Grant Park—History, wild animals, and architecture…iT just doesn’t get any better than this.
Lemuel P. Grant, a local land developer and colonel in the Confederate Army, donated Grant Park to the city of Atlanta in May of 1883, making it the fourth largest park in Atlanta. Grant was responsible for the design and construction of fortifications for the historic Battle of Atlanta, some of which can still be seen in the southeast corner of the park. After the war Grant subdivided and sold residential lots in the western section of the neighborhood.
The neighborhood occupies approximately 430 acres around the 131 acre green space recreational park. Historic mansions of late Victorian design, Craftsman bungalows, English Vernacular Revival, and shotgun homes characterize the area. The grid street pattern, mature foliage, and cobblestone sidewalks are representative of development popular in the 1890s and early 1900s. The majority of the Grant Park neighborhood is residential, but schools, commercial clusters, recreational buildings, and churches serve this historic area. Due to the local history and architecture Grant Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains some of the largest concentration of Victorian architecture in the metro area.
In 1889 George Gress, a local lumber merchant gave Atlanta a collection of circus animals and Zoo Atlanta was born. The city of Atlanta purchased 44 acres from Grant to establish the zoo and incorporated it into the existing park area. Later, Gress donated the Cyclorama, a painting of the Battle of Atlanta and the largest oil-based painting in the world, which is housed in a rotating museum on the property at this time. Recently, the city has decided to move the historic painting to the Atlanta History Center.
Today, Grant Park is a diverse, eclectic neighborhood that beautifully reflects the cultural makeup of this great city. With its distinctive landscape of rolling hills, scenic vistas, and recreation areas Grant Park feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but is just minutes away from all that is great about Atlanta.
Grant Park is home to the Atlanta metropolitan zoo, Zoo Atlanta, which is an accredited zoological park, and one of only four US zoos that are currently housing giant pandas. Interesting exhibits abound in this fun filled environment. The Ford African Rain Forest features a large, very natural gorilla habitat; The Living Treehouse exhibit is a showcase aviary of African birds; Trader’s Alley: Wildlife’s Fading Footprints focuses on species that have been impacted by the international wildlife trade; and the African Plains house wildlife that is native to the African grasslands just to mention a few points of interest. A children’s petting zoo, fun rides and many special events are also part of this family adventure.
Just outside the doors of Zoo Atlanta are the wide expanses of Grant Park. This beautiful historic park offers interesting walking trails, a public swimming pool, a children’s playground, breathtaking landscapes, and the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum. The Cyclorama houses the largest oil painting in the world and a display of Civil War relics.
Special events and festivals can be found in and around the Grant Park area throughout the calendar year. Several popular festivals are held in the area including the Fork & Cork that features food and wine from local eateries, the Grant Park Tour of Homes for an up close and personal look at the local architecture, and the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival for food, art, local entertainment, and candlelight tours.
Restaurants and Shopping
Tasty food choices can be found everywhere throughout the area. Six Feet Under Pub & Fish on Memorial Drive for seafood and drink; Ria’s Bluebird on Memorial Drive for southern soul food; Nick’s Food to Go on Martin Luther King Jr Drive for ethnic Greek; Stone Soup Kitchen on Woodward Avenue for subs and sandwiches; or Doc Chey’s Noodle House on Memorial Drive for authentic Asian will satisfy any pallet.
If shopping is what you are looking for then you can start at NV-U Boutique where the best new fashions can be found; the Urban Gardener for a complete choice of natural gardening products and accessories; Picture You Book Store for historic books, memorabilia, and portraits of you in Civil War attire; or Foxgloves & Ivy Floral Design Studio for amazing flower arrangements.
Residents of Grant Park send their children to Cook Elementary, Dunbar Elementary, John Hope Elementary, Parkside Elementary, King Middle School, and Southside High School. Charter schools in the area are Imagine Wesley International Academy and Neighbor Charter School.
Local colleges and universities in the area are Agnes Scott College, Columbia theological Seminary, Emory University, and Georgia Perimeter College. Also located nearby is the Georgia Institute of Technology, John Marshall Law School, Georgia State University, and the Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta campus.
Grant Park is within close proximity to 1-20 and the King / Memorial MARTA Station on the east / west rail line. Bus 397 serves the Grant Park points of interest and Bus 99 and Bus 32 connect the area to other Atlanta locations.