The Top 10 Reasons to Love Gwinnett

1. Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park is Georgia’s most visited attraction for a good reason. You can do nearly everything here. At more than 70 stories high, the mountain itself is the world’s biggest piece of exposed granite. Take a one-mile hike or cable-car ride to the summit for breathtaking views. The 3,200-acre grounds offer all manner of recreational pursuits—camping, hiking, boating, golf—along with special attractions like a treetop adventure course and Geyser Towers, a watery playscape.

2. Aurora Theatre

Gwinnett's largest arts organization is already a powerhouse, drawing audiences from all over Atlanta with a mix of top-caliber Broadway productions, contemporary plays, stand-up comedy, and a Spanish-language ensemble. With a spacious new performing arts center under way in downtown Lawrenceville, its future looks even brighter.

3. Gwinnett Beer Tours

Feeling hoptastic, seeking a smooth lager, or are you all about the stout? Climb aboard the Southern Beer Tours bus for a pint and educational tour at independent craft breweries like GoodWord, Anderby, Slow Pour, and others. Tours are generally offered monthly.

4. Medieval Times

Inside an 11th-century-style castle in Lawrenceville, an all-ages audience gets a raucous show complete with royal drama, armored knights chasing each other with pointy weapons, and magnificent stallions performing stunts and dressage. Admission includes a utensil-free dinner.

5. Netherworld and Escape the Netherworld

Not satisfied with terrifying people every fall, the mad geniuses behind the Netherworld brand of haunted houses created Escape the Netherworld, a series of escape rooms open to thrill-seekers year-round. Choose one of several themed experiences, like Tiki Island, Sasquatch, or Nosferatu, and use teamwork to try and outwit your predator.

6. Tannery Row Artist Colony

Buford’s sprawling former shoe factory houses more than 20 art studios and hosts daily open houses where visitors can watch painters, potters, sculptors, and jewelry-makers at work. Purchase a piece to take home or just get inspired, then refuel downstairs with beer and barbecue at Tannery Row Ale House.

7. Parks and More Parks

Gwinnett is home to more than 50 public greenspaces, each with distinct scenery and amenities. Relax beside the rushing waters of historic Freeman’s Mill Park (pictured); stretch your legs on the Suwanee Creek Greenway; unleash the pup at Chattapoochee Dog Park; let the kids romp on playgrounds and wave at passing trains at Thrasher Park; hit the mountain biking trails at Harbins Park; and so much more.

8. International Dining

Foodies can travel the world without leaving Gwinnett, whether filling upon handmade tortillas at Norcross’ Pupuseria Kings Cafe, Korean barbecue at Honey Pig in Duluth, award-winning Szechuan cuisine at Duluth’s Masterpiece, or bubble tea and pastries at Mozart Bakery in Suwanee (just to name a few). Buford Highway and Jimmy Carter Boulevard are particularly rich hubs.

9. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandi

Rising like a serene wedding cake at a busy Lilburn intersection, this Hindu temple—one of the largest outside of India—welcomes visitors of all faiths to experience its splendor. It also hosts many lively cultural affairs like the BAPS Charities Annual Walk and the Diwali festival of lights. The on-site Shayona Cafe is an excellent spot for vegetarian Indian cuisine.

10. Southeastern Railway Museum

Along an unassuming stretch of Buford Highway, train fans will find their Nirvana. Locomotives, cabooses, and passenger and freight cars spanning the decades have a home here, along with a few buses and trolleys. Everything has been lovingly preserved, and visitors can explore most of the vehicles. Catch a ride on the miniature train that scoots around the grounds.

This article, written by Blake Guthrie, originally appeared in Volume V of Explore Gwinnett Magazine