Welcome to my selection of things to do in Atlanta. I studied and have lived in this capital of Georgia with great pleasure and loved the seasons. This pretends to be by no means complete. Please browse as it’s just a taste of this great city if you’ve never been and for Atlantans…do comment if I have missed any of your fav’s and you want to share. As always I am focusing on trustworthy and classic places, value for money, service and experience.
Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s ‘Central Park’ its ‘Vondel Park’. In this park and all around Midtown you’ll feel naked without a dog. Let me know if you want to borrow a member of the Canidae family. Designed by the sons of New York’s Central Park landscape designer Olmsted. Join the 6 am boot camp crowd or take the outer perimeter track for a 15min run. From May till November you can grab some protein after your work-out at the little all organic Farmer’s market and no doubt…everything gluten-free. Recently, a section of the Atlanta Beltline project opened and now offers an urban boardwalk to run walk, bike & skate around midtown area. This sustainable project is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting neighborhoods directly to each other. Run for miles along uninterrupted great views of downtown and midtown Atlanta.
Ahh.. where to start? So many great and different places to choose from. A few of my fav’s. A great morning walk from Piedmont Park via the Beltline corridor (see above) takes you to Highland Bakery. Try the Peanut Butter French (brioche) toast covered with caramelized bananas and layers of peanut butter and maple syrup. Yes, I know…a thousand calories, and that’s why I recommend walking back as well. Carol Street Cafe sits in a lovely area called Cabbage Town. Walk around the small streets aligned with ‘shotgun houses’ where the workers of the cotton factory (now lofty condos) lived and affordable cabbage was on the menu every day. In the same area go for the best pancakes in town: Ria’s Bluebird. My Mum (and her name happens to be Ria!) tried, tested and approved the pancakes: and she’s an expert. Great about Rosebud restaurant is that you are able to make brunch reservations in the weekend. Across the street (N. Highland Ave) step into deli Alons (where McMackin orders his ‘Cappucinnio’..his unique spelling) for a great takeaway coffee and the best croissants. On Edgewood go to Thumbs Up Diner for a good American style breakfast. On the corner of Virginia and Highland, Murphy’s is a classic for brunch and wicked bloody marys on the weekends. Oh yes, The Silver Skillet on 14th is an institution, a true diner never renovated I could go on…can you tell I love breakfast?
Dancing Goats on North Ave has very good coffee and home-baked cookies and cakes. Same as its sister outlet in Decatur. Caribou Cafe in Midtown and Buckhead is best for working, chatting or quick meetings. Star Provisions (West Midtown) also offers great cakes and deli things. In Belly General Store on Highland the coffee is great as well as best bagels in town. Now I’m talking breakfast again!
Did I mention the Beltline already? Unlike cities as New York or Chicago; Atlanta is not known for a broad spectrum of arts and culture. However there’s actually lots to do, the only thing is you have to do a little more homework to figure out what’s going on. Not to miss is the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, consists of several buildings surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn historic district of Atlanta (see picture). MOCA, the Atlanta Museum Of Contemporary Art is worth a visit and enjoy the towering 26-foot tall World Events sculpture on the same grounds. The beautiful and artdeco-ish Fox Theatre is a gem on Peachtree and offers many quality acts. Often the Alvin Ailey modern dance group from NY performs at the Fox. If you are in marketing, really do visit the Coca Cola museum. It displays the careful evolution of the brand from the original medicinal drink to today’s ‘Open Happiness’ global replacement of tap water. Close by is the Georgia Aquarium, have a look. However don’t line up when queues are long, no time to waste. On the top floor of the Westin, go for a revolving floor cocktail and enjoy spectacular views. In summer the Chastain Park Amphitheatre is just special. I have been to see Harry Connick Jr. in concert and everyone brings an elaborate picnic, candles, linen napkins, wine and what have you. Very elegant. Stone mountain is good for a hike or bike if you have a few hours to spend.
Murphy’s (see above) I recommend either brunch or lunch, a book on the outdoor patio or sit at the bar. Seasons 52 in Dunwoody, Perimeter is consistently good and love the low-cal mini deserts. Very informal and laid back is Joe’s on Juniper and they also do brunch on weekends. Bistro Nico in Buckhead is perfect for a business power lunch. After shopping in Lenox mall dump your bags and dive into some sushi at Prime. A great vegetarian, vegan place is R. Thomas on Peachtree Rd.
Burgers! Many good places, for touristy fun drive your car to the Varsity (corner North and Spring), park and order in your car and have your burger and fries served on a metal tray hanging from your lowered car window (very Americana). Flip Burger West Midtown (see picture) serves gourmet burgers, funky milkshakes (try the upside down pineapple cake shake) in a very cool design restaurant.
Search for those outdoor small boutiques: explore where Virginia and Highland cross over, Little Five Point for quirky gear and visit the artsy town Decatur. No need to come near to downtown for good shopping. If you do want to visit a mall go to Phipps Plaza in Buckhead (for some reason my Aston Martin is always parked inside this mall with the price tag still on..) and across you’ll find Lenox mall with all the regular brands. A really different experience is a visit to the Buford Farmer’s market. Produce from literally all over the world from bokkepootjes from Netherlands to chicken rice from Singapore.
Tired from shopping? Visit Bliss spa at the W hotel in Midtown and order a Foot Patrol treatment: heaven!
Just a 2-hour drive north takes you to the Blue Ridge mountains and plan for a one night sleepover in the picturesque mountain village Highlands, stay in the Old Edwards Inn. Take in the fresh oxygen. It is only a 4-hour drive to historic Savannah at the Atlantic Ocean. Closer to home a walk through Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens is always worth a visit and it’s right next to Piedmont Park. Did I mention the many summer concerts? Also every early April the Dogwood festival takes place and you’ll find the country’s best painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelry makers, glass blowers and other artists.
Here’s my current list: Floataway Cafe, see picture (Woodland hills), The Watershed restaurant (Peachtree), The Optimist (West Midtown), Buckhead Diner (Elton John’s a regular here) on Piedmont Avenue, Campagnolo’s (corner 10th/Piedmont), Bacchanalia & Abattoir (West Midtown) and for a-la-table prepared guacamole go to Rosa Mexicana (Atlantic Station).
The Loews hotel on Peachtree/11th is very pleasant, urban and has well-designed rooms. Hotel Indigo a smaller no-frills boutique hotel right across from the Fox Theatre and in the heart of midtown: my personal favorite. Say hi to the hotel resident Jack Russel. Or try Stonehurst Place, an award winning bed & breakfast on Piedmont Ave in midtown.
Missed anything?…please leave a comment.