Marvel's The Avengers was shot mostly in and around two locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico and Cleveland, Ohio, with a small amount of shooting taking place in New York.. Scenes here are listed in their order of appearing in the film, as we have no way of knowing when they were shot.
Filming began in in Albuquerque on April 25th 2011.
This is where most of the sets would be constructed and on-set filming would take place, though two location shoots took place in Albuquerque.
- 1) The exterior of the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility is Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, southwest of Albuquerque, augmented with plenty of suitably hi-tech dressing, including a full-scale helicopter pad smack in the middle of the school’s quad. (Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders)
- For the interior, the scenes in the hallway were probably also shot in Albuquerque, but those in the giant-ceilinged laboratory would later be shot in Cleveland.
- 2) ‘Calcutta’, where the Black Widow finds Bruce Banner, is actually the old Santa Fe Railyard in the Barelas neighbourhood of Albuquerque, tricked out with three containers of set dressing shipped from India. (Scarlett Johansson & Mark Ruffalo) The same railyard was previously featured in Michael Bay’s Transformers. (You may remember it as where Bumblebee had his battle with Barricade while Sam and Mikaela dealt with Frenzy). Later on, the warehouse into which Bruce Banner plummets from the Helicarrier is back at the same railyard (Mark Ruffalo & Harry Dean Stanton).
All scenes on the hellicarrier were shot in Albuquerque, involving all the main stars.
For the tarmac scenes on the helicarrier, about 100 feet and one-story of the conning tower of the ship were built on an old landing strip at Albuquerque airport, the rest being added digitally. (Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo; later Jeremy Renner)
The main portion of the Avengers' battle appears to be on the viaduct above Park Avenue in New York City, in front of the famous Grand Central Station at 42nd Street. In real life this is in front of the MetLife building, which Stark Tower digitally replaces in the film. To film a major battle at such a busy intersection would have been impossible, so three blocks of the roadway were recreated on stage in Albuquerque, surrounded by green screen to allow the avenue and the terminal to be added later.
Though unconfirmed, given that Albuquerque is where most of the on-set filming took place, it can be presumed that sets like Tony's apartment and the rock in space where Thanos and The Other inhabit, were also in Albuquerque, as well as, possibly, the interior of the SHIELD facility at the beginning, before getting to the giant laboratory, and Pepper Potts onboard a plane watching the battle take place on the news.
Filming wrapped in Albuquerque and moved to Cleveland in August 2011.
The vast interior of the SHIELD facility laboratory is the122-feet high aluminium vacuum chamber of NASA’s Space Power facility, Plum Brook Station, in Sandusky, about 65 miles west of Cleveland. Filming started here on Monday, August 8th 2011.
As Loki makes off from there with the Tesseract, the underground passages through which he makes his escape are the 150 miles of abandoned limestone tunnels 300 feet beneath the ground at Creekside Mushroom Farm, Moonlight Drive, in Worthington, east of Cleveland, over the border in Pennsylvania. It’s reputedly the largest mushroom farm in the world.
Still in Ohio, the ‘Russian’ warehouse alongside the railroad tracks where Natasha is being "interrogated" is an old refrigerator warehouse on Ashland Road at Cedar Avenue, east of downtown Cleveland.
The ‘Stuttgart’ square, where Loki forces the crowd to kneel to him is Public Square, in the very heart of Cleveland, where the museum benefit is being held in Terminal Tower (thus, likely both interior and exterior shots of this scene were filmed here. You can also recognize the area as the location of the department store in A Christmas Story.
Much of the ‘Manhattan’ battle was filmed on East 9th Street, at Euclid Avenue , in downtown Cleveland, dressed as New York – and pretty much the same area around which the Sand Man rampaged in Spider-Man 3.
It’s in front of the 1900 terra-cotta Rose Building, 2060 East 9th Street., that Captain America and Thor stand together to face the alien army.
Just to the north of Euclid Avenue, the fictitious ‘Shawarma Palace’, alongside which Iron Man crashes to earth after tearing through the Chitauri’s mechanical creature, was added to the eastern side of East 9th Street.
Opposite the Rose Building, the entrance to the 29-story Cleveland Trust Tower, 900 9th Street at the corner of Barn Court, was transformed into ‘Grand Central-42nd Street’ subway station. Coincidentally, the Cleveland Trust Tower was built in 1971 by architect Marcel Breuer after his plan to build a similar skyscraper atop the real Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan fell through.
Alongside the tower, the glass-domed Rotunda of the currently disused 1905 Cleveland Trust Building itself, at the southeast corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, stands in for the bank at ‘42nd past Madison’, where Captain America rescues the cornered civilians.
Filming concluded in Cleveland at the end of August, and moved to New York for a scant two days.
New York Edit
Brief shots of the real-life Grand Central Station, and the MetLife building which Stark Tower digitally replaces, occured in New York.
Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America crash their ship in the real New York, onto the plaza in front of 101 Park Avenue, a skyscraper often at the centre of action. One can also see it in Gremlins II and The Fisher King.
The final shot of the Avengers transporting Thor and Loki back to Asgard was shot at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, New York. Due to the public location, many pictures were taken by eager fans, spoiling Loki's fate to many on the internet. Also due to the people surrounding the shoot, Joss Whedon expressed gratitude that the scene was shot without sound.