Tucked between Midtown and Druid Hills, the historic Virginia-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta offers families a fun day of exploring tasty restaurants, shady parks, and popular community festivals. And unlike some Atlanta neighborhoods, Virginia-Highland, GA offers tons of sidewalks, making it extremely walkable and stroller-friendly.
Check out our list of 35 top places for families to visit in Virginia-Highland and the adjacent neighborhood of Morningside. Both neighborhoods--over 100 years old--exude a strong sense of community as evidenced by many festivals and events. Families enjoy locally-owned hangouts and independent retailers amidst tree-lined streets brimming with historic bungalow homes.
Take the kids on the one-mile trail through Herbert Taylor Park and Daniel Johnson Nature Preserve, and you’ll feel miles away from the city. The two adjacent parks, totaling 34 acres, feature an old-growth forest with plenty of shade and opportunities to observe nature.
The three-acre John Howell Memorial Park offers two sand volleyball courts and the Cunard Memorial Playground. On the eastern side, make use of the Great Lawn for the perfect grassy open space to fly kites, throw a football, and let the kids run around.
Trek across the wooden suspension bridge at Morningside Nature Preserve. Photo by the author
Head to the tranquil Morningside Nature Preserve with several miles of nature trails. Kids especially enjoy the wooden suspension bridge and splashing on the shores of South Fork Peachtree Creek in warmer weather. The trail is also popular with dog owners.
Receiving a recent upgrade, this small park boasts a fun playground, swinging benches, and walking path. The park also hosts the popular Morningside/Lenox Park Concerts in the Park series held during the spring and fall months.
Enroll your kids in dance classes at the Atlanta Ballet’s Virginia-Highland location. Kids between the ages of 2 to 7 can learn about coordination and rhythm in the creative movement offerings, while kids ages 7 and up can take ballet courses in the Student Division.
Walk the kids past the oldest operating fire station in Atlanta. When opened in 1925, the fire station served residents of the neighborhood, considered to be one of Atlanta’s first suburbs. You can also schedule a car seat safety check.
If you have cyclists in the family, stop by Atlanta Pro Bikes to get your bike serviced or check out the newest bicycles for sale. Opened in 2014, the shop also rents bikes to ride on the nearby Eastside BeltLine Trail.
Enjoy quality mother-daughter shopping time (especially if you have teens) at Dakota J’s. Find all the latest trends, from casual to dressy, at this local boutique which has been open for over 25 years.
Rent a bike or just take a walk on the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine for a fun afternoon. Photo by Melanie Preis
Running adjacent to Virginia-Highland lies the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. The flat trail is easy for kids to walk or bike while enjoying the public art displays on what used to be a railroad track.
Since you probably don’t feel like cooking on a Friday evening, head to Food Truck Friday for dinner. Located in front of Neighbor’s Pub, the event occurs the third Friday of the month (June through September) from 6-9pm.
Inspire musical creativity in your young children by enrolling in Highland Music Studio's offerings of Music Together, Preschool Piano, and Mini Rockers classes. Older kids and teens can participate in a rock band or take voice, guitar, piano, drums, or violin lessons.
Find the perfect tools and equipment at this store dedicated solely to the art of woodworking. In existence since 1978, Highland Woodworking allows shoppers to try out some tools and sign up for one of the many classes offered.
There’s always something going on at the John P. Garner branch of the Atlanta Fulton County Library. Come by during Family Story Time or Lego Club. Kids ages 9-17 can attend the monthly Cubing at Ponce sessions to work on logic puzzles while teens can sign up for the bi-monthly Dungeons and Dragons meetings.
Dress up in your Halloween costume and head to the Monster Dash at Morningside Presbyterian Church. Benefiting neighborhood parks, the event is open to all ages. Smaller children will want to participate in the free Kids Dash.
Located at Morningside Presbyterian Church, the year-round Morningside Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 8-11:30am. The market, established in 1995, requires all fruits and vegetables to be certified organic. Check the weekly schedule for kids' activities and live music.
