East Point, Georgia is a suburban city in the southwest of Atlanta, which lies less than 7.5 miles north.
It was founded by a handful of families around a railway terminus in 1870, and grew quickly.
The railway and excellent climate made it a popular summer escape for those living in downtown Atlanta, despite its proximity.
The railway survives, as does a series of historic attractions that make East Point a great place to visit, in addition to a good base for explorations of Atlanta.
Here are the best things to do in and around East Point, Georgia.
1. East Point Historic Civic Block
East Point’s Historic Civic Block is made up of three important historic buildings together with the city’s Victory Park.
The park is joined by City Hall, the City Auditorium, and New Deal Library. The four sites date from the 1920s and 1930s.
City Hall, the seat of local government, and the City Auditorium were constructed in a blend of Colonial Revival and traditional southern antebellum styles.
Park of President Franklin D Roosevelt’s attempts to counter the Great Depression of the late 1920s, the New Deal Library has some wonderful detailing typical of the region.
Meanwhile, Victory Park was constructed as a memorial to those who died while serving the country in the military, with old weaponry interspersed with the memorials and planting.
2. The Delowe Loft
It may not look much from the outside, but The Loft is an art gallery and creative community space that’s used for all manner of arts projects.
The Loft hosts ‘traditional’ art exhibitions by local and up-and-coming artists from the greater Atlanta metropolitan area throughout the year.
But in addition, it is also the location for a huge number of different classes, and regular evening events that range from painting sessions to rap battles.
The Loft is a superb place for anyone interested in art and culture, and those keen to interact with everyday East Point residents too.
3. Delta Flight Museum
The Delta Flight Museum is dedicated to the history of Delta Airlines, which is headquartered in nearby Atlanta.
Displays include posters, imagery, and artefacts from more than 40 airlines that are or have been part of the Delta family.
Larger objects include one of the airline’s earliest aircraft, a tiny Travel Air 6000 dating from 1931, a silver DC-3 propeller-powered machine, and the company’s first Boeing 767.
Called The Spirit of Delta, it was re-purchased for the company through donations by former staff.
The museum is based in two hangers dating to the 1940s at the northern edge of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, ten minutes from downtown East Point.
4. Constitution Lakes
Located a few miles due east of East Point, you’d probably never guess that Constitution Lakes was for many years a clay quarry for the brick-making industry.
Now a nature preserve, its pits were allowed to flood, leading to an influx of plants, birds, and even fish.
A good place for bird watchers to tick off many of Georgia’s native bird species, it’s also a popular angling spot.
The 50-hectare site now includes a paved walkway leading from the parking lot to the lakeshore, while a boardwalk allows visitors to explore one side of the lake’s edges.
5. Starlight Drive-In Theatre and Flea Market
Just up the road from Constitution Lakes is Starlight Drive-In Theatre and Flea Market.
While maintaining its original art deco design, this drive-in cinema has four different screens with modern digital projections.
Patrons get to enjoy a double feature, though you will of course need your own vehicle!
The Starlight also boasts an authentic snack bar from which to sample traditional US hot dogs, while the same site is home to a flea market.
The market combines everyday household goods with rarer finds, and a good range of food stalls to boot.
6. East Point Farmers Market
While the Starlight’s flea market might welcome some food stalls, it can’t really compete with variety of foodstuffs available direct from the growers and producers at East Point Farmers Market.
Although the vegetables might not be of huge interest to those on a quick holiday, few can resist the allure of these colourful stalls and the friendly atmosphere that develops around them.
Fruit, including Georgia’s famed peaches, are in plentiful supply during their seasons. Other stalls are full to brimming with freshly-baked goods, jellies and jams.
What’s more, the market offers visitors regular chef demonstrations, and activities to keep younger children entertained too.
7. Zoo Atlanta
East Point’s closeness to Atlanta means it would be a terrible mistake not to visit its larger neighbouring city while in the region.
As the Georgia state capital, and host city of the 1996 summer Olympic Games, Atlanta has a long list of potential attractions.
One not to be missed by animal lovers is Zoo Atlanta. First opened in 1889, this 16-hectare site is home to around 1,500 animals from 200 different species. Many of them are endangered in their native habitats.
