Just around the riverbend: Your city guide to Vinings

05/05/2021 — Vinings, Georgia — A man travels along a sidewalk along Paces Ferry Road in Vinings, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Nestled between the Chattahoochee River and the I-285 Perimeter, Vinings, like Atlanta, owes its origins to the railroads. Originally known as Crossroads, the area was an important transportation link between Atlanta and the northwest portion of Georgia. Hardy Pace operated a ferry — Paces Ferry, anyone? — and a mill across the Chattahoochee, and the Western and Atlantic Railroad’s key route between Chattanooga and Atlanta was built through the area in the 1840s. The Vinings name came from William H. Vining, an engineer who was critical in laying tracks and building bridges for the new rail lines.

The Union Army occupied the area during the Civil War, and after the war, several pavilions were built along the rail line for respite and day-trippers during Reconstruction. The one just north of the river became what we now know as the city of Vinings, and was a popular spot for socializing, concerts and picnics. Today the area continues its legacy as an entertainment district, blending quaint districts with giant stadiums, concert halls, miles of trails, and lots of great food.

What can I do for fun in Vinings?

Set a high score at Main Event. Do you need a one-stop shop for bowling, laser tag, and enough arcade games to wrap yourself in tickets? Look no further than Main Event. This hodgepodge of indoor fun and games has something for everyone: compete with friends in billiards, VR, bowling, ropes courses or, of course, racing games. If you need a break after all that gaming, go upstairs to the adjacent AMC movie theater and catch a summer blockbuster.

Get cultured at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. One of the premiere theatrical venues in the metro area, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the official home of the Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera. They also have multiple themed musical shows, symphony orchestras, and more. Upcoming acts include Eddie Izzard, Atlanta Opera’s rendition of Frankenstein, and the holiday favorite The Nutcracker. (Eagle-eyed TV fans may recognize the Centre’s exterior and lobby area from a few shows as well.)

Take a break from the city on the East Palisades Trail. Cross the Chattahoochee like the Vinings of old. This 4-mile loop includes some lovely views of the north Atlanta skyline peeking over the trees as you see the raging river below. There’s a bamboo forest, ruins, and multiple creeks to see as well as you venture through the woods.

If you’re looking for a more beginner-friendly trail or one suitable for biking, check out the Bob Callan Trail. This paved pathway takes you under the sprawling highways of I-75 and 285 to enjoy creek-adjacent trails and lots of surprising greenery in an oasis otherwise known for office parks.

Where are the best places to eat and drink in Vinings?

Heirloom Market BBQ

This unassuming shop’s fusion of southern barbecue and Korean flavor has gotten a lot of press since its inception, and there’s a reason why. Whether you nestle your meats in a sandwich or a platter, Heirloom blends smokey, perfectly tender meat with the sweet heat of Korean BBQ and kimchi. Add traditional sides such as baked beans and collard greens, or go for the cucumber radish salad or kimchi slaw. Carry out and delivery only, but don’t wait too long to dig in!

Location: 2243 Akers Mill Road; Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Website: heirloommarketbbq.com


The classic riverside spot for dates, birthdays, and general fine dining in Vinings. Dig into their brunch pastry basket and an order of eggs benedict for Sunday brunch. Or span land and sea with their dinner dishes that include Georgia white shrimp, lamb, braised rabbit, and even peppercorn-crusted kangaroo. Spend some time after dinner strolling through the restaurant’s gardens and walkways adjacent to the Chattahoochee River.

Location: 4199 Paces Ferry Rd SE; Hours: Mondays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Website: canoeatl.com

Read Shop by The Merchant

Get your morning coffee with a side of fiction. (Just don’t spill the beans!) This coffee shop-meets-bookstore venue by the owners of Krog Street Market’s The Merchant, is a cute place to sip some quality joe while you put the “coffee” in “coffee table book”.

Location: 4300 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Suite 125; Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Website: readshopatl.com

Old Vinings Inn

If you’d prefer your Vinings dining experience to be on the classical side, there’s the Old Vinings Inn. This historic building has been many things: a post office, a store, a filling station, and now today, a diner. The Inn serves seasonal Southern fare such as fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and lamb ribs soaked in cola. Head upstairs to the attic bar for drinks and live music Thursdays through Saturdays.

Location: 3011 Paces Mill Road; Hours: Lunch: Thursday and Friday, noon to 2 p.m.; Dinner: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 2 p.m.; Website: oldviningsinn.net

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