15 Best Things to Do in Lawrenceville, GA

Lawrenceville, GA
Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock.com

A glimpse at over 200 years of its transformation to a vibrant city makes for an exciting visit to Lawrenceville.

Serving as the county seat of Gwinnett County since it was founded in 1821, Lawrenceville retains much of the glory of its early years.

Its original town square, for instance, remains as Lawrenceville’s downtown district.

The downtown is now notably home to Honest Alley, a mixed-use commercial complex.

This modern retail and business hub celebrates the place where mule trading prospered in Gwinnet County’s early years, riding on the good faith between buyers and sellers.

Lawrenceville, as the second oldest city in the Metro Atlanta area, is home to many historic landmarks and buildings with remarkable stories to tell.

In the early 2000s, the city initiated a major revitalization that has added zest to the points of interest in Lawrenceville.

Take a look at these 15 things to do in Lawrenceville and how they fit on your plans on plans for a leisure trip.

Peek at Gwinnett’s Agricultural Past at Freeman's Mill Park

Wooden house at Freeman's Mill Park
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

This 12-acre park on Alcovy Road is themed on an old gristmill built between 1868 and 1879.

Besides the historic Freeman's gristmill, the park features a half-mile multi-purpose trail, picnic pavilion, restroom facilities parking, and a playground that mimics a gristmill.

This park and its historic mill were established to highlight the agricultural past of Gwinnet and Lawrenceville.

Scenic view at Freeman's Mill Park with fall leaves in the foreground
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

This mill, the only one in Gwinnett County, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the 15 historic mills in Georgia.

In the county’s early days, locals gather at the mill not only to have wheat and corn ground into flour and meal.

The mill’s pond was used for baptism, and the millhouse thus became a gathering place for the local community.

Skate at Sparkles Family Fun Center

This family amusement center is located on Grayson Highway, with indoor roller skating as its flagship attraction.

Established in 1990, Sparkles Family Fun Center also features a playground, laser tag facilities, and an arcade.

Visit this Gwinnet fun facility and try the cutting-edge technology adopted in its million-dollar renovation.

With its appeal geared at the techno crowd, STEM field trips are now being hosted in this Sparkles Family Center location, offering daycare and summer camp services.

Shop for Souvenirs at Honest Alley Exchange

Enjoy a unique shopping experience at Honest Alley Exchange Southwest on the southeastern quadrant of South Clayton Street and East Crogan Street.

In this area, you will find one-of-a-kind stores, eateries, pubs, and a pleasing garden nearby.

Some of the Honest Alley Exchange attractions include Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Cafe, Paint with a Twist, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Artzy Beads, and Block 178 fine wine and craft beer.

Each location at the Honest Alley Exchange is independently owned and has its own unique selection of gifts, merchandise, and services to offer.

Tour the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse

Front view of Gwinnett Historic Courthouse
The Brownfowl collection / Shutterstock.com

This historic building on Langley Drive is open to self-guided tours and also hosts private events.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse was built in 1885.

This majestic courthouse is one of the dominant landmarks in the historic downtown of Lawrenceville.

From the outside, the courthouse building draws immediate attention with its clock tower and turret.

Side view of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse
The Brownfowl collection / Shutterstock.com

Inside, visitors marvel at its 24-foot ceilings, faux fireplaces, chandelier lighting, wood-carved moldings, Palladian windows, and wainscoting.

There is also an outdoor gazebo on the courthouse’s well-manicured lawn.

The Gwinnett Historical Society and Gwinnett Veterans Memorial Museum are also located in this courthouse.

Here, you can admire the George Williams Collection of books, antique furniture, and paintings, along with art exhibits that line the main hallway.

Play Disc Golf at Alexander Park

A challenging 18-hole disc golf course is one of the main attractions of Alexander Park on Old Snellville Highway.

This course mixes hole positions on gently rolling hills of wooded and open areas.

Have fun throwing disc on swirling wind on the open fields and tight gap shots in the woods.

