Spotlight On: Piedmont Park
Covering 211 acres between 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, Piedmont Park has been Atlanta’s common ground since 1904. From its origin as a forest-turned-farm, this piece of land located in the heart of downtown offers Atlanta residents and visitors a lush green landscape that is designed for both leisure and recreation purposes.
The park is home to a wide variety of recreation, relaxation and education opportunities. Whether you are searching for a great place to go for an afternoon run, enjoy a relaxing picnic or host your next event, Piedmont Park offers it all.
The main recreation area can be found at the park’s Active Oval, located just inside the park near 14th Street. The oval features a half mile running track, two soccer fields, two softball fields and two sand volleyball courts. The park is home to many area leagues, as the fields are available by permit only except on Fridays, when they’re open to leisure play. Two basketball courts, one regulation size and one full size, are available as well. Reservations must be made to use the full court, while the half court is operated on a first come, first served basis. Just a short walk from the Active Oval are the bocce courts, which are located along the Piedmont Park Greenway. Reservations for the two regulation crushed granite courts are accepted year round.
Other recreation opportunities that can be found throughout the park include cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding, which are allowed on the main roadway and the 10th Street Meadow paths. Runners and walkers can enjoy miles of walking and jogging trails located throughout the park. In addition, tennis enthusiasts can participate in adult clinics, a year-round juniors program, free events and a summer camp at the Sharon J. Lester Tennis Center. Park visitors can also enjoy organized fitness classes through the Love You Healthy program, which hosts Spinergy and swim and splash water aerobics classes.
Piedmont Park offers city dwellers the opportunity to bring their furry friends to the Piedmont Dog Park for exercise and play time off of the leash. Featuring a nearly three-acre dog run, the park has separate enclosures for large and small dogs, as well as new trails and landscaping. There are also benches and restrooms for the dog’s loyal owners to use while their pets enjoy having plenty of room to run.
For those who enjoy casting a line in peaceful waters, Lake Clara Meer allows you to fish for largemouth bass, crappie, bream and catfish. A new bridge unifies the two parts of the lake into a single body of water, and there are three new piers and a dock available to fish from. Visitors must have a valid fishing license to fish in Clara Meer, which is routinely stocked with fish.
Children can have fun at Piedmont Park thanks to its two unique playgrounds. Mayor’s Grove is a sensory-rich play area located near the Active Oval that allows children and caregivers of all abilities to interact with one another. The Noguchi Playscape, designed by world-renowned artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is located near the 12th Street entrance and it familiarizes children with shapes, colors and textures.
The whole family can cool off at the new Aquatic Center, which is open from May 25 through September 1. The center offers lap lanes with recreational features, a beach entry area with a current channel for floating, concessions, shaded areas and locker rooms with showers.
Educational opportunities abound at Piedmont Park for adults and children alike. Children can enjoy the EnviroVentures Day Camps, which offer children the opportunity to explore the outdoors and discover nature during the summer or spring break. The park also hosts children’s activities and school fieldtrips, where children have the chance to visit the education garden. Located on the north end of the Meadow, this organic garden demonstrates how the food we eat is grown and what the plants that produce it look like. Both adults and children will enjoy taking a bird walk through the park with the Atlanta Audubon Society or taking part in a historic park tour. Held every Saturday from March through December, the tours cover all phases of the park’s history throughout two centuries worth of changes.
If you are searching for a location to hold your next event, from a birthday party to a wedding or a corporate retreat to an anniversary party, Piedmont Park offers three unique venues that have the perfect blend of urban location and park environment. Magnolia Hall was built in 1945 as a blacksmith’s forge and has now been converted to one of the city’s premier event facilities, with indoor, courtyard and lawn areas. Offering beautiful views of Lake Clara Meer and the downtown skyline, Greystone is the ideal location for wedding receptions, exhibitions, social events and corporate meetings. The third venue is known as Dockside, and it provides a lakeside location or space at the Visitor’s Center for events.
The park is managed by Piedmont Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve this historic park. The conservancy has raised and invested more than $60 million for park beautification, maintenance, security, programs and expansion, and it has transformed the once dilapidated Park into the most visited green space in Atlanta.
Piedmont Park is open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. To learn more about the park, to rent athletic or event facilities or to join the conservancy, visit www.PiedmontPark.org.