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Many know Atlanta as the home of Coca-Cola, birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., or host of the 1996 Olympic Games. Atlanta was one time known as “Hotlanta” and while it is still hot especially during the summer months, those of us who live here simply say “The A-T-L”. Like most big cities across the United States, there is something for everyone.
This Atlanta city guide covers everything from where to stay and eat, and activities for everyone from arts and outdoors lovers, sports enthusiasts, kids and basically everyone.
Where to stay in Atlanta
Where you stay should be determined by what is on your itinerary. If you want to do things primarily in the city, staying somewhere in midtown, downtown or Buckhead are convenient to most activities. Additionally, most of the hotels are relatively close to the Marta line which is also convenient to most activities.
Atlanta hosts all your major hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Westin and others. But, if you plan to book through a share site such as AirBnB or VRBO, be sure to check the proximity to Marta especially if you don’t plan on renting a car during your stay. Having access to Marta will save you some cash on your preferred ride share.
Where to eat in Atlanta
Basically anywhere, avoid the chains as there are too many local places to experience. But, here are some of the locals’ favorites:
- Boccaluppo – Italian. Located in Inman Park close to the Atlanta Beltline. Reservations are highly recommended.
- Taqueria del Sol – Tacos. Located on the Westside. They do not accept reservations. Several locations, but the Westside is most convenient to Downtown or Midtown via taxi or rideshare. Reservations are not accepted.
- Antico Pizza – Pizza. Downtown or The Battery. Downtown location is just north of Georgia Tech campus. No Marta station but convenient via taxi or rideshare. Reservations are not accepted.
- Bones – Steak. Located in Buckhead. No Marta station but convenient via taxi or rideshare. Reservations are highly recommended.
- The Vortex Bar and Grill – Burgers. Midtown and Little 5 Points. Midtown location is an approximately 5-minute walk from Midtown Station.
- Highland Bakery – Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch. Located on the edge of Inman Park & Old 4th Ward close to the Atlanta Beltline. Reservations are not accepted – prepare to wait during peak times.
Read More: Discover Atlanta
Atlanta for the sports enthusiast
For those who enjoy sports, Atlanta has much to offer. Of course, your choice of activity will be driven by the season. But, here are some local favorites.
The College Football Hall of Fame (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line.
This attraction relocated from South Bend, Indiana in August 2014. In addition to the hall of fame, it is also an interactive experience for all visitors. Using the All-Access pass you receive after checking in, you unlock interactive