Atlanta’s Public Art Ride

Loop these self-guided cycling tours to experience the city’s best murals, sculptures and monuments.

Though Atlanta might be best known as the South’s hub for business, the region’s busiest city is also a hotbed for art. There are more than 1,000 murals spread across its metropolitan area—tucked under bridges, hidden in parking lots or adorned on office buildings you can’t miss. Some depict local heroes or promote social discourse while others simply provide a visual feast. Additionally, the City of Atlanta manages 127 permanent public sculptures and monuments. It's also spent years investing in bike infrastructure like greenways, bike lanes and racks. So naturally, the best way to experience ATL’s public art is from the seat of a bicycle

Try either of the popular “art rides” detailed below. Both self-guided tours begin and end in the eclectic Five Points neighborhood, which has convenient public parking and plenty of restaurants for post-ride refreshments. You can also combine both loops into a larger figure-eight ride if you’re looking to cover more ground. Summer can be hot, so plan for plenty of rest breaks. Fall offers the best combination of cool temperatures and colorful foliage through notably dense trees of the so-called “city in the forest.” As you ride, keep an eye out for the unique bike-shaped racks designed and painted by local artists for the city’s Mural Bike Rack Project; there’s 18 located around the center of Atlanta. 

Photo: Anna Papuga

North Loop Art Ride 

Distance: 4.3 miles
Murals: 24
Turn-by-turn directions: ridewithgps.com

From Five Points, the North Loop takes you around Centennial Olympic Park and into the Sweet Auburn Historic District, which played a key role in the civil rights movement. The pedaling is relatively flat (you’ll climb 239 feet in total over 4 miles), and have plenty of opportunities to stop at parks to rest. Start the art by checking out the mural of hip-hop megastar duo Outkast on the wall of Wish boutique. The route heads northwest on Marietta Street and wraps around Centennial Park and the Georgia Aquarium before coming back southeast to Georgia State University and the Sweet Auburn District. 

Highlights: Several social justice murals are scattered throughout the route. A massive mural depicting the historic buildings of Sweet Auburn occupies a wall beneath the Auburn Avenue Interstate 75/85 underpass. The large-scale Buckhead Murals show off city pride at a couple of locations. Atlanta’s most famous street artist, Greg Mike, also has a mural on the north end of the loop. 

 

South Loop Art Ride 

Distance: 3.2 miles
Murals: 38
Turn-by-turn directions: ridewithgps.com

The South Loop has the most bang for your buck, hitting almost 40 murals in just over 3 miles, and on almost perfectly flat terrain that takes you through the vibrant Castleberry Hill neighborhood, which has become renowned for its working artist studios and galleries. Starting from Five Points, head south past the Peachtree Fountain Plaza and the federal buildings of South Downtown before exploring the streets of Castleberry Hill. 

Highlights: You’ll see storefronts and building sides painted by local artists like Lydia Futral and Alex Brewer. A portrait of quarterback Colin Kaepernick by J.R. Outlaw and touching portrayals by artist Brandon Bmike Odums add weight to the art along the route. And the standout has to be the South Downtown Alligator that dominates the entire side of a building, painted by the Belgian street artist known as ROA

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.