Sunday, December 9, 2018

50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

50 best things to do in Atlanta – Atlanta BeltLine
Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail
Photograph courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
Larry Loudmouf

Snap a selfie at these colorful Atlanta murals

Larry Loudmouf in Inman Park, Puddles on Edgewood Avenue, Hosea Williams at Studioplex, and more
Center for Civil and Human Rights

Pull up to the lunch counter at Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights

In the 1960s thousands of peaceful protesters risked violence and arrest to desegregate Atlanta’s lunch counters.
Staplehouse

Try to book dinner at America’s best new restaurant, Staplehouse

Reservations at the 40-seat Staplehouse, a modern Southern restaurant in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, have been hard to come by since it was named America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit last September.
50 best things to do in Atlanta: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Watch a game at Atlanta’s new (and improved) sports stadiums

A new professional soccer team that went to the playoffs in its inaugural year and shattered attendance records, two new stadiums, and a pro football team that was one win away from being crowned with the NFL’s highest honor—who says Atlanta isn't a sports town?
Buford Highway

Drive (and eat) along Buford Highway

Don’t let the drab strip malls fool you; Atlanta’s most soulful dining experiences can be found along this corridor.
Atlanta Movie Tours

Visit where Captain America and Rick Grimes once stood

Atlanta Movie Tours, based out of Castleberry Hill, offers a plethora of themed tours catering to the diverse projects that have been shot in the Hollywood of the South—from Marvel superheroes to The Walking Dead.
Northside Tavern

Relish the blues at Blind Willie’s and Northside Tavern

Though Blind Willie’s has a Cajun feel and Northside Tavern has more of a roadhouse vibe, these two mainstays have a lot in common.  Small, dark, and loud, these blues bars that are full of character—and interesting characters.
Brick + Mortar

Take a local shopping crawl on the Westside

For a treasure trove of chic clothes, gifts, jewelry, and furniture made or designed in Atlanta, shop hop a cluster of boutiques along Howell Mill Road from Westside Provisions District to Marietta Street.
Skyview

Spend a day playing tourist downtown

Our downtown tourist attractions are kitschy, but if you skip them, you're doing yourself a disservice. Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coke, Georgia Aquarium, SkyView Ferris wheel—you have to go at least once.
50 best things to do in Atlanta - Atlanta BeltLine

Walk, bike, run, or skate down the BeltLine

On any warm, sunny day in Atlanta, this rail corridor-turned-public trail is packed with families pushing strollers and walking dogs, runners getting in a quick workout, and cyclists testing out the city's Relay bikeshare program.
Chick-fil-A Dwarf House

Devour the Hot Brown at the very first Chick-fil-A

Along with the standard waffle fries, nuggets, and even the long lost coleslaw, the Hapeville Dwarf House’s full-service dining room offers burgers, hot ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and breakfast all day.
50 best things to do in Atlanta - Ponce City Market

Eat well—and get a feel for Atlanta’s neighborhoods—at the food halls

Food halls aren’t unique to Atlanta, but each of ours gives a solid snapshot of the neighborhood it calls home.
Porsche Experience Center Atlanta

Take a few hot laps at the Porsche Experience Center

Buckle up for a wild ride around a 1.6-mile circuit designed to mimic a winding country road. At one of only two Porsche Experience Centers in the country, you can drive yourself or ride shotgun with a pro driver.
Grant Park Farmers Market

Shop at a farmers market all year round

No matter the season, Atlanta has a wealth of farmers markets. And as urban and small farms gain a foothold here, our offerings continue to become more diverse.
High Museum of Art

Get cultured at the Woodruff Arts Center

Visitors can take in a performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, or ponder works by a diverse cadre of artists like Alex Katz, Walker Evans, and Thornton Dial at the High Museum of Art.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Dine with politicos at Manuel’s Tavern

For more than 60 years, elected officials, journalists, and gadflies of all stripes—though let's be honest, mostly Democrats—have traded gossip, hectored televised debates, and licked legislative wounds at the watering hole that’s become a living museum of Georgia political history.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Visit the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in this 1895 Queen Anne house on Auburn Avenue, and a visit to the restored two-story home offers a glimpse into the early years of the future legend.
50 best things to do in Atlanta - The Varsity

