TV

'Stranger Things': Is Hawkins, Indiana a Real Place?

Stranger Things is a science-fiction fantasy series that has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of fans of all ages and interests. Set in the nostalgic world of ’80s suburbia, Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in 2016, becoming an immediate smash, and one of the streaming service’s hottest properties.

A TV show that is full of insider references and clever character tropes, Stranger Things is currently in production on the fourth season, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a host of fans eagerly waiting for the next installment, many pop culture fanatics are looking to the production itself, and to the town where the series is set. 

What is ‘Stranger Things’ about?

Stranger Things is set in the 1980s and focuses primarily on a group of young children, who set out on a mission to investigate the disappearance of their friend, Will Byers. Also in the mix is a girl with psychokinetic abilities, a variety of eccentric townspeople, and a moody sheriff, known to the locals as Hopper.

Successive seasons of the show have focused on Mike and Eleven’s relationship, the maturing of the friend group, and Hopper’s relationship with Eleven, who becomes his adopted daughter. Stranger Things has been praised by critics and fans for the writing, character development, and the way that showrunners are able to accurately represent ’80s nostalgia.

All in all, the series has scored 39 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and six wins, four Golden Globe nominations, and a slew of other awards and honors. 

Hawkins, Indiana is a beloved TV town

As much as the human characters in Stranger Things have become fan-favorites, the town of Hawkins, Indiana, where the series is set, has taken on a life of its own. The small town, which is full of mystery and intrigue, is considered to be one of television’s most memorable TV towns, according to Yardbarker. 

Still, fans who might decide to road trip to the real-life Hawkins might be disappointed — the town itself is fictional, a fabrication of the creators of Stranger Things

Is Hawkins, Indiana a real place?

Fortunately, Stranger Things fans who want to check out the places where the young stars of the show filmed the series have some options. While Hawkins is said to be in Indiana, Stranger Things is primarily filmed in the beautiful southern state of Georgia.

According to Afar, the producers for Stranger Things, the Duffer brothers, decided to settle the production in Georgia partially because the state offers tax breaks and other incentives to people filming movies and television shows there. 

A few of the specific buildings and places used when filming Stranger Things include Bradley’s Big Buy Grocery Store (featured in several major scenes in the first season of the show), Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus in Atlanta, which served the show’s Hawkins Laboratory, Gwinnet Place Mall, better known as Starcourt Mall, South Bend Pool, which is used as the location for Hawkins Community Pool, and Stone Mountain Park, which is seen in the show in several of the show’s pivotal outdoor scenes. Standing in as downtown Hawkins is downtown Jackson, a town south of Atlanta, which features several local businesses that have capitalized on the popularity of Stranger Things by creating special menu items and even photo opportunities for visiting tourists. 

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