Escape the Ordinary at Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery
Located less than a mile from downtown Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery is a unique destination and treasured historic site. Founded in 1850, this 48-acre Victorian garden cemetery is the final resting place for more than 70,000 city pioneers, artists, tycoons and trailblazers who had a hand in Atlanta's growth. At Oakland Cemetery, it's easy to escape the city hustle and get lost in the tranquil gardens and extraordinary history of this unusual Atlanta treasure.
Oakland Cemetery is located on Memorial Drive between the historic Grant Park and Cabbagetown neighborhoods. Hop aboard MARTA to the King Memorial station, which is a five-minute walk to Oakland's main gate. Should you choose to drive, there is a free parking lot directly outside of the main gate, at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. For lovers of the Atlanta BeltLine, Oakland is a mile-long stroll from the Eastside Trail at Krog Street Market.
Oakland Cemetery offers guided tours on weekends, with expert tour guides bringing to life the stories of the cemetery's eternal residents. Check the cemetery's website for the schedule. From March to October, Oakland also offers weekend special topic tours at 6:30 p.m., covering a rotating and wide range of subjects, from Civil War medicine and 19th century architecture to Victorian symbolism and Gone With the Wind.
If you're visiting during the week or want to explore the grounds at your own pace, download the Historic Oakland Cemetery app for a "behind-the-stones" stroll. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app is free to download and includes 10 narrated and illustrated points of interest throughout Oakland. An additional 55 stops are available with a $1.99 in-app purchase. The app also includes a map, so you'll never get lost in this sprawling city park!
For a more low-tech, self-guided experience, Oakland offers dial-in tours accessible by mobile phone. Discover the symbolism and historic significance of Oakland's flora with the "Oakland's Timeless Gardens" cell phone tour, or learn about the notables buried in the historic African American Grounds with the "African American Voices" cell phone tour.
Need a pre-tour coffee or snack? Petit Chou, a bistro at the corner of Memorial Drive and Powell Street in Cabbagetown, offers breakfast and lunch. You can’t go wrong with the biscuits and chicken sausage gravy, but make sure to save room for a slice of homemade pie. The décor uses reclaimed wood, steel fire doors and metal beams that pay homage to Cabbagetown, the neighborhood for employees of the now-defunct Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. The name Petit Chou, French for “little cabbage,” honors this historic neighborhood that is gaining attention for its street murals and public art.
Oakland’s gates close at sundown, so after getting your fill of history, enjoy one of the neighborhood restaurants on Memorial Drive. Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, Republic Social House and Tin Lizzy's Cantina offer sumptuous views of Oakland Cemetery from rooftop patios.