Top 12 Parks in Atlanta

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Emily Johnson

While bustling Atlanta dazzles with gleaming skyscrapers and major attractions, nothing refreshes the spirit more than escaping into the verdant parks strewn throughout the metro area. These lush green spaces offer welcome reprieve from urban crowds with options spanning peaceful woodland trails, vibrant botanical gardens and family fun destinations featuring splash pads, playgrounds and sports fields.

Park NameHighlights
Centennial Olympic Park1996 Summer Olympics site, Fountain of Rings, concerts, ice skating.
Piedmont ParkNearly 200 acres, skyline views, playgrounds, festivals, sports areas.
Grant ParkAtlanta Zoo, Civil War history, picnic areas, playground.
Chastain ParkAmphitheater, trails, golf, tennis, swimming, horseback riding.
Atlanta Botanical Garden30 acres, seasonal blooms, conservatory, sculptures, Children’s Garden.
Historic Fourth Ward ParkSustainable design, water retention ponds, amphitheater, Beltline access.
Stone Mountain ParkAdventure activities, laser show, panoramic views.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield ParkCivil War site, hiking trails, historical exhibits.
Ponce City Market RooftopUrban greenspace, panoramic views, mini-golf, live music.
Woodruff ParkOasis in financial district, art sculptures, playground, yoga classes.
Old Fourth Ward SkateparkSkatepark, bowls and ramps, graffiti artwork.

Frolicking fountains, playful sculptures, captivating history and outdoor festivals further enhance Atlanta’s picturesque parks. Several also connect to the Atlanta Beltline providing walking and biking access across neighborhoods. Whether seeking somewhere to jog, walk the dog, host picnics or let kids cut loose, Atlanta serves up ample parks tailored to every whim.

Here are 12 of the top parks in Atlanta proving essential additions to your metro area itinerary.

Centennial Olympic Park

Name and Location: Centennial Olympic Park is located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It was constructed for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

History and Significance: The park was designed as a town square and cultural centerpiece for the 1996 Olympics. It now serves as a popular gathering place for tourists and locals alike. Musical events and festivals are often held at the park.

What to Expect: Visitors can expect wide open green spaces, fountains and water features, and a festive atmosphere. The park is surrounded by many attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, CNN Center, and more.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily with no admission fee. Guided walking tours are available. Food and drinks can be purchased from surrounding venues.

As the epicenter of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Centennial Olympic Park still buzzes as a premier downtown gathering venue hosting everything from summer concerts to winter ice skating. Families flock to the interactive Fountain of Rings letting kids dart among water jets choreographed to music. Couples enjoy romantic evening strolls under twinkling string lights. History buffs visit the moving memorial to bombing victims. Special events like exhibition games and watch parties further draw crowds.

Piedmont Park

Name and Location: Piedmont Park is an urban park located in midtown Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the city’s largest and most popular green spaces.

History and Significance: Originally farmland, Piedmont Park was established in the late 19th century and hosted the Cotton States Exposition in 1895. Today it provides recreation opportunities and hosts cultural events and festivals.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy walking trails, a lake, gardens, fields, playgrounds, dog parks, and more across the 189-acre space. The park often hosts concerts, festivals, farmers markets, and other special events.

Visitor Information: Piedmont Park is open daily from 6am to 11pm. No admission fee. Leashed dogs, biking, running, picnics and more are welcome activities.

Spanning nearly 200 acres in the heart of Midtown, vibrant Piedmont Park provides green sanctuary amid bustling city streets. Revel in sweeping skyline views while strolling shoreline paths encircling the idyllic central lake. Let kids romp on creative Magnolia or Mayor’s Grove playgrounds. Attend cultural festivals and events at Legacy Meadow or cottonmouth Green markets vendors. Leashed dogs love the expansive off-leash areas dotting these grounds packed with activity options from tennis to bocce ball to disc golf.

Grant Park

Name and Location: Grant Park is a 131-acre green space located in south Atlanta, Georgia. It is home to Atlanta’s zoo as well as other attractions.

History and Significance: Originally farmland, the area was designated as a public city park in 1883. It is the oldest park in Atlanta and contains historic landmarks like the Atlanta Cyclorama building.

What to Expect: In addition to green space, visitors can explore the zoo, Atlanta Cyclorama painting and Civil War museum, historic Oakland Cemetery, and outdoor recreational facilities.

Visitor Information: Grant Park is open daily with no admission fee. Visitors pay to enter specific attractions like the zoo and Cyclorama. Public parking lots are available throughout the park.

Built around the historic Atlanta Zoo, expansive Grant Park offers families room to roam among war memorials, shady picnic spots, sprawling lawns and the largest remaining section of Atlanta’s Victorian-era fortifications. Kids cheer visiting animals at the zoo and neighboring Cyclorama displaying scenes from Civil War battles. Adults find serenity in the tranquil rose garden or oak-shaded Walk of Heroes commemorating community leaders. Enjoy open vistas of Stone Mountain from the highest point in the park atop maintaining 151 steps to summit.

