Dunwoody is northern suburb of Atlanta which became a separate city in 2008. However, European settlement began as early as the 1830s.
The area that became Dunwoody took its name – albeit spelled differently – from a Major Charles Dunwody who fought with the Confederate Army of the slave-owning southern states during the American Civil War.
The suburb’s development has been slow and steady ever since, thanks in part to the existence of a rail line until the 1920s, used by Theodore Roosevelt during his campaign for president in 1904.
A friendly and well-rounded city just a few miles north of all the sights and sounds of Atlanta, Dunwoody makes for a great addition to any tour of the region.
Here’s the best things to do in Dunwoody Georgia.
1. Historic Dunwoody
Dunwoody’s historic origins can still be seen at a number of sites in and around the city.
Cheek-Spruill House, also known as the ‘Dunwoody Farmhouse’, is a relatively simple two-story clapboard construction dating from 1906.
Its public History Room allows visitors to explore the history of those who have lived here over more than one hundred years until it became a law firm.
Elsewhere, the Donaldson-Bannister House is even older, being constructed in around 1870. Typical of the plantation style of home, the building is intrinsically linked with the region’s history.
It’s first occupant, William Donaldson fought in the Civil War, before the property was run as a farm until at least 30 years after his death by his widow.
2. Treetop Quest
Treetop Quest takes you right up into the canopy of Dunwoody’s trees, some 16 metres above the ground with a walkway that stretches through the trees in a series of bridges, nets, ropes and ziplines.
A family-friendly and orientated activity, visitors of all ages can explore this usually hidden world, while testing their nerve and getting the adrenaline flowing in a completely safe environment.
Four different levels of difficulty make this age-appropriate for anyone of the age of four and up, testing strength and balance suitable to each age group.
3. Spruill Gallery
The Spruill Gallery occupies another of Dunwoody’s historic structures, dating from around the 1860s.
It hosts between four and six major art exhibitions each year, and in doing so promotes established artists, those new to the field, and works completed in the onsite education center.
The gallery also plays host to an artist’s gift shop that is open throughout the year. This has a range of one-off gifts and attractive homewares made by artists living in the metropolitan Atlanta region.
The gallery has a reputation that dates back 40 years. It continues to evolve, making it a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the arts.
4. Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church
The first religious building to be constructed in Dunwoody, the Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church was built in 1829, although the current church is the fourth to have stood on the same plot.
Local legend has it that the wooden planks of the first church were removed and used during the Atlanta campaign of the Civil War so that Unionist forces could cross the Chattahoochee River.
The church stands surrounded by one of Dunwoody’s earliest cemeteries.
It contains the remains of Major Charles Dunwoody, as well as soldiers from the losing Confederate Army and members of Dunwoody’s leading families, after whom many of the nearby streets are named.
5. Dunwoody Nature Center
This center combines a traditional urban parkland and an education space. Here, visitors are able to explore authentic north Georgia wetlands, a native American tepee, and a variety of hiking trails.
Those who have already tired themselves out during their discover of Dunwoody will appreciate the hammock garden, where visitors are able to relax in hammocks strung between the woodland trees.
The center only dates from 1975, when the land was purchased as part of America’s bicentennial celebrations.
It hosts a popular butterfly festival, which allows people to enjoy the sight of thousands of monarch butterflies as they migrate between the border with Canada and the highlands of Mexico each year.
6. Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Park
Not only is the history of the Atlanta region linked with the American Civil War, but it is also linked with the Civil Rights Movement one hundred years later.
Led by Martin Luther King Jr, the movement sought to end racial segregation and give African-American’s their constitutional rights.
This park is made up of several buildings important to the movement, including King’s childhood home. There is a visitor center museum where you can learn more about the aims and achievements of the movement.
The park is also a thoughtful site since it includes King’s final resting place, after he was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee at the age of 39.
The park is located just east of Atlanta’s downtown area, approximately 15 miles south of Dunwoody.
7. Brook Run Park
In many ways Brook Run Park is more than a humble urban park. It has a number of high-quality leisure activities that is sure to keep the entire family happy.
Younger children certainly won’t have any complaints about the playground, while older children and teens will likely be impressed by its skate park.
The dog-friendly woodlands make for a great place to stretch your legs. Alternatively, why not check out the community garden?
Here ordinary Dunwoody citizens grow a range of organic fruits and vegetables that are then sold with a proportion of the profits making their way to local charities.
