The town was incorporated in 1839 and has a population of approximately 7,000 people. The Stone Mountain Industrial Park is a large employer in the area. Stone Mountain retains its small town feel despite being so close to one of the biggest cities in the Southern United States. There is a concerted effort to revitalize and grow the downtown area, tapping in on the legions of tourists at the nearby Stone Mountain Park.
Stone Mountain, the city, is due East of Atlanta on Stone Mountain Parkway, which is just north of Interstate 20.
MARTA buses and trains run to the Stone Mountain area; it's also possible to ride your bike from downtown Atlanta to Stone Mountain Village on the bike trail.
Public transport is very little or nothing due to its small size.
Stone Mountain Park is some 15 miles east of downtown Atlanta. Stone Mountain village has some interesting craft style shops, but the main attraction is the mountain itself. Please don't be put off by the tacky nature of some of the 'attractions' in the surrounding park; the park itself is an attractively wooded area and the summit of the mountain is just about the most stunning view in the Atlanta area.
Stone Mountain is the largest exposed piece of granite in the world. It was created when shifts in the earth's crust created extreme heat and friction and melted a large amount of rock below the surface. This heated magma bubbled up towards earth's surface but did not make it all the way. Over time, the magma hardened into granite. Eventually, the land on top of the granite dome washed away through erosion and left what is now Stone Mountain.
The top of the mountain is a surreal landscape some 800 feet above the surrounding land, and provides excellent views of the surrounding area and the skyline of downtown Atlanta. The summit can be reached by the attractive but steep walkup trail through woodland (which leaves from near the Confederate Hall and park entrance) or by the Skylift (see below). Please exercise some care when on the summit; the horizontal bare rock of the top curves imperceptibly until it becomes the vertical bare rock of the sides and it is important not to wander too far around that curve.
Other than Stone Mountain Park, the city itself has four parks witin the city:
Leila Mason Park - Located in the Historic Shermantown neighborhood next to Stone Mountain Park. It has a baseball field, basketball court, playground equipment and a covered pavilion with picnic tables.
McCurdy Park - Home of the Stone Mountain Youth Athletic Association baseball program. Three little league fields and four covered picnic areas area available along with a large playground dubbed "Jim's Place." Located off West Mountain Street, across from the Post Office.
Medlock Park - Home field for the Ray of Hope Jaguars Little League Football Teams. There is a regular football field, complete with concession stand as well as four tennis courts, a picnic pavilion and an outdoor basketball court. The entrance to the park is off of Ridge Avenue.
VFW Fields - Three little league basball fields are just off of Gordon Street behind the Post Office.
Also be sure to take pride in small-town America's pride during Stone Mountain's annual 4th of July Parade down Main Street. See local bands, floats and more!
Stone Mountain Park surrounds the mountain, and encompasses a series of attractions. The park promotes its One-Day-All-Attraction pass which permits access to/use of all the attractions for $19 (adult) or $16 (child), and tries to minimise the usage of individual attraction tickets; however these do exist and may be a cheaper option depending on what you want to see/do. The attractions include:
Skylift, a Swiss built cable-car to the summit, passing over a carving of Confederate heroes on the sheer wall of the mountain, created by Gutzon Borglum, who also sculpted the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and the four Presidents on Mt. Rushmore. Operates from 10am-5pm (later in summer).
Historic Walk-Up Trail, a 1.5 mile walking trail to the top of Stone Mountain. Starting behind The War in Georgia building, the path is easy at first, but becomes steep at the top. Most people should be able to complete the walk. Along the way you will pass inscriptions in the rock made by locals before the park was established. At the top you will be rewarded with some of the finest views in the Atlanta area! Unfortunately, pets are not permitted on the trail.
Scenic Railroad, a railroad which circles the entire circumference of the mountain in a one way loop, giving views of the mountain en-route. There are two stations, the main depot and a stop near the Confederate Hall/Walk up trail/Park entrance. Passengers boarding at the main depot must have a ticket or pass; however passengers are allowed to use the train for free from the Confederate Hall stop back to the depot where all passengers must disembark. Operates from 10:50am-5pm (later in summer).
Riverboat, a scenic cruise aboard a reproduction Mississippi riverboat on 363-acre Stone Mountain Lake. Operates from noon-5pm (later in summer).
Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard is comprised of original buildings, built between 1790 and 1845, which represent an authentic, pre-Civil War Georgia plantation. Open from 10am-5pm (later in summer).
Carillon. The 732-bell Carillon originates from 1964 World's Fair in New York City, and provides a daily concert.
Confederate Hall, a museum that educates park guests and local students on the fascinating geology and ecology of Stone Mountain, together with the history of the war in Georgia. This museum is operated directly by the non-profit foundation which owns the mountain, rather than the franchisee responsible for everything else. Open M-F 9am-6pm; Sa 10am-6pm; Su noon-6pm. Free.
Stone Mountain Park is best accessed by car, but there is a $7 per car parking charge in addition to the attraction charges. There is no admission charge for those entering the park on foot and the park can be reached by a combination of public transit and walking; catch the MARTA rail system to Avondale and transfer there to MARTA bus route 120; disembark at the intersection of Ponce De Leon Avenue E and J.B.Rivers Memorial Drive and the park entrance is some 15 minutes walk east down J.B.Rivers Memorial Drive past the fire station.
For more information, contact:
Stone Mountain Park, telephone (770) 498-5690, the franchisees who manage the park and operate all the attractions other than Confederate Hall. http://www.stonemountainpark.com/
Stone Mountain Village - Located just outside the West Gate of Stone Mountain Park, you can easily enjoy over fifty speciaily shops and restaurants that offer something for everyone. Find antiques, collectables, fine art, jewelry, and a number of specialty shops. A highlight to the shopping experience in the Village is The Cranky Princess, 988 Main Street (770-879-3553). Located in a 100 year old bungalow style house at the beginning of Main Street, it is decorated beautifully for the holidays and filled with fantastic gift items, including; Cranky Princess tee's, hats and mugs. It is a must see!
Bundos Market Restaurant - 678-476-6632. Italian cuisine, open 7 days.
Magnolia Restaurant and Tea Room - 770-498-6304. Located in an Antebellum Victorian home dating back to 1854 and serving classic southern cuisine. Open Thursday - Saturday 11am - 2:30pm and for Sunday Brunch from 11am - 2:30pm.
Mama Mia's Pasta and Pizza - 770-469-1199.
P.D.'s Grill and Cafe - 770-465-0522. Burgers, sandwiches and more.
The Sycamore Grill - 770-465-6789. A full service restaurant serving Southern cuisine.
Wells Cargo Cafe - 770-469-0400. Soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees featuring seafood, steak and chicken.
Hampton Inn - Stone Mountain - 1737 Mountain Industrial Blvd, 770-934-0004 or 1-800-HAMPTON. Located three miles from Stone Mountain Park. Part of the Hilton Family of hotels. Offers both regular rooms and mini-suites. Rates vary between $90 - $130.
Silver Hill Manor Bed and Breakfast - 1037 Main Street, 888-381-5808 or 770-879-6800. Housed in a stately, reproduction antebellum mansion, Silver Hill offers six rooms, three featuring an in-room jacuzzi. Rates from $140 - $200 per night.
The Village Inn Bed and Breakfast - 992 Ridge Avenue, 800-214-8385 or 770-469-3459. Built in the 1820's, the Village Inn offers six guestrooms, all with whirlpool tubs and include a full Southern Breakfast. Enjoy their fireplaces on a cold winter night or sit out on the veranda to enjoy a warm summer day. Rates from $129 - $169 per night.