Chastain Park

Name and Location: Chastain Park is a 260-acre park located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, Georgia, featuring an amphitheater, golf course, tennis center, playgrounds, and more.

History and Significance: Originally a dairy farm in the early 1900s, the land was purchased by Fulton County in 1959 for a public park featuring arts and recreation. The renowned Chastain Park Amphitheater opened in the 1970s.

What to Expect: In addition to outdoor concerts at the amphitheater during warmer months, visitors can hike trails, picnic, golf, play tennis or playgrounds, swim, and enjoy green space and natural scenery.

Visitor Information: Chastain Park is open daily with no admission fee. Some amenities like the golf course, tennis center, and pool require paid memberships or day passes. The park closes at dark.

Tucked into an upscale Buckhead neighborhood, gorgeous 270-acre Chastain Park tempts visitors to linger for concerts at its outdoor amphitheater, leisurely trail strolls under a lush tree canopy or rounds on the 45-acre golf course dotted with sparkling lakes. Play pick-up games on tennis and volleyball courts or sign kids up for swimming and horseback riding lessons during summer. Leashed pets love exploring wooded areas and chasing balls across sprawling lawns perfect for picnicking and relaxing in the dappled sun.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Name and Location: The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a 30-acre botanical garden located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia.

History and Significance: Founded in 1976, the garden’s mission is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation, and enjoyment. It contains specialized gardens like the Children’s Garden, Japanese Garden, and more.

What to Expect: Visitors can see beautiful flowers, plants, and landscaping throughout the year both inside and outdoors. Seasonal displays like Chihuly in the Garden glass exhibits and Garden Lights Holiday Nights light shows occur as well.

Visitor Information: The garden is open Tuesday to Sunday plus some Mondays. An admission fee is charged. Memberships, tours, classes, and the on-site restaurant are also available.

Escape into a 30-acre urban oasis at the stunning Atlanta Botanical Garden exploding in vibrant seasonal blooms year-round. Wander shaded pathways viewing magnificent orchid displays inside glassy Fuqua Conservatory. Let imagination run wild exploring whimsical sculptures sprinkled throughout, like glittering 14-foot Earth Goddesses. Kids find magic around every corner from darting “frog” fountains to imaginative treehouse playgrounds linked by charming suspension bridges in the Children’s Garden. Timed tickets grant extended access on Wednesday nights to see landscaped gardens glow under romantic Chihuly illuminated glass sculptures.

Historic Fourth Ward Park

Name and Location: Historic Fourth Ward Park is a 17-acre greenspace located between the Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia.

History and Significance: Completed in 2011, this sustainably-designed park doubles as a stormwater retention pond for the neighborhood and also features walking trails, performance lawns, and playscapes.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy walking/running trails, expansive lawns, play areas for kids, splash pad, pond views, and a scenic amphitheater space often used for events and performances.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily with no admission fee. Various neighborhood events and fitness programs occur seasonally. Limited free parking is available at the park.

Though only completed in 2011, the sustainable 16-acre Historic Fourth Ward Park quickly emerged as an Atlanta favorite for its unique design integrating green space with storm water retention ponds keeping downtown from flooding. Kids scramble up the amphitheater-style lawn to cool off in the irresistible foggy spray fountain. Joggers circle the two-acre lake lined by granite outcroppings carved with inspiring neighborhood story quotes. Connections to both Eastside Trail and the Atlanta Beltline make this a favorite stop for cyclists and pedestrians exploring downtown by foot or pedal power.

Stone Mountain Park

Name and Location: Stone Mountain Park is a 3,200 acre park centered around the mountain and stone monument of the same name, located east of Atlanta in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

History and Significance: Centered around the Stone Mountain granite dome rock formation and Confederate Memorial carving, the area has been a tourist attraction since the 1800s, with the park officially opening in 1965.

What to Expect: In addition to views of Stone Mountain and its carvings/trails, the park features trails, lakes, attractions like a sky lift, mini golf, historic buildings, gardens, and more across its extensive grounds.

Visitor Information: Stone Mountain Park is open daily year-round. An entrance fee is required for access to attractions, with various ticket and annual pass options available. Many family-friendly activities offered.

Situated just 16 miles east of Atlanta, 3,200-acre Stone Mountain Park stands out for extreme recreation and sky-high views from its famous granite dome monolith. Adventure seekers zoom down the alpine slide, brave ski lift rides to summit trails or rope courses, or rev up heart rates at treetop obstacle courses and zip lines. At night, lazier types watch the world’s largest laser show choreographed to music and projected onto mountain facades. Panoramic vistas stretching 60 miles reward those reaching the 825-foot summit after a 2-mile hike up steep trails.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Name and Location: Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park preserves a Civil War battleground and historic sites northwest of Atlanta in Kennesaw, Georgia.

History and Significance: The 2,965-acre park contains historic battlegrounds and earthworks from the 1864 Atlanta Campaign along with monuments, markers, and reconstructed building sites showcasing this history.

