10 Unforgettable Hours on the Atlanta BeltLine
Summer might not officially kick off until June 20, but ATLiens know the heat cranks up way before then. Pools are already open, grills are firing up and school will be out soon. And with airfares going sky high (em so to speak) and this summer's post-pandemic travel already looking rather chaotic, you might want to stick closer to home. You don't need to look any further than your backyard. Whether you live inside or outside the perimeter, you can enjoy the Atlanta BeltLine and all its restaurants and fun activities without packing a suitcase. Although you might want a change of clothes after sweating a bit under the Georgia sun!
Here are suggestions for a grownup playdate on the BeltLine. You can choose to do all of it or just some of the activities. I have also noted which ones are kid friendly if you want to bring the family along, or just can't find a sitter.
I do suggest you bring a backpack with a change of clothes, especially for the evening activities, as well as a swimsuit, towel and water bottle.
10 am. Have breakfast at Little Tart Bakeshop in Krog Street Market, an old stove factory turned into “one of the world’s best food halls,” according to Travel + Leisure. Little Tart owner Sarah O'Brien learned to bake from her grandmother and later trained in Paris, and these French pastries are as good as they get. Join the long line of locals and start your day off with a buttery croissant or cheesy gougere. Tip: Park in the garage behind Krog Street Market, using the Park Mobile app, and leave your car there for the day.
10:30 am. Ride a scooter. The city rationalizes electric scooters as a mode of transport, but they’re basically toys for adults. You’ll find yourself grinning ear to ear as you whizz down the BeltLine. From Krog Street Market, cross Irwin Street and head up the hill to the BeltLine. This is where you will usually find a pack of scooters. Scan one with the app and head north. Kid-friendly if you bring your kids' scooters and helmets too.
Read more about how to rent a scooter on the BeltLine.
11 am. In about 1.5 miles, you’ll come to Ponce City Market, a former Sears factory transformed into another food hall with some recognizable stores like Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie. Take the vintage freight elevator to the roof, where you'll find a mini-amusement park with old-timey games, mini golf and more. Tip: Ticket booth is on the ground floor outside the market. Kid-friendly.
12:30 pm. Choose your lunch spot. You can’t go wrong with any of the local restaurants in this massive food hall. If you like pizza, there’s Pizza Jeans. Mexican food lovers will appreciate the supersized burrito at Minero. And if you want a good old-fashioned burger and fries, try Holeman & Finch. Kid-friendly.
1:30 pm. Walk around Ponce City Market, exploring the shops. Some noteworthy ones to try are Citizen Supply, featuring everything local; Bombschel, which sells clothing made in Liberia and "Atlanta Influences Everything" shirts; and Sugarboo, for reasonably priced gifts and home decor items.
2:30 pm. After being out in the sun for a few hours, you're going to be hot. Cool down with a refreshing dip in the pool at Piedmont Park, which opens Memorial Day weekend. Just keep heading north on the BeltLine until you hit Monroe Drive, and cross the street into Piedmont Park. The pool and Aquatic Center are located in the center of the park – it’s best to use Google maps to find it. With several lap lanes, and a lazy river, it’s the perfect way to chill. And if you’re going kid-free, adults can swim for 15 minutes before every hour. A day pass is $5/person or you can purchase a season pool pass. After some R&R, hit the locker rooms and showers, so you can change before getting back on the BeltLine. Kid-friendly.
4 pm. After your aquatic refresh, head back onto the BeltLine. Stop under the John Lewis Freedom Parkway bridge, next to the Skatepark, for some photo opps of the street art. Fans of the Atlanta-based rap group Migos might get a bit emotional when they see local artist @ape_inc's mural dedicated to the recent passing of band member Takeoff, which has attracted lots of national media attention. And if you’re feeling creative? Bring a can of spray paint along, and make your own mark on the wall (just show respect and don't tag the murals). Kid-friendly.
Then keep heading south and shortly after crossing Irwin Street, you’ll see Guac y Margys on the right, the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up. Is there anything more refreshing than a cool margarita? We say no. Try their house margy, So Fresh So Clean (any Outkast fans out there?) or the Rock Lobstah, an orangey drink that gets its flavor from Aperol and its punch from tequila made by The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson. It might only be 4 pm on the BeltLine, but hey, it’s 5:00 somewhere. If you've got the munchies, they're known for their chips, salsa and guac. And try their cheese dip, a favorite with our tour guests.
6 pm. Dinner at Ladybird. You can’t get more summery than this campfire-themed restaurant. With beer served from vintage campers on a massive outdoor patio, this is the best place to people watch on the BeltLine. They've got smoked meats, BBQ, wings, Gulf Crab & Pimento dip and more. The food might be good, but the view is better.
8 pm. Time for after-dinner cocktails and music at The James Room. And a change of clothes to meet their dress code: No tank tops, flip flops, slides, or athletic attire, including sweats and joggers. This spot might look like a European café, but that’s just a front for the speakeasy lounge that you access through a bookcase. With plush couches and elegant cocktails served in a darkened room, the chill vibe is made complete by "carefully curated mixes of pop, hip hop, r&b, reggaeton, and soul music," according to their website. And you might even get lucky with a DJ or slow jam.
Ahhh...the perfect way to end your playdate.
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Want to taste more of Atlanta's neighborhood restaurants? Join our Food and Street Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine. You'll get a firsthand taste of some of the city's most delicious restaurants and uncover the hidden stories behind the BeltLine's vibrant street art. And for all the dog parents out there, our newest event, Barks & Bites: Doggie Food Crawl on the BeltLine, is the perfect opportunity to help your fur baby live their best life. Book today before they sell out!
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder and CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking Food and Art Tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. To sample some of Atlanta's best restaurants and street art, join us on our new Doggie Food Crawl, or our fabulous Food and Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine. Follow on TikTok and Instagram @bitelinesatl.