Arts & Crafts: Distillery of Modern Art
Part gallery, part cocktail bar, part event space, the Distillery of Modern Art is a classy and contemporary spot to imbibe. See how the spirits are made and peruse local artists’ work, with peach vodka in hand. Chamblee
Restored Pocket Park: Hurt Park
Originally opened in 1940, Hurt Park is a nearly two-acre, triangular downtown landmark that has long needed a facelift. Georgia State finished that two-year project this August, unveiling a fresh look and LED lighting for the (formerly defunct) fountain, plus pretty stairways and walkways and a permanent stage.
New Walking Path: PATH400
PATH400, which parallels GA 400, will eventually provide a greenway for cyclists, pedestrians, and scooters that connects with the Atlanta BeltLine to the south and Sandy Springs to the north. About 80 percent of the original 5.2 miles in Buckhead is complete. The trail features public installations by local artists, such as the murals on Wieuca, quirky birdhouses hanging from trees, and a colorful sidewalk mural on the ground near the bike repair station.
Mini-Marvel: Tiny Doors Studio
Small in stature but huge on exposure (including a CBS News Sunday Morning feature), the whimsical Tiny Doors art project now has an Atlantic Station studio the public can visit the third Saturday of each month. Buy Tiny Doors swag or just marvel at all the diminutive entryways on display. Atlantic Station
Throwdown: American Axes at the Works
Channel your inner Paul Bunyan and aim for the target on your next group outing or date night. Add some liquid courage from Dr. Scofflaw’s Brewing next door and start swinging. Warning: Your arms will hate you tomorrow. Westside
Rooftop Fun: Rooftop L.O.A. (Leave of Absence)
After four years of planning and construction, Westside finally counts an expansive, leafy, sky-high haven of bars and restaurants to rival Ponce City Market’s. The views are as transportive as the resort-style pool and $20 glasses of frosé are refreshing (if pricey!) on a hot day. Westside
New Town Green: Avondale Estates
Near its distinctive, Stratford-upon-Avon–inspired downtown, Avondale Estates cut the ribbon this past summer on its long-sought, 2.5-acre park, featuring a pavilion, dog park, walking paths, playground, and versatile lawn. Extra kudos for the oversized, Tudor-style birdhouses posted all over the area. And ditto for the city’s new brewery district, located throughout the blocks next door. Its ’Dale Ale Trail was voted the country’s best small-town beer scene by USA Today.
Alternative to Instagram: Fanbase
Inspired by his trailblazing, Oscar-winning father’s unfortunate financial dealings with record labels, music producer and social media influencer Isaac Hayes III’s new social media app allows content creators to monetize the art they make instead of giving it away for free on social media. On Fanbase, users can choose to pay a $5 monthly subscription fee for behind-the-paywall access to their favorite performers.
New Black Media Network: Capital B Atlanta
In February, Capital B Atlanta launched as the first in what will be a national network of local newsrooms. The nonprofit centers Black voices in stories like how to find affordable housing and whether Medicaid expansion could have saved the Atlanta Medical Center from closing. The content is free, but you can support Capital B’s mission—news about, by, and for Black people—by becoming an annual member for $96 or more.
Ukulele Blues and Hip-Hop: Silvia Medrano-Edelstein
Medrano-Edelstein, a Filipino American chef and master gardener, first took up ukulele fingerpicking to soothe her infant son to sleep. During the pandemic, the singer-songwriter whipped up a batch of whimsical original songs about cornbread, passionfruit, and hurricane femme fatales that somehow fuse 1920s Southern talking blues with modern hip-hop. Look for her at events like Oakhurst Porchfest or Sunday brunch at Estrellita—sometimes wearing a Karl Lagerfeld gown.
Place to Nerd Out: Science Gallery Atlanta
In Kirkwood’s newish Pullman Yards development, nerds unite at Science Gallery Atlanta. Focusing on the intersection of art and science, the curators pair artists and researchers to create original works of art. In the inaugural exhibition, HOOKED, local artists—including Paper Frank, Marina Skye, and Fabian Williams—worked with scientists at Emory University to create installations on why people become addicted to everything from shopping to opioids. The exhibition is part of Emory’s partnership with the Dublin-based Science Gallery International. Kirkwood
New Community Hangout: The Mill on Etowah
The circa-1900 Canton Cotton Mill, a former denim factory along the Etowah River’s winding banks near downtown, has been adapted into a shopping, dining, coworking, and day-drinking hangout. Laidback vibes emanate from Reformation Brewery’s massive space, across a gameday-ready green with a mega TV, to shops that run the gamut from trendy boutiques to antique Americana and a growing roster of eats. (Recommended: any chef-crafted sandwich from Community Burger, paired with scrumptious tater tots). Canton
History Lesson: Atlanta Rap Map
Artist Joseph Veazey grew up in Lilburn listening to the “Southernplayalistic” sounds of the Dungeon Family. In 2021, he created the Atlanta Rap Map to pay homage to the artists he loves. The map features miniature portraits of some of the city’s most renowned artists, including Ludacris, T.I., Future, Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, and, of course, OutKast, as well as the streets and hangout spots they mention in their music. Veazey says he will add portraits as more artists emerge. Snag a 24-by-36-inch print on his website. Proceeds from the sale of the poster will be donated to HOPE Atlanta, a nonprofit serving Georgians experiencing homelessness.