Alexander Park’s 91-acre area also includes a lake, a 1.4-mile paved multi-purpose trail, and a 1-mile soft-surface trail.

Its amenities likewise include a horseshoe pit, a playground, pavilions, grill, outdoor classroom, restrooms, and lake view piers.

Across the Alexander Park to the north, you can check out the JM Tull Gwinnett Family YMCA on Sugarloaf Parkway.

A one-day pass at this Y opens access to wellness equipment, group exercise classes, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools, and play center.

Enjoy a Weekend at the Lawrenceville Lawn

This city park on Luckie Street is one of the best places to enjoy a summer weekend at Lawrenceville.

On weekends, the Lawrenceville Lawn comes alive with musical concerts and movies on its amphitheater.

Kids can have fun on this park’s playground and volleyball courts, with plenty of food trucks serving snacks.

Just a short distance north, you can switch to the Gwinnett County Bicentennial Plaza on South Perry Street.

Built to commemorate Gwinnett’s historic bicentennial, this plaza features seating, walkways, and a time capsule on the county’s history.

Join the Action at Bethesda Park

This park on Bethesda Church Road spreads over 159 acres, offering plenty of sports facilities.

Visitors of Bethesda Park can pick from its seven baseball/softball fields, six soccer fields, and a football/multipurpose field with a lighted walking track.

In addition to its playgrounds, Bethesda Park features an award-winning indoor aquatic complex.

The Bethesda Park Aquatic Center is designed with two pools separated by a beautiful glass wall.

Aside from a 6,863-square-foot leisure pool, the aquatic center provides a 2,552-square-foot instructional pool with four lap lanes.

ADA-accessible, the pools’ features include a zero-depth entry with child-friendly aquatic play features like current channel and vortex, plus hydrotherapy benches.

Watch a Show at Aurora Theatre

Exterior of Aurora Theatre
A Softer Answer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on East Pike Street, the Aurora Theater is the only professional theatre in Gwinnett.

It is home to more than 650 theatrical events each year, including Broadway plays, musicals, and contemporary theatre.

It also produces children’s programs, concerts, and stand-up comedy.

Atlanta’s top haunted attraction, Lawrenceville Ghost Tours, is also produced by Aurora Theatre.

The only professional Spanish language theatre in Atlanta, Teatro Aurora, is yet another feather on the cap of this theater.

Check What’s Up at Gwinnett County Fairgrounds

A visit to Lawrenceville sometime during the last two weeks of September will be a great idea, as this is the schedule for the annual Gwinnett County Fair.

Traditionally held for 11 days, this event is held at the privately-owned Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on the Sugarloaf Parkway.

The fair features carnival rides, livestock shows, and live music concerts.

Owned by the Gwinnett County Livestock and Fair Association, the 60-acre fairgrounds also hosts other events, such as pet expos, dinosaur animatronics, and holiday shopping festivals.

Frolic on the Waters of Rhodes Jordan Park

This community recreation center in Lawrenceville covers 162 acres, offering a wide selection of amenities.

The instant hit among kids is the park’s leisure play pool with zero-depth entry, a river channel, a giant waterslide, a water play structure, and three lap lanes.

Rhodes Jordan Park also provides a fishing lake where anglers’ catch can include catfish, bass, bream, and carp.

In addition to playgrounds, the park boasts a 1.9-mile multi-purpose trail.

Sports buffs can pick from eight tennis lighted courts, seven baseball/softball fields, an outdoor basketball court, double gym, horseshoe pit, a football field overlay, and a soccer complex.

Visitors can also enjoy the park’s pavilions and community room with a catering kitchen.

Visit the Gwinnett History Museum

Exterior of Gwinnett History Museum
Jcherepy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is housed in a circa 1830s building where the young women of Gwinnett County formerly had finishing lessons.

Reconstructed in 1855 after it was razed by fire, the building became a center for community activities and later the base for the broadcasts of a local radio station.

