Trip Ideas

The Ultimate Guide to the Atlanta BeltLine

Your guide to eating, drinking, shopping, things to do and the best places to snap pictures on Atlanta's ever-changing urban trail.

  • Atlanta BeltLine and Ponce City Market

It started as a Master's thesis by Ryan Gravel in 1999 and has become Atlanta's most iconic feature, transforming disused rail lines into 33 miles of walking and biking paths. An ongoing project, the Atlanta BeltLine is scheduled to be completed in 2030 and will loop around the city with streetcars and connected parks.

The BeltLine's success has launched urban renewal projects like Ponce City Market and Lee + White. In many ways, it's better than the famous High Line in New York City because it connects all parts of the city with public art and events. Come see for yourself what makes it so great!

Eating

There's no shortage of restaurants on the BeltLine. Most are placed around the Eastside Trail, but more are arriving on the western connections. Krog Street and Ponce City markets alone have countless dining options. We've included a few of our favorite eateries either on or adjacent to the trails, but venture out a bit further and you can find even more.

Tex-Mex at Superica at Krog Street Market in Atlanta

Krog Street Market

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Irwin Street

The former stove factory has become one of the city's top places for dining. In addition to bars like Ticonderoga Club and the beer bar at Hop City, there's a diverse selection of restaurant options at Krog Street Market. Opt for the Mediterranean flavors at Yalla, Tex-Mex at Superica, and pizza at Varuni Napoli.

Rathbun's

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Irwin Street

Kevin Rathbun and his restaurants have been a part of the Inman Park community since before the Eastside Trail's completion. Start at Rathbun's, which has been open since 2004. The fine dining eatery has a menu of dishes like elk chop, mussels, and truffle macaroni and cheese. The restaurant even backs up to the trail.

Two Urban Licks

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ralph McGill Boulevard

Play bocce on the patio that overlooks the trail while you wait for your table at this favorite brunch and dinner spot. Two Urban Licks is set in an industrial space brightened up by walls of plants. Share plates with friends over craft cocktails and wine.

Parish

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - North Highland Avenue

Inman Park is full of amazing restaurants, including Bread and Butterfly and Beetlecat. But Parish is located right on the BeltLine and offers a cafe and restaurant setting. Grab a pastry or smoothie bowl for breakfast on the go, or sit down for dinner.

King of Pops

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - North Highland Steel

There's nothing quite like a popsicle to cool you off during the balmy Atlanta days. King of Pops has stands all over the city, but Inman Park is the only place you can walk up to their window any day of the week. Here you'll find both traditional and unique flavors.

Ponce City Market

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ponce City Market

Locals and visitors alike love the Ponce City Market Central Food Hall for its wealth of choices that can please just about everyone. Chow down on the famous H+F Burger, try Sean Brock’s take on Mexican at Minero, and enjoy wine and Italian fare at Jonathan Waxman's Brezza Cucina.

Woody's Famous Philadelphia Cheesesteaks

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - 10th Street and Monroe Drive

The BeltLine restaurant scene isn't limited to the Old Fourth Ward. The area around Piedmont Park has plenty of options. The humble Woody’s Cheesesteaks serves up the sandwiches like the ones you'll find in Philly. They've been an Atlanta staple since 1975.

Lean Draft House

Closest entry point: Westside Trail - Kroger/Cascade

The Westside Trail isn't yet full of restaurants like the Eastside Trail, but Lean Draft House is one exception. Inspired by European vintage motorcycles and its surroundings, the menu includes 20 craft beers on tap, tacos and other Mexican dishes.

Cafe Sunflower Buckhead

Closest entry point: Northside Trail - Northside Trail Terminus

You'll have to cut through Buckhead’s residential neighborhoods to get to the closest restaurants, but you’ll be glad you did. Cafe Sunflower has been Atlanta's top vegetarian and vegan restaurant for two decades. You won't miss meat with their Thai green curry bowls and quinoa avocado burritos.

Drinking

It's no surprise that the BeltLine has become a popular spot for a drink. Pub crawls now take place on the Eastside Trail. The area has an abundance of patios and pet-friendly watering holes. There's something for every style!

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall in Atlanta

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - John Wesley Dobbs

Enjoy the camp vibes at Ladybird, a bar and restaurant with a large outdoor area and cozy indoor spaces. Play a round of shuffleboard while noshing on the shared barbecue board, washing it all down with craft cocktails and canned beer.

The Mercury

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ponce City Market

Tucked inside the quiet upper level of the Ponce City Market food hall is this Mad Men-esque cocktail lounge. Grab a seat at the bar of The Mercury to watch the cocktail-making process. The Hummingbird is a favorite and comes dressed with a fresh flower.

