Hollywood At Arabia Mountain

From Stranger Things to The Vampire Diaries, a number of uber-popular shows and movies have had scenes filmed in the Heritage Area.

Celebrity alert! Was that Eddie Murphy and Pete Davidson spotted in Downtown Lithonia last month? Yes, the Saturday Night Live alums were seen about town filming a scene on Wiggins Street for an upcoming action-comedy called The Pickup. Production crews were in town for several days prepping the area for the single scene that included the famous comedians walking down an alley beside the National Heritage Area’s Historical Gateway and Ruth Carroll Dally Johnson Interpretive Garden.

Georgia is often referred to as the “Hollywood of the South” because of its robust film industry. Due to tax and production incentives, and a wide range of urban and natural scenery, many shows and movies are filmed around the state, especially in Metro Atlanta. Eddie Murphy and Pete Davidson are the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars to visit Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. From HBO’s Ozark and the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To to hit streaming series like Stranger Things and Cobra Kai, big-budget productions frequent this region for its diverse scenery and filming locations. Below is a short list of some of the most popular shows and movies that captured the beauty and uniqueness of the Heritage Area on the silver, well, digital screen.

Stranger Things

The sci-fi comedic thriller Stranger Things has been a hit since Season 1 aired on Netflix back in 2016 and the show has been filming around Metro Atlanta for years. In fact, several scenes from the show were filmed in Lithonia! In Season 3, Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers work together as colleagues at the Hawkins Post, their local newspaper. The exterior of the newspaper office is visible in the show, and the scene was filmed in front of the row of businesses which are now Black Dot Cultural Center and Green Love Kitchen in Downtown Lithonia. Visit 6984 Main St, Lithonia, GA 30058 to see it for yourself!

Another scene which was filmed in the Heritage Area takes place at Ravi’s Food Mart at the intersection of Klondike Road and Covington Highway. This location was used for the scene of Oscar’s Gas n’ Go, a convenience store set in Chicago that was robbed by Eleven and other superpower-wielding Hawkins Lab test subjects who escaped during Season 2. Visit the location at 7705 Covington Highway, Lithonia, GA 30058.

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries, which aired on the CW from 2009 to 2017, filmed extensively throughout East DeKalb. One of the most importnat locations in the series is located in the Heritage Area, specifically the bridge over the South River at Everett Park, known in the series as the Wickery Bridge. Fans of the show will instantly recognize this bridge as the site of the tragic deaths of central character Elena’s adopted parents. Today, the bridge has become a bit of a mecca for The Vampire Diaries enthusiasts, who come from all over the country to visit the filming location at 5106 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038.

Also recognizable is the Heritage Area’s Housworth Homeplace in the Klondike National Register Historic District that was also used for exterior shots in the show.


Even Oprah is a fan of filming in the Heritage Area. One of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s most popular shows Greenleaf (about a scandalous, megachurch-owning family) had all five seasons (2016-2020) filmed in and around Atlanta. And the iconic and opulent mansion of the titular family in Greenleaf is right here in Lithonia at the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute at 3235 Evans Mill Rd, Stonecrest, GA 30038. Oprah apparently was not impressed with the first location chosen as the Greenleaf family manor and kept location scouts busy until they found the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, to which Oprah said, “Bam!”

Ozark & The Outsider

Hollywood’s comedic darling Jason Bateman apparently couldn’t get enough of the Heritage Area! Bateman starred in two different productions that visited Arabia for filming: HBO’s The Outsider (which had one season in 2020) and the very popular Ozark (2017-2022). In Ozark‘s episode five, “Ellie”, scenes with Marty and Wendy Byrde (Bateman and Laura Linney) driving around town were filmed on Main Street in Lithonia, a location also featured in the Heels series about a small wrestling league.

As for The Outsider, based on the 2018 Stephen King novel of the same name, fans will instantly recognize historic Vaughters’ Barn as the barn from season 1, episode 3, “Dark Uncle,” in one of the most attention-grabbing and terrifying scenes in the whole series. “Jason was a really cool guy,” said Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve Manager Robby Astrove about working with the star. “He was super laid-back and approachable.” Visit this cool location and the barn, which has since been revitalized, at 3366 Klondike Rd, Stonecrest, GA 30038.

Vaughters’ Barn can be seen at the beginning (and in the middle) of this trailer for The Outsider.

Dumb And Dumber To

Move over Eddie and Pete, uber-famous (and funny) superstars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have also set foot in Downtown Lithonia. The cast and crew camped out in the City of Granite for three days to capture footage for the 2014 comedy Dumb And Dumber To. Filming happened largely at the Lithonia Plaza on Max Cleland Boulevard and the interior of the historic Henry Funeral Home on Church Street, which was transformed into the film’s Fletcher & Fletcher Funeral Parlor. 

Then-Lithonia Mayor (and Arabia Alliance board member) Deborah Jackson said about Dumb and Dumber To when it was filming in town in 2013: “Having movies filmed in the city is very exciting. The increased traffic creates great opportunities for our local businesses to get additional exposure and support. Given the historic character of our city, we believe there is tremendous potential to have more film projects and are working to be known as a Camera Ready Community.” 

Sleepy Hollow

The Bruce Street School, one of the Arabia Alliance’s top revitalization projects, has also had its five minutes of fame. The dramatic, stony ruins of the old schoolhouse were used as a filming location for the Fox Series Sleepy Hollow, 2013-2017. (A film crew can be seen working at the ruins in the lead photo of this Field Note.) This historic structure, constructed of local granitic gneiss by the community, served as DeKalb County’s first public school for Black students from 1938 through the 1960s. The ongoing Bruce Street School Revitalization will transform these ruins into an outdoor museum about Black education in the Jim Crow South. 

Last Looks

This 2021 crime mystery starring Charlie Hunnam (from Sons of Anarchy) did much of its filming in Georgia. Signature Arabia Mountain outcrop can be seen in the first few minutes during the opening credits. The production crew filmed mostly at Mile Rock Trail at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. “They converted the kiosk near Arabia Lake to be the chicken coop in a scene,” said Preserve Manager Robby Astrove. “It was pretty cool to watch the art department create something, to capture an aesthetic, and tell the story.”

Pet Sematary Two

Although not nearly as popular as the original movie based on the Stephen King novel, this 1992 horror/action sequel was notable for several praised acting performances and had many scenes filmed around Arabia Mountain. Although set in a fictional town in Maine, the film crew behind Pet Sematary Two utilized stretches of bare Arabia rock at night to create a creepy, gloomy atmosphere as the setting of an ancient Native American burial ground cursed with the ability to bring back to “life” the dead buried there (with a twist, of course). Catch a quick glimpse of some familiar rock outcrop at the 0:19 mark in the trailer. (Caution: Some scenes may not be suitable for children.)

Cobra Kai?

This streaming, spinoff from the 1980s classic The Karate Kid movies has become a surprise smash hit. Even though set in California, Cobra Kai is filmed almost entirely in the Atlanta Metro Area. (Making Georgia look like LA? Talk about film magic.) Pay close attention to the montage when main characters Daniel and Robby are training in Season 1. There are several shots of the pair practicing their moves on some exposed outcrop that looks suspiciously like Arabia Mountain. However, filming for this scene actually took place at another monadnock, Stone Mountain. Who knew Georgia had so many famous filming locations?!