Exterior view of Ponce City Market in Atlanta

Ponce City Market in Atlanta

6 Must-See Stops Along Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue

Following Atlanta's 16-mile-long Ponce de Leon Avenue from start to finish gives you the unique opportunity to explore several neighborhoods along the way. Here are some tips to structure your trip.

Biking on the Atlanta BeltLine

Have a burger – and bike it off – in Midtown

In Midtown Atlanta, there's quite a bit on your to-do list: fuel up at the iconic Varsity restaurant, grab a show at the historic Fox Theatre, snag workout pants at Ponce City Market, then rent a bike and hop on the Atlanta BeltLine - a former railway corridor turned multi-use trail that circles the core of Atlanta.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Atlanta BeltLine

Woman's hand holding a cookie outside Alon's Bakery on North Highland Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Take a break in Poncey-Highland and Virginia-Highland

Affectionately known as "The Highlands," this community was named for the intersections of the popular Virginia and Highland avenues. Catch a game in one of its many sports bars, snag unique gifts from neighborhood boutiques – and, of course, enjoy the many food and drink options, like Dark Horse Tavern, The Righteous Room, Atkins Park, Murphy's, La Tavola, Alon's Bakery & Market and Paolo's Gelato.

Fernbank Forest at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia

Find art and nature in Druid Hills

Atlanta might have never become the vaunted "City in a Forest" if not for Druid Hills. Originally a greenspace-filled community for the elite like Coca-Cola owner Asa Candler, Druid Hills was almost entirely demolished for a highway project, but the community rallied and sparked a wave of neighborhood activism and preservation that has continued to benefit the entire city. Today, people flock to this historic neighborhood for the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and its majestic Fernbank ForestCallanwolde Fine Arts Center, and the lesser-known "Little Lullwater," the six-plus-acre Lullwater Conservation Garden.

Downtown Decatur, Georgia

Refuel, quaintly, in Decatur

Developed during different decades, with different characteristics, Decatur has coalesced into the vibrant and diverse modern-day "city within a city." The downtown square has more than 200 indie boutiques, galleries, salons, and dining spots within its four square miles. Eddie's Attic is a must for live, local musicians, and you can find an endless list of solid food options like Ford Fry's No. 246, award-winning Kimball House and not to mention a beer-lover's nirvana at Wild Heaven Beer, Brick Store Pub, Three Taverns Brewery, Sceptre Brewing Arts … and more.

Your Dekalb Farmers Market in Scottdale, Georgia

Expand your palate in Scottdale

As Ponce winds to an end, you'll pass through the country's most ethnically and racially diverse community, Scottdale, all the way to Clarkston, a designated refugee resettlement site, or "the most diverse square mile in America." Developed in the late 1800s around a cotton mill, Scottdale is the most under-the-radar neighborhood in Atlanta – and it's on its way to becoming the next great intown destination. Here, you can visit one of the city's largest international markets, the Your Dekalb Farmers Market and sample a plethora of international foods from Caribbean dishes at All Island Cafe to Indian at Chat Patti.

Published: January 2021