The relatively new Atlanta BeltLine has quickly become one of Atlanta's top features. The first part of the BeltLine to open was a segment of the West End Trail in 2008, and the first two-mile segment of the Eastside Trail opened to the public in 2012. Since then, the BeltLine has rapidly developed and expanded, transforming Atlanta from a notoriously car-dependent sprawl to an increasingly pedestrian-friendly city. It's also benefited Atlanta's dogs. Not only does it link several dog-friendly parks and businesses, it's a premier dog-friendly site in itself.
The best place to start your journey on the BeltLine's Eastside Trail is Piedmont Park. The easiest and closest parking option is a paid lot behind Park Tavern, which also happens to have a pawtastic dog-friendly outdoor dining area. The trail starts just south of the restaurant across Monroe Street. Before you begin onto the BeltLine proper, note that there's an extension trail along the eastern boundary of Piedmont Park. Follow it just a half-mile north from Park Tavern to arrive at the pawsome off-leash Piedmont Dog Park.
The Eastside Trail proceeds south from Piedmont Park for three miles, ending on Kirkwood Avenue just two-tenths of a mile from ParkGrounds, a pupular coffee shop with its own off-leash dog park! Highlights along your way include many public art pieces. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes as far as calling the Eastside Trail a "walkable art museum"! You'll find artist Big Teeff's quirky mural of a Frenchie peeping over a fence outside of Spot For Dogs, a doggie daycare business.
The mural is near the Ponce City Market, one of the most popular stops along the BeltLine. In 2017, Barking Hound Village opened an hourly "dog valet" service that allows you to drop off your dog while you go to shops or restaurants in the market or do something else nearby. Further along the BeltLine, you can reach the Historic Fourth Ward Park using the connecting Gateway Trail and Freedom Park using the Freedom Park Trail, which continues both west and east from the BeltLine into different sections of the sprawling linear park.
Make sure to bring your own waste bags and water on this choose-your-own-adventure trail. It's up to you to decide whether you'd prefer to stop and bask in the sun with a cold beverage or rack up as many miles as possible. No matter what kind of day you want to have with your dog in Atlanta, you can do it on the BeltLine Eastside Trail!