Neighborhood Gems

Second in a three-part series

This month we continue our exploration of close-to-home day trip destinations around the metro area. Read on to discover green spaces and cool places you might not have heard of before!

by Felicia Barman, Dalia Faupel and Jen Haslam

Midtown l Virginia Highland l West Side

Sun
John Howell Memorial Park boasts a jam-packed playground with big and small swings, bouncers, spinners, monkey bars and slides, a sand volleyball court, and an outdoor shower that little ones can incorporate into playtime, and a wrought iron Phoenix sculpture (representing Atlanta) for a bit of public art. Virginia Ave. at Barnett Street, Virginia Highland, vahi.org/parks

Shade
The National Museum of Decorative Painting displays historical and current works of art created on a variety of functional and non-functional surfaces like trays, tables and containers, and highlights pieces by renowned artists in this field. With advance notice, the staff can arrange a simple hands-on art project for visiting kids. 404-351-1151, 1406 Woodmont Ln., West Side, dpmuseum.org

Taste
Find authentic Italian gelato at Va-Hi’s sweet spot: Paolo’s Gelato Italiano. Flavors range from rich (tiramisu, dulce de lece, Nutella) to rare (orange blossom, avocado, guava.) 404-607-0555, 1025 Virginia Ave. NE, Virginia Highland, paolosgelato.com

Learn
At Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), the only design museum in the southeast U.S., tour special collections (like the Design for Social Impact exhibition, on display until Aug. 3) and get hands-on with education programs that introduce design methodologies to solve problems and uncover possibilities. 404-979-6455, 1315 Peachtree St. NE, Midtown, museumofdesign.org

Decatur l Druid Hills

Sun
Decatur Square is home to half a dozen colorful murals, part of the Living Walls project that brings together street artists’ talents and community spaces. Bike or walk to see them all. Clairemont and Ponce de Leon avenues, livingwallsatl.com

Shade
Stop by Little Shop of Stories children’s bookstore for story sessions three days a week (the Thurs. 7 p.m. version features milk and cookies; pjs are optional!), find fresh summer reads and meet children’s authors. 404-373-6300, 133 E Court Sq., littleshopofstories.com


The giant indoor playground at Sensations Therafun encourages multi-sensory recreation for all ages and physical abilities, one of the few area spots to do so. Kids can zip line, climb the walls, traverse the monkey bars, ride tricycles, and play sports. 404-634-3500, 1704 Chantilly Dr., Atlanta, sensationstherafun.com

Taste
New Orleans Snoball Café serves up fluffy shaved ice topped with sweet or tart syrups. Go all the way by stuffing a snoball with house-made ice cream and crowning it with fresh fruit puree, condensed milk or marshmallow topping. 404-788-9141, 340 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., neworleanssnoballcafe.com

Learn
Summertime means story time at the DeKalb History Museum, where costumed tellers present turn-back-time tales and old-fashioned craft activities (check the site for dates and times.) Current exhibits highlight the rise of dairy farming and mid-century dream houses. 404-373-1088, 101 E. Court Sq., dekalbhistory.org

Chamblee l Doraville

Sun
Georgia’s second busiest airport, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), boasts an airplane-themed playground that offers flight fans front-row swings to the best show in town. See planes take off, land and taxi while you picnic and play. 770-936-5440, 2000 Airport Rd., Chamblee, pdkairport.org

Shade
Step inside Buford Highway Farmer’s Market and travel the world with your senses! An enormous array of international foods and treats from every region are organized by country of origin. Sample uncommon fruits and veggies from afar, smell exotic spices, see fresh pastries and dumplings being made, shop for foreign toys, and maybe catch a cooking demo. 770-455-0770, 5600 Buford Hwy NE, Doraville, aofwc.com

Taste
The Frosty Caboose serves cold treats from a real caboose year-round. If you’re lucky, you’ll see trains passing through downtown Chamblee while digging into locally made ice cream. 770- 451-4556, 5435 Peachtree Rd., Chamblee, frostycaboose.com

