Earlier this summer we wrapped up our first road trip of the season with a long weekend in Atlanta! Today’s post is jam-packed with all of the best things to do and see while you’re in town.
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Atlanta City Guide
Atlanta is big and has a lot to see. If you want to do everything below, you’ll need to spend more than a long weekend. But you might be surprised at how many things you can get to during a well-planned 3 or 4-day visit!
Things to Do
Centennial Olympic Park is at the heart of any tourist’s modern-day Atlanta. In this area you will find:
- SkyView Atlanta. A giant ferris wheel that will give you a fantastic overview of this sprawling metropolis.
- The World of Coca-Cola. Fun, nostalgia filled tour and experience commemorating America’s original soft drink!
- The Georgia Aquarium. Considered to be one of the top aquariums in the US!
- The College Football Hall of Fame, and more!
A DIY Walking Tour. Midtown/Downtown has quite a few sights that we stumbled upon while walking around. The best of these are Piedmont Park, the Fox Theatre, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and the Margaret Mitchell House.
Martin Luther King was born and rose to fame in Atlanta, Georgia. A number of historical sights pertaining to him can be visited within about a mile radius. Be sure to check out MLK National Historic Sight and Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Nearby Oakland Cemetery is the final resting spot for several notable Atlanta residents including author Margaret Mitchell and golfer Bobby Jones. The Atlanta Preservation Center offers a walking tour of this area that encompasses these sights and more.
After watching the movie Jimmy Carter, Rock & Roll President, I’d really hoped to visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum while we were in Atlanta. Alas, it was closed due to COVID but is open again now. The library is slightly east of downtown and near the Ponce City Market (see shopping below).
Car enthusiasts will want to visit the Porsche Experience Center, reviewed separately in this post.
Slightly Outside of Downtown
If the heat of the city is getting you down, head out to Stone Mountain for some fresh air and stellar views! The Summit SkyRide will whisk you to the top and offer up some great photo ops of the carved rockface. Lots of other attractions for children and adults alike within Stone Mountain Park. Stone Mountain is about 25 miles east of downtown.
Where to Eat & Shop
On our first night in town, we had dinner at The Optimist. They have a sister property in Nashville and are known for their fantastic seafood offerings. The meal did not disappoint! We sampled some oysters, a Georgia peach appetizer, the redfish, and mahi-mahi. All were perfectly prepared, original, and flavorful. The drinks are great too. The Sacred Valley and Don’t Call Me Shirley were two of our favorites.
For a super-unique (but pricey) foodie experience, check out Gunshow. Eight to ten food items are brought out to diners by the individual chefs that prepared them. Offerings vary regularly. It’s really cool to be able to talk to the chef that created each dish and learn more about what inspired their creation. We even got a little surprise take-home goodie when we left. Reservations are a must! Stop for a nightcap at Vesper (next door) and then enjoy an evening stroll around the charming, urban-chic Glenwood Park area.
For old-fashioned southern favorites, check out South City Kitchen. Their fried chicken will remind you of what grandma used to make! If you visit the Midtown location of South City Kitchen, stop by The Establishment afterward. Live music and great people watching.
Where to Shop
Ponce City Market, a short distance from Midtown, is a fun and vibrant area to explore, with a mixed offering of dining venues, shops, and office space. While you can find some favorite national brands like Madewell, Marine Layer, and Mac, be sure to check out some of the local boutiques like Citizen’s Supply and Ponce Denim. For a quick but delicious lunch, try the ramen at Ton Ton.
Regular events at the Ponce City Market include a Farmer’s Market, Trivia Night, and ongoing theatre series. The Roof has great night-time/bar options as well as rides and Coney Island-style boardwalk games.
Where to Stay
Needless to say, Atlanta is a large and sprawling city. If you plan on spending a lot of time in one particular part of the city, I recommend consulting a map when booking so that you won’t waste undue amounts of time commuting or ride-sharing. We opted to stay in Midtown at the W Hotel. Writing this post, I was sad to learn that the property is now closed as it transfers ownership to Hilton.
Other properties we considered prior to booking include the Artmore, the Candler, and the Clermont Hotel. All are well-reviewed and have some sort of architectural or outdoor space that distinguishes them from other hotels.
Heading to Georgia’s other famous city, instead? Check out this post on lovely Savannah!
Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!