Started in 2010 the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade is a glowing celebration of the art along the Eastside Trail. This year they expect more than 70,000 patrons to partake in the illuminating event! Getting there can be tricky; and knowing where to post up, or just what to expect can be a hassle. We here at ATLByDay want to pass along some tips that could be useful for first timers or vets. So here are our life pro hacks and tips for the 2018 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade.
You can Participate
Unlike most parades where you need to register, this parade requires no registration or fee to be in the event. You do need some sort of glow to be in the event. Whether its leftover light up bracelets from the Moon Ride or your own lantern, find something that makes you fit in with the parade goers. If you don’t bring your own lantern, you will likely be able to purchase one at the start of the event. Kroger has sold lanterns in past years, as well as Richard’s Variety Store.
When you Participate
The parade starts at the beginning of the Eastside Trail in Inman Park, at the intersection of Krog St. and Irwin St, and is usually very crowded and congested. At times you’ll feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream. You don’t have to be at the start of the parade to be in the parade. I see many people bail out halfway through the parade. One way to avoid the congestion at the start is to join halfway through the parade at the Ralph McGill bridge close to the location of New Realm and Two Urban licks. Also to have even more fun, target getting behind one of the many bands who participate in the parade. We’ve had a blast getting behind the Seed and Feed band, dancing our way through the parade.
What to Bring
You are absolutely going to need to bring a small soft cooler that you can carry with refreshments, and a towel to sit on is a nice bonus. You won’t have easy access to beverages; and if the weather this week is any indication, the beginning of the parade will be very hot. Be sure to bring some water! Bring good walking shoes, especially if you plan to be in the parade. Without a doubt you will be walking a bit, whether you are in the parade or not. Do not bring your bike. It is impossible to navigate the Beltline in the hours leading up to the parade. You will be walking that thing with tens’ of thousands of people expecting to be at the parade.
Where to Post
There are all kinds of bars now on the Beltline to enjoy the parade. Ladybird is a great spot, and so is New Realm; but as you would expect those places will be jam packed. If you don’t get there early you might not get a great spot. When we have watched the parade our favorite spot is under the Freedom Park bridge. Under the bridge offers sloped seating that allows an elevated view and you don’t have to worry about being in the front. Additionally under the bridge offers great acoustics for the bands. You’ll notice under the bridge, the bands sound a lot louder than when in the open on the Beltine.
Parking / Getting there
The best solution is always taking a taxi. There will likely be surge pricing around the event; but if you are splitting the fare with your friends, trust us, it is worth it. After the event, there is plenty of nightlife entertainment; so if you want to avoid the surge, wait it out. If you are just viewing the event, the major pay parking spots are going to be Ponce City Market or Inman Quarter. Don’t count on it though, as I can easily foresee those decks filling up fast. At the start of the parade, near Krog Street Market, is going to be real tough to find parking. Again, if you don’t want to find yourself up-creek without a paddle, take a taxi.
Each lantern parade brings new art installations along this glorified sidewalk. Some of the art is more permanent, while some is removed very shortly. You can go the day after to enjoy some of the temporary installations, or go well before the parade starts the day of. We were walking the trail today and saw many artists putting finishing touches on their work. There is sure to be some some impressive artwork, so keep your eyes peeled for them along the path.
We hope to see your glow at the parade. If we missed something or you have a tip yourself please share!
2018 Lantern Parade Details:
Saturday, September 22, 2018:
7:00 p.m. line-up
8:00 p.m. parade steps off