Learn
Exercise physical and mental skill while climbing the walls at Stone Summit, one of the biggest climbing gyms in the U.S. The whole family can learn the sport together through a beginner staff-assisted climb, available by appointment. Ages 12 and older can also learn to belay (secure and spot a climber) for maximum independence while little ones can use auto-belay walls. 678-720-9882, 3701 Presidential Pkwy., Doraville, ssclimbing.com

Woodstock l Canton

 

Sun
The 3/8 mile Dixie Speedway dirt track hosts weekly stock car racing events every Sat. evening through October, and often hosts special events for families. At any given racing night, around 100 stock cars compete. 150 Dixie Dr. Woodstock, 770-926-5315, dixiespeedway.com

Shade
Get lost in the shelves of Foxtale Book Shoppe, an independent bookstore with a dedicated children’s room and a staff with great recs. Storytimes take place Mon. and Sat., and a JV Book Club for ages 6-12 meets monthly. 105 East Main Street, Woodstock, 770-516-9989, foxtalebookshoppe.com

Taste
Goin’ Coastal is a sustainable seafood restaurant with a menu that changes daily based on what’s freshest, but landlubbers can always find burgers and chicken dishes. 125 W. Main St., Canton, 770-479-3737, goincoastalseafood.com

Learn
A visit to the Art Barn at Morning Glory Farm gives kids a taste of farm life, complete with barnyard animal visits and a hayride. Families also explore gardens and make art projects in (where else?) the barn. 208 Roper Rd, Canton, 678-319-0286, theartbarn.com

Newnan l Peachtree City l Fayetteville

Sun
Wildlife sightings are expected at Sam’s Lake Sanctuary, where beavers maintain a couple of dams, a flock of wild turkeys call it home, and dozens of birds stop by, including egrets, blue heron and hawks. Sam’s Lake Sanctuary, Old Senoia Rd., Fayetteville, sctlandtrust.org/sams-lake-sanctuary

Shade
An expansive indoor play zone, Urban Jungle boasts a multi-level, multi-platform 4,600-square-foot laser tag arena, a laser maze, multi-game arcade, and a 24-foot high rock wall. 678-902-9010, 261-B Clover Reach, Peachtree City, urbanjunglelasertag.com

Taste
Located south of The Avenue Peachtree City, Due South serves seriously tasty grub like Southern fried chicken BLTs and three-cheese macaroni. 770-629-5847, 302 Clover Reach, Peachtree City, duesouthptc.com

Learn
Dixie Wing Commemorative Air Force restores, preserves and displays combat aircraft flown by all military services of the U.S. and select aircraft of other nations, along with a unique display of WWII-era toys. Groups should schedule tours, but individuals and families are welcome to stop in and ask a volunteer to show them around. 678-364-1110, 1200 Echo Ct.,Peachtree City, dixiewing.org

Stockbridge l McDonough l Locust Grove l Jonesboro

Sun
Grab a bucket and head to family-owned Gardner Farm for peach, berry, and vegetable picking. Five generations have kept the farm going and growing, and the varieties available will ensure you’ll never again think all peaches are the same. 3192 Hwy. 42, Locust Grove. 770-957-4912; gardnerfarm.wordpress.com

Shade
Quite frankly Scarlett, you should visit the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro’s historic train depot to see Gone with the Wind memorabilia including movie costumes, Margaret Mitchell’s china and Civil War artifacts. 104 N. Main St., Jonesboro. 770-478-4800; visitscarlett.com

Taste
Pop by The French Market for a N’awlins style po boy sandwich and sugar-dusted beignets done right. Set in historic Locust Grove in a turn-of-the-century building originally opened as a hardware store, this spot in steeped in history and real Southern flavor. 3840 Georgia Hwy. 42, Locust Grove. 770-914-9312; frenchmarkettavern.com

Learn
Experience turn-of-the-century life in Henry County at Heritage Park. Walk through a historical village to see a two-room schoolhouse, a log cabin from the 1800s, a detached cookhouse and a 100-year-old corn crib. 101 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough, 770-288-7300. co.henry.ga.us/parksrecreation/parks_heritagepark.shtml

Click here for part one of the Neighborhood Gems series.