3 Days in Dunwoody: Arts & Culture
Located just 10 minutes north of Atlanta, Dunwoody is a thriving cultural enclave that makes for the perfect getaway destination when you want a weekend filled with the arts. Dunwoody has a rich history, and many of the area’s artistic venues are well-preserved. There’s also a strong core of local community members who are dedicated to celebrating the arts and the local culture that makes Dunwoody stand out. In Dunwoody, you can browse an exhibit from a Georgia artist at a local gallery or join a hands-on painting workshop at a tapas bar—just depends on your interest. We recommend that to make the most of the local arts and culture experience, you should spend three days in Dunwoody. Here’s our guide on how the arts and culture enthusiast can best spend 72 hours in Dunwoody.
Day 1: Spending a Day with Spruill
Start your first day in Dunwoody by checking out the Spruill Gallery and Gift Shop on Ashford-Dunwoody to browse through impressive artworks by local artists. The gallery is located in an old farmhouse built in 1867. Art lovers can check out a series of paintings and other pieces in the exhibit rooms. Exhibits are rotated seasonally, so there is always something new on display, and it often hosts opening parties for new artists. Spruill Gallery is also a gift shop, with sometimes up to three rooms filled with jewelry, small prints, mugs, handbags, housewares and more made by local and regional artists. Admission is free, but small donations are encouraged. Take a brief stroll around the Spruill Gallery to see the iconic “Everything Will Be Ok” mural, a permanent art installation created by artist Jason Kofke in 2009. It was first on display on the side of a seed building next to the Spruill Gallery during an art show. They decided to preserve the original work of art, which is at the center for the arts, while a replica is still on display at the gallery. Dunwoody is also home to Spruill Center for the Arts just a few minutes form the gallery that serves as an education center with regular classes in pottery, drawing, fiber arts, stained glass, homemade holiday giftmaking and more—some of which you can sign up for on the day of. The courses are targeted for a variety of ages, from children to adults.
The best way to spend your first evening on an arts trip to Dunwoody is with Stage Door Players at the North Dekalb Cultural Arts Center, located adjacent to the Spruill Center for the Arts. Stage Door Players has been entertaining Dunwoody residents since 1975 with exciting shows like “The Cocktail Hour,” “The Last Romance” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” During the holidays, the theater hosts exciting performances like “Let Nothing You Dismay” and “Christmas Ceilidh,” a musical show with Irish holiday songs.
Day 2: All About Local Culture
If you’re looking for local culture, probably the best place to stay in Dunwoody is Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter located in the heart of Perimeter Center. Le Meridien is a boutique resort that features modern art with hints of old European heritage, but the focus at Le Meridien hotels is representing the local culture and art scene, which is incorporated into its design, décor, restaurants and events. Portico Global Cuisine is the hotel’s upscale dining restaurant surrounded by glass windows and a terrace. All ingredients are locally sourced and served fresh. Also, Le Meridien hosts events at least once a month at “The Hub,” which is the lobby transformed into a gathering space where locals and guests alike gather and try creative drinks, delicious food and often contribute to a local charity or cause.
There are a variety of other things to do, taste and experience in Dunwoody that you can’t do anywhere else. Take E. 48th Street Market on Ashford Lane, for example. E. 48th has been a local favorite in Dunwoody for years, and its shelves are stacked with Italian produce, artisan cheese, and olive oil directly imported from Italy. They also serve freshly made sandwiches, pizza, and your favorite traditional Italian pasta dishes. Top off your visit with a cannoli or éclair, you won't regret it.
Finally, for a fun evening, take part in a hands-on artistic experience at Eclipse di Luna, a tapas bar that hosts “Canvas By U” weekly painting courses where participants learn the art of painting a landscape or still objects while enjoying a sample of the restaurants excellent tapas and drinks. When the class ends, plan to stay for a while to try some menu items like Paella de Verduras, Queso Frito con Miel (fried goat cheese), and Chuletas De Borrego (grilled lamb with mint). Eclipse di Luna is one of the area’s coolest local restaurants, with troves of decorative hanging lamps and numerous paintings on its wall by local artists. On the weekends, the restaurant transforms into a fun cocktail spot with live music and a dance floor.
For a culinary and cultured experience unlike any other, visit Vino Venue. Vino Venue is a relaxed and unassuming cool spot with self-serve wine tasting. Purchase a pre-filled money card and pour samples of red and white wines from machines that deliver samples in one-, three- or six-ounce pours. Small plates of cheese and other snacks are available on the menu to complement the wines or enjoy a savory meal from their ever-changing menu of chef inspired dishes.
Day 3: Art for All Ages
Much of what makes Dunwoody such a great local community is the fact that most places you go often cater to kids, and that includes the performing arts venues. In Dunwoody, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta features the work of many talented visual artists, and the center’s own Morris and Rae Frank Theatre hosts family-friendly shows like “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Ballet,” “Fancy Nancy” and “Moon Mouse.” The center also hosts musical guests like well-known pianist Joe Alterman and other big-name acts. Guests that are looking for a one-of-a-kind performance should make plans to visit the Jerry’s Habima Theatre at the community center, which hosts theatrical performances by actors with special needs. This theater is the only one of its kind in Georgia, and past shows include “Grease” and “Guys and Dolls.” The Dunwoody United Methodist Church on Mt. Vernon Road is another great theater that is known for its kid-friendly shows like “Seussical,” a whimsical musical surrounding the famous characters of Dr. Seuss. Actors and singers participating in the show are members of the church.
For the ultimate art experience in the city, the annual Dunwoody Art Festival is a must-attend. The event is so wildly popular that over 40,000 people flock to Dunwoody Village on Mother’s Day weekend every year to see the scores of talented artists and their works. Art lovers can purchase their favorite pieces, and the festival has its own designated KidZone with crafts and games.