For three seasons, Netflix’s Stranger Things has been pretty focused on the small midwestern town of Hawkins, IN, in the 1980s. In fairness, a lot of weird crap happens in Hawkins. (That was the original title for the series, by the way; Weirder Crap. Fun not-fact.) With this fourth season, however, the action goes all over the map. Literally. Multiple locations in the United States, and indeed the rest of the world, play major parts in Stranger Things 4‘s first part. Here now are all the places we see for sure.
Obviously, it wouldn’t be a season of Stranger Things if we didn’t spend the bulk of the time in creepy ol’ Hawkins. Many of the specific locations we see are old favorites: the Wheeler house; Hawkins High (across the parking lot from Hawkins Middle School); Hopper’s shack; Family Video; Dustin’s house; the Sinclair house; the library. And of course, though only in flashbacks, we spend a LOT of time at Hawkins Lab. Too much some might say.
We also see a lot of brand new places this season. We’d love for Netflix to put out an official map of the entire town because it’s sort of hard to figure out where everything is in relation to each other. But, new locales include: the trailer park, specifically Eddie Munson and Max’s trailers; the weird abandoned house where the basketball team hangs out; Reefer Rick’s lakeside retreat where Eddie spends a lot of the season; Skull Rock, a convenient meeting spot for the Hawkins Crew.
Perhaps the most important new addition for the purposes of this new season is the Creel house. We learn from Victor Creel the horrible story of demonic possession which led to the death of his family and his own incarceration in a mental hospital. However, we learn in episode seven that Vecna is himself 001 who is actually Henry Creel, Victor’s young son. It’s a real dun-dun-duuuuuun moment as three seemingly disparate parts of the narrative all converge.
Upside Down, IN
We’ve seen the Upside Down before, obviously. It wouldn’t be Stranger Things without at least some visit to the mirrored hellscape full its demobats and vines and whatnot. Thanks to Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Eddie traveling through the Watergate, we see a lot of the Upside Down version of Hawkins, with even less clear geography. For example, they go to the Wheeler house, but it’s all by itself; we know the real Wheeler house has neighboring houses. Very strange.
Like in real Hawkins, the most interesting and important spot in Upside Down Hawkins we see this season is the vestiges of the Creel house. Vecna has a smashed-up, distorted version of it as his base of operations. We leave Nancy at the end of episode seven learning the truth about Vecna and the Creel house’s distinctive sideways clock.
Lenora Hills, CA
At the end of Stranger Things 3, Joyce Byers leaves Hawkins along with her sons Will and Jonathan and new adoptive daughter El for the sunnier, not-remotely-evil fictional town of Lenora Hill, CA. Except, despite the sun, and Joyce’s pretty rad house, it’s not a particularly happy place for El. “Jane” as they call her is the victim of consistent, pointed bullying which causes her to lash out and break her bully’s nose. Luckily I guess the police drop the charges thanks to Owens’ intervention. Score one for clandestine government agencies, I guess.
The California Crew, as Netflix calls them, have maybe the weirdest arc in the season. Mike goes to visit Eleven (and not really Will, poor Will), but she soon leaves with Owens and so Mike, Will, Jonathan, and new favorite character Argyle go on the lam following an intense gunfight in the new Byers house. Where do they go?
Salt Lake City, UT
In one of the absolute weirdest scenes in the entire series, the California Crew drives through the desert, trying to escape the bad government guys (not to be confused with the good ones), and heads to Salt Lake City to get some aid from Suzie. You remember Suzie; Dustin’s really-for-real girlfriend. Suzie’s house is what I would call a wide-awake nightmare.
Even though her very strict father is home the whole time, Suzie’s older sister is put in charge of her younger siblings. The youngest is a literal wild beastboy; the middle ones are sword fighting non-stop; the slightly older ones are making a horror movie where the only scene appears to be a girl choking on blood from a neck wound.
All of this is to find out, via coordinates, where Owens took El. Suzie uses a newfangled thing called “the internet” to find the answer. And do you know where it is?
Area 51, NV
Yep, the underground lab where Owens takes El, only to discover a still-alive Dr. Brenner, is in the actual Area 51. Almost too on the nose there, Duffers. But here, in a nondescript doorway in the middle of nowhere, El undergoes memory therapy to both help regain her powers and to learn the truth about the evil wreaking fresh havoc on Hawkins.
Meanwhile, Joyce and Murray head to the great white north to bring $20,000 to a weird Russian guy named Yuri to take to another Russian guy named Enzo to hopefully free Hopper. They don’t spend a lot of time in Nome, but it’s important because it’s right across the Bering Sea from our last most important location in Stranger Things 4.
USSR (Presumably near Kamchatka)
The prison in which the Soviets are holding Hopper is right across the Bering Sea from Nome, which is perfect for the smuggling of things and people from the West to the East, or vice versa. Though Enzo thinks he’s the smartiest of pants, Yuri the weirdo double crosses him and ends up in a cell next to “American.” If not for Murray’s use of karate and flawless Russian, Hopper and Enzo would have joined their fellow prisoners as demogorgon food for sure.
And there you have it! All the places Stranger Things 4 goes. Will there be more places in the final two episodes? We’ll have to wait until July 1, 2022, to find out.