Known as the “Heart of the Art”, Atlanta is known for its colorful visual arts community. You’ll find urban murals, contemporary performance pieces, and street performers to serenade you on your walks through the neighborhood, each with its own local flavor. Add these five stops to your tour of Atlanta to experience a unique art scene like no other in the world:
Krog Street Tunnel
An absolute must-see is the iconic urban art gallery in the Krog Street Tunnel. New paintings appear every day in this passageway on the east side of town, creating an ever-evolving canvas since it is free for the public to post, paint and draw on. With elaborate, intricate art, the tunnel is a homage to the creativity of the city. Among the tags and graffiti, you’ll find thought-provoking pieces painted by local artists and large murals commissioned by Living Walls, a local grassroots advocate for street art.
Hulsey Rail Yard
The south wall of this yard is home to one of the most prominent locations for street art in the city. Vibrant murals lining the south wall of the Hulsey Rail Yard, including ceramic tile murals, larger-than-life portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and panels detailing the history of the city. An exhibition of visual installations and performances runs from September through November each year along the Atlanta BeltLine, and the good news is it’s just a hop skip and a jump away from the Krog Street Tunnel, making it easy to see both.
Atlanta Art Walks
Half a dozen neighborhoods throughout Atlanta sponsor lively art walks each month, allowing locals and visitors alike to experience self-guided gallery tours while enjoying the beauty of the city. On the First Thursdays Arts Walk, you’ll experience the upscale galleries of downtown Atlanta. On the second Friday of every month stroll through Castleberry Hill, Atlanta’s creative art district, or tour the Westside Art District every third Saturday. All art walks are free and feature various discounts to nearby restaurants and bars. Also great for people watching, all of Atlanta shows up for these fun and free events.
Freedom Park Sculptures
Paying homage to Atlanta’s history as a hotbed for the Civil Rights movement, Freedom Park is home to an emotional array of temporary art installations and permanent public sculptures. Dr. King’s outstretched arms welcome visitors to the historic site. Inside the grand grounds, you’ll discover the magnificent Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden, a contemporary sculpture calling attention to violence against women and a giant collection of 54 concrete pillars referencing the urban environment and Atlanta’s skyline.
Busking on Peachtree
Don’t miss Peachtree Street on your trip to Atlanta. Talented street entertainers sing, rap, recite poetry and engage in a variety of antics hoping to grab the attention and spare change of people passing by. Catching a particular busker really depends on luck, but you’ll have a better chance of seeing local staples like Baton Bob, Opera Lady and Trumpet Player on the northeast side of Peachtree. Poetry Guy is well established among the eclectic shoppers and diners at Little Five Points’ Findley Plaza. You’ll also find a variety of buskers at Atlantic Station and Piedmont Park.
For a city as rich in history as it is in culture, Atlanta’s street scene should not be missed. Whether you fancy a gallery stroll, live music, or meaningful sculptures, there’s something for everyone in this peach of a city.