COVID is mostly over, and you have watched everything worth seeing on Netflix. Right? You want to get out and DO something. And while not everything is back in full force, there are a lot of things to do in Atlanta this summer, especially on the Atlanta BeltLine. Some of it is even free. If it's already too hot for you (sorry, it's going to get hotter), there are even options with a/c (thank god for that). Check out our tips below for experiencing some of the best restaurants in Atlanta, along with other ideas for exploring the Atlanta BeltLine.
What is the Beltway, you ask. No, that's D.C. The Atlanta BeltLine is a former railroad converted into a walking/biking trail, and is one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the U.S. It draws 2 million people a year, making it one of the top destinations in Atlanta. And with 55 restaurants in a 2-mile stretch, your "foodie" radar will be going off. It is also a rotating art exhibit. Atlanta is famed for its street art scene, and you will find plenty of murals and spontaneous art under bridges, as well as sculptures, photo banners and other installations of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, known as the South's largest temporary outdoor art exhibition. The BeltLine is a place to see and be seen. To learn more about the BeltLine, check out this guide to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Too soon to travel? Stay close to home, stay indoors, stay cool and stay entertained at this new venue near Ponce City Market. It transports you virtually to the plains of Africa, immersing you in a safari using projection and 3D immersion. You stand in the animals' natural habitat. The floor shakes. You smell things. "Come face-to-face with the world’s most exotic animals," Illuminarium's website says. Without them eating you.
2. Relax at Historic Fourth Ward Park
The beautiful Historic Fourth Ward park, spanning 17 acres with a pond, amphitheatre, playground and picnic areas, is a perfect place for a family outing or couples' escape. On the way there, you can stop at Kroger across the BeltLine from Ponce City Market, grab some to-go food and libations, take the elevator down to the park (diagonally across the BeltLine from Kroger), then spread out a picnic on the lawn. Also bring some rice and lettuce to feed the fish and ducks (no bread, or you'll make their stomachs explode), and you might see Eddie the Blue Heron swoop down to check out the food supply. OK, I might be the only one who calls him Eddie. Bringing your kids? They can burn off energy in the playground, and then cool down in the splashpad.
3. Ride more of the Atlanta BeltLine trails
If you have been on the Atlanta BeltLine, it was probably on the Eastside Trail somewhere between Piedmont Park and Irwin Street, right? This is the busiest section, but there's much more to explore, so go all Robert Frost and take the road less traveled by. Either bring your own bike or rent a scooter or e-bike (see this article that gives tips on riding scooters on the Atlanta BeltLine.
Here are some options:
Head farther south to Memorial Drive. On the Eastside Trail, keep going past Irwin Street to Dekalb Avenue. Ride through the Krog Tunnel (an art experience on its own) and up Wylie Street, where you may see a wall of fresh street art. Don't stop here. Find the BeltLine where it picks up across Wylie street and stay straight until you hit Memorial Drive, where you will hit a cluster of restaurants representing Atlanta's diverse food offerings: Taqueria Tsunami (Asian-Mexican fusion) Cold Brew Bar (neighborhood coffeehouse), Wonderkid (hipster), Curry Up Now (Indian street food) and Muchacho (tacos and toasts). And if you are about to have heat stroke from Georgia's summer weather, head inside to the new AMC cinema at Madison Yards and watch a movie to cool down for a while.
Find your north. When the paved BeltLine ends at Monroe Drive across from Piedmont Park, keep going. There is an interim gravel trail to the right of Park Tavern, which will take you to the paved section of the Northeast Trail. The route is scenic, passing under old railroad bridges, but becomes somewhat desolate, so I would plan to go on a weekend when there are more people around.
Go west, young man. Drive to the Lee + White development for a brew and a meal, and jump onto the BeltLine down below. You can bike or walk and see plenty of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine installations. You might even find the Mile Zero sign, where it all started. Read more about exploring the Westside Trail.
4. Watch the sunset behind the Atlanta skyline
Now that the sun is setting later, you can leisurely watch the Atlanta skyline framed by a pink sky at night. New Realm Brewing's rooftop bar is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a craft brew, although you might have to elbow among the crowd. Or if lingering over cocktails is more your style, reserve a table at Estrella's tropical rooftop bar next door.
5. Come on a Food & Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine
Join us as we walk down the BeltLine, sampling food at some of Atlanta's best restaurants. Starting at Krog Street Market, named "one of the world's best food halls" by Travel & Leisure, we stop at different restaurants to get a taste of Atlanta's cosmopolitan food scene, from Mexican to pizza to Soul food and more. A margarita is included. While we eat small bites, it's enough to fill you up by the end of the tour. Along the way, we explore Atlanta’s embrace of vibrant street art, discovering the art and artists that earn the Atlanta BeltLine’s reputation as the South’s largest temporary outdoor art exhibit.
We select only restaurants we highly recommend, and support Atlanta's diverse business community by including two black-owned businesses and an LGBTQ-owned restaurant on our tours. Come immerse yourself in the Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta's hippest neighborhood, and join us for a fun day out. Book a BiteLines Food & Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food & art tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.