A seemingly modern-day yellow brick road, the lively Atlanta BeltLine offers a chance to experience all that is good in The Big Peach. Weaving across 22 miles of beloved in-town neighborhoods and green spaces, the Atlanta BeltLine connects friends and strangers, offers an appreciation of public art (countless murals, sculptures and other creative expressions dot the trails), leads to fantastic shops and restaurants along the lines, and just reminds us how wonderful Mother Nature is. It may be impossible to note every single wonder along the Atlanta BeltLine, but here are a few suggestions for enjoying this urban Eden.
Your Updated Guide to the Atlanta BeltLine
Prep at Ponce City Market
Located across Historic Fourth Ward Park, Ponce City Market’s eastern border sits alongside the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. Ponce City Market (PCM) is a mega-attraction of shops and food stalls, and the only way to start your day on the BeltLine is with a cup of coffee from Spiller Park Coffee or The Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, and perhaps a sweet treat from Five Daughters Bakery or Root Baking Co.; or keep it clean with a cold-pressed juice from Lucky Lotus. Whichever way, there’s an entire food hall to fuel you before hitting the shops and getting the proper supplies for your day on the BeltLine.
Mountain High Outfitters and Lululemon have exercise gear for working out on the BeltLine, or shop the colorful West African fashions of The Bombchel Factory to complement the surrounding public art. If your kiddos come along, stop by Rhen’s Nest Toy Shop and grab a few toys to play with at any one of the neighborhood parks and playgrounds dotting the BeltLine. Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, Atlanta’s first public skatepark, is also very close and features a fantastic playground for every age as well as a multiuse athletic field (learn more below).
Prefer to make your own art rather than viewing the BeltLine’s public works? The Splatter Studio offers an immersive, messy way to express yourself. Or make a memorable adventure by visiting the rooftop attraction Skyline Park for vintage amusement park rides, games, food and drinks.
RELATED: The Village at PCM is Now Open
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
PCM sits along the Eastside Trail, the first finished section of the Atlanta BeltLine, and it’s always popular with people who live in and visit Atlanta. Besides PCM, those who wish to shop and dine can also visit Krog Street Market, featuring one of the country’s best food halls. There are nearly 20 dining options – from Israeli laffa at Yalla to Japanese ramen at Suzy Siu’s Baos. The Eastside Trail that runs through Krog Street Market weaves in and out of Inman Park, Little Five Points, Sweet Auburn and Cabbagetown — beloved neighborhoods full of their own personalities. Each of these sections of town has wonderful shops and restaurants to visit — just make sure to check for current COVID-19 changes.
Cycling enthusiasts can rent a bike from Atlanta Bicycle Barn or easily pick one up at the many Relay Bike Share stations. Adjacent to the BeltLine is Historic Fourth Ward Park — a 17-acre urban oasis for kids of all ages. Besides the nearby skatepark, this park boasts wonderful amenities, including a two-acre lake, a splash pad in the summer, playground structures and an outdoor amphitheater that has hosted (pre-COVID) many events, including Art on the Atlanta BeltLine .
The three-mile Eastside Trail, which connects Midtown to Reynoldstown, features the talented work of artists from Atlanta and the nearby region.
After a park excursion, enjoy a glass of wine (or lemonade for the kids) on the patio at Bazati. This 7,000-square-foot space for shopping, lounging, and dining makes for some awesome people-watching right on the BeltLine. The lower level features The Brasserie, a dining locale giving off French vibes, while the upper level features Estrella, a rooftop bar serving Mexican fare. Bazati is just one of many cool businesses located at the commercial facility Common Ground.
There’s always something exciting going on both in and around Atlanta’s historic Westside, so it only makes sense this section of the BeltLine gets a lot of foot traffic, with three miles for walking, running, biking and just good old hanging out. The Westside Trail, which runs from Washington Park to University Avenue, sits near MARTA stations and is easily accessible. The West End Trail, stretching 2.4 miles, connects to the Westside Trail and several neighborhoods, including West End, Mozley Park and Westview.
After getting a cardio workout in, head to the Westview neighborhood and stop by Slutty Vegan for some of the best-tasting, nastiest-named vegan burgers (One Night Stand, Fussy Hussy, and Heaux Boy are just a few). Support a few other locally owned businesses while also exploring the Westside’s green space and surrounding landscapes. Washington Park features a natatorium (indoor swimming pool) and tennis courts, while Gordon White Park is a popular spot for community and Art on the BeltLine performances.
The West End Trail also hosts a few worthwhile spots to relax and check out the local food and drink scene. Commercial facility Lee + White hosts 500,000 square feet of delicious breweries, restaurants, and overall tasty places to stop. If you like booze, you can order drinks (and food) from Monday Night Brewing, ASW Distillery, Boxcar at Hop City, Wild Heaven Beer and Best End Brewing Co., all in one miraculous spot. Looking for a more adventurous option? Try out the kombucha taproom at Cultured South Fermentation Co. or stick with tried-and-true ice cream from Honeysuckle Gelato.
Close to Adair Park, Aluma Farm grows and sells fruits and vegetables at a location convenient for anyone living in a busy city who still wants fresh produce. This urban farm welcomes hundreds of community members each week at their farmstand, so if you visit the BeltLine on the right day, you may be coming home with a fresh suntan and a basket of healthy goodies.
North, South and All-Around
The Northside Trail is a favorite with a one-mile path winding through Ardmore Park and Tanyard Creek Park (with its cool trestle bridge) and wraps alongside Bobby Jones Golf Course. This golfing mecca is a historic landmark to anyone who loves the sport and appreciates panoramic views.
The Southside Trail is currently closed for construction, as of press time; however, an unpaved interim trail offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to appreciate the local sites, like D.H. Stanton, an eight-acre park with a splash pad and playground. If you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, head to The Beacon Atlanta near Grant Park. This transformed retail and dining spot houses some really cool businesses, like Pin & Proper, an indoor gaming venue that specializes in a game called “pinfall” (a cross between football and bowling). The Beacon also has great eating: Mexican dining at Patria Cocina, Brazilian street food at Buteco, anything to satisfy your sweet tooth from Baker Dude, and much more. Other highlights at The Beacon include art education and opportunities for resident artists at Arts Beacon, skincare and facials at Kindred Studio, and cryotherapy at The Cryotherapy Place.
As the Atlanta BeltLine continues to expand and flourish, more businesses, art installations, nature tours and other outdoor experiences will, too. And where the BeltLine leads, pedestrians and Atlanta enthusiasts follow, so continue to explore this great city, get a comfy pair of walking shoes and always stay to the right!
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