Atlanta BeltLine Tour: Explore by Foot, Bike and Blade

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Atlanta first thrived as a rail hub. Once known for locomotive transportation, the city is now receiving praise for its walkability. In fact, Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis recently ranked Atlanta the No. 8 best U.S. city for walkable urbanism.

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed rides a bicycle on the Atlanta BeltLine / Christopher Martin, beltline.org

 

The Atlanta BeltLine is leading Atlanta’s car-free movement as one of the nation’s largest urban redevelopment projects. The BeltLine is gradually transforming a historic 22-mile rail corridor into a sustainable network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit that will ultimately connect 45 of Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods.

 

The first completed section of the BeltLine, the Eastside Trail is already attracting thousands of locals every day. Ditch your car and explore the food, sights and scenery with this four-mile tour of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.

 

The bar at PARISH / PARISH: Foods & Goods, parishatl.com

 

Brunch: Kick off your BeltLine tour with a New Orleans-inspired brunch at PARISH: Foods & Goods. The food is as comforting as the ambiance at this eatery-slash-market, with what’s rumored to be the best Bloody Mary on the East Coast. Wave to passersby from the patio, which overlooks the BeltLine.

 

Stop 1: Walk off brunch on your way to the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum. The Carter Library brings to life the legacy of the Nobel Peace Laureate, including an exact replica of the Oval Office as it was during Carter’s presidency. 

 

People take a break from the Atlanta BeltLine on the Paris on Ponce deck / TimothyJ, Flickr.com

 

Stop 2: Head north on the BeltLine to Paris on Ponce, a sprawling trifecta of antiques, art and locally made goods. Greet Baudelaire the Pug, the shop’s living, weezing mascot. On the way to Paris on Ponce, you’ll pass by the largest brick structure in the southeast. Formerly a Sears Roebuck & Co. distribution facility, this mortared monolith is now home to Ponce City Market, which opens later this year with a central food hall, rooftop amusements and green space.

 

Lunch: Hop back on the BeltLine from Paris on Ponce’s back door. Head north on the BeltLine to Park Tavern on the outskirts of Piedmont Park. This patio hangout is a local go-to for burgers, sushi and micro-brews, giving validity to Park Tavern’s claim of having “a menu as diverse as you are.” 

 

Tulips fill Atlanta Botanical Garden during its spring event "Atlanta Blooms!" / Chris Kozarich, atlantabotanicalgarden.org

 

Stop 3: It’s time to explore Atlanta’s centerpiece park, Piedmont Park. Wander through the park’s trails, view Midtown’s skyline from Lake Clara Meer, or read a book on the manicured lawns. Make your way to the northwest corner of the 189-acre park, where you’ll happen upon the 30-acre secret garden that is Atlanta Botanical Garden. At the botanical garden, you’ll come across king cobras made of flora, a garden composed of food and a room overfilled with orchids, among other fragrant features.

 

Dinner: Cut across Piedmont Park to the east to arrive at your final destination, ONE. Midtown Kitchen. A renovated warehouse, ONE. keeps things interesting with industrial chic décor and a mouthwatering menu. Reward your hardworking feet with a $32, $42 or $52 bottomless wine glass; or, try one of many creative craft cocktails.