Atlanta has some wonderful parks that keep getting better! In fact, Atlanta’s parks and the lushness of the city is one of the main reasons I love living here, particularly in warm months. If the sun is shining and I have a day off you can typically find me walking, running, playing, or hanging in a park, usually with my two pups who are equally as enthusiastic as I about being outdoors and enjoying our city.
Since there are so many wonderful parks in and around Atlanta, I am only going to focus on parks inside I-285 for this post, letting you know my five favorite and why. Each is different and spectacular in its own way, large or small, busy or quiet, these are spaces I find myself in time and time again, always happy to be in and enjoying the moment, beauty, and energy of Atlanta.
I name the following alphabetically because I can’t really name a favorite as I like them each equally although they are unique and worth experiencing.
I have enjoyed watching the Atlanta Beltline develop develop from the beginning and have even written a post or two about. Currently the paved and most active portion of the Atlanta Beltline stretches from Piedmont Park to Inman Park traversing, connecting and engaging the city in a way that is efficient and interesting. It has activated and sparked development along the entire stretch, most notably in Old Forth Ward, specifically Ponce City Market, arguably the most anticipated cultural experience in the city since the Olympics (in my opinion). No matter what time or day of the week you can find walkers, riders, runners, and wanderers exploring the beltline. It is a perfect spot for people watching, art strolling, exercising, or commuting and it will only get better as the Atlanta Beltline expands to eventually form a full loop connecting many parts of the city. There is also a movement to get the Atlanta Trolley expanded onto the route which would be a great step forward for Atlanta transportation. The Atlanta Beltline is receiving national acclaim and it is understandable why, it is a great achievement for the city, one of which we should all be proud.
Perhaps my favorite part of the Atlanta Beltline is the Historic Forth Ward Skatepark located just adjacent to the Freedom Parkway overpass. I can sit there for hours and watch people do tricks and engage the coolness of the space.
Tucked into the charming neighborhood of Peachtree Hills is the beautiful Duck Pond Park. I have attended weddings, enjoyed picnics, and enjoyed time strolling through the small but stunningly beautiful park. One of the best parts of living in Atlanta is that scattered throughout the urban landscape, often tucked just off of a busy street or neighborhood, you will find an oasis like this that is instantly calming and welcoming. This is a park that I love stumbling upon over and over again.
Meant to contain a 100-year flood, this high-tech and functional park is one that I love exploring. Bridges, nooks, varying elevations, people watching, and even some wildlife, you can experience this park in many different ways. It also has one of the coolest playgrounds in the city and is beltline adjacent making it easily accessible to the rest of the city. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the development of this park along with the beltline is how it has revitalized Old Fourth Ward, breathing new life into the area.
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Probably my favorite location in Atlanta, you can find me at Piedmont Park nearly every single day to run, exercise, play sports, attend concerts, walk the pups or take a stroll with friends. It is a vital part of Atlanta and should be recognized as such. When I first moved to Midtown Atlanta 15 years ago Piedmont Park was not a place where you wanted to visit, but since that time Piedmont Park Conservancy has molded it into one of the best parks I have ever been to anywhere, all located in the middle of the thriving and continually growing Midtown neighborhood. Not only has the work done to improve the park been done with thought and executed well, PPC keeps people engaged with the park by offering year-round activities that activate the space and get people into the park and the area. From Music Midtown and the Atlanta Symphony to the Peachtree Roadrace, Green Market, and numerous festivals, it is always a great time to be at Piedmont Park and I can’t say enough about how proud I am to have it in our city!
Winn Park is tucked into the Ansley Park Neighborhood at the intersection of 15th, Peachtree Circle and LaFayette Drive. There are multiple ways to enter and it is actually two parks joined together, but this is the place I go to find my zen. I don’t go often, usually when I visit the High Museum of Art as it is right there. This park is small, charming, and instantly brings me peace and calmness. I enjoy walking along the water element and then finding a spot or two to just reflect. Generally there isn’t anyone there or it is sparsely populated making it a great place for contemplation and relaxation. Definitely worth discovering for yourself!
Each person has their own vision of a park, what it should be, and what it means to them. The parks presented here are but a few of the great ones in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, each evoking something different for me. They are great places to visit for anyone, and I recommend doing so. More importantly though, I suggest discovering as many parks as you can and finding those that best fit your personality, needs, and bring you joy!