The best ways to explore the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail

The best ways to explore the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail
Source: Atlanta BeltLine

The BeltLine is one of Atlanta’s favorite outdoor attractions – and you should explore the Atlanta BeltLine whether you are a resident or a tourist. Though the idea was first proposed in 1999, most Atlantans know the BeltLine didn’t begin to look like what we know and love today until around 2012 when the Eastside Trail was completed. This trail is still the most popular section of the BeltLine.

In total this urban path is composed of 33 miles of multiuse trails. Atlantans also love the BeltLine because it’s made the city greener, adding 1,300 acres of new greenspace over the past 13 years. There is so much to love about the BeltLine, and there is much to explore. Here are some fun things to do when you hit the Eastside Trail.

Explore the Atlanta BeltLine onward from Midtown

A popular destination since 2012, the Eastside Trail runs from Piedmont Park (in the center of Atlanta) southeast all the way to Memorial Drive. Along the Eastside Trail there are many great destinations. Piedmont Park is one of Atlanta’s crown jewels and it sits at the beginning of the trail. It is a beautiful green space in Midtown Atlanta featuring a lake, athletic areas, dog parks and more, spread over 189 acres. It’s the perfect place to start a day on the Eastside Trail of the BeltLine.

As you leave Piedmont Park, the trail continues southeast and passes right by Ponce City Market. If you like to explore shops and dining, then this stop could take you hours. Opened in 2014 in one of the largest buildings in the Southeast, Ponce City Market is a retail, dining and residential complex housed in one of Atlanta’s historic buildings dating back to 1926. The story of how Ponce City Market came to be is one of the more fascinating trips of Atlanta’s history.

Its three main areas include a food hall, retail spaces and a rooftop amusement park complete with a restaurant as well as casual concessions. You can even take classes in the complex ranging from tech interests at General Assembly to sewing at Topstitch. Additionally there are often events around the complex including outdoor workout classes and a weekly farmers market, so definitely check the calendar before stopping by.

One of the next destinations down the BeltLine is the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark. This is a necessary stop when you explore the Atlanta BeltLine. If you like to skateboard, BMX or Rollerblade, don’t miss this just before the trail moves into Inman Park. Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk’s foundation contributed funds to help establish this spot – Atlanta’s first public skatepark – and it’s always a joyful spot for skaters. There is a playground and athletic field adjacent as well for younger visitors or other athletes.

Source: King of Pops; Photo by Eddie Krebs

Continuing along the trail brings you to Inman Park where there are many restaurants and shops to visit and be entertained. From Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop to Fritti Italian fare to Barcelona Wine Bar, there are all sorts of different cuisines just a short walk off of the BeltLine into Inman Park. In this neighborhood, just off of the trail, there are also coffee shops like Inman Perk, bars including The Albert and an organic grocery store called Savi Provisions.

Krog Street Market and beyond

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

As the BeltLine goes further southeast, there are more bars, restaurants and attractions right on the path. As you approach Irwin Street, you will pass a popular bar/restaurant with ample outdoor seating – Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall. It’s a fun, pet-friendly place to spend time outdoors and enjoy the weather. Just past Ladybird sits the Atlanta Bicycle Barn, and across the BeltLine from there is a Relay Bike station which are both great places to rent a bicycle and continue your trip up or down the trail on wheels.

Across Irwin Street you will approach another dining and retail complex – the notable Krog Street Market. There is no shortage of great places to eat on the BeltLine, and this complex itself is home to 16 restaurants, a brewery and an ice cream shop. It’s a great spot to stop for a bite or grab a gift for a friend from one of the artisan retailers, including a chocolate shop and a candy store!

Past Krog Street Market and continuing south on the BeltLine, you will approach another section of several restaurants in the area known as SPX Alley. This section of shops and dining is about 2.5 miles from the beginning of your journey at Piedmont Park – plus there is parking nearby if you’re not up for walking the whole trail. In this area there are multiple salons and a barber shop, so feel free to get pampered along your way.

Once the BeltLine reaches DeKalb avenue, you have the option to continue along the sidewalk or walk further south and explore Krog Street Tunnel, a local hot spot for graffiti and street art – and a notoriously famous photo op background. Though the finished Eastside Trail comes to an end at this point, you can also explore Atlanta’s Cabbagetown neighborhood and its many murals, or head back up the trail to stop off in the Edgewood neighborhood.

The BeltLine is a place worth a whole weekend in Atlanta, and you’ll never get bored (or hungry!) On a beautiful day, the Eastside Trail can attract many Atlantans and visitors alike, and it’s important to practice appropriate etiquette and be courteous of your fellow travelers. Come hungry, bring water and pack your walking shoes to make the most of this favorite Atlanta attraction.

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