The Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine has been getting all the glory lately, but Atlanta’s Westside is ready to catch up and transform its neighborhoods, too.
There are two trails on that side of town:
- The West End Trail was completed in two phases, the first in October 2008 and the second in June 2010, and was actually the first section of the 33-mile Atlanta BeltLine trail system to be built. It stretches 2.4 miles from White Street to Westview Cemetery, connecting neighborhoods like historic West End, Mozley Park and Westview.
- The Westside Trail broke ground in November 2014 and is a 3-mile corridor that runs from University Avenue in Adair Park north to Lena Avenue at Washington Park.
As you explore these trails, keep in mind some fun things you can access on the adjacent streets.
- Eat your way to happiness. Fill your belly with local delights like Pop’s Soul Food Kitchen, RuChDa Wings, Yasin's Homestyle Seafood and Soul Vegetarian.
- Check out the art. Find cool street art such as the first permanent mural along the Atlanta BeltLine called "West End Remembers" located on White Street on the Lawton Street Bridge underpass (across the street from 1070 White St.). There’s also a piece by Living Walls near Rose Circle Park at 920 Murphy Ave.
- Work on your golf swing. With a variety of greens and fairways, a driving range, a chipping and putting area, and a First Tee program, the 9-hole John A. White Golf Course is well worth a visit.
- Dip back in time. Visit the Westside’s historic locales such as the Wren’s Nest and Hammond House & Museum, both built in the 1800s. The Wren’s Nest is home to Joel Chandler Harris, editor of the Atlanta Constitution and author of the Uncle Remus Tales, based upon stories he heard slaves tell during his youth. The Hammond House & Museum is dedicated to African- American fine art.
- Shop unique gifts. From collegiate gear to the trendiest fashions, The Mall West End is a fun place to explore.
- Hear Atlantans speak from six feet under. Not far off the trail is Westview Cemetery, a beautifully preserved regional landmark founded in 1884 and the largest cemetery in the Southeast. Well-known Southerners who now rest in Westview include Asa G. Candler, founder of Coca-Cola; William B. Hartsfield, mayor of Atlanta; and Frank L. Stanton, poet laureate of Georgia.
- Frolic in the parks. Get your green space fix at Gordon White Park and Rose Circle Park, which are frequent sites for drum circles and community gatherings.
- Seek higher education. The Atlanta University Center (AUC) is nearby and is made up of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and the Interdenominational Theological Center.
- Empower communities. Get involved with worthwhile local organizations like Hosea Feed the Homeless, SisterLove and Lost-n-Found Youth to help your fellow Atlantans get a leg up.
- Peek at a future movie studio. Film mogul Tyler Perry recently purchased Fort McPherson from the city of Atlanta and is turning it into a movie studio. You can’t go inside, but you can wave to it from Lee Street.
- Learn about nature. The very first segment of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum was planted on the West End Trail by Trees Atlanta. This arboretum is a horticultural collection of native trees, plants and grasses, providing food, protection and homes for birds, butterflies and bees. If you want to learn more the arboretum, keep an eye out for periodic guided tours.
And the trail scene is just the beginning. Discover the all there is to see, hear and eat in Atlanta's Westside. Happy exploring!
Beth Clark is a writer and foodie who loves to roam around Atlanta, uncovering the city's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Curiosity is her compass, and you'll find her writing on www.thecitydweller.me.