8. Painting with a Twist
If the Spruill Gallery has got your artistic nature energized, then Painting with a Twist is also well worth a visit.
Fitting its name perfectly, Painting with a Twist is just that. Not only are its art sessions (classes sounds a little too formal) led by an expert artist, but all the equipment you’ll need will be provided.
However, the twist comes from the fact people signed up for a session are able to bring food and even alcoholic drinks as well as their friends, which certainly helps to break the ice.
9. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
The highest point in the Atlanta region, the surrounds of Kennesaw Mountain were the site of an important Civil War battle.
Part of the Atlanta campaign, which saw Union forces sweeping from west to east across the southern states, the resultant battle involved around 150,000 troops making use of some 450 cannon.
Today the battlefield park includes about 18 miles of signposted interpretive hiking trails that help explain the battle’s most important moments. They take in the Confederate earthwork defenses and cannon positions.
It is also the location of Peter Valentine Kolb’s farmhouse, which was caught up in the fighting, and a visitor center with a small museum.
To reach Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park means a road journey of just half an hour from Dunwoody.
10. Six Flags White Water
Boasting thrills right across its 28 hectares of grounds, Six Flags White Water is a water adventure park that is one of the most popular anywhere in the United States.
It is also the largest in the country’s southeast. Beyond its entry gates you will find more than 20 attractions divided into four different sections.
These include child-friendly slide rides such as Lizard’s Tail, and adults-only attractions such as the Mutiny Chute plunge slide that can be found in Wildwater Lagoon.
Should a gentle swim be more your thing, the Pine Valley section has an excellent wave pool, in addition to a lazy river tube ride named in honor of the region’s Chattahoochee River.
The park is a similar distance and direction from Dunwoody as Kennesaw Mountain.
11. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Just a short walk from the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Park in central Atlanta, this museum and archive is dedicated to the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who served for one term from 1977 to 1981.
Located in 12 hectares of parkland and positioned between two lakes, the center has a tranquil atmosphere despite its proximity to the skyscrapers of Atlanta.
Inside, displays and objects help detail Carter’s four years in office, and include a staggering exhibition of gifts he received from world leaders.
The museum also contains a full-sized replica of the White House’s Oval Office, and a mock-up of the presidential retreat at Camp David.
12. Morgan Falls Overlook Park
An almost identical size to the Presidential Library and Museum, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a fine place to enjoy Georgia’s excellent year-round weather.
Large picnic pavilions provide a place to share a relaxed lunch shaded from the sun, while footpaths extend to a bluff overlooking a meander in the Chattahoochee River.
There are more scenic views stretching across the water of Blue Sluice Lake from a series of porch swings. The park also includes fire pits, a fishing pier, and ramps for getting kayaks into the waters for anyone keen to slip through the landscape by boat.
The park is just 15 minutes northwest of Dunwoody. There are plenty of other opportunities to take in the riverine landscape, with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area comprising 15 different ‘units’ right across the north Atlanta area.
13. Dunwoody Tavern
The oldest pub in Dunwoody and one of the oldest in the Atlanta region, the Dunwoody Tavern has had a variety of façades over the years. It now takes on the appearance of a traditional English pub.
As a result, you can expect comfy armchairs, dark wood paneling on some of the walls, and even roaring open wood fires when the weather demands it.
When it comes to drinks, there are plenty of British and European beers on offer, including properly poured pints of Guinness, while Scotland’s finest whiskies can also be sampled here.
14. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum
This museum site is just ten minutes from Dunwoody, to the city’s east, making it possible to combine it with a visit to Morgan Falls Overlook Park.
Its grounds contain the natural springs after which this neighboring incorporated city is named. The museum itself is located within the historic Williams-Payne House.
Its displays include an important array of artifacts from the antebellum (pre-war) and American Civil War periods, and also helps to reveal what life was like through its photography collection.
15. Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Not only is Arabia Mountain a beautiful stretch of Georgian wilderness, but it also played an important role in the development of the local area and cities much further away too.
Its hard granite outcrops have been dated to 400 million years of age, and have been quarried and used in iconic US structures including New York’s Brooklyn Bridge.
The old quarries and vast forests can be explored using 31 miles of paved pathways designed for mountain bikers. Unpaved hiking trails also winding across the site.
Arabia Mountain is approximately 30 miles southeast of Dunwoody, in Atlanta’s southern suburbs.