Avoid the congestion of traffic and enjoy one of Atlanta’s newest sources of pride: take a spin on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Family-friendly and manageable for newbies (yet still enjoyable for avid bikers), this short 2.25-mile path will take you from Midtown through Poncey-Highland, Old Fourth Ward and portions of Inman Park.
We suggest beginning at the northern portion of the trail at Piedmont Park near Park Tavern and veering off course any time you cross a neighborhood that suits your fancy. Start in the morning (The trail opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.), and take frequent detours along the way.
Take your time and enjoy the sights, as you roll through town — Photo courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine
Within the first mile, you’ll want to jump off the path onto Greenwood Avenue, where you can explore the leafy streets and charming boutiques in Virginia Highland. If you’re craving a quick snack or a cup of joe, carefully bike (Be wary of cars on the narrow streets in this ‘hood.) to San Francisco Coffee for a caffeinated pick-me-up.
Find your way back on the BeltLine and cross along major streets like Ponce De Leon Avenue - the main artery connecting in-town neighborhoods – eventually passing near the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and The Carter Center. History buffs would do well to lock up their bikes and enjoy an informative stroll through both (or either) of these unique attractions.
As you enter into trendy Old Fourth Ward and near Freedom Parkway (which will take you into Little Five Points and Poncey-Highland), you’re approaching several phenomenal places for lunch. Veer off course onto North Highland for lunch at Folk Art – notable for its stylish decor and Southern-inspired eats.
Zip through in-town neighborhoods on the Eastside Trail — Photo courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine
We suggest one of the hearty salads (like the warmed spinach salad with fried egg, apple bacon vinaigrette, blue cheese, avocado, apple bacon, tomatoes and bacon) for healthful yet tasty fare or an order of chicken and waffles if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious.
Snag an iced green tea at nearby Inman Perk afterward and take a meandering ride through Freedom Park and into Little Five Points (where trips inside thrift emporium Rag-O-Rama and burger-and-fries spot The Vortex are always warranted).
Return to the path and end at Irwin Street near Edgewood Avenue and the Inman Park/Reynoldstown Marta Station. HomeGrown is over here and would be another excellent lunch choice. If you have time (and room), wander along Irwin Street Market and grab some homemade ice cream at Jake’s before turning back around for the return ride.
On the way home, those looking for spots to shop should explore Virginia Avenue and Greenwood Avenue where boutiques like men and women’s clothier Bill Hallman, upscale fitness boutique Atlanta Activewear and paperie PaperSource make a home.
Once you’ve finished up your ride – 4.5 miles or more, depending how much you strayed off course – take in the afternoon and one of the city’s best patios for a cold drink at Park Tavern, your finishing point.