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Atlanta Cultural Corner: Midtown Madness

Get your artistic inspiration flowing!

Dalya Silverman

A popular area for tourists and locals alike, Midtown Atlanta has much to offer if you wish to spend a day in the city. The Beltline and Ponce City Market — both notable in Atlantan culture — are two highlights.

The Beltline used to be a railway corridor that snaked around the core of Atlanta, near Ponce De Leon Avenue, about 15 minutes away from Toco Hills. It was later transformed into a walking path — perfect for relaxing strolls and biking. Ryan Gravel developed the idea to convert the railway corridor in his master’s degree thesis at Georgia Tech in the late 90’s. This plan connects 45 different neighborhoods to city schools, cultural destinations, and shopping districts, all on one “life-affirming transit greenway,” as stated on Gravel’s website. Although the path remains unfinished — only half of its projected 22 miles have been completed — the Beltline has already become extremely popular.

The Beltline (Photo Source:

On the Beltline, residents and visitors rent electric scooters to traverse the Beltline, and there is usually a plethora of options to choose from. Skaters can practice or show off their skills on the path or in the skatepark. The artwork surrounding the Beltline adds a special touch: whether it’s graffiti or donated sculptures that line sections of the Beltline, everyone can enjoy the artsy atmosphere. Amateur photographers take advantage of the giant murals painted on the walls of the underpasses to snap some really unique shots. Street performers add to the ambiance; reggae and jazz are the absolute best background music for your time on the Beltline. 

“Although the path remains unfinished — only half of its projected 22 miles have been completed — the Beltline has already become extremely popular.”

In addition to the great artwork and attractions, there are also plenty of shopping opportunities in certain sections of the path, the most famous of which is the Ponce City Market. Ponce City Market emerged from the shell of a Sears retail store, warehouse, and regional office that operated from 1926 until the late ‘80s. In 1990, the City of Atlanta bought the building and sold the space to private-equity group Jamestown. The group, along with developer Green Street Properties, worked together to transform the building into a mixed-use development. This granted the space much more versatility and brought with it many new patrons and visitors.

Ponce City Market (Photo: Sarah Dorio/USAToday)

The options Ponce City Market has to offer are immense. The mixed-use building contains shops and restaurants, but also offices and residential living spaces. The shopping opportunities in the building range from local boutiques to large chain stores. In addition to all these spaces where you could spend your entire day, there is a carnival-themed amusement park on the roof! Complete with a mini-golf course and slides* as well as carnival games, the rooftop of Ponce City Market would be a fun and interactive area to end your artsy and immersive day in Midtown Atlanta.

*Certain attractions on the roof are currently closed due to COVID-19.

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