In our humble opinion, Grant Park is the best place to live in Atlanta. As one of the city’s oldest and most important historic districts, Grant Park is filled with character and curious spaces to explore. In this series, we’re taking you on a tour of some of Grant Park’s best places to help you get a feel for the neighborhood. Up first? Oakland Cemetery, a vibrant park that honors Atlanta’s past and celebrates its future.
Located in the heart of Atlanta just north of Grant Park, Oakland Cemetery is a peaceful and stunning sanctuary. Open to the public, people near and far gather to pay their respects and experience the incredible history of our city. It features elaborate monuments and mausolea, stunning sculptures, and beautiful botanical gardens.
A rich history
Built in 1850, the garden cemetery was originally known as “Atlanta Cemetery,” and later renamed in honor of the oak and magnolia trees surrounding the plot in 1872. The cemetery served as a final resting place for soldiers who had died in the Civil War, reaching 48 acres by 1867. The last sites were sold in 1884 with an estimated 70,000 people interred at Oakland.
There are multiple notable Atlantans buried in Oakland Cemetery including Bobby Jones (an Atlanta-native golfer), Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind), and Maynard Jackson (the first African-American mayor of Atlanta). There are also early Atlanta builders, industry leaders, and Civil Rights pioneers resting in Oakland. You can find a more complete list of its famous residents right here.
Planning your visit
If you’re planning to visit this stunning Victorian garden cemetery, be sure to do a bit of prep work to make the day perfect. Historic Oakland Foundation offers a Guided Overview Tour every weekend as well as a Special Topics Tour every weekend mid-March through mid-October. You can also request a private group tour or take it all at your own speed with a self-guided tour. If you go the later route, be sure to download the mobile app to get the full experience of Oakland.
The cemetery also hosts a wide range of specialty events including nighttime Halloween Tours, Victorian Street Festivals, a “Run Like Hell” 5K, seasonal festivals, and more.
We recommend stopping by the award-winning Ria’s Bluebird for brunch. The caramelized banana buttermilk pancakes are heavenly. And, while you’re in the area, come swing by Burnett Grant Park to say hello. We’re a friendly bunch and would love to show you around the neighborhood.
How to get involved
Historic Oakland Foundation has partnered with the City of Atlanta to preserve Oakland Cemetery. There are multiple ways to support the cause through financial giving and volunteering. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an annual member here.
Curious to know more about what it’s like to live and play in Grant Park? Contact us today.