Social Studies: Atlanta History Center’s Party with the Past
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Atlanta History Center has finally resurrected its Party with the Past summer series. The booze is not free but the party is, and features programming tailored to the history of each new venue. Whether it’s somewhere like the Omenala Griot Museum, the Odd Fellows Building, or Smith’s Olde Bar, AHC’s goal is to get young professionals into historical spaces to explore the city’s past.
Star to Watch: Danielle Deadwyler
Atlanta native Danielle Deadwyler is currently generating Oscar buzz for her riveting portrayal of Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till in the Georgia-filmed Till. But the city’s theatergoers have watched for years as the Spelman grad’s undeniable star power glowed onstage at the Alliance, True Colors Theatre, and Aurora Theatre (particularly her 2016 standout performance in Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project at Synchronicity Theatre).
Museum Happy Hour: High Frequency Fridays
For anyone who has ever driven by the Woodruff Arts Center on the first Friday of the month and wondered what all those people were doing there, the answer is High Frequency Fridays at the High Museum. Attendees tour the museum’s latest exhibition while sipping on signature cocktails and bouncing to beats from the city’s hottest DJs. Tickets sell out fast.
Boozy Basketball: BigHoops at Second Self Brewing
BigHoops is kind of like the TopGolf of basketball. Picture an old-school, arcade-style shooting game but much larger, 12 feet by 20 feet, and higher tech. The distance and angle of each shot—and even hoop size (18 inches versus a more forgiving 24)—adjusts to a player’s skill level. The prototype, created by Georgia Tech alum Paul Brown, debuted in August at Second Self Brewing.
Contagion Busters: The CDC Museum
Through a variety of permanent and changing exhibitions, the David J. Sencer CDC Museum at CDC headquarters off Clifton Road pulls back the veil on how scientists have merged old-fashioned detective work with high-tech science to crack public health conundrums, like the coronavirus pandemic, for 75 years. Entrance to the museum is free—and it’s the only part of the CDC you’ll likely ever see. Emory area
Place to Speak Your Mind: Open Mic Nights at UniTea Cafe
By day, UniTea Cafe (formerly 640 West) in West End serves up a vegan-centric food menu including a fiesta burrito called the West Endian, loose leaf and bubble teas, and a coffee beverage dubbed the Africano. On select nights, an open mic convenes the community around art, music, and spoken word—serving as a new home for Ying Yang and Apache Cafe nostalgists who just “want that old thing back.” West End
Vibes: Rum Punch Brunch
Named after the signature island cocktail, the Rum Punch Brunch is a Caribbean cookout, block party, and dancehall all at once that happens every Sunday at Believe Music Hall on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. Brunch from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.; vibe in the courtyard or on the Skyline Terrace; dance the rest of the evening away in the multitiered Concert Hall—and do it all over again the following Sunday. Mechanicsville
Meetup: ATL Friends
Making friends in a sprawling city is already hard. But the good folks at ATL Friends came up with heart-hand emoji solutions: Regularly host a variety of meetups and group activities all over the city to make Atlanta a less lonely place. Whether you’re looking for a “coffee companion, BeltLine bestie, foodie friend, or a happy hour hang,” the group only asks that you be kind, bold, and inclusive.
