It’s that time of year. The kids are back in school, it’s almost football season in Georgia, and (hopefully) the weather will soon turn from searing days and warm evenings to temperate days and chilly evenings. And for those who would rather explore than watch football, there’s a bevy of new (or, just new to you) Gwinnett destinations that make for a great date night or family outing.

Just north of the quaint, historic downtown Buford, you’ll find the charming Cloudland Vineyards and Winery. Their vineyards grow along the ridge of the Eastern Continental Divide, a unique environment primed to create delicious, regionally specific wines. Plus, it’s an approachable wine scene, where wine amateurs and aficionados are welcomed alike.

They also host regular live music and food truck events, with a focus on up-and-coming artists, like October’s Sam Grisman Project concert. And you won’t find just the usual suspects on their wine list. Cloudland’s eclectic, seasonal wines include Lenoir, Lomanto, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Cab Franck and refreshing sparkling wines.

Just south of Cloudland is the busy Mall of Georgia, where new, family-friendly entertainment is opening. Putt Nation allows you to test your mini golf skills on a course complete with audio/video effects, lasers, music, course lights and TVs. There’s no better way to wrap up a round than to belly up to their cutting-edge, self-serve tap wall, offering domestic and imported beers for the “19th hole.”

Opening in fall 2023 is the eagerly anticipated Pickle + Social. Inspired by the pickleball craze sweeping Atlanta, Pickle + Social will feature eight indoor/outdoor pickleball courts available as rentals for tournaments and other competitions. The venue will also offer a full restaurant and bar, an Atlanta Cornhole League (ACL) Cornhole Yard, plus their “Central Park,” which is full of yard games.

The storied arts and culture venue, Gas South’s Theatre, has also undergone a renaissance. Once the home of Gwinnett dance schools and holiday shows, the Theatre has undergone a million-dollar renovation, and with it comes a new slate of events and shows. Fall’s calendar includes tribute shows such as Liverpool Legends, Rumours (Fleetwood Mac), Bee Gees, Queen Nation and Departure (Journey). You’ll also find hilarious live comedy shows and international performing arts acts.

Moving into early 2024, one of the most eagerly anticipated developments is Politan Food Hall coming to The Forum in Peachtree Corners. Situated on the northern end of the Forum between Aomi and Soma, the nearly 10,000-square-foot food hall will feature space for seven independent food stalls, a central Bar Politan, a private event venue and an outdoor patio fronting the greenspace. Both established restaurants and up-and-comers are expected to be in the culinary mix.

Whether fall takes you golfing, wining, dining, playing pickleball or chilling out—we recommend wrapping up any evening the same. Pack up the kids and head to downtown Norcross’ South End, where the utterly and fantastically delicious Butter & Cream recently opened their third Atlanta outpost. This small batch, handcrafted ice creamery opened in late summer, and is already drawing raves.

The menu is known for its unique flavor combinations, including Honeycomb Forest, Butterscotch Brownie and my favorite, OG Goodness, a brown sugar ice cream with pieces of ooey, gooey St. Louis butter cake. Seriously. With rotating flavors, sorbet, shakes and baked goods, run, don’t walk!

Fall Favorites
Lisa Anders, Ex. Director
Explore Gwinnett Tourism + Film.