For the past decade or so, Atlanta has grown—and continues to grow—at a relentless pace. Whether it’s the restaurant and bar scene, the film industry, or the hip-hop world, this Southern metropolis has hit the big leagues.

If there’s one thing to complain about, it’s the traffic. Similar to L.A., Atlanta has terrible traffic congestion, and the city is too spread out. The BeltLine is changing that. The rails-to-trails project, in the same vein as the High Line in New York and The 606 in Chicago, is improving urban accessibility and adding to Atlanta’s rising status.

The project consists of 33 miles of multi-use trails and a 22-mile streetcar loop connecting 45 in-town Atlanta neighborhoods. The land was converted from abandoned railroad corridors into an expansive destination for walking, biking, skateboarding, viewing art, and enjoying nearby shopping, dining, and attractions—and it’s still developing.

While there are dozens of neighborhoods along the BeltLine to explore, these are the highlights to hit on your urban excursions.

Collier Hills

Man walking along shaded bike and pedestrian bridge in forest.
Atlanta's Northside Trail / Photo by alans1948 / CC BY

The Northside Trail of the BeltLine connects the neighborhoods in the Collier Hills area of Buckhead. This is a beautiful neighborhood nestled in an urban forest with large oak trees, rolling hills, and streams. This scenic part of the BeltLine runs through the natural beauty of Tanyard Creek Park

Collier Hills and adjacent Ardmore Park are close to all the shopping and dining on Peachtree Street in Buckhead.

Spots to Check Out:
  • Watershed - Named after a song by its previous owner, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, this restaurant serves upscale Southern cuisine in an airy atmosphere.

  • Holeman and Finch Public House - This hotspot is known for elevated American fare, including a legendary burger.

  • Bobby Jones Golf Course - For golfing enthusiasts, this course is located right across from Collier HIlls.

Virginia Highland

The Eastside Trail of the BeltLine also runs through the Virginia Highland neighborhood at several points. As you walk along the BeltLine, this is a neighborhood worth a stop for its eminent curb appeal and charm. 

Virginia Highland is a cute, walkable neighborhood with bungalow-style single family homes and lots of sidewalk cafes, bars, and restaurants to explore. Locals love this neighborhood for its summer festivals, cafes, and beautiful architecture featured on home tours.

Spots to Check Out:
  • Murphy’s - Murphy’s is one of Atlanta’s most beloved Southern bistros with a quaint vibe and great food.

  • Atkins Park - A popular spot to watch sports, this cozy tavern opened in 1922.

  • Highland Tap - This dark, sleek pub has plenty of craft beer and a great food selection.

Old Fourth Ward

Exterior of large market building with city skyline in background.
Ponce City Market / Photo by Sally Turner

Also along the BeltLine's Eastside Trail, Old Fourth Ward is a cool, artfully graffitied neighborhood with local bars, restaurants. Part of the neighborhood's BeltLine development includes the Historic Fourth Ward Park and a skate park partially funded by Tony Hawk himself. 

Right by the Historic Fourth Ward Park is the Ponce City Market. This huge indoor market and food hall is a shopping and dining destination unto itself with some of the most sought-after restaurants and stores in the city as well as an event space, offices, and a farmers market. 

Spots to Check Out:

Grant Park

Grant Park is nearest to the BeltLine's Southside Trail, parts of which are still under construction but still accessible while the trail is being converted into a fully paved walkway.

The neighborhood, just southeast of downtown, is known for its eponymous park that's home to the enormous Zoo Atlanta and for its historic Victorian homes and charming bungalows. However, there are many new condo and townhome developments—some replicating the neighborhood's historic architecture, others with a sleek contemporary look—popping up.  

Spots to Check Out:
  • The Beacon: This new mixed-use development in the heart of Grant Park offers a variety of shopping, dining, and other services.

  • Eventide Brewing: Across from The Beacon, this welcoming brewery serves craft beer and food and hosts events.

  • Grant Park: Home to the Atlanta Zoo and one of the best farmers markets in Atlanta


Art along Atlanta's Eastside Trail

The Eastside Trail has most of the action on the BeltLine, buzzing with leisurely pedestrians, dog walkers, and bikes, skateboards, and scooters whizzing by. The beginning of the Eastside Trail is Piedmont Park in the Midtown neighborhood.

Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s version of Central Park, complete with beautiful greenspace and botanical gardens surrounded by skyscrapers. The trail extends three miles to Reynoldstown, crossing through the Poncey-Highland, Virginia Highland, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, and Cabbagetown

Midtown is home to some of Atlanta’s largest institutions, including the Coca Cola headquarters and Georgia Tech. It has tons of shopping, dining and nightlife options, and it’s where the Atlanta Pride festival and parade are held every year. 

Spots to Check Out:
  • The Optimist - This loft-like industrial restaurant serves creative, upscale seafood by top Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry.

  • The Lawrence - This hip restaurant features international-influenced Southern cuisine and craft cocktails.

  • Empire State South - Hugh Acheson’s farm-to-table bistro has a view of the Atlanta skyline.

Inman Park

Inman Park is a beautiful neighborhood with parks, old oak trees, and statuesque Victorian houses. The BeltLine ends—or begins, depending on how you look at it—at Krog Street Market, an Inman Park destination for international cuisine and local crafts. At Krog Street, there’s so much to discover, and once you enter the BeltLine, you can explore all of Atlanta.

Spots to Check Out:
  • Ticonderoga Club - A fun atmosphere, hearty yet refined cuisine (try the Chuck Wagon), and creative cocktails have earned the restaurant much-deserved hype.

  • Barcelona Wine Bar - Great for date night or dining with friends who like to share, this is a lively Spanish tapas spot.

  • BoccaLupo - This intimate Italian cafe features shareable handmade pasta, making it a favorite among locals.

West End

Bridge with bicycle trail and art in covered forest.
Lucille Ave Bridge on the West End Trail / Photo by Onehiroki / CC BY-SA

The West End Trail was the first of the BeltLine trails to be built in 2008. Its three miles connect the Southwest Atlanta neighborhoods near West End, a rising star in Atlanta. West End was named Curbed’s Atlanta Neighborhood of the Year in 2017 and 2018

West End is a diverse community with many vegetarian restaurant options. It’s also home to notable museums including the Hammonds House Museum, which features the work of African-American artists.

Spots to Check Out:
  • Lean Draft House - For beer lovers, this spot features 20 local beers on tap and a Mexican street food-inspired menu.

  • Greens and Gravy - This is a dressed up Southern comfort food spot famous for their fried chicken by YouTube-famous chef Darius Williams.

  • Wren’s Nest - This museum is housed in a historic Victorian mansion with African-American cultural exhibits.

While the BeltLine project has already seen massive development and progress, it doesn’t stop there. The Eastside Trail extends to Reynoldstown, almost to East Atlanta, and it’s still under construction. For navigating and exploring Atlanta, the BeltLine is the best way to do it.