing Alexandria from the tracks, I turn to the left to see an old bridge further down. A friend of mine that previously visited told me that she saw zombies underneath it during her trip. The tour guide would later confirm that this bridge was also used for filming, though it looks quite different in the show (to find out why, be sure to take the tour if you get a chance).
The Walking Dead’s Lasting Impression
As previously mentioned, most of the buildings here are locally owned family businesses. Two of the more obvious exceptions are The Official Walking Dead Store and The Waking Dead Cafe. The store, of course, features merchandise and memorabilia from the show. Some of the items are actually pretty cool, though most of them are really expensive. The cafe used to be downstairs from the store, but is now in the adjoining building. It sells Starbucks coffee renamed with zombie themes. It also features some merchandise of its own, including coffee cups and even the chocolate pudding enjoyed by Carl. The walls feature autographed pictures and posters. Naturally, I had to pick up a cup for myself, even if only for the novelty of it…though sadly, I already forgot its zombie name (it was actually the White Chocolate Mocha). After that, I grabbed lunch at Katie Lou’s Cafe, which is owned by the family of Rutledge Wood from Top Gear.
The Walking Dead Filming Museum
Despite the Waking Dead Cafe’s relocation, the store’s downstairs area still features a small museum with various artifacts from the show, including the famous “Don’t Open Dead Inside” doors and one of Darryl Dixon’s motorcycles. Autographs from the show’s cast are written along the walls. A few other props, mostly from the prison, have been donated or loaned from AMC and are setup in prison cells for the full immersive experience. A sign hanging above some rough-looking closed doors marks the former location of The Waking Dead Cafe.
And So Begins The Walking Dead Filming Location Tour
Now that my solo exploration was over, it was time to head down for my tour and a chance to see just how much I may have missed. For the sake of time and to avoid spoiling the tour for anyone else, I’ll just cover some of the highlights. While walking down to the tour shop, I passed another group being led by a guy who looked just like Rick Grimes. I mean, just like him. To the point that people were stopping their cars to get pictures of him.
Ultimately, he wasn’t my guide, but we did get “Senoia Carol”. She was in costume, of course, and introduced herself as one of the show’s makeup artists and personal friend of Norman Reedus. And hey, what better person to show us The Walking Dead filming spots than someone who worked with the show? She was also quick to point out that to locals, the “a” in Senoia is silent. Our first stop was the aforementioned gazebo, just a short walk away from the tour shop. The small park surrounding it has been used as a filming location for several episodes, even including some filmed after the Woodbury events.
Afterwards, we moved on to “Senoia Coffee & Cafe”, which was temporarily repurposed as “Woodbury Coffee House” for the show. The road crossing between it and the gazebo is also where one of the four walls used to protect the town from zombies was built. Just a couple of buildings over, we stopped in front of a shop with all sorts of unique and random objects in the front. In particular were 3 giraffe statues. Named after characters from the show, the one dubbed “Carl” was actually featured in a few episodes. The tour eventually includes all 4 wall locations, which really do correlate with the main roads entering the downtown area. Were the zombie apocalypse real, their defensive measures would have actually worked.
She pointed out several shops and Walking Dead filming sites that were used around town before leading us to a nearby neighborhood. The lawns to my left actually back right up to the walls of Alexandria. This street features the house (owned by the local Historical Society President) where Rick recovered after, well, a certain altercation (trying to avoid spoilers here). A couple of houses down from that one, we see the one where Carl sat on the roof eating pudding as a zombie reaches desperately from the window, appropriately dubbed “pudding house”. A few other houses were also included, some bearing more significance as Walking Dead filming locations than others.
After the neighborhood, we were led back to the road traveling parallel to Alexandria’s wall. I think all of us really hoped that the tour would include at least some portion of it, but Senoia Carol told us that security is very tight. There are actually 7 families living within the neighborhood, and they’re really the only ones who are allowed apart from the filming crew. Upon purchasing their homes, they had to agree to specific terms with the filming company, which includes carrying credentials whenever they leave and reenter, and leaving or following strict schedules during filming. It sounds a bit annoying, but they were at least aware of the terms ahead of time.
Though only two miles, the tour lasts about two hours and includes plenty of uphill walks with temperatures rising into the 90s. Several in the group were a little exhausted at its conclusion near Alexandria’s main gate. Still, it was great visiting the Walking Dead filming spots in Senoia, GA. It’s also an added bonus to explore the town’s small southern charm (and filming locations for other movies). There’s more to see in Senoia than the Walking Dead filming locations, and the town frequently hosts festivals throughout the year. Last year, I actually had a chance to stop by here during Memorial Day Weekend (obviously just missing it this year), and saw the entire town setup as a tribute to those who have fallen in service of our country. If I ever find myself in the Senoia area again, I’d love to see what else they host throughout the year.
Now, how about a little trivia? Below, I’ll post some additional pictures from my trip to The Walking Dead filming locations in Senoia, GA. Can you guess which ones were used in the show, and which are just part of Senoia’s small town charm? Some will be much more obvious than others (and some are just a few extra shots). For the answers, be sure to plan a trip of your own to Senoia and sign up for a tour while there.