The BeltLine is a historic railway corridor turned multi-use trail and green space in downtown Atlanta. Once construction is complete, the path system will cover 22 miles and connect 45 neighborhoods throughout the metro area. The two-mile Eastside Trail is the first segment of the BeltLine in the old rail corridor, connecting the neighborhoods of Virginia Highland, Midtown, Poncey-Highland, Old Fourth Ward, and Inman Park. Bikers, joggers, strollers, and walkers all vie for space on the promenade. Arrive early on weekends or visit weekday work hours if you want most elbow room.
To make a half-day excursion out of your visit, do a late breakfast or early lunch at Krog Street Market; shop for organic air plants at Southeast Succulents, located inside shabby-chic antiques shop The Collective; watch the amateur YouTube stars practicing their ollies at the Old Fourth Ward skate park; rummage for vintage clothing and housewares at Paris On Ponce; take a caffeine, dinner, or shopping break at Ponce City Market (home to Hugh Acheson’s Spiller Park Coffee, Meherwan Irani’s Botiwalli, and the stellar artisan marketplace Citizen Supply); and end your outing with a stroll through lush, green Piedmont Park. BYO sunblock, hat, water, and umbrella—there isn’t a ton of shade along the trail.
Captivating street art and sculptures lines much of the trail; for a detailed map of the works, download the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine legend before setting out. Of special note is the The Art of Reconciliation installation by William Massey III, pictured above. In the summer of 2015, Massey organized a drive asking members of the community to bring him trash and junk found in the streets of Atlanta. He turned those abandoned materials into a giant underpass sculpture and then invited the community back to help him paint it. The face depicts a man named Tony, a friend of the artist who was homeless until his neighbors rallied around him.
Warning: Parking can be a real bitch near the trail. There is a paid lot next to Park Tavern on Monroe Drive, north of the intersection with 10th Street, and on-street parking at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, but both of these fill up fast. Some visitors pay to park at the Atlanta Botanical Garden parking deck and walk a trail south to the BeltLine access point. We chose to park in the gravel lot across from Krog Street Market. It cost $5 and we left our car there all day without incident.
The Eastside Trail runs from 10th Street and Monroe Drive to Irwin Street in Atlanta. Click here for a detailed walking map, including 13 separate access points.