Sip a Frosted Orange at the Varsity

Hailed as the World's Largest Drive-Thru, the Midtown mainstay has been serving hot dogs and burgers since 1928. But you can't truly call yourself an Atlantan until you've sipped a Frosted Orange.
Delta Flight Museum

Tour vintage jets at the Delta Flight Museum

Just to the north of Hartsfield-Jackson on the nearly 100-year-old airline’s vast corporate campus, the Delta Flight Museum is the perfect spot for aviation fanatics, kids, and even experienced fliers slogging through a long layover.
Kennesaw Mountain

Hike Kennesaw Mountain

In 1864 this was the major obstacle between General William T. Sherman and his ultimate goal: Atlanta. Standing atop the 1,808-foot peak today, it’s easy to see why the site was so strategic.

Peek inside Jimmy Carter’s Oval Office

Ever wondered what it's like inside the country's highest office? You can peek inside an impressive life-size replica of Jimmy Carter's Oval Office at his presidential library and museum off Freedom Parkway.
Margaret Mitchell House

Learn the backstory of Atlanta’s most famous novel

Shortly after Margaret Mitchell left her job as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal in the mid-1920s, she sat down at a desk at her ground-floor apartment on Peachtree Street—she and her husband, John Marsh, affectionately referred to the unit as “the dump”—and began writing the bulk of a Southern soap opera that became just as much a part of Atlanta’s DNA as Coca-Cola.
Fernbank Forest

Escape the traffic and take hike through Fernbank Forest

There’s a place in Atlanta where you can’t hear car horns or thrumming engines, where it’s a bit cool even on sweltering August days, where you can forget that you’re in the middle of a large city entirely. Fernbank Forest, Atlanta’s largest urban forest, is 65 acres of tranquility.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Roll to soul at Cascade Skating Rink

Step into Cascade Skating Rink on Saturday, Sunday (the big night), Tuesday, or Wednesday and find a whole world of dance happening on wheels. The people who come here are regulars—and they’ve got the moves—so novices, you’ve been warned.
Chattahoochee River

Shoot the ‘hooch

Lazy Atlanta summers are best enjoyed lathered in sunscreen, idling downstream in an inflatable tube, and reaching for a cooler floating slowly behind you on the Chattahoochee River.
Zoo Atlanta

Visit the too-cute panda twins at Zoo Atlanta

You can visit cuddly cubs Ya Lun and Xi Lun at Zoo Atlanta, along with gorillas, lions, Sumatran tigers, red pandas, tanukis, and hundreds of other creatures.
Polaris

Take a spin at Polaris

While you won't see as much as of the city as you can from the nearby SunDial restaurant (yes, downtown Atlanta has two rotating restaurants within a few blocks of each other), the history behind the blue spaceship-like dome perched atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta is more storied.
Castleberry Hill Galleries

Explore Castleberry Hill’s arts scene, then sip a cocktail at 2 Chainz’s lounge

Known as Atlanta’s Historic Arts District, Castleberry Hill’s creative energy is best sampled during the evening art stroll on the second Friday of every month.
Three Taverns

Take a craft beer tour of Avondale Estates

If you want to sample several different beers without worrying about your car, head to Avondale Estates, where there are three craft breweries next to the Avondale MARTA station.
Colonnade

Dine like an old-school Southerner

The Colonnade still serves turkey and dressing every day of the week and has held its ground on an otherwise fluctuating strip of Cheshire Bridge Road since 1962. Or for a cafeteria-style Southern meal, head to Matthews Cafeteria in Tucker.
Miller Union

Or dine like a new-school Southerner

Is Miller Union a Southern restaurant? The field peas and grit fritters with country ham you’ll find on the menu seem to say so.
Dolls Head Trail 900x600

Explore the creepy yet charming Doll’s Head Trail

It's artistically creepy, romantically isolated, and naturally scenic. Off an industrial stretch of Moreland Avenue, the 1.6-mile Doll's Head Trail curves through Constitution Lakes' marshy ponds, peaceful lake views, and boardwalks ideal for birdwatching. But it's the eeriness of the scuffed doll heads peering out from shrubbery that makes this trail tick.
Alliance Theatre

