Dunwoody offers unique dining, great ways to get outdoors and a great arts center, plus the state’s largest Fourth of July Parade.
Dunwoody’s city limits are hard to pinpoint. One of many cities that make up the Atlanta metropolitan area, Dunwoody’s streets of shopping and residential subdivisions tend to blend into Atlanta’s massive urban environment.
And yet, it’s a feast for the senses, from the wonderful dining establishments that offer unique culinary treats to the parks where a symphony of birds treat hikers and bikers on the Dunwoody Trailway, only a short distance from the hum of Atlanta’s freeways.
A 4th of July Celebration
This weekend, Dunwoody also hosts the largest Independence Day Parade in Georgia!
Beginning at 9 AM Monday, July 5, 2021, the Dunwoody’s Fourth of July Parade will roll 2.7 miles through town and honor the nation’s heroes. It will feature the 116th National Guard Marching Band, the Georgia Garrison of the 501st Legion, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. Food will include barbecue served by Boy Scout Troop 764 along with hotdogs from the Rotary Club and Moondog beer.
The parade began in 1976 by the Dunwoody Woman’s Club to celebrate the United State Bicentennial. At that time, the event consisted of 40 individuals in cars, a marching band, a dance band, swim team floats and clowns. Naturally, the parade has grown over the years. In 2019, before 2020’s pandemic cancelled the festivities, the parade attracted more than 2,500 participants and 35,000 spectators.
If You Go
Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter and neighboring hotels make for a good home base. They are located across from the Perimeter Mall, the second largest shopping mall in the state of Georgia, and within easy access to U.S. Hwy. 285, known in Atlanta as “the perimeter” for the massive freeway encircles the city.
Two thoroughfares in town — Ashford Dunwoody and Chamblee Dunwoody — run almost parallel to each other. They contain most of the town’s restaurants, shopping and attractions. Visitors won’t have to suffer the freeways getting around Dunwoody, enjoying back streets for much of the fun.
To Start With
Start with happy hour at Moondog Growlers, a dog-friendly pub that puts out water and treats for its four-legged friends and 39 beers on tap, plus one non-alcoholic offering, for the two-legged folks. Much of the breweries served by Moondog are local, such as Atlanta’s Wrecking Bar Pale Ale and New Realm lager. Both are excellent choices. Thirsty patrons can choose between 8-, 16-, 32- and 64-ounce servings, so it’s easy to sample many and choose favorites.
The non-descript pub in a small strip shopping center fills up fast with locals looking for a cool brew and community. Even dogs have their day here. On a recent afternoon, Lulu, an elderly dog known by many patrons, sauntered in, sniffed out the other canines on site and promptly made herself at home.
Another great casual spot to enjoy something wonderful for a low price is NFA Burger located inside a Chevron Station. Owner Billy Kramer isn’t fooling around with this recipe, consisting of Angus beef, pickles, mustard and his own sassy sauce. Diners can order onions and other additions, or pick the double burger if they’re really hungry. There’s also hot dogs and sausages and tatter tots for a side. Order and pick up inside, grab a drink from the station convenience store, then enjoy at the shaded picnic tables out back.
To Dine For
For something more sophisticated, and a taste bud sensation, Novo Cucina creates its own pasta and pizza dough. Almost everything arriving at the table has been made to order right then. You can even watch chefs creating the magic in the open kitchen off the dining room. Make a reservation for the place fills up fast.
Wine lovers will not want to miss Vino Venue, a fine dining establishment that wears many hats, which is why its moto is “drink, dine, discover.” The extensive wine collection allows diners to drink by the glass or bottle, sample a variety through its serve-yourself technology, and learn more through wine and cooking classes in its demonstration kitchen in the back. They even offer wine tours of California and Europe!
For breakfast, there’s a host of great spots, including Alon’s Bakery & Market where you’ll want to sample everything in its high-end market. Crema Espresso is another, that serves up a delish French egg breakfast. And Breadwinner Café and Bakery is where we just had to have the most decadent chocolate chip cookie as well.
Dunwoody is home to the Spruill Center for the Arts, which teaches a wide variety of art workshops throughout the year as well as provide summer camp for kids. Its corresponding gallery in a historic 1867-1905 home mounts several exhibitions a year, plus features one of the best artist gifts shops in Atlanta. Even the backyard sports interesting artwork.
Enchanted Forest, in the shopping center that includes Novo Cucina, is a more modern gift shop, featuring items that range from sweet smelling candles and jewelry to SEC sports memorabilia for the upcoming football season.
Back To Nature
There’s so much to love about Brook Run Park, including its outdoor amphitheater, playground, Saturday farmer’s market, sports fields and dog park. At one end, Treetop Quest instructs participants and then lets them loose to enjoy 50 obstacle courses and 12 zip lines through the park’s woods. The courses are age-appropriate with employees on hand to oversee. The two-mile multi-use Dunwoody Trailway loops the park, much of it beneath shaded woods and near creeks. On the day we visited, we spotted numerous birds and a barred owl gave us quite the show.
Another great set of trails through 35 acres of woods and alongside Wildcat Creek is the Dunwoody Nature Center. Visitors can relax in the hammock garden, stroll along the wetlands boardwalk, dip a toe in the creek or enjoy the wooded playground.
For More Information
This is just a taste of what Dunwoody has to offer. The Fourth of July Parade is one of many events happening this summer, including the Nature Center’s Butterfly Festival Aug. 15-22. For more information, visit https://www.discoverdunwoody.com/.
Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning food and travel writer living in Marietta, Georgia. A native of New Orleans, Cheré also writes popular fiction under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the quirky travel blog, Weird, Wacky and Wild South.
She was hosted by Discover Dunwoody on this trip, but all opinions are 100% her own and unbiased.
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