Run, Bike or Stroll Through Atlanta’s Olmsted Linear Park
Published April 23, 2019
Last Updated November 17, 2020
Running alongside Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Avenue, Olmsted Linear Park offers six distinct, picturesque environments connected by paved pathways across 45 acres. One of Atlanta’s true gems, the park follows the natural curves of a lush landscape, creating a peaceful, pastoral environment where people can run, bike or stroll in the shade of mature oaks. In spring and fall, the park is home to the Festival on Ponce, which showcases artists, local food vendors and craft breweries.
Beautiful Landscapes in the Heart of Atlanta’s Eastside
Olmsted Linear Park is named as such because it links several parks along a linear pattern, providing city dwellers a long corridor of quiet, shaded forest. At its western entry is the Springdale section, with oak trees lining a green valley that brightens with seasonal colorful blooms. Traveling eastward, the Virgilee section boasts tree groves and sporadic blooms throughout its 3.5 acres. Next, Oak Grove fulfills its namesake, and Shadyside, with its towering trees, offers acres of respite from the Southern sun.
The motif of naming areas for their characteristics continues with Dellwood, which features a large natural depression, or dell. At the eastern end of the park is Deepdene, where the paved trail ends and gives way to a woodland path surrounded by a forest that seems worlds away from the bustling city. In this peaceful area, you’ll walk beneath a tulip poplar that’s 185 feet high and encounter a grassy meadow, a serene creek and a trio of stone bridges.
Crafts, Food and Brews at Festival on Ponce
Held each spring and fall, the Festival on Ponce celebrates more than 125 independent artists and craftspeople who produce everything from locally made jewelry to intriguing folk art to handmade candles. The festival also includes an array of antiques vendors, plus live entertainment, including artists from the nearby Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and heaps of food and drink vendors.
Held over two days throughout Olmsted Linear Park, the festival is free and family friendly — there’s even a kid-centric area to ensure the little ones are entertained.
Fun Programs Throughout the Year
Olmsted Linear Park offers a slew of other events throughout the year, including a guided “Talk in the Park” series, the annual Party for the Parks on Ponce Gala Benefit, pop-up plant sales, picnic fests with food trucks and games and more.
History of Olmsted Linear Park
The park’s beauty and unique vision trace their roots to Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., who originally imagined the design in the late 1800s. The most influential landscape architect of his time, Olmsted is revered for his work on such prominent projects as New York City’s Central Park, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., and the Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C.
Olmsted’s firm completed the final plan for the Atlanta park in 1905, two years after his death and remained involved until 1908. Over the years, ownership of the property changed hands, and in the 1980s a remarkable effort by several local organizations saved the park from being intersected by a highway proposed to be built by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Olmsted Linear Park Visitor Information
Directions to Olmsted Park
Olmsted Linear Park is located on Atlanta’s Eastside between Briarcliff Road and Moreland Avenue at the east end of north Ponce de Leon.
Parking at Olmsted Park
There is no designated parking, but free spots are available along north and south Ponce de Leon Avenue.
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