Weekender Series – Atlanta
Over the summer I spent about 10 days exploring Atlanta. Growing up in Charlotte, I used to go regularly for a day trip, or to visit family just outside the city. This time, I really got to immerse myself in the city, which I love. Every person I came in contact with told me that Atlanta just may be my city, and while I don’t doubt them, I’m beyond happy in New York.
Where to Stay –
Atlanta is a huge city, and pretty spread out so depending on your patience for traffic, you may want to stay other places. Over in Buckhead, I recommend the Westin. Its in a great location by Lenox Square & Phipps Plaza, perfect for shopping and dining. There is a Palm restaurant in the hotel and a Dantanna’s just at the end of the block, providing you with a high end and a casual option.
When I was here recently I stayed at an apartment in Old Fourth Ward and fell in love with the neighborhood. I didn’t see many hotels in the area but its very close to Midtown, with more of a neighborhood feel. You could walk pretty much anywhere you wanted to go in the area. I would get up in the mornings and walk to Pure Barre, then explore the shops. They have everything you could want, plus 3 different Mexican food options all within a block of each other. AKA my personal heaven.
Where to Imbibe & Dine –
First and foremost, if you are planning a trip to Atlanta you have GOT to make a reservation for Gunshow. Please, you will only be doing yourself a favor here. I have never had a dining experience quite like it. The food is served Dim Sum style but is Southern Fusion and is so unreal. I could go on for hours about it so just check out my Yelp review for guidance.
The Varsity is a staple. I tell everyone going to Atlanta to make sure they stop in for some greasy goodness. I’ve been coming here as long as I can remember and am never disappointed. When they ask “What’ll ya have?” I would go with a cheeseburger, onion rings & a chocolate milkshake. True comfort food at its finest. Oh, and don’t forget to put on the hat!
Smoke Ring is a great barbecue place near the football stadium and gets a decent crowd during the work day. I had wings, brisket, creamed corn, and waffle fries. So much food and so damn delicious. They’ve also got a great selection of cocktails. I could have sat there for hours but my friends had to be back to work.
City Winery near Ponce City Market has a speakeasy on the weekends that was really cool. I won’t give away too much to preserve the secrecy, but its name is ABV and there is a password to get in. The music is great, the drinks are great, and you really feel like you’re “in the know” about something special. Was definitely a cool place to be after hours.
What to Do –
Atlanta is a bustling city, filled with rappers, athletes, and Hollywood folk in town filming. If you are more of an outdoorsy sort, check out Stone Mountain Park. This was one of my favorite places when I was younger and offers something for everyone. Definitely stay for the light show, super cool! There are also a ton of parks and trails, like the ones in Old Fourth Ward. Great for getting out and getting some exercise.
If you’re in the neighborhood, Ponce City Market is a great place. There are a ton of shops and restaurants, as well as an old school carnival on the roof! Skyline has great carnival games, people walking around in costume, Frosé, a big slide, and mini golf, all on the roof with a great view of the whole city. I met up with a group of friends there and had the best time.
Being the sports fan that I am, I highly recommend checking out a game. With football, baseball, basketball, and tennis being played in the city, you are almost guaranteed to have a game during your visit. While I’ve not been to the new stadium, I was a big fan of the Georgia Dome. I thought the electricity was unmatched from the players to the fans. However, I hear the new Mercedes Benz Stadium is something else and I plan to check it out next season – stay tuned.
I’m a Yankees fan but growing up in Charlotte it was easier to get to Atlanta for Braves game than New York, so I made a few trips to Turner Field. It was my favorite stadium. I thought there was so much character in it and I had so many good memories. But now it is used by one of the colleges and the Braves have moved over to SunTrust Park. I have to hand it to them, the whole complex is pretty badass. You can spend the whole day shopping, eating and watching the game.
The Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola are a great way to spend the afternoon. I would recommend getting the Atlanta City Pass to do both. I’ve been to the Aquarium a few times but always find something new. Its done really well, plus they sell beer & wine, so kind of a no brainer. The World of Coca-Cola is the sugar rush your 5 year old self always dreamed of. Its a tourist trap but I think its cool to try the flavors offered in remote parts of the world.
Atlanta is also home to a lot of history. You can see Martin Luther King Jr’s birth home, visit Centennial Olympic Park from when Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, or visit the Fox Theatre. Regardless what you’re interested in, Atlanta has something for you. I think its an untapped treasure, but I’m happy to share my secret with you all 🙂