Hidden gems in Druid Hills: Museums, mansions and more

Fast facts about Briarcliff Mansion

Located in unincorporated DeKalb County, Druid Hills is an affluent neighborhood that was developed by some of Atlanta’s most prominent businessmen, such as Joel Hurt, founder of SunTrust (now Truist) Bank and Asa Candler, co-founder of Coca-Cola, as well as many more.

Druid Hills, which spans only three square miles, is bordered by North Druid Hills/Toco Hills to its north, Decatur to its east, Lake Claire, Candler Park and Little Five Points to its south, and Virginia-Higland, Poncey-Highland and Morningside to its west.

Today, the neighborhood’s anchor is the campus of Emory University, a prominent private-research institution in Atlanta, as well as the headquarters of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learn more about some of the hidden gems in Druid Hills below.

Olmstead Linear Park

Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Olmstead Linear Park contains a series of mini-parks alongside Ponce de Leon Avenue. These parks (Springdale, Virgilee, Oak Grove, Shadyside, Dellwood and Deepdene) feature lush topography and winding trails against a backdrop of a prominent and busy avenue, perfect for walkers and joggers alike.

Location: Druid Hills - 1788 Ponce De Leon Ave NE; Website: atlantaolmstedpark.org

Cator Woolford Gardens

This 39-acre event space at a historic estate nestled in Druid Hills will take you back to the roaring twenties. Named after Cator Woolford, a principal founder of Equifax, this space features lush Italian-style gardens. Proceed for events hosted at the Cator Woolford Gardens go towards the neighboring Frazer Center, an inclusive community that provides opportunities for those at all levels of abilities and disabilities to flourish together.

Location: Druid Hills - 1815 S Ponce De Leon Ave NE; Website: catorwoolfordgardens.org; Contact: 404-377-3836

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

One of Atlanta’s most beautiful museums, Fernbank takes visitors back in time to the prehistoric era and offers exhibitions focused on science, dinosaurs and more. Catch a show at the 4K, 3D Giant Screen Theater, browse the recently renovated Fernbank Forest, and for those who are 21 and up, check out Fernbank After Dark, where you can sip on drinks underneath the Giants of the Mesozoic in the expansive atrium.

Location: Druid Hills - 767 Clifton Rd; Website: fernbankmuseum.org; Contact: 404-929-6300

Lullwater Reserve

This hidden, quiet trail surrounded by lush trees is located on the Emory University campus. Take a peaceful stroll or go on a run as you pass tumbling waterfalls, forest vegetation, the Lullwater House mansion and even an old octagonal powerhouse.

Location: Druid Hills - 1463 Clifton Rd

Michael C. Carlos Museum

Located on the grounds of Emory University, the Michael C. Carlos Museum is a hidden treasure that focuses on the intersection of art and culture through diverse collections from all over the world, including Africa, ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, indigenous Americas, south Asia, Near East and more.

Location: Druid Hills - 571 South Kilgo Cir NE; Website: carlos.emory.edu; Contact: 404-727-4282

The Depot by Kaldi’s Coffee

This cute coffee shop is located within a historic train depot that functioned from 1916 to 1970 on Emory’s campus. Stop by to order coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, bowls and more, and study or zen out at this peaceful outpost.

Location: Druid Hills - 1 Eagle Row; Website: kaldiscoffee.com/pages/the-depot; Contact: 404-727-0405

David J. Sencer CDC Museum

In partnership with the Smithsonian, the David J. Sencer CDC Museum operates on the grounds of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) main headquarters. Learn more about the history of the CDC, as well as a variety of public health topics, such as mystery diseases, high-tech science and more at this free museum that is open to the public.

Location: Druid Hills - 1600 Clifton Rd; Website: cdc.gov/museum; Contact: 404-639-0830

Briarcliff Mansion

This estate in Druid Hills was the home of Asa Griggs Candler, Jr., son of Coca-Cola co-founder Asa Griggs Candler. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, it is located on the Briarcliff Campus of Emory University and is considered private property, but can still be admired from afar.

Location: Druid Hills - 1260 Briarcliff Rd NE

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

A 12-acre estate that has served as a nonprofit community art center since 1972, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is a former mansion built by Charles Howard Candler, who was president of Coca-Cola in the early twentieth century and eldest son of Asa Griggs Candler, Coca-Cola co-founder. This unique Gothic Tudor mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers classes in dance, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, photography, painting, creative writing and more, as well as artist markets and live performances.

Location: Druid Hills - 980 Briarcliff Rd NE; Website: callanwolde.org; Contact: 404-872-5338

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