October 8, 2015 Atlanta: The Beltline is a great place to take walk, run or ride a bike while taking in local works of art. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Brant Sanderlin
Photo: Brant Sanderlin

Check out these tours and classes on Atlanta's Beltline

Finding activities to participate in along Atlanta's Beltline is easier than ever.

Though the Beltline offers plenty of options for those who want to grab a drink or a bite to eat, the 22-mile-long loop along Atlanta's restored historic rail line is perfect for those who want to increase their activity while spending more time outdoors.

With seasonal events ongoing most of the year, patrons can enjoy bus tours, fitness classes, art walks and other activities along the "Emerald Necklace" that links dozens of neighborhoods and creates more mobility options for those who travel by foot or bike. Train for a marathon, take up yoga or learn about local trees with these ongoing programs, most of which are free.

Arboretum Walking Tours

Learn about the horticulture and natural growth surrounding the Atlanta Beltline with this free walking tour. A docent provided by Trees Atlanta will prepare interesting facts about the local flora during every season as tourists walk along the Eastside Trail -- the first completed trail in the Beltline's 22 miles of trails, green space and other amenities. The walk may give residents a chance to check out some of the must-see features along the trails, such as Three Tree Hill.

The tour, which lasts about 1.5 hours, starts at the Parish Restaurant on Highland Avenue in Inman Park. Tours are held every Friday and Saturday. From October to May, tours begin at 10 a.m. During the rest of the year, the tour begins at 9 a.m., to better beat the heat. Those interested can register their tour ahead of time at beltline.org. Walking tours are scheduled to start Feb. 5, but potential participants should call ahead or check the BeltLine's website frequently for updates.

Art on the Atlanta Beltline

Art lovers will delight in this long-running exhibition that displays local artists along the Beltline's trails and pathways. The art exhibition started in the summer of 2010, when the Beltline brought in 40 visual and performance art works to adorn the corridor. Since then, the program has expanded to include more than 100 works in 2015.

The performances and exhibits are concentrated in four areas: near Gordon White Park, near Historic Fourth Ward Park, along the Eastside Trail under Edgewood Avenue and along the Eastside Trail through Reynoldstown. The exhibition runs from September to November. Artists for 2016 have not yet been announced, so check the Beltline's website frequently for updates.

Bike Tours

Combine cardio with a greater knowledge of one of Atlanta's newest resident amenities with a bike tour of the Atlanta Beltline. Offered through the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the Beltline's bike tours take participants on free tours down two different trails -- the Eastside, which is a 13-mile ride, and the Westside, which is a 9-mile ride. Guides will lead cyclists through the Beltline and stop at key point to describe the project's history and future development.

Once a year, bikers can try their hand at the Tour de BeltLine, which spans the entire circuit and is hosted by the Atlanta Bike Coalition.

Tours are held Saturdays at 9:45 a.m. for the Eastside Route and 2 p.m. on Sundays for the Westside route. The Eastside route meets at Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle on Sampson Street; the Westside meets at WeCycle on Oak Street. Those who wish to ride with the group can register online, and should plan to arrive 15 minutes in advance. However, tour guides highly encourage walk-ins who arrive with time to spare. Participants should bring a bring a bicycle in good working condition and wear comfortable clothes. Those interested can also rent bicycles from either Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle or Wecycle Atlanta but must arrive 30 minutes before check-in time to ensure a bike rental.

Bike tours will continue to be offered in 2016, but a date has not been determined. Please check the Beltline's website frequently for updates.

Bus Tours

Ride around the Beltline in style during this guided bus tour. The narrator will tell riders about the history of the Beltline, as well as upcoming features and details about how different projects will be implemented. The bus tour is handicapped accessible, and companies can even schedule private tours or a group tour ahead of time.

Buses leave promptly at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from the Inman Park MARTA station on Dekalb Avenue. Participants must check in 15 minutes ahead of time or risk relinquishing their seat. Tickets cost $22 per person and will be refunded only if the patron cancels 48 hours in advance. Reservations can be made ahead of time online.

Fitness Classes

No need to join a gym to meet your wellness goals for 2016. The Beltline has plenty of free classes that can be approached by people of all fitness levels. Past programs include a 60-minute aerobics workout, a class where students perform body weight and running exercise barefoot, a class that combines yoga and jogging and many more. Participants can look forward to plenty of interesting classes to fill their time. At least 25 classes, funded fully by insurance company Cigna, will be available this spring. Check the Beltline's website frequently for updates and schedules.

Run.Walk.Go! Race Series

Plan to complete both of the runs included as part of the BeltLine's Run.Walk.Go! annual races. Held for the past five years, the races are a great way for runners and others who want to challenge themselves to explore new trails, make new friends and learn more about the BeltLine.

This year's first race is a 5K that will take place on July 16 at West End Park. The second is a 10K on December 3, which will take place on the East Trail. 

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