A successful breeding programme for western lowland gorillas has been in operation since the late 1980s at the Ford African Rain Forest, alongside lemurs and colobus monkeys.
Elsewhere in the zoo visitors can check out giant pandas, the orangutans of the Asian Forest section, and 450 species of reptile.
8. Skyview Atlanta
Another of Atlanta’s must-see landmarks is Skyview Atlanta in the city’s downtown district, around 15 minutes north of East Point.
Overlooking Olympic Centennial Park from its eastern boundaries, Skyview Atlanta is a Ferris Wheel that rises to the equivalent of a 20-storey building at its highest point.
Offering spectacular views across the city’s heart, the wheel is a fine introduction to this southern city, which gave birth to both Gone with the Wind and the American Civil Rights Movement.
To make your journey in one of the 42 air-conditioned gondolas all the more special, come as night is beginning to fall and the lights flick on below you.
9. Dick Lane Velodrome
Inspired by the facilities of the 1972 Munich Olympics in Germany, the Dick Lane Velodrome was first constructed right back in 1974.
Set in East Point’s Sumner Park, it has a concrete track banking 36° which covers a total length of 300 metres in an amphitheatre style arrangement.
The open-air velodrome hosts regular race meets. Anyone who has attended such an event in the past can talk of how the atmosphere develops as cyclists race around the track at 60-plus km/h without any brakes and with only a single gear!
10. College Park Golf Course
Staying with the sports theme, although a little more tranquil than track cycling, is the golf course at College Park, about 2 miles south of East Point.
Built in the early 1900s, the course consists of nine holes, but is a regulation 2,987 yards (2,731 metres), with a par of 36.
In spite of being only nine holes in length, the undulating fairway and raised greens make it one of the most challenging in the Atlanta region.
As well as the course itself, College Park also has a multi-level driving range, and log cabin club house for that all-important post-game analysis.
11. Apex Museum
Back in downtown Atlanta, the Apex Museum is located in the city’s Sweet Auburn area, one of its most historic.
It is a museum which presents history from the perspective of African-Americans, while being of interest to visitors of any race.
A stop on the US Civil Rights Trail, the ‘African-American Panoramic Experience’ begins with a short history of the African continent and its hidden contributions to modern life.
It continues with displays of important African-American pioneers in the Atlanta region. It also touches on the lasting impact of racial segregation, which didn’t come to an end until 1964.
12. Truly Living Well Center
Truly Living Well is an initiative aimed at reconnecting people and their communities with the land, and as a result, with the food they eat.
Guided tours of their urban farm in East Point help to remove some of the mystery around the growing of fruits and vegetables.
Although Truly Living Well is intended as an educational resource, it also provides a great eco-friendly attraction walking distance from central East Point.
13. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
Like The Loft at Delowe, the location of Cascade Springs Nature Preserve might seem an unlikely one for a tourist attraction.
However, cross into this 50-hectare site, and you’ll soon forget Georgia’s state capital is only a few miles away.
The sound of crashing water will draw you forwards, to mossy rocks damp with the spray of its beautiful waterfall.
Nearby, you’ll also be able to find the historic springhouse above the source of the spring, and earthworks that formed part of the Atlanta defences during the American Civil War.
Cascade Springs Nature Preserve is located north-west of East Point.
14. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
About 20 minutes from East Point lies the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The dinosaurs lurking in the flowerbeds in front of its entrance are a sign of things to come.
These include the largest dinosaur ever classified, a 37-metre long Argentinosaurus.
Its main space is dedicated to detailing the story of our planet by using Georgia as an example. Another feature is a glass atrium that looks out onto Fernbank Forest.
An important area of old growth Piedmont plateau woodland, the forest has been made accessible by the museum thanks to walkways and informative display boards.
15. Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is actually one of the city’s favourite picnic spots, and is used as a community park as well as a cemetery.
Boasting mausoleums, obelisks, and a huge array of sculpture memorials, the cemetery is the final resting place of many famous Atlanta faces. These include Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind.
If this all sounds a little too morbid for your tastes, not far away you’ll also find the street art heaven that is Krog Street Tunnel, as well as the Krog Street food market.
All three are located approximately 12 km from East Point.