Now, the museum features exhibits on farm life, traditional music, religion, schools, textiles, and other interesting artifacts.

Other displays relate to and interpret life in Gwinnett County through the years.

Special programs such as guided tours, lectures, historically themed adult classes, and workshops are also hosted in the Gwinnett History Museum.

Experience Baozi Asian Street Food

This is a must-try Asian fusion restaurant on East Crogan Street that offers a menu of Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines.

Under the baton of a great chef, this restaurant offers a gorgeous fare of mouthwatering bao, edamame, and Peking duck.

Here, you can also try some great latte or delicious iced green tea paired with some tasty doughnuts.

Baozi Asian Street Food also takes pride in the service of its restaurant staff as well as its quiet ambiance and superb décor.

Dine at Moe’s Soul Food Kitchen

This restaurant is located on Scenic Highway North and draws customers with its family-friendly atmosphere best expressed in its home-style cooking.

Some of the bestsellers in Moe’s Soul Food Kitchen are its smothered pork chop, Baked Chicken Entrée, wings combo, and fried biscuit smothered in honey.

This restaurant hosts Friday karaoke nights from 9 p.m. till midnight.

Although the kitchen closes at 9 p.m., the restaurant has a stage set up for performers to sing on.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the Southeastern Railway Museum

An old train halted at Southeastern Railway Museum
Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

This museum spreads on a 35-acre site in Buford Highway in the city of Duluth, 13 miles west of Lawrenceville.

The Southeastern Railway Museum has been drawing visitors since 1970, thrilled by its more than 90 items on exhibit.

Georgia railroad train engine displayed at the tracks at Southeastern Railway Museum
Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

Among these are classic steam locomotives and historic Pullman cars that you can view and ride.

Besides having the chance of riding in restored cabooses, you can pose on the 1911 Pullman private car that President Warren G. Harding once used.

A old bus at Southeastern Railway Museum
Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

You can also browse on a historic bus collection, with an example of every bus model used in Atlanta since 1947.

Another amazing sight comes in the enormous driving wheels of the steam locomotives that hauled passenger trains to the Key West.

Sure to draw your attention, too, is the intricate setup of the HO model railroad of the museum, featuring computer-controlled operation with lighting and sound effects.

Rusty train at Southeastern Railway Museum
Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

Visit the McDaniel Farm Park

A former cotton farm, this park on McDaniel Road in Duluth recalls the agricultural background of Lawrenceville and its surrounding areas.

Just 9 miles west of Lawrenceville, McDaniel Farm Park has remarkably remained relatively since it was drawn from a land lottery in 1820.

This thriving farm in the early 1900s later became the refuge of struggling sharecroppers during the Great Depression, with a boll weevil infestation compounding their plight.

Silent witnesses to their story are the farm’s original barn, chicken coop, and well house.

The McDaniel Farm Park also features a playground and a 2.3-mile loop trail that snakes through woodlands.

Explore the Suwanee Creek Greenway

This greenway’s trailhead is located at the Suwanee Creek Park on Buford Highway in the city of Suwanee, about 10 miles northwest of Lawrenceville.

The Suwanee Creek Greenway is open bikers, walkers, joggers, and rollerbladers.

This multipurpose hard-surface trail weaves over four miles of wooded areas and wetlands serving as a wildlife habitat.

The Suwanee Creek Greenway connects almost 400 acres of parkland as well as commercial and residential areas.

Final Thoughts

A visit to Lawrenceville bodes plenty of exciting activities and memorable places to visit.

The city’s long history has created many points of interest that will let you appreciate how this side of Metro Atlanta has contributed to drawing visitors to Georgia.

In addition, Lawrenceville in more contemporary years, has created parks and other recreational facilities that resonate well with fun-loving travelers.

As a long-time county seat of Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville has also carved itself into the consciousness of visitors wishing to explore more of Metro Atlanta.

Significantly, Lawrenceville’s surrounding cities likewise offer plenty of destinations that lure visitors to extend their stay and take in more of the things to do around Gwinnett.