Look up when you’re in downtown Atlanta—all the way to the rooftop of Ponce City Market, a mixed-use project featuring retail, a food hall and a hip alternative to the usual mall experience from the developers of New York’s Chelsea Market. That’s where you’ll find Skyline Park, a family-friendly amusement park that opened this summer and a must-visit stop on your next trip to Hotlanta.
Skyline has an old-fashioned, Coney-Island-boardwalk feel. Come for the food, rides and fun, and don’t leave until you’ve enjoyed the panoramic views of Atlanta’s downtown, Midtown and Buckhead areas. Here are a half-dozen things we love about the park and its new rooftop neighbor, Nine Mile Station:
Top 1: It’s fun for all ages. Skyline Park is a playground for kids and adults, with carnival-like games of skill. Try ring toss, skee ball, Derby racing or basketball, or challenge a friend to 18 holes of mini-golf. Daredevils shouldn’t miss Heege Tower, a ride that lifts two passengers high in the air before releasing them in a free-fall drop, or the three-story Skyline Slide.
Top 2: The view is spectacular. From its rooftop perch, Skyline Park lets you overlook the city. After dark, Atlanta sparkles with lights. In the daytime, you and the kids can enjoy the breeze and soak up some sunshine. (Don’t forget the sunscreen.)
Top 3: The food is tasty and fun. Grab a beef hot dog topped with tomatillo chow chow, a bag of caramel corn, or a cone of pink cotton candy. It may be hard to decide what to devour next: a walking taco (Fritos topped with Baracoa, avocado, pico de gallo and sour cream), or BBQ pork served with coleslaw and bread and butter pickles. You may fill up before you can get to the pretzels and ice cream sandwiches.
Top 4: The cocktails are different and delicious. While the kids wash down their snacks with water or sodas, adults can enjoy livelier libations that show the creativity of this cocktail-centric city. Try the Ponce Park Cup with Old 4th Ward vodka, Cio Ciaro Amaro, Lillet Blanc, honey and lemon. The Beltline Blue Fizz is mixed with gin, tequila, blue curacao, absinthe, rosewater and lemon. Beer, wine and a full bar are also available.
Top 5: Nine Mile Station is a great place to share plates and socialize. This elevated beer garden and restaurant recently opened in Skyline Park. Its name was inspired by Nine Mile Circle, a 1920s-era streetcar line, but don’t let the vintage moniker fool you. The menu is a blend of American cuisine with European influences. An indoor dining room seats 75, while the large patio can accommodate about 144 guests. You can cozy up to an outdoor fire pit in chilly weather, sink into an Adirondack chair, or grab an adult beverage from one of two bars, inside and out.
Long, communal tables on the patio make it easy to share plates and, if you like, to make new friends. Pass around a small plate of crispy sweet peppers stuffed with crab, chevre, chervil and quince chutney, or try smoked trout salad prepared with Tuscan kale, pearled barley and tomato, seasoned with cumin and lime.
If you’d rather socialize than share—and you’d blame you, if you’re hungry? – you can order medium or large-sized plates. Selections include pork belly with Brussels sprouts, a poached egg, sweet pepper and garlic or baby back ribs with fennel slaw. Or try a meat and cheese board or a perfect-for-fall schnitzel platter with pork, chicken, warm potato salad and beets. Go full-out beer garden-style with bratwurst, kielbasa and merguez sausages; you can buy them “by the inch,” in 6, 9 or 12-inch portions.
Top 6: Two words: craft beer. Nine Mile Station offers craft beers from local and distant breweries. You can also order a variety of wines, liquors and classic cocktails.
Save time to explore inside Ponce City Market before you leave. This re-purposed, historic building is filled with shops and eateries helmed by some of the city’s most innovative chefs, and is located on one of the city’s most popular destinations: the walking and biking path called the Atlanta BeltLine.