Atlanta has an abundance of trees and green spaces that add natural beauty to metropolitan cityscapes.
Centennial Olympic Park
The privately funded, state-owned $78 million Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre green space located Downtown adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), Georgia Dome and CNN Center, served as a central gathering place during the Olympic Games. The park, the largest center-city park developed in the U.S. in 20 years, became a permanent civic symbol and community focal point as well as a long-term catalyst and anchor for new residential and commercial development. The park connects the GWCC and the Georgia Dome to the Downtown hotel district, and the park’s distinctive features captivate guests. The Fountain of Rings is the world’s largest fountain utilizing the Olympic symbol of five interconnecting rings. Other park features include a court of 24 flags, one Olympic flag and 23 flags honoring the host countries of the modern Games; the Southern Company Amphitheater, a natural amphitheater seating 1,200; a six-acre great lawn; and pathways of commemorative bricks that stitch together pieces of the park’s quilt-like landscape. Centennial Plaza, which comprises the amphitheater and the fountain, features daily, musical water shows. www.centennialpark.com
Woodruff Park underwent a $5 million facelift courtesy of a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and became a landmark spot in the heart of Downtown Atlanta. Located on Peachtree Street between Edgewood and Auburn Avenues, the park’s designers built the park around a 30-foot fountain, a waterfall, benches and a music pavilion. In the park’s western corner, officials erected a bronze statue, “Atlanta From the Ashes,” a figure of a woman and a bird, which represented Atlanta’s comeback after the Civil War. www.woodruffpark.com
Georgia International Plaza
Right next door to the Centennial Olympic Park sits Georgia International Plaza, a six-acre landscaped urban park with walkways, park-type lighting and a stately fountain. The plaza, which the state of Georgia and parking revenues finance, is an attractive front door to the GWCC and the Georgia Dome campus. The pedestrian plaza serves as a gathering place for visitors and conventioneers and is home to the “Flair Across America,” a fantastic sculpture.
In southeast Atlanta, adjacent to Freedom Parkway near the Carter Center, Freedom Park, a 45-acre park with biking and jogging paths, underwent a $13 million, federally funded renovation. The city needed an arboreal gateway with pedestrian and bicycle trails and access to the Atlanta/Stone Mountain Trail. Freedom Parkway, owned by the state of Georgia and located on the site of former Presidential Parkway, responded with the Freedom Trail, which provided access to all facilities in and around Freedom Park and a trail that connected the Atlanta/Stone Mountain loop to downtown Atlanta. www.freedompark.org
Hardy Ivy Park
Hardy Ivy Park rests at the point where Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets split. The park serves as a small reminder of the city’s first permanent settler, Hardy Ivy. Pieces of the city’s old Carnegie Library now make up a beautiful pavilion in the center of the park.
Edgewood Avenue and Courtland Street within walking distance of Five Points Station, surrounded by Georgia State University campus on three sides. The ownership of the park is shared bdtween Georgia State University and the City of Atlanta.
Georgia Plaza Park
On Central Avenue and Mitchell Street, just outside the Georgia State Capitol and Museum and City Hall.