Just south of Cabbagetown, this community of Victorian-era homes sits on the land once owned by Atlanta railroad magnate, engineer and businessman Lemuel Grant. His home on the rise of St. Paul Street afforded clear views of the burning of Atlanta in 1864. After years of neglect and deterioration, the house is currently under extensive renovation by its owners, the Atlanta Preservation Center. In 1882, Grant donated 100 acres for the city park that bears his name. Around it, streets were filled in with grand two-story homes and Queen Anne cottages. After years of neglect,many of those properties have been restored and the neighborhood rejuvenated.
Grant Park’s restaurants draw diners from around the city: Six Feet Under, Augustine’s, Ria’s Bluebird, Republic Social House and Daddy D’z barbecue joint are just a few. Crowds also come for the annual Summer Shade Festival that will take over the park August 27 and 28 with music, crafts and activities. The park is home to one of the city’s few Sunday farmers markets, held seasonally from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 pm.
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The biggest year-round draw is Zoo Atlanta, which opened its doors there in 1889. “The Zoo is a vital partner and part of Grant Park’s community,” says CEO Raymond King. “The neighborhood is unique for its historic charm and important links to the story of Atlanta, and [the two] have evolved together over the years.” And there’s more evolution in store. In 2014, zoo officials announced the takeover of the 1921 building that used to house the historic Cyclorama painting, which is moving to the Atlanta History Center. Plans call for the space to have community rooms and a restaurant overlooking new exhibits.