20 Favorite Atlanta Trails, Parks & Places to Walk
Growing up in Florida, I never experienced the burst of colors in spring and fall or walking in a winter wonderland. While I do miss Florida beaches, Atlanta’s changing seasons made me fall in love with this city.
Spring is in the air. Atlanta is beginning to have a few warm, sunny days. Yellow daffodils are appearing. Soon the dogwoods will be in full bloom. If you have never been to Atlanta in the spring, you are missing a treat.
My favorite day of the year comes in March, when our clocks will ”spring forward.” We will soon have more daylight hours to walk. Oh Happy Days!!!!!!!!!!!!
Use those longer days to explore our 20 favorite places to walk in Atlanta:
1. Stroll in Atlanta Botanical Gardens
There are always flowers in bloom at Atlanta Botanical Gardens but my all time favorite garden exhibit was Chihuly in the Garden.
The botanical gardens are a wonderful place to walk, learn about gardening and practice your macro lens photography. Atlanta Botanical Gardens even has occasional photography classes to improve your skills.
Above is a picture I took of Chihuly glass art during a photography class. Check Groupons for class discounts.
Here is a video of the Atlanta Chihuly In The Garden exhibit. Photographers came from all over the world for the exhibit.
Luckily Chihuly left behind many glass pieces which are breathtaking.
2. Hike Stone Mountain
Visit the spinning Sun Dial Restaurant in Peachtree Center in downtown Atlanta for a bird’s eye view of Stone Mountain. After admiring from downtown, visit the park to see a breathtaking mountain etching of Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis on horseback. Whether you hike the mountain, hike trails or sky hike in the tree tops, Stone Mountain is a wonderful place to walk. In the warmer months, end your day with a spectacular laser light show.
3. Explore Virginia Highlands Neighborhood
In the spring, Virginia Highlands and its neighboring community Morningside are two of our favorite Atlanta walking neighborhoods. The sidewalks, unique shops, beautiful blossoming dogwoods and craftsman style homes bring you back to simpler times. You can finish with a meal at our favorite Virginia Highlands’ restaurant, Murphy’s.
4. Hike Through Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park
Friends who live with Kennesaw Mountain in their backyard combine the best of mountain living with the best of city living. This area inspires you to hike trials, climb the mountain or visit the battlefield. On sunny days you will see hundreds of people walking, picnicking and playing in the park.
5. Tour Atlanta State Farmer’s Market
Located in Forest Park, Atlanta State Farmer’s Market provides 150 acres of walking. Meet and support local farmers while you walk.
6. Atlantic Station Walking Community
Atlantic Station was developed with the concept of “living, working, shopping and playing.” This community was built on 138 acres of a former steel mill. You can easily get 10,000 steps just walking IKEA. Explore this community and you will be well over your 10,000 step walking goal.
7. Silver Comet – Miles of Paved Trails
Silver Comet Trail is America’s longest paved trail which stretches from Georgia to Alabama along an abandoned rail line. If you destination walk to Rockmart, you will be rewarded with some good restaurants at journey’s end.
8. Zoo Atlanta Walking Tour
Sure you can watch a Panda Cam but “it’s all happening at the zoo” so get on your walking shoes and go visit. Zoo Atlanta walking tours take between two to three hours so it will be easy to meet your 10,000 step goal.
Here is a YouTube with professional video and photos of the zoo:
9. Walk in Piedmont Park
In the heart of midtown, Piedmont Park is known as the home of the annual Atlanta Arts Festival and finish line for the 10K Peachtree Road Race. Walk your dog, stroll around the lake and enjoy its paths. There is always something going on at this famous Atlanta park.
10. Hike Along the Chattahoochee River
This river isn’t just for Shooting the Hooch. There are miles and miles of popular walking trails along the Chattahoochee River. If you want to dog socialize, check out Azalea Park near the rowing club. A favorite scenic hiking trail is at Paper Mill and Sope Creek.
11. Tour Oakland Cemetery
Who would guess that a cemetery is a beautiful place to walk? Oakland Cemetery is part of the 19th century rural garden movement. It has winding garden paths, mausoleums with Tiffany stained glass, poetry on grave stones, sculptures, art and architecture. Golf champion Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell of Gone with the Wind are buried here. Oakland Cemetery offers guided walking tours.
12. Stroll in Chastain Park
My husband and I love Chastain Park for mid day picnics and walks with our golden retriever. Many of the paths are tree lined so even on a hot summer day you are sheltered from the sun. If you plan your walk around a Chastain Park Summer concert, you are in for a treat. Atlanta knows how to do concert picnics in style.
13. Georgia Aquarium – Walk With Fish
Georgia Aquarium is one of our favorite places to take out of town guests with children. Who doesn’t want to stroll with fish? Take a Behind the Scenes Tour to learn from the experts.
14. Tour World of Coca Cola
Atlanta is the home of Coca Cola. The World of Coca Cola is near the Georgia Aquarium so you can see both in one day. Learn the history of Coke, see a real life bottling plant and taste flavors that range from wonderful to totally disgusting.
15. Centennial Olympic Park iPod Walking Tour
When Atlanta hosted the summer Olympics in 1996, the 21 acre Centennial Olympic Park was part of our city revitalization. It is surrounded by the World of Coca Cola, Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center and Georgia World Congress Center. The highlight of this park is the Fountain of Rings where lights and jets of water are computer synchronized to music. Take a guided walking tour with your ipod.
16. Tour CNN
CNN offers 55 minute walking tours to see how news is produced. You may get lucky and meet a celebrity on your tour.
17. For A Thrilling Walk – Six Flags Over Georgia
Who needs Disneyworld when you have Six Flags Over Georgia? Plenty of walking between thrill rides.
18. Stroll on Campus at Georgia Tech
How can I not mention my alma mater? As a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer, I have literally spent years walking this campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. Take a stroll and end at the Varsity which is the world’s largest drive-in founded by a successful Georgia Tech dropout. This dropout perfected fast food assembly lines. You haven’t experienced Atlanta until you have had a naked dog walking and greasy onion rings. Have your money in your hand and your order in your mind.
19. Tour the High Museum of Art and Ansley Park
When I was a college student living on a shoestring budget, the High Museum had inexpensive student memberships. Our membership rewarded us with gourmet hor d’oeuvres and exposure to art at new exhibit openings. We would always finish our opening night with a walk around Ansley Park which is a neighborhood community near the High Museum. This combination is a wonderful and inexpensive way to spend an evening.
20. Stroll Down Lanes in Atlanta Neighborhoods
Marietta, Vinings, Woodstock, Crabapple, Decatur, Smyrna and Roswell are revitalizing their city squares and reuniting their communities. You can explore quaint city squares with shops, eateries and parks. Continue your walk into surrounding neighborhoods.
Don’t stop at our 20 favorites, get out a Google map to explore hundreds of Atlanta areas. You won’t be disappointed.
During a recent July 4th fireworks celebration, we were in a high rise condo near Lenox Square with a bird’s eye view of Atlanta. We often hear that Atlanta has “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Looking out on the city from above, it was amazing to see the expanse of green.
In Atlanta, you can find subdivision, office, apartment, city, county, state, amusement and garden parks each having their own unique beauty. From perfectly manicured gardens and water fountains to natural wonders like creeks, streams, lakes, waterfalls and mountains there are always new walking areas to explore.
Have we missed one of your favorite places to walk or hike in Atlanta? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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