By Cat Kessler
The curtain went up on Asheville with the premier of the highly anticipated film, The Hunger Games, which opened in spring 2012. Shot on location in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, the movie showcases both the area's natural beauty and—through the lives of the young stars on set—the wealth of exciting things to see & do around town.
Behind The Scenes—Arena Locations:
Summer Home to the Stars
Where they stayed
Jennifer Lawrence and her celebrity costars slept in the luxurious condos atop the Hotel Indigo, right in the heart of downtown. They awoke each morning to a beautiful view of downtown Asheville before running off to a busy day on set. Other cast and crew also stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Biltmore.
What they did
In their free time, cast and crew explored Downtown Asheville and local attractions:
- Ziplined at Navitat Canopy Adventures and Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures;
- Whitewater rafted with Wildwater Rafting;
- Browsed some titles at Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe;
- Enjoyed a drink on the patio at The Southern, a chic downtown bar.
Where they ate
Josh Hutcherson brought Journey 2 co-star Vanessa Hudgens to dinner at the Lexington Avenue Brewery, while actors cast as the Tributes enjoyed sushi at Wasabi. Woody Harrelson, a long-time vegan, enjoyed the fresh vegetarian creations at the Laughing Seed Cafe.
Survival of the Fittest
In the arena, Katniss, Peeta and the other tributes must fend for themselves as they fight to survive. Brush up on your own outdoor skills in Asheville.
- Hike: Prepare yourself for rugged terrain (and possible encounters with trackerjackers) with some time on the trail. See where the arena scenes were filmed at Dupont State Forest in Transylvania County, journey to District 12 for the Big Ivy trail in the Coleman Boundary or check out another area hiking trail.
- Forage: At home on the Seam and in the arena, Katniss lived off of what she could find in the forest. Learn to tell the good from the deadly on a private foraging trip with Alan Muskat, Asheville's very own Mushroom Man.
- Hone: Sharpen your survival skills with a workshop in friction fires or-Prim's favorite-edible and medicinal plants. The Nantahala Outdoor Center offers scheduled classes and private instruction.
- Explore: Katniss cherished her time in the forest with Gale, and you can too when you discover the variety of adventures that await you.
- Self-Medicate: When all else fails, do what Haymitch does and turn to some liquid comfort. Asheville Distilling Company produces pure corn moonshine, and their distillery is open for tours.
Images by Murray Close courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment, and by Navitat Canopy Adventures.