Watch experimental theater or catch a Broadway show before it makes it big

Indie show? The next big thing? Metro Atlanta's theater scene has something for everyone.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Find a treasure you didn’t know you needed at Scott Antique Market

Looking for a vintage camera to perch on your bookshelf? A midcentury modern end table? A bucket of spoons or a taxidermied pheasant? You’re bound to find something intriguing when this market pops up at the Atlanta Expo Center each month.
50 best things to do in Atlanta - Ponce City Market

Take in panoramic views at Skyline Park

Make sure to take the elevator up to this mini amusement park on Ponce City Market's roof before sunset—this spot is meant to be enjoyed during both day and night.
Busy Bee Cafe

Eat lunch where civil rights movement leaders once held meetings

“During the civil rights movement, we’d start our day at Busy Bee or Paschal’s,” says Andrew Young, referencing his days at the SCLC with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. “But you didn’t go to those places so much to eat as you did to meet. That’s where you found out what was going on.”
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Find your new favorite band at one of Atlanta’s indie venues

Sure, you can see the latest pop sensation at Philips Arena or catch a jam band at Chastain, but you might find the next big thing at these smaller venues.
Plane watching

Plane-watch at the world’s busiest airport

With nearly 2,500 takeoffs and landings per day, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport provides aviation fanatics an excellent perch for watching the skies.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Take a DIY architecture tour in Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods

Atlanta may be quick to tear down historic public buildings, but the metro area is full of lovely old residential neighborhoods.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Tip a drag queen at Lips

Lips, which opened a location on Buford Highway in 2013, dazzles with over-the-top costumes, glittery decor, divas, and dirty jokes.
Old Fourth Distillery

Sip local vodka and gin at Old Fourth Distillery

The distillery—which features the historic Cotton Mill Lofts and Ponce City Market on its bottles—started with just its signature sugar cane-based vodka when it opened in 2014 and has since expanded to include gin and a lemon-ginger liqueur named Lawn Dart.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Climb to the top of Stone Mountain

The 825-foot-tall hunk of granite surrounded by 3,200 acres of state-owned park is a historic and adventurous spot for a daytrip. Take a shaded hike or a cable car to the top for an impressive view of the landscape, ride a 1940s-era Army Duck on Stone Mountain Lake, or explore the treetops on an adventure course of ropes and swinging bridges.
Dad's Garage

Catch an improv show—or be in one—at Dad’s Garage

Founded in 1995, the theater started as a place to catch short-form improv and has now grown to become Atlanta’s version of Second City.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Play atop a true work of art

The modernist swings and slides at Noguchi Playground in Piedmont Park are a delight to both kids and art lovers. Or drive a few miles north to Sandy Springs, where the Playable Art Park at Abernathy Greenway contains six colorful sculptures that also function as interactive playsets.
Center For Puppetry Arts

Meet the Muppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts

When Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog cut the ribbon in 1978, the former Spring Street Elementary School had only one exhibition and a few shows devoted to puppets. Nearly 40 years later, the Midtown space has grown to be the largest nonprofit puppetry theater in the country.
Fox Theatre

Learn the history of the Fox Theatre—and of its ghosts

The iconic theater is perhaps most famous for the fact that it's still here—a successful 1974 campaign to save it from the wrecking ball led to its designation as a national historic landmark.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Watch Blondie’s famous routine at the Clermont Lounge

No tour of Ponce is complete without paying respects to Blondie as she crushes Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in her inimitable style.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Learn the secrets of the city’s past at the Atlanta History Center

A lot of exciting changes are happening at this Buckhead museum. A 2016 renovation gave the main building a beautiful new facade, and it inherited the Cycolorama—an early 20th-centry painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta—and the Texas—a train best known for being involved in the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War—from their former home in Grant Park.
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta

Edited by Myrydd Wells
Written by Julia Bainbridge, Mary Logan Bikoff, Rebecca Burns, Rachel Hortman, Caroline C. Kilgore, Tess Malone, Jennifer Rainey-Marquez, Joe Reisigl, Betsy Riley, Matt Walljasper, Myrydd Wells, Thomas Wheatley, and Jennifer Zyman

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