Things to Do on the Atlanta BeltLine For All Ages
Whether you’re coming in from outside of the perimeter, or if you live inside, the Atlanta BeltLine is a perfect opportunity to explore what the city of tall trees, southern charm, and rolling landscapes has to offer.
Once an old railroad line, the BeltLine is now a multi-use trail system/economic development project that — when finished — will connect 45 neighborhoods together with 33 miles of continuous trail.
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On weekends, the BeltLine bustles with pedestrians out enjoying this easy and fun way to explore the city. New housing opportunities are popping up, including affordable housing for seniors, plus restaurants and new businesses are taking advantage of all the foot traffic. While some parts of the BeltLine are still being developed, the Eastside trail is the most complete.
Here are some of the fun things to do for all ages along the BeltLine.
Cool Atlanta neighborhoods along the BeltLine
The Southside interim trail connects you to Grant Park, home of Zoo Atlanta and Oakland Cemetery. Get a tour of the cemetery — the richness of its history is only rivaled by the beauty of its magnolia trees. You can find monuments honoring memorable Atlantans like “Gone With the Wind” writer Margaret Mitchell, Ivan Allen, Jr., mayor of Atlanta from 1962 to 1970, who led the city through growth and social change, and journalist Julia Collier Harris, co-winner of a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Take a tour of the Victorian garden cemetery and learn about the architecture, including Bell Tower Ridge, the highest points of the cemetery.
If you hop off the Eastside trail and notice winding tree-lined streets and colorful Victorian homes, chances are you’ve made it to Inman Park. Home to hip brunch spots, boutiques, Krog Street Market, and the annual Inman Park Festival, this intown neighborhood offers something for everyone. Buy local art at The Merchant or knick knacks at The Collective, sip coffee and indulge in conversations at Inman Perk. If you’re hungry, grab Italian at Sotto Sotto, some French-inspired fare at Bread & Butterfly, or globally-inspired sandwiches at Victory Sandwich Bar.
Just a quick walk from the Eastside trail, Virginia-Highland (Va-Hi for short) is an original streetcar suburb of Atlanta, known for its charming turn of the (last) century bungalows. This work-live-play district is named after the central intersection of Virginia Ave. and North Highland Ave. It’s a lively and welcoming destination for foodies, families, and fun-seekers alike. Enjoy a family brunch at one of the neighborhood’s favorite restaurants Murphy’s, shop for new home goods at Urban Cottage, grab a burger at Atkins Park — Atlanta’s oldest continuously licensed tavern — scoop up some gelato at Paolo’s, and if you want to keep up the Italian theme, grab a panini or some Italian groceries at Tuscany at Your Table.
This up-and-coming neighborhood is the perfect place to take a pit stop. If you’re into the beer scene, brewery hop to Best End Brewing Co. for funky flavors, Monday Night Brewing – Garage, for batch sours, barrel-aged beers, and a large courtyard, or Wild Heaven West End Brewery for their “Emergency Drinking Beer” series. The BeltLine is attracting new development this year, including bars and restaurants, so stop by this vibrant, historic district and snap a picture with the colorful “West End” mural that pays homage to Atlanta’s present and past.
Not-to-miss experiences on the BeltLine
Ponce City Market
In a historic structure that was once the home of Sears, Roebuck & Co, you’ll come for the international cuisines and stay for the shopping. With more than 30+ restaurants, this mall for the 21st century is a choose your own feast adventure for the whole family. Fulfill your shopping needs with Atlanta-owned Citizen Supply, featuring clothes from local artisans. Overlook the entire city of Atlanta on the Roof, during a round of mini golf with a beer in hand.
Krog Street Market
Image courtesy of thekrogdistrictatl on Instagram
Atlanta’s original food hall, Krog Street Market is full of international deliciousness. Throw one back at Hop City Beer & Wine or satiate your hunger from BeltLine-ing with some of Gu’s famous dumplings, cool off with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, or grab dinner at the eclectic Ticonderoga Club.
Street art on the BeltLine
Image courtesy of tinydoorsatl on Instagram
Small enough for a mouse, these little hidden art gems are eminently scavenger hunt-worthy. Created and started by artist Karen Anderson Singer, #TinyDoorsATL are exactly what they sound like: 7-inch doors and sculptures throughout Atlanta that reflect the essence of their neighborhoods. Here’s where you can find ones on the BeltLine:
- Krog Street Tunnel — representing Little’s Food Store, this tiny door comes alive with animation
- Freedom Parkway overpass by the Old Fourth Ward Skatepark — a door with a rainbow and tiny mirror arch
- King of Pops — this door displays a popsicle menu and is surrounded by colorful butterflies
- Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail — Painted with vibrant stripes, this door was inspired by students in the neighborhood. Fun fact: There are even tiny notes in the tiny mailbox
- On the Eastside Trail under Virginia Ave. — if you look close enough to the hot air balloon inspired art, there’s a tiny pink door fixed to the mural a few feet off the ground
- Edge OTB apartment complex in Inman Park — A juxtaposition to the tiny door theme, this BIG door or “not so tiny door” is a beast! 658 times larger than its friends, it adds a splash of turquoise to the industrial area and makes for a great photo opp
Street art and murals on the BeltLine
A canvas to the imagination, Krog Street Tunnel is ever-changing with new spray painted murals each day. Follow the BeltLine south through Krog Street Tunnel to be welcomed by an entire panel of murals by Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown. The Art on the Atlanta BeltLine organization has sponsored local artists to paint and construct art installations with the mission of making “art accessible to all” and engaging the community.
Old Fourth Ward Park
South of Ponce City Market, live music and the sounds of happy chaos fill the air at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park. Music comes from the amphitheatre and the latter from the skatepark. This park, right in the middle of Old Fourth Ward, is a fountain-bedecked green space that pays homage to the industrial past with steel art sculptures. The SkatePark, which Tony Hawk contributed $25,000 to for the construction and the park’s design, ramps up the fun with rails and bowls for skateboarders. The park is also a great place for energetic children to run around and is close to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and the Martin King Jr. National Historic Site.
On the edge of Midtown, right off the BeltLine, is an expansive greenspace facing out at the city skyline. Pack a picnic in this urban oasis, let your dog loose in the 3-acre off-leash dog park, go for a walk around the Active Oval, or learn about nature conservancy. Pick up some fresh produce at The Green Market or attend one of the many festivals like the Dogwood Festival. If you need a snack, stop by Shawn’s Heart of the Park, the park’s only outdoor concessions stand, which features picnic tables and live music. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are also nestled in the park, known for their Holiday Nights light exhibit, their Sloth Bot — a robot built by robotics engineers ”to take advantage of the low-energy lifestyle of real sloths” — and of course 30 acres of manicured gardens and beautiful flowers.
Follow the BeltLine just 20 blocks west of Georgia Tech, and you’ll come across a giant quarry that is now a freshwater reservoir with swooping bike paths and the beginnings of the Westside Park — Atlanta’s largest! Though not open yet — expected opening date is late spring 2021 — this park is notable for the sheer greenspace scale and forthcoming sculptures, playgrounds, and winding trails. Fun fact: The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Hunger Games all used this location to film!