Just a stone’s throw from Virginia-Highland is Ponce City Market. The renovated former Sears Roebuck distribution center offers shopping, restaurants, and a food court on the Atlanta BeltLine. Families can also head to the roof for carnival-style games and miniature golf at Skyline Park.
The annual Porchfest hosts kid-friendly activities including a magic show, bounce house, and face painting.
The annual Porchfest features an entire day of bands (over 75!) performing live on residential porches throughout the entire neighborhood. Held in May, there are also food trucks, local merchant booths, and the 1-mile Rock ‘n Run. Kid-friendly activities include a magic show, bounce house, and face painting.
Participants put on a disposable poncho before experimenting with paint to create a masterpiece canvas at Splatter Studio.
Let the kids make a big mess while tapping into their creative side. Participants put on a disposable poncho before experimenting with paint to create a masterpiece canvas. Although recommended for anyone ages five and up, the studio requires supervision for kids under 13.
Held every June, Virginia-Highland Summerfest offers a full day of live music and a market with over 150 artisans. In addition to a 5K run, the festival provides Kidsfest with games and crafts at John Howell Park.
This two-story, independent bookstore boasts over 10,000 books and puzzles catering to adults and kids alike. Stop by for children’s story time every Tuesday morning at 10:30am or RSVP for the next Middle School Book Club meeting.
Besides fresh produce and artisanal breads Virginia Highland Farmers Market's has a variety of kid's activities.
From mid-March through the end of November, head to the Virginia-Highland Farmers Market held on Thursdays from 4-7pm. Select from a wide choice of fresh-grown produce, as well as local jellies, breads, and other foodstuffs. Kids' activities, including story time, kiddie yoga, and activity sheets, vary each week.
Snap pictures in front of the Va-Hi mural at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland avenues. Commissioned by the civic association in 2019, the mural welcomes everyone to the area. Be on the lookout for other murals in the neighborhood, especially along North Highland Ave.
Celebrate the holidays with a parade and other festivities at Virginia-Highland Winterfest.
Get in the holiday spirit at Winterfest on December 8 and 9, 2023. The annual event features a family-friendly Jingle Jog, tour of lights, and holiday market. The parade and activities at the Kids Corner also make the event fun for little ones.
Alon's Bakery & Market serves gourmet lunches and beautiful desserts. Photo by the author
A neighborhood mainstay since 1992, Alon's Bakery offers pastries, as well as breakfast and lunch options. Favorites include gourmet sandwiches, made with fresh-baked bread, and the French almond macarons. Hint: Pick up food and bring it to a nearby park for a fun picnic!
In addition to chocolate- and vanilla-glazed varieties, Doughnut Dollies provides an assortment of other combinations including the Dollie (filled with crème brulee), Lemon Meringue, and Vegan Ginger Pear Crumble.
Farm Burger partners with local organic farms to provide delicious burgers made from grass-fed cows. Additional options include the vegan burger, seasonal salads, a kids’ menu, and hand-spun milkshakes. The restaurant is super kid-friendly with a stroller parking section outside.
The kids will be screaming for ice cream when you stop at Morelli’s. The award-winning shop rotates flavors including Dark Chocolate Chili, Pumpkin Pie, and the popular Ginger Lavender. Kids will be mesmerized watching the model train running on the tracks near the ceiling.
Italian-born Paola Dalla Zorza opened his gelateria in 1999 for Atlanta families to enjoy. You’ll find a bevy of gelato flavors, homemade cannoli, and Italian gourmet products. You can even purchase pet-friendly gelato for your furry friends!
Order New York-style pizza (by the slice or whole), subs, or wings at Pielands with both indoor and outdoor seating. Favorites include the square-shaped Noni pizza and the garlic knots. Plus, parents can relax while the kids play old-school video games.
Get your caffeine fix at this local spot roasting its own coffee since 1992. Check out the seasonal drink offerings such as Peppermint Mocha and Pumpkin Spice Latte as well as breakfast burritos, bagels, and sandwiches.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the Virginia Highland District Association