What to Expect: Hiking trails traverse the mountain summit and former battle lines offering interpretation of historical events that occurred there. The visitor center museum shows artifacts and media from the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily with free admission. Hiking, walking tours, youth programs, and seasonal living history demonstrations engage visitors in the site’s history. Restrooms available.

History lives on at the 2,965-acre Kennesaw Battlefield Preserve where visitors hike past trenches and cannon sites tracing fierce 1864 clashes between Union and Confederate armies. Today miles of scenic trails suitable for all skill levels beckon everyone from leisurely hikers to serious trail runners through grassy meadows and shady forests filled with beautiful wildflowers in spring and brilliant fall colors. Interactive exhibits and signs humanize soldiers’ stories along the way Before leaving, glimpse the powerful new Peace Monument pleading for civil rights unity.

Ponce City Market Rooftop

Name and Location: Ponce City Market Rooftop is an event and activity space located on the roof of the historic Ponce City Market building in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta.

History and Significance: Originally the roof of the former Sears, Roebuck & Company building constructed in 1926, the space was renovated into an amenities area during Ponce City Market’s adaptive reuse development starting in 2014.

What to Expect: Standing high above Atlanta, the rooftop features games like ping pong and cornhole, occasional live music, a small putting green, various seating areas, and views of the Atlanta skyline. Food and drinks can be purchased from vendors throughout Ponce City Market’s food hall below.

Visitor Information: Access to the rooftop is free and open to the public anytime Ponce City Market is open, generally from 10am to 8pm daily. The space is family and pet friendly.

Though not a park per se, the vibrant rooftop greenspace crowning Ponce City Market stands out as one of Atlanta’s most exhilarating urban escapes. Grab craft cocktails from rooftop bars to sip while admiring panoramic Midtown views. Challenge friends to a round on the mini-golf course dotted with scale replicas of city landmarks. Cut loose dancing to live bands rocking shows on an open-air stage as the sun slowly sets over the Atlanta skyline. When hunger strikes, the Central Food Hall’s endless array of restaurants await a few stories below to satisfy every possible craving.

Woodruff Park

Name and Location: Woodruff Park is a small (less than 2 acre) urban park located in downtown Atlanta, bounded by Peachtree Street, Auburn Avenue, Park Place, and Edgewood Avenue.

History and Significance: Dedicated in 1971, Woodruff Park is named for philanthropist Robert W. Woodruff. Its centerpiece fountain and performance pavilion host events for downtown workers and residents.

What to Expect: Benches and grassy areas provide spots to sit and eat lunch on nice days. A playground entertains kids. The pavilion stages weekly fitness classes or summer concerts. The park serves as a quiet refuge amidst the bustling city backdrop.

Visitor Information: Woodruff Park is open daily with no admission fee. Four Freedoms Park on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue provides additional green space one block away.

Nestled right in Atlanta’s bustling financial district, petite 4-acre Woodruff Park provides office workers, residents and visitors a quiet oasis featuring grassy knolls dotted with whimsical art sculptures. Brown-bag your lunch from one of the nearby restaurants to enjoy in this leafy escape surrounded by soaring skyscrapers. Let kids work off energy climbing the scenic playground modeled after the NCAA Hall of Fame just across the street. Those needing extra Zen can join free weekly yoga classes on the lawn against the striking backdrop of the city’s skyline.

Old Fourth Ward Skatepark

Name and Location: Old Fourth Ward Skatepark is a public skatepark located underneath the Freedom Parkway bridge in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.

History and Significance: Built on an empty lot in 2010 after years of planning and fundraising by skateboarding youth and community leaders, this iconic concrete plaza provides a legal, safe place to skateboard in Atlanta.

What to Expect: Skateboarders and BMX bikers of all ages and skill levels congregate to ride the skatepark’s central pool/bowl feature and street course including ledges, rails, gaps, banks, and quarter pipes beneath the Freedom Parkway bridge.

Visitor Information: The skatepark is unsupervised but heavily used by the local skating community. It’s open daily from dawn til dusk with lights for evening sessions. Helmets recommended but not required. All skill levels welcome.

Built on the site of a former scrapyard right underneath a MARTA subway track, this free concrete 20,000-square-foot skatepark provides an awesome below-ground spot for Atlanta’s skaters, bikers and boarders to safely test their tricks and skills. Designed by California’s world-renowned skatepark builders, it attracts enthusiasts of all levels with varied bowls and ramps integrated with unique graffiti artwork by famed street artists. Spectators flock to watch and film flip tricks, grinding and jumps at this premier downtown skate spot that doubles as an unofficial art gallery for Atlanta’s thriving urban art scene.

Conclusion

In Atlanta you’re never far from an escape into vibrant green spaces that rejuvenate the soul with fresh air, public art, rich history and room for revelry. Downtown gems like Centennial Olympic Park and Woodruff complement sprawling oases at Piedmont and Grant perfect for everything from festive gatherings to quiet contemplation. Quirky sites like Historic Fourth Ward and Old Fourth Ward skateparks demonstrate creative urban planning that honors the past while sustaining future generations. Whether you seek gardens, skyline views or extreme adventure, Atlanta’s diverse parks offer an essential breath of fresh air.

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