15 Places to Experience 'The Hunger Games'
Even without peacekeepers, mockingjays and nightlock, visitors can connect to the world of Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch in North Carolina.
The film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ popular dystopian novel was shot on locations and soundstages in the western half of the state, and The Hunger Games pilgrims can take travel cues from the sites that frame the action, the stars’ favorite off-duty spots and attractions that District 12 denizens would love.
ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Concord “The Hunger Games” purchased 12 unfinished racecar seats from this company to be used on a transport vehicle for the characters in the movie. ButlerBuilt provides custom seats for NASCAR drivers and stunt cars, each selling between $239 and $4,000 a seat. With just 20 employees, ButlerBuilt produces several hundred hand-built seats a year. A public showroom is located at 70 Pitts School Rd. Concord, NC.
The Depot at Gibson Mill, is the largest antique and designer mall in the south, sitting at 85,000 square feet and has 460 booths. Six purchases from the producers of Hunger Games were made at The Depot, totaling 50,000 dollars. Purchases consisted of only primitive, dark, damp, rusty, and crusty items such as a rusty antique carrying basket to be used as props in the movie. The Depot is located inside Gibson Mill at 325 McGill Avenue, Suite 250 Concord NC 28026.
Phillip Morris, Concord Hunger Games used Phillip Morris, once a tobacco manufacturing plant, to film many of the scenes in the movie. Phillip Morris was private enough for interior scenes, such as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) being marched around by stormtroopers from one set to another. The plant is located at 2321 Concord Parkway S. but sits on private property and is not open to the public.
Uptown Charlotte With its urban sheen, North Carolina’s largest city presents the Capitol’s over-styled residents and the unlucky District tributes at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Knight Theater and other locations. It’s quite a show.
U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte Gamemakers would no doubt love to tap the talent behind this multi-adventure wonderland, home of the world’s largest manmade river. The long list of activities includes survival programs for adults and families as well as rock climbing, which reportedly enticed Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) during the “Hunger Games” shoot.
NoDa Neighborhood, Charlotte On North Davidson Street, the historic NoDa neighborhood has become Charlotte’s hippest, most artsy destination, home of galleries, bars and lively restaurants. “Hunger Games” cast members found their way to Cabo Fish Taco and Amelie’s French Bakery, among other places.
Uptown Shelby Private warehouses west of the South Lafayette Street hub accommodated the Reaping, the Hob and other District 12 sites (plus the paparazzi’s would-be perch). Visit the restaurants and shops that served the Hollywood visitors — Pleasant City Wood Fire Grille was a favorite. Ask locals about their encounters and keeping mum about Miley Cyrus’ visit to see beau Liam Hemsworth (Gale).
Henry River Mill Village, Hildebran Pull off Interstate 40 at Exit 119 and drive by the abandoned Henry River Mill Village, which stands in for the Seam and the Mellark family bakery. Beware: The village is private property and posted as such, but the new Hildebran Heritage Museum can help satisfy curiosity.
Nature Research Center, Raleigh Anyone looking for the lowdown on jabberjays and tracker jackers is advised to try the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Opening in April, the Nature Research Center will offer a Meet the Scientist experience, in which visitors can pick researchers’ brains. And who knows? If these lab wizards can reverse-engineer a dino-chicken (yes, they’re working on one), they might know how to go about making …… or stopping … a hissing humanoid reptile or wolf mutt.
DuPont State Recreational Forest, Brevard / Hendersonville Welcome to the arena, a dramatic landscape of waterfalls, pines and poplars, hideaway lakes and fishing streams. Hit the trails and see if you can spot Katniss’ pond, the place where Peeta camouflaged himself and traces of the pyrotechnics from the fireball sequence. Shots of the airstrip were fashioned into the aerial view of the train speeding toward the Capitol.
Craggy Pinnacle Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway The lake beside the Cornucopia quenched the Career Tributes’ thirsts, and so it is with the North Fork Reservoir, where the Games’ bloodiest action was filmed. Because the reservoir is tapped for drinking water, access is restricted, but hikers can catch a glimpse or two from the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, accessed at the Craggy Gardens visitor center above Asheville. The trail leads to a grassy area with a view of the reservoir, then to the pinnacle, where the crystal blue water is part of the panorama. Visitors are advised to follow the law and stick to the established trail, the better to minimize damage to the environment.
Downtown Asheville Lexington Avenue Brewery, Wasabi, the Laughing Seed … there’s a long list of spots that attracted cast members during their stay in Asheville. And the trio of young stars stayed at Hotel Indigo.
Troy & Sons, Asheville With his craving for white whiskey, Haymitch would have stashed case upon case of the moonshine made here from heirloom Crooked Creek corn, grown on a nearby farm. And Haymitch wouldn’t have broken the law to buy it.
Navitat Canopy Tour, Barnardsville Rue would have loved soaring through the trees at Navitat, one of a dozen or so ziplines in Western North Carolina. In real life, Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) climbed aboard with then-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. Another reason to visit: Pre-games scenes with Katniss and Gale were filmed nearby at Coleman Boundary in Pisgah National Forest.
Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City A Hunger Games tribute would do well to attend Survival School at the NOC, which has 40 years of experience teaching people to thrive in the great outdoors. Wilderness first aid, animal tracking and trapping friction fire, wild foods and medicinal plants are among the topics covered. See more about The Hunger Games shooting locations on VisitNC’s all-new Pinterest board pinterest.com/visitnc/hunger-games-sites and www.visitnc.com for more on the movie.