Weekend Edition: Atlanta BeltLine
Atlanta: Beyond the Airport
For many travelers, Atlanta as a city may appear to be an ambivalent destination. The airport is seen more often than our colorful neighborhoods. An Atlanta conference room, always too cold (maybe paired with a trip to the Georgia Aquarium) hardly scratches the surfaces of this top America destination (though we argue, highly underrated).
We are convinced Atlantans keep up the stereotype for a reason: they want to keep this extraordinary city all for themselves.
Atlanta is a glorious mix of charm and urban. The city revels in southern tradition and eclectic extraordinary: Victorian houses intertwined along mural painted streets, fried chicken paired with a vibrant cocktail scene, and green space weaved through contemporary concrete wonders.
So next time you are visiting Atlanta, whether via a long layover, company conference or a weekend getaway, try a few of our recommendations and live like a local.
Our top picks for exploring Atlanta in a weekend
Neighborhoods in Atlanta have unique personalities. The conglomeration of neighborhoods is an intricate part of what makes Atlanta interesting. At the same time, it becomes a struggle when exploring Atlanta: with so many neighborhoods to choose from, and not necessarily connected well by public transportation, how do you select where to explore? Then we discovered the Atlanta BeltLine. The neighborhoods in Atlanta have done an amazing job to cultivate unique identities and now, thanks to the BeltLine, getting around has never been easier. Connecting multiple areas, the Eastside Trail is a walking / biking path featuring a few of our favorite neighborhoods including Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Virginia Highlands and Inman Park!
Fitting every Atlanta neighborhood into one post was an impossible task, so this Weekend Edition will focus only on the BeltLine Eastside Trail and surrounding neighborhoods. The Eastside Trail covers a few of the most popular sections of town and is a good starting place if time is limited.
Fun Fact:The entire BeltLine (not just the Eastside trail, which we are focusing on today) currently has over 11 miles of paved trails, although not yet all connected. Once finalized, there will be over 33 miles of connected pathway circling the city, combined with an additional light rail for improved public transportation. Since inception, business and residences have flocked to the BeltLine, as it's become a gathering spot for activity, shopping, fine dining and drinking.
Now back to the Eastside Trail! Depending on your location, there are three main starting points. Google what works best for you and go from there! Happy exploring!
Stop #1: Krog Street Market (KSM)
Starting at the south end, you'll find KSM (for those interested in Atlanta civil rights history, this is located conveniently close to MLK's childhood home / Sweet Auburn district). A representation of what Atlanta does best, KSM is a converted industrial space that now boasts incredible shops, food stalls, restaurants and bars. Check out Hop City Market and try one of their 50 taps or grab a Middle Eastern shawarma at Yalla.
DEAL ALERT: Tuesday's are the best day to visit KSM. Free (YES, FREE) wine tastings start at 5:30 pm. Feeling basic? Head to the Luminary and taste one of their legendary rose slushies - Tuesday's are half off.
Stop #2: Ponce City Market (PCM)
Centrally located on the Eastside Trail, PCM was a long-time coming. We mean that in the best way possible. Originally deemed the "Chelsea Market of Atlanta," PCM had big shoes to fill. Once a Sears, Roebuck retail store, later City Hall and then for years just an abandoned building, now PCM shines as a beacon for all things indulgent. A full day could easily be spent at PCM, whether you spend your time strolling through the high-end retail stores (JCrew, Madewell, Sephora, West Elm to name a few), grabbing a growler while people watching, playing mini-golf / arcade games on the roof (YES, this is a thing and it's amazing as you could imagine!) or taste-testing from the rows upon rows of food stalls. Honestly, there is so much to be done here you could dedicate a whole day exploring.
Some of our favorites at PCM:
- Tap on Ponce - pick your favorite growler and then head to:
- Bellina - the ragu pasta is to die for. Top off your meal the European way with a coffee from:
- Dancing Goats - honestly, nothing beats this place. Dancing Goats is a coffee lover's dream from the hand-brewed pours to the swing-filled patio. Right next door is another great patio option and eatery:
- City Winery - wine on tap with an incredible patio plus spectacular wine. City Winery also features live music most weekends. Should I say more?
DEAL ALERT: Tuesday's are also the best days to visit PCM. The PCM Farmer's Market is held every Tuesday from 4 pm - 8 pm. Just down the BeltLine from PCM is also FREE YOGA at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park at 7 pm, sponsored by King of Pops (side note: try these popsicles and / or cocktails at some point).
Stop #3: Piedmont Park
At the northern section of the Eastside trail lies our most beloved green space: Piedmont Park. This is the place to go for amazing city views and fresh air. On weekends you will find locals relaxing, bathing in the sun, playing soccer or strolling through our Saturday farmer's market. If you are feeling active, rent bikes and skates at Skate Escape off Piedmont Road (this will make it much easier to complete all three stops in one day!).
When you need a drink or something to eat, swing by Park Tavern. With a covered patio, this is the place to be for sweeping city views, good music and fun times.
DEAL ALERT: Park Tavern has $1 beers on rainy and guess what? Their beer is pretty good! If it rains, they pour... Not raining? Get half off sushi after 10 pm.
And if all else fails, simply stroll the BeltLine and explore wherever catches your attention.
As Drake says, "Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination."
No matter where your journey takes you, we hope you explore beyond.
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