Lawrenceville is located on the outskirts of Atlanta in Gwinnett County, approximately 20 miles northeast of downtown Georgia.
Lawrenceville is the second oldest city in the Atlanta metropolitan area, founded in 1821. Its earliest origins can still be easily found in the buildings around the town square in the city center.
For years, Lawrenceville relied primarily on the rural economy, and it wasn’t until nearby Atlanta that it really developed its own identity.
Over the past two decades, Lawrenceville has undergone extensive redevelopment, once again becoming a thriving community offering a wealth of attractions.
Here are 15 of the best things to do in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
1. Gwinnett Historic Court
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the courthouse was constructed in 1885 after the first building was destroyed by fire.
The courthouse is located in the central square, and visitors can explore the building’s many one-off functions.
These include the beacon-like clock tower, soaring ceilings adorned with large chandeliers, false fireplaces and intricate wood carvings throughout the hotel.
The main atrium hosts regular art exhibitions, while the manicured lawn outside is home to a delightful gazebo.
2. Gwinnett Historical Museum
The Gwinnett Historical Museum is housed in an old seminary building built in the 1830s. It was originally used as a finishing school for the region’s upper-class young women before being converted into a museum.
Its displays cover the city’s most important era in two centuries. Artifacts cover the region’s long agricultural traditions and display a variety of attractive home-sewn textiles.
Alternatively, behind the historic courthouse, you’ll find the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Museum.
It honors you American men and women who fought for the freedom of the nation, from the War of Independence against the British Empire to the battles of the 21st century.
3. Lawrenceville Ghost Tour
Get another perspective on Lawrenceville’s past on these well-run ghost tours. The brainchild of the people behind the city’s Aurora Theater, these tours connect professional storytellers with some of the funniest stories the city has to offer.
Tours visit various places believed to be haunted, apparently largely the result of the city’s recent revival plans.
The 90-minute tour includes stories of seeing the dead wandering the main streets of Lawrenceville. They also allow visitors to enter the old prison, where many ghostly incidents have been reported.
4. Sidney Lanier Lake
One of a series of man-made lakes created to provide drinking water in suburban Atlanta, Sidney Lanier was just a valley that sprang from the banks of the Chattahoochee River until the 1950s.
Its intricate, modern coastline spans nearly 1,200 kilometers, offering an almost endless choice of attractive places to stop for a picnic and enjoy the lap of the lake.
More organized destinations on the lake include resorts in the Lake Lanier Islands, which are actually the tips of submerged mountaintops. They have white sand beaches that make coastal destinations the envy of them.
Named after a local poet, the lake receives about 10 million tourists each year. It’s about a 45-minute drive north of Lawrenceville.
5. Southeast Railway Museum
The Southeastern Railroad Museum in nearby Duluth is Georgia’s official transportation museum.
Spread over 14 hectares, the museum’s galleries and outdoor exhibition spaces contain a total of approximately 90 pieces of historic railway inventory.
They include locomotives and engines, passenger cars, wagons and even maintenance vehicles. In addition, there are some historic non-rail vehicles, including fire trucks and buses.
There is also the opportunity to ride short distances of the track in a vintage caboose (combination of an engine and passenger car) or a carriage pulled by an antique engine.
Duluth is less than 10 miles west of Lawrenceville.
6. Lawrenceville Heritage Trail
Rather than focusing on the construction of Lawrenceville’s buildings, the city’s heritage trail highlights the contributions of some key citizens.
Each of its attractions is marked with a medallion on the sidewalk, the first being at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Along some of the most important streets in the downtown area, the trail runs all the way to Rod Jordan Park.
Along the way, visitors will learn about residents including the city’s two-term mayor, Hillard Rhodes Jordan, and Philadelphia’s Winn Maltbie, whose father donated the land on which Lawrenceville was built.
7. Aurora Theater
The Aurora Theater is one of the best theaters in downtown Atlanta. The century-old church opened in 2007 after a $7.5 million renovation and features two separate performance spaces. Together they host more than 850 events each year.
The county’s largest arts organization, with a dedicated team of performers for everything from musicals and Broadway hits to contemporary plays.
What’s more, the award-winning Aurora Theatre is known for its stand-up comedy nights, orchestral performances and children’s programming.
8. Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is part of the Piedmont Mountains that span the southeastern United States from Alabama to New York.
The mountain is one of many isolated natural rock protrusions that rise more than 500 meters above sea level and is one of the highest points in the Atlanta area.
This violent eruption of smooth, bubbly quartz provides an incredible contrast to the surrounding treescape and offers fantastic panoramic views from its summit.
However, Stone Mountain is perhaps the most famous as it is the largest bas-relief carving site on Earth.
It dates back to an earlier memorial to the Confederates who fought in the American Civil War and depicts the three most important generals in the southern states.
9. Mill Park
Of the many parks in Lawrenceville, Tribble Mill Park is one of the largest. It covers more than 280 hectares, a large part of which is covered by fishing lakes.
In addition to fishing, the lake also welcomes non-motorized boats if you want to explore the park from the water. There are also several miles of trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
At the other end of the scale, Freeman Mill Park may be small, but it’s both historic and full of natural beauty. It includes a restored mill that sits on the banks of the charming stream that once powered it.
10. Medieval Dinners and Games
Claiming to be the most popular dinner attraction in North America, Medieval takes ticket-holders back to a mythical era of European history, when brave knights roamed the world on horseback in search of a princess to save.
Seats surround the sand-filled arena, and knights and their horses perform impressive stunts, bringing the Middle Ages to life with just the right amount of theater.
This fairytale-like event made the event more atmospheric through the clever use of music and lighting, allowing the audience to enjoy a four-course meal.
11. Gwinnett Stripers
Headquartered in Lawrenceville since 2009, the Gwinnett Stripers are a minor league baseball team. They play their home games at Coolray Field, which seats more than 10,000 people, creating a lively and intimate atmosphere.
With 144 games held each season, there’s a good chance one will be played when you visit the other attractions in Lawrenceville.
As a national game, there may be no better way to explore what it means to be an American. Meanwhile, Georgia’s famous Southern hospitality is sure to mean you’re leaving the stadium with some new friends.
12. Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery
Just steps from downtown Lawrenceville, this historic cemetery is the final resting place of several important city citizens, including Gwinnett County founders William Malterby and Elisha Winn.
It also contains the grave of the city’s first mayor, a man named John Claysmith. However, the stones here predate even the founding of the city.
It includes the graves of those who fought for America’s independence from Britain, as well as several unmarked graves believed to be the burials of African-American slaves.
13. Fernbank Natural History Museum
If you’re thinking about spending some time in Atlanta during or after Lawrenceville, it’s definitely worth considering the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
A treasure trove of the natural world, a glass-filled atrium directs the visitor’s gaze to Fernbank Forest.
This is an important ancient woodland area at the foot of the Piedmont mountains. It can be explored in more detail thanks to information boards dotted along the winding walkways.
Back in the museum itself, kids and adults alike will especially enjoy the dinosaur exhibits. These include Argentinosaurus, which, at 37 meters long, is the largest dinosaur species ever discovered.
Fernbank Museum is about half an hour from Lawrenceville.
14. Slow Pour Brewing Company
Just a few years ago, Slow Pour Brewing Company is a family business that started with home brewing kits.
While best known for its in-house craft beers, which can be sampled in a dedicated downtown tasting room, Slow Pour Brewing Company is a vital part of the community, hosting events ranging from quizzes and bingo nights to farmers markets.
Its brightly colored cans are a work of art in themselves and contain a selection of limited-release beers and others available year-round.
These include Southernality India Pale Ale and Breakfast Stout. The tasting room is also where you can buy glasses and similar souvenirs in Lawrenceville.
15. Mount Collins Park Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center at Mount Collins Park is both a recreation center and an amusement park. Under cover, serious swimmers have access to the 25-meter competition pool.
Outside, more relaxed visitors will find the leisure pool, which has a river channel and zero-depth entry point.
The water rides make it safe for even the youngest visitors to splash around in the water, while older kids and adults can experience adrenaline-pumping fun on the two giant slides.
If the weather in Georgia is generally very nice, an all-indoor alternative to an aquatic center is the Sparkles Family Fun Center. There is a lot of space for roller skating and roller skating.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Lawrenceville, Georgia (GA)
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