ITP Atlanta area parks perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon

It's a beautiful, breezy Sunday afternoon. Your top priorities? Sunshine, fresh air and relaxation. Grab a friend (or a few), a blanket and pack a picnic. Then head to one of the Midtown area's best green spaces for a relaxing lounge in the park.

Clear the weekend schedule for a relaxing day. Fly a kite. People watch. The vibe is relaxed and the sunshine is plentiful. Savor some great weather and great company, and watch the weekend's fast pace (that usually flies by) slow to a blissful crawl.

Piedmont Park

Head to Midtown's most popular outdoor destination, Piedmont Park, with a picnic packed and a mindset to chill. Piedmont Park's spacious, sprawling acres are divided into sections, each offering a unique venue for relaxation. The picnic-blanket-worthy Meadow (near Monroe Drive and 10th St.) offers a wide, grassy lawn with great views of the Midtown skyline. The Meadow is one of the park's most active areas: it's a great venue for kite flying, picnics, flying discs and all-day relaxation with friends and family.

Or spread a blanket and catch a shady respite on the rolling hills at Oak Hill (near 10th St. and Argonne Ave.). Planning a Piedmont Park Sunday with kids? Head to the Mayor's Grove on the banks of Lake Clara Meer to picnic near the park's popular play area. Take a short walk to spot turtles, ducks and geese from the lake's gazebo.

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Winn Park

Catch a quieter vibe at one of Midtown's hidden gems, Winn Park. This elongated park is nestled in the historic Ansley Park neighborhood, just blocks from the bustle of Piedmont Park. Compared to Piedmont, Winn Park is small, charming and draws a fraction of the crowds. Picnic pond-side in the park's beautifully-landscaped Iris Garden (near Lafayette Drive and Peachtree Circle), relax on one of many benches and swings, or lay a blanket under a shady tree near the park's playground and ball field. Winn Park's feel is more suburban than urban, circled by historic homes and old trees. If not for Midtown's skyscrapers rising above the tree line, you'll think you're many miles from the heart of Midtown on Peachtree St.

Historic Fourth Ward Park

Relax just off the Atlanta Beltline in a beautifully landscaped urban setting at Historic Fourth Ward Park. Explore Clear Creek Basin, a glassy reservoir pond bordered in wetlands, raised walkways and bridges. Picnic on a grassy terrace bordering the reservoir for beautiful reflective views. Relax on a bench at the park's terrace bordering a rocky stream bed. Or chill beside the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail on a grassy meadow near the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark for great people watching and abundant sunshine.

John Howell Memorial Park

Unwind in the heart of the Virginia Highlands. John Howell Memorial Park spans several blocks along Virginia Ave. and Barnett Street, and while it's small in size, it's a scenic neighborhood treasure. In addition to the park's sand volleyball courts and popular playground, the park's east end offers flat, grassy areas shaded by leafy trees, perfect for a picnic. Too busy to pack a picnic at home? A variety of restaurants on nearby Highland Ave. offer tasty takeout a short stroll from the park.

» RELATED: 8 must-see views of Atlanta's skyline

Tanyard Creek Park

Enjoy a lazy outdoor Sunday afternoon at this quiet park on the Atlanta Beltline Northside Trail. The park's spacious grassy meadow off Collier Road offers a creekside venue that's perfect for a picnic. Watch for trains overhead on the tall wood train trestle at the park's south end, let the kids play on the park's two playgrounds, or take a stroll on the park's one mile stretch of paved trail. Not up for activity? That's fine – the Tanyard Creek Park meadow is a great place to just relax on a blanket and watch the clouds drift by.

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