The Top 10 Reasons to Love Gwinnett

1. Stone Mountain Park

This is where all of Atlanta comes out to play. Sure, the park features Georgia’s most famous natural attraction—a mammoth granite dome—as its centerpiece with unparalleled panoramic views from the summit, but there’s also a 323-acre lake ringed with resort hotels,campgrounds, dining, shopping, and theme–park–style rides and attractions. It’s a one-stop spot for all kinds of year-round family fun.

2. Hudgens Center for Art and Learning

Wanna see a Warhol? You can at Hudgens’ museum-quality gallery, as well as visual works from other acclaimed national,regional, and local artists. The center is also known for it hands-on workshops and art classes for every age group. This “best-kept secret” is located on the campus of the Infinite Energy Center and includes a large and serene sculpture garden that has been declared an official Audubon Society Wildlife Refuge.

3. Seoul of the South Tour

Enjoy a progressive feast on a guided tour of Gwinnett’s dynamic Korean food scene. Guests are chauffeured around in a trolley to four top restaurants to sample an array of authentic delicacies. More than just a foodie tour, it’s also a four-hour immersive experience into Korean culture—led by a Korea native—where you'll interact with the chefs and restaurant owners.

4. Medieval Times

Marvel at ancient warriors on horseback jousting in the Royal Court at Atlanta Castle. The myths and legends of 11th-century Spain come to life in a family-friendly setting at this atmospheric Lawrenceville dinner theater spot. Dine on a four-course meal and hoist a hearty mug of libations to all the action unfolding in the colorful, banner-strewn court.

5. Sports and More Sports

6. Beautiful Fountains

How many people can say they’ve been to a professional lacrosse match? You can at the Atlanta Swarm’s indoor homefield at Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.The 13,000-seat arena switches from turf to an ice rink for home games of the Atlanta Gladiators hockey team.Baseball’s Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, an affiliate team for the Atlanta Braves,play at 10,000-seat Coolray Field near Mall of Georgia.

Gwinnett has many large fountains for cooling off. The Splash Pad at Sugar Hill is the newest, with dancing water jets that light up in the early evening hours. Duluth’s idyllic Town Green is centered around a circular fountain with pretty, arching streams of water. Town Center Park in Suwanee features Big Splash,an interactive fountain that pumps out 1,400 gallons of water per minute. Mall of Georgia and Lillian Webb Park in historic Norcross also offer popular splash pads

7. Parks and More Parks

Gwinnett is home to more than 50 parks, many connected by multiuse greenways and featuring scenic hiking trails. The Suwanee Creek Greenway runs for four miles through woods,wetlands, and wildlife habitats, connecting George Pierce Park to the city of Buford’s Suwanee Creek Park, home to an 18-hole disc golf course. Take in some history at McDaniel Farm Park, a restored 1930s family farm site offering three miles of trails and farm tours.

8. International Dining

Foodies have flocked to Gwinnett for decades to enjoy its astonishing variety of international restaurants.Two areas worth noting are Buford Highway and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. The former is an eight-mile corridor with more than 125 restaurants where hipsters and hedge fund honchos alike can be found dining on such delicacies as the Yo-Yo Duck Pot at Masterpiece,goat curry at Nam Phuong, and the pork banh mi at Lee’s Bakery. The Jimmy Carter Boulevard area in Norcross is ago-to spot for Latin cuisine—there are more than 10 dining options in the Plaza Las Americas shopping center alone.

9. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandi

Gleaming in the sun with white spires, domes, columns, and staircases, this Hindu place of worship is one of the largest of its kind outside of India. Builtin the traditional style with Italian marble,Indian pink sandstone, and Turkish limestone,and set on expansive, ornately landscaped grounds, the massive structure is one of Atlanta’s top cultural destinations.

10. Southeastern Railway Museum

This Duluth treasure allows visitors to climb aboard vintage Pullman cars, gawk at real steam locomotives from the 19th century, and see all manner of rolling stock from throughout the history of rail. The 35-acre site even includes a train ride aboard restored cabooses pulled by a diesel locomotive from the mid–20th century.

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