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The Hunger Games filming locations you should travel to to feel like Katniss Everdeen

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After an 8 year pause, everyone’s favourite teen-dystopia franchise is back: Divergent! Jokes, it’s the Hunger Games, and they’re back with a thrilling prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which details the 10th Annual Hunger Games and Coryolanus Snow’s role in them and how he became the conniving President we meet in the main trilogy.

In honour of this epic return, we thought we’d highlight some of the most beautiful and interesting Hunger Games filming locations that were used over the years to bring Suzanne Collin’s universe to life. Read on to find out where Katniss and Peeta fought for their life, fell in love, and put an end to Panem’s terrible regime.

Spoilers ahead, beware!

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The Hunger Games

With a very low budget of 78 million USD, the Hunger Games crew couldn’t afford to jet off to any fancy locations, so all of the filming was contained inside the state of North Carolina in the mid-eastern United States. Though North Carolina is a gorgeous state, its handful of understated and rugged areas managed to capture the atmosphere of District 12 with authenticity.

Here are some of the stand-out locations!

District 12

District 12 is the mining district, and the poorest of them all. From the few scenes shot here, we get a glimpse of the run-down central town, washed in a near-constant smog of dust and grey. It’s a dreary place, so it’s lucky, then, that the movie-runners were able to find Henry River Mill Village, an abandoned village just northwest of Charlotte.

The area used for the Reaping Ceremony – in which Effie Trinket picks a male and female tribute – was filmed at a nearby abandoned warehouse lot in Hildebran. Both these locations make for the perfect Hunger Games filming locations as they really set the scene of the dilapidated District 12.

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Arena Cornucopia

Our first taste of the Hunger Games arenas comes when Katniss is elevated up to an open field, surrounded by forest on either side. In the middle is the Cornucopia – a structure holding all sorts of survival goods and weapons designed to draw tributes in and commence the ‘bloodbath’. As gruesome as that sounds (and it is), the actual place for this is the North Fork Reservoir in Asheville, NC – an otherwise quiet and still area of land where thankfully no children are found fighting to the death!

Arena Forest 

The rest of the Arena, and all its dark and twisting forests, was filmed in the DuPoint State Forest of the Cedar Mountains, NC. This is a great Hunger Games filming location as the area is secluded, as well as being wide and open, which gives the crew and actors ample room to enact the horrific games. Many scenes were shot here including Katniss running away from the Careers, and Rue’s death and funeral.

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Catching Fire

After the hit of the first movie, Catching Fire, the second instalment of the franchise, was given almost double the budget, and with this the crew could afford to expand filming outside of North Carolina. It’s just as well seeing as the Quarter Quell Arena includes a beach and tropical jungle.

District 12

The location for District 12 changes this time around, and we move to the Pratt-Pullman Yard in the state of Georgia, which becomes home to The Hob. The Hob is the black market area of District 12 where goods are swapped and purchased – this is the place where Katniss picks up the Mockingjay pin in the first film! Pratt-Pullman Yard is another abandoned industrial zone which just gives off immaculate District 12 vibes!

President Snow’s Mansion

At the end of their Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta spend a lavish evening celebrating with Capitol people in the garden of Snow’s mansion house. We don’t get to see the inside, but it looks pretty grand from the outside: a spirling double staircase leading up to a Greek-style house with columns and arches, all white of course, for Snow. The filming location for this regal abode is Swan House in Buckhead, Georgia and is open for visitors!

Arena Cornucopia 

The Quarter Quell arena of Catching Fire is when these Hunger Games filming locations start to get really interesting! The aquatic ring was shot at the Clayton County International Park in Georgia, also known as ‘The Beach’. This was an Olympic Beach used back in 1996.

Arena Beach

The rest of the beach however was filmed on Kawela Beach in Oahu, Hawaii – a far cry from Georgia! This is where we get the iconic scenes of Katniss and co. plotting the Career pack’s demise, as well as a touching emotional scene between Katniss and Peeta. 

Kawela Beach, Hawaii

Image source:Vlad D. / unsplash

Arena Jungle

The rest of the Quarter Quell Arena is a thick, sticky, and deadly jungle filled with obstacles at every turn. This was largely filled in the Waimea Valley in Haleiwa, as well as Manoa Valley in Honolulu – both located on the island state of Hawaii. Don’t worry, there are no murderous monkeys or poisonous fogs here, so you’re free to visit!

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Mockingjay Part 1 and 2

After the roaring success of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the last 2 instalments of the franchise, Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 got treated with some international filming locations! Familiar locations stick to the US of A, but the crew are also treated to some hot spots in France and Germany.

Snow’s Mansion, interior

We are finally invited inside Snow Mansion in these films and it’s no surprise that the President of Panem is living a life of pure luxury. With white walls and golden panelling, chandeliers, and baroque furniture, it’s no surprise that the real life location for his home is the Château de Voisins in Louveciennes, France.

