A walk through Atlanta’s hip intown neighborhoods
By Brian Gross
If you’ve visited Atlanta before, you may have left thinking that the city consists only of the world’s busiest airport, big tourist attractions such as the Coca-Cola Museum and Georgia Aquarium and sprawling suburbs. But in fact, only two miles from your downtown hotel are trendy new restaurants, cafes and shops in cozy but hip neighborhoods, each with its own vibe.
Here is a walking tour of some of these ‘hoods, six miles (9 km) long in total, or about two hours’ walk. Pick your favorite part of the tour, or take a whole day to do all of it!
Uber it to the intersection of Virginia and North Highland avenues, the centerpoint of this classic neighborhood, where you will find dozens of popular restaurants, bars and boutiques. Walk the side streets (such as Adair and St. Charles) and admire the charming bungalows built from 1910 to 1930. Eat: Southern favorite “shrimp and grits” paired with a selection from the wine bar at Murphy’s – or try Atlanta’s trendiest burger at Yeah! Burger chased by a Southern bourbon.
Head south to Moreland Avenue at Euclid Avenue, where you will find:
Little Five Points
This is the epicenter of the city’s goth, punk and other alternative scenes. This is the place to shop for vintage clothing, find a fresh juice, or enjoy a beer and burger at the Vortex Bar & Grill.
Turn right (west) at Euclid Avenue to enter:
Atlanta’s original “suburb”, developed in the 1890s. Euclid Avenue is lined with Victorian mansions including the Beath Mansion at #866, and the Asa Candler “Coca-Cola mansion” at the corner of Elizabeth Street. Springvale Park just to the west was the site of a bloody Civil War battle – local residents claim to feel a ghostly presence here at night.
Continuing along Euclid Avenue, you reach Krog Street, and the landscape changes from Victorian to post-industrial. Turn left to explore Krog Street Tunnel, ground zero for the city’s street art scene. Turn right from Euclid and hit Krog Street Market, one of two large food halls opened in recent years. Turn left at Irwin and immediately right onto the BeltLine Trail, a 22-mile (35 km)-long trail around the central city built on former rail lines.
In 0.4 miles (600m) at Parish New Orleans-style restaurant, head right off the trail and explore:
Inman Park Village
Along Highland Avenue, new loft apartments and restaurants occupy former factories. Enjoy a glass of wine and tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar, Atlanta’s best pizza at Fritti or fine Italian cuisine at Sotto Sotto.
Head back to the BeltLine and rejoin the joggers and bikers heading north. Stop to visit the Carter Center, an excellent museum documenting world issues during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Or continue onward and enter Atlanta’s most eclectic and hip neighborhood:
Old Fourth Ward
Continuing 0.6 miles (1 km) north on the trail, you’ll pass the the Fourth Ward Skatepark on the left, then trendy Southern restaurant Two Urban Licks on the right.
Head left at the Gateway Trail down the hill to visit the new Historic Fourth Ward Park and its beautiful sunken reservoir and fountains. Across from the north end of the park is Ponce City Market, a food and multiuse complex built in what was a Sears warehouse – the largest building in the Southern U.S. by volume. There, Dancing Goats’ coffee may be the best in the city – you can enjoy it swinging in a hammock.
Rejoin the BeltLIne Trail north and after 0.6 miles (1 km) you will reach:
This is Atlanta’s “Central Park” where you can enjoy the Botanical Garden (fee), Lake Clara Meer, the Wetlands, and a brisk walk through the North Woods. From here it’s a short walk back to Midtown or you can Uber it back to Downtown.
Exploring any of these charming neighborhoods – or the many others that Atlanta boasts – will convince you that Atlanta is far more than just downtown hotels, convention centers, and endless sprawl. It truly does have Southern charm and local style!