Puppets, 3D printing, folk art, Renzo Piano, goats. These are just a few of the disparate components that make up the eccentric and flourishing Atlanta arts scene.
If you’re craving an arts stroll while exploring Atlanta, head to one (or all) of these three arts-centric neighborhoods — Midtown, Castleberry Hill and the Westside (a.k.a. West Midtown) — for a taste of the city’s creative side.
This walking-friendly, upscale neighborhood, dense with sleek skyscrapers, hip restaurants, parks, and gorgeous historic low-rises and homes, is host to the city’s premier arts venues.
Clustered just north of the 14th Street intersection on Peachtree Street are The High Museum of Art, a gleaming white architectural wonder by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano that exhibits contemporary, classical, and folk art works.
Alliance Theatre presents contemporary and classic works, as well as children’s productions; Atlanta Symphony Hall, home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), where you can learn about everything from typography to 3D printing.
Once you’ve taken a stroll through the exhibitions at MODA and the High, pause to relax on the High’s exceptionally green lawn. If you have extra time, head to the nearby Center for Puppetry Arts to see the Jim Henson Collection, which includes iconic characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
If Muppets aren’t you’re thing, take a 20-minute walk through residential neighborhood of Ansley Park to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which often features art exhibitions, light displays and live music in its lush outdoor spaces.
Tip: Be sure to check out neighborhood events, such as the High’s Friday night jazz happy hours and MODA’s LEGO + Local Brew, where you can build LEGO creations while sipping craft beer.
Urban explorers will relish the Castleberry Hill Historic Arts District, where 20th-century brick warehouses have been converted into lofts, galleries and studio space.
Listen for the rumble of a freight train as you take in views of the shiny new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United FC, which contrasts with the vacant — but still beautiful — Norfolk Southern building.
The best time to explore the area is when it comes alive for the Castleberry Hill 2nd Friday Art Stroll, a free self-guided tour of the art galleries, studios, shops and restaurants in the area.
Tip: Fans of the The Walking Dead, which is among the many TV shows and movies filmed in the area, will want to sign up for a zombie-themed tour from Atlanta Movie Tours.
Westside (West Midtown)
This industrial-chic area just west of downtown is hopping with upscale restaurants and high-end furniture and design shops, and provides a haven for Atlanta’s contemporary arts scene.
One of the Southeast’s leading arts centers, Atlanta Contemporary, as well as art galleries Sandler Hudson Gallery, Kai Lin Art and Ger-Art, are within a short walking distance of each other. All are conveniently nestled among the neighborhood’s shops and restaurants.
For exhibitions, classes, lectures, screenings, concerts and more, head to The Goat Farm Arts Center, a once-rundown 19th-century factory, now turned vibrant arts complex. Check its Facebook page for events (and, yes, there are goats on the property).
Tip: For more shopping and gourmet eats, explore the Westside Provisions District, not far from the Sandler Hudson Gallery on Howell Mill Road.