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District 13

Now that District 12 is no more, the new base of operations is District 13 (though mostly underground). Most of District 13’s interiors were filmed at the Kraftwerk in Berlin, which is an old industrial building turned nightclub. It’s a large open space made of cold looking concrete and steel. Perfect for a post-nuclear war bunker! 

We don’t get much of the outside of District 13, but what we do get was shot at Sweetwater Creek State Park back in Georgia. This is one of the prettier Hunger Games filming locations as it’s a sprawling open space flanked by green and a rushing river in the middle. Gale and Katniss are seen hunting here in their free time away from Coin and Heavensbee.

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Quarry

Though this is only a short scene and a minor Hunger Games filming location, it’s an important location as this is where we first hear the Hanging Tree song that Katniss sings to Cressida and her filming crew. This is the song that causes a major spark in the rebellion and gets all the way back to Snow causing some unwanted flashbacks… (we won’t spoil for anyone waiting to see Ballad). This quarry is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and named Bellwood Quarry.

Capitol

This is the first time in the series that we get a true glimpse of the Capitol outside of the Tribute’s parade. Two major locations were used for the Capitol, as well as multiple sound stages and studios.

First, Noisy-le-Grand in Paris was used as the location where a deadly black sludge was released onto Katniss and co., causing them to flee inwards and give away their position to Snow. This semi-circular apartment complex is instantly recognizable as one of the Hunger Games filming locations, and also fits right into the sleek architecture of the Capitol. 

Second, and equally iconic, is the ICC Messedamm in Berlin – an underground subway station made up of concrete floors, orange-tiled pillars, and massive round overhead lighting. This is the place that our remaining crew finds themselves running through as they escape the sewer Mutts and emerge back into the overground.

Snow’s Greenhouse, exterior

Though the interior of Snow’s greenhouse – where he and Katniss have their final confrontation – was filmed on a soundstage in Atlanta and rendered with CGI, the exterior and the surrounding gardens were filmed in Rambouillet, a château just outside of Paris. This castle is open to the public for visitation as well and would make for a lovely day trip outside the French capital. 

Meadow

Finally, as the main trilogy comes to its bittersweet conclusion, we find Peeta and Katniss tending to their children in an idyllic and secluded hilltop and meadow. This marks a moment of, extremely well-deserved, peace for the couple. The exact location of the meadow was figured out by fans! Turns out, it’s a meadow in Dawsonville, Georgia, and eagle-eyed fans have already noted that the location looks very similar to one used in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Speaking of, the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel film to the main trilogy, revisits many Hunger Games filming locations seeing as it’s primarily set in the Capitol and District 12. Filming took 17 weeks and utilised various locations in Poland and Germany.

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Arena

Seeing as Ballad depicts the events of the 10th Annual Hunger Games, the games have a much different look and feel to them, so the Arena this time around is simply a circular stadium. The real life location for this was Centennial Hall in Wroclaw: a beautiful and regal looking domed construction which fits right into the Capitol’s post-war aesthetic. Of course, all destruction within the Arena was added with CGI and other practical effects. It’s still intact today and able to be visited!

Tribute Zoo

Before the Tributes were treated to fancy stays in lush hotels at the Capitol (a treat before their televised death), they were kept in an open-air zoo for all Capitol citizens to come and look at them. This zoo was constructed in the Britzer Garten, a park in Berlin.

Heavensbee Hall

The University that Snow attends was shot in three gorgeous and imposing locations which perfectly show the imposing nature of this University and the intimidation that awaits inside. The outside was filmed at the Altes Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island, the classroom was filmed in Tieranatomusches Theater (also a museum), and the hall of statues in which Snow meets his fate was filmed at Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig, a unique stone construction.

The War Department

Dr. Gaul was one the most interesting characters introduced in this prequel, and she is the Head Game Maker of Panem at the time of the 10th Annual Hunger Games. As such, she’s a little (a lot) on the evil side, so it’s fitting that The War Department, where her lab is located, and where she creates new terrifying Mutts, was constructed inside a Crematorium in Berlin! Listen, when the movie-runners get it right, they. Get. It. Right.

Command Center

The centre in which the Hunger Games commentary is being broadcasted was filmed in an old building from Berlin’s Olympic Park. At the time it was used for the fencing events, and today is used as a gymnasium and also a place where mentors watch their tributes do battle.

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Thriving District 12

A far-cry from the District 12 we see in The Hunger Games, Ballads’ rendition of it is a thriving and charming town full of life. Landschaftspark, located in Duisburg-Meiderich, was used as the main Hunger Games filming location for this; with the steel mill and the haphazardly-sprouting greenery around, it brought Lucy Gray’s home to life.

Outskirts of District 12

2 fishing lakes and a meadow in the unspecified Polish countryside were used as filming locations for the outskirts of District 12 where Lucy Gray and her Covey family often spend lazy days singing, swimming, and picking a certain swamp plant… It’s a shame we don’t know the exact location because this area is beautiful!

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