Trail Transactions: BeltLine Marketplace
This summer, the Atlanta BeltLine, with help from the Village Market, offered shipping container storefronts to local, Black-owned startups. Pink Pothos, Not as Famous Cookie Co., Grady Baby Co., Good as Burgers, Cococakes by Coco, and Urban Grind made up the pilot cohort of this trailside marketplace. Eastside and Westside trails
Fresh Start: Bill Lowe Gallery
After the death of its founder and namesake, the Bill Lowe Gallery relaunched in Spring with Foundations, a 10-month series of large-scale public exhibitions, discussion panels, and curated salons by artists that executive director Donovan Johnson says have been cornerstones of the gallery and broader Atlanta art scene since its inception. Featured artists include Frank Hyder, Todd Murphy, Jimmy O’Neal, and Michael David—whose exhibit is on display through January 7. Lindbergh
Diversity in Dance: Ballethnic
Husband-and-wife team Nena Gilreath and Waverly Lucas both earned their “pinks” on pointe for Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Atlanta Ballet before starting Ballethnic in 1990. They wanted to dye those pink tights brown and create a space for dancers of color to bring their culture into the studio. Since then, they’ve made a name for themselves with their signature ballets, The Leopard Tale and the Urban Nutcracker, so much so that they performed at the Kennedy Center in June. Atlantans are lucky that this prestigious dance company calls East Point home. Tis the season to get your tickets to Urban Nutcracker and see what “Brown Sugar” and the “Black Russians” can do.
Roll and Bounce: Open Skate Nights at Pullman Yards
Atlanta’s roller-skating culture has a new venue to join the storied ranks of Cascade Skating Rink on the west side and Golden Glide on the east side. Every Thursday evening when weather permits, from 5 until 9 p.m., Kirkwood’s Pratt Pullman District’s pickleball courts are transformed into a roller rink for an open-air skate night. Generally, bring your own skates and roll crew-style or solo; but, occasionally, skate paraphernalia pop-up Moonlight Roller is on hand with disco-themed rental equipment like the “Moon Boot.” Kirkwood
Film Festival for a Cause: Out on Film
For 35 years, Out on Film has been making waves by premiering films that celebrate and address issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. Under executive director Jim Farmer, the festival has been recognized by MovieMaker magazine as one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” In addition, it’s one of only six LGBTQ+ film festivals in the world to become an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films.
Like the love child of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, notching 40 percent growth between 2019 and 2021 and now an estimated 4.8 million players, or “picklers.” Metro Atlanta is not immune to pickleball’s pull, and leagues are popping up from Sandy Springs to East Point. Newnan recently opened the House of Pickleball (aka “the HOP”) with 15 courts managed by the city.
The Pratt Pullman District entered the game this past summer in Kirkwood, opening courts ($5 after noon most days) amid century-old brick buildings.
Naturally, Competitive Social Ventures, the people behind Roaring Social and Fairway Social, plan to open Pickle and Social locations in Alpharetta and Gwinnett next year. And the Painted Pin folks have announced plans for Painted Pickle. —Josh Green
Health & Beauty
This is the year we went back to the gym and put on makeup again. Here are some of the latest places and products to help you look and feel your best:
A place for self-care, Woodhouse Spa is guaranteed to transform your mood with massages, facials, nail treatments, body wraps, and “rituals”—including the Meditative Mood Soak and halotherapy (a dry salt “sanctuary”). Packages like the Digital Detox include a full-body experience, starting with a holistic facial and concluding with a restorative sleep massage—no Wi-Fi needed. Multiple locations
Personalized facials with pros who educate you while they cleanse and soothe—that’s the Heyday experience. Trained estheticians analyze your skin, consider your goals, and heal as they treat. Fifty minutes sure go by fast! Perimeter area, Midtown, and soon, Krog
Nasty Girl Collection
Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole teamed up with national vegan beauty brand the Lip Bar (also owned by Black women, and distributed by national retailers like Target) on this liquid-to-matte lipstick in two sexy colors: “Touch Me” and “Tease Me.” Of course, it’s vegan. Available through Slutty Vegan or the Lip Bar.
A more modern version of Buckhead’s cult favorite Blast (R.I.P.), Shred burns calories through four 15-minute intervals, alternating between the treadmill and weight room. Upbeat music, accommodating instructors, and available childcare make it a prime attraction. Multiple locations
Need a boost of endorphins? AKT’s high-energy, choreographed dance classes torch calories while bopping to the beat. Interspersed interval strength exercises provide that full body burn. Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker are fans. Perimeter area, Inman Park
A waterless nail salon, Varnish Lane’s promise is “better for you” and “better for the environment.” Mani-pedis come in three levels of care based on how much time you have for relaxing. Buckhead
Atlanta Run Club
Not to be confused with the Atlanta Track Club, Atlanta Run Club hosts weekly runs—starting at Piedmont Park and Ponce City Market. The minority-founded group partners with likeminded brands such as Lululemon to raise funds and promote equality. Get ready for cheer stations galore!
This article appears in our December 2022 issue.