Back in 2011, when this magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary, we latched onto the number 50 and spent the year casually obsessed with it. The anniversary came and went, but our fascination with 50 remained. In the years since, we’ve devoted cover packages to the metro region’s 50 Best Bars, 50 Best Shops, 50 Best Restaurants. You get the picture. Fifty became a kind of magic number, our talisman. A list totaling that number felt weighty without being exhaustive, comprehensive without seeming padded.
One of our cover packages that adopted the number came in 2013, when we compiled a list called “50 Things Every Atlantan Must Do.” Internally, we used it as an excuse to step back and look at the city with fresh eyes, as if we were new to town. The resulting list hit a nerve. We mixed the obvious (drink at Manuel’s on a Tuesday) with the not-so-obvious (buy a bonsai tree from a Trappist monk). Not surprisingly, readers called us on our choices and, implicitly, on our methodology, chiding us about what we’d left out, questioning us about what we included. That’s good—any city magazine worth the paper it’s printed on should be starting the conversation, not ending it.
But when we talked a few months ago about expanding the “50 Things” conceit statewide, I got a little nervous. The first challenge was simple logistics. By virtually any measure, the scale of Georgia is staggering. When it comes to land area, we are the largest state east of the Mississippi. We have mountains. We have swamps. We have rivers and lakes. A hundred miles of our border fronts the Atlantic Ocean, for Pete’s sake.
Then there’s the people. More than 10 million of ’em, each of whom (OK, maybe half of whom) would probably take a look at this list and say, “Man, you guys are nuts for not including (fill in your own sports/recreation/destination/shopping/music/food/park/festival reference here).”
So, for the record, this list is not meant to be all-encompassing. (Nor is it a ranking, despite the listing format.) To those who’ve lived in Georgia for a while, or even for their whole lives, consider it a reminder of how deep and vast the bounty of this state is. And I don’t mean just natural beauty, though our cup overflows there. Consider it instead a gentle nudge to push you out of your comfort zone and hit the road, to rediscover what makes this state such a special place to live and play. And to those new to Georgia, welcome, and consider this month’s cover package just a primer. (Although good luck in getting the Masters tickets we include as one of the 50 things; I’m still waiting for mine.)
Read the full list: 50 Best Things to Do in Georgia
This article originally appeared in our June 2017 issue.