Park Tavern

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - 10th Street and Monroe Drive

One of the city's most iconic bars is Park Tavern, which overlooks Atlanta's largest green space, Piedmont Park. They host events like live music and ice skating as well as their epic Peachtree Road Race after-party on July 4.

Monday Night Garage

Closest entry point: Westside Trail - Peeples Street/Donnelly Avenue

Monday Night Brewing is just one craft beer operation to set up shop on Atlanta's West End. Located in the Lee + White development, the Monday Night Garage has a barrel aging and souring facility as well as a taproom. They'll soon have neighbors, including outposts of Wild Heaven Craft Beers, ASW Distillery - Atlanta's Hometown Whiskey Distillery, and small batch food companies.

Shopping

Grab something for yourself at Atlanta's best stores. No longer limited to suburban malls, a number of retail businesses are set up around the BeltLine.

Ponce City Market in Atlanta

Ponce City Market

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ponce City Market

In addition to being home to dozens of restaurants, Ponce City Market is, at its core, a retail heaven. Shop from big-name brands like Anthropologie, J.Crew and West Elm, as well as local shops like Citizen Supply and Savannah Bee Company.

Krog Street Market

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Irwin Street

The food hall also has a retail component. Krog Street Pet Works outfits all of your furry friends’ needs, while The Merchant sells gifts and home decor. Browse the aisles of craft beer and wine at Hop City.

Paris on Ponce

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ponce City Market

You never know what you might find at Paris on Ponce, a 46,000-square-foot space of eclectic boutiques, including vintage clothing, home furnishings and antiques. There's even a barber shop inside! They have entrances on the Eastside Trail and also from the street level, as well as colorful murals and one of the "Tiny Doors."

Things to Do

The BeltLine isn’t just for eating, drinking and shopping. There's always something going on, and attractions are within a short walk of the trails.

Biking on the BeltLine

Bike Rentals

It’s easy to see the BeltLine by foot, but you can also rent a bike to see it by two wheels. On the Eastside Trail, you can rent from Atlanta Bicycle Barn (near the John Wesley Dobbs entrance) and at Skate Escape (on the other side of Piedmont Park). Relay Bike Share also has stations at Irwin Street, Historic Fourth Ward Park, Piedmont Park, and at the West End MARTA Station.

Public Parks

In addition to the miles of trails, there are dozens of connected public parks. Piedmont Park is the largest, designed in part by the Olmsted Brothers, and connects to the Eastside Trail. It features a public pool, sports fields and events like the annual Peachtree Road Race. Historic Fourth Ward Park is also connected to the trail, home to a skate park, free yoga classes and frequent festivals.

Gordon White Park on the West End Trail opened in 2008 on a formerly abandoned lot, making it the Atlanta BeltLine's first park. Much of the Northside Trail cuts through Buckhead's Tanyard Creek Urban Forest. Arthur Langford Jr. Skate Park is the BeltLine's second skate park and will eventually connect to the Southside Trail.

Westview Cemetery

Closest entry point: Westside Trail - Lucile Avenue

Oakland Cemetery may be better known, but Westview Cemetery is the final resting place of notable Atlantans like Joel Chandler Harris, Asa Candler and Henry Grady. It's the largest civilian cemetery in the region, stretching over 500 acres. Westview Cemetery Abbey is a must-see landmark within the cemetery.

The Wren's Nest

Closest entry point: Westside Trail - Lawton Street/Donnelly Avenue

The stunning Victorian mansion in the historic West End was the home of writer Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories. Now operated as a museum, The Wren's Nest retains much of the decor that existed while Harris and his family lived there.

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Closest entry point: Northside Trail - Northside Trail Terminus

Get your dose of culture at the Buckhead-based The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Accessible from a road that connects to the Northside Trail, it has a permanent collection of contemporary works as well as changing exhibits.

Skyline Park

Closest entry point: Eastside Trail - Ponce City Market

The rooftop theme park at Ponce City Market is a year-round favorite, featuring old-school carnival games during the summer and ice skating during the winter. Skyline Park honors a park that was once located nearby.

Best Places to Snap

View of Atlanta from BeltLine bridge over North Avenue near Ponce City Market

There's no shortage of places to photograph along each of the BeltLine trails. Public art work is found throughout, including murals and sculptures. Don't miss the Tiny Doors that line the trails as well as photogenic viewpoints. The bridge overlooking Ponce de Leon Avenue on the Eastside Trail and the railroad trestle on the Northside Trail are favorites.


Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer, travel blogger and film geek from Atlanta. She writes about travel in the South and beyond for BBC Travel, Afar, AAA, and her websites, This Is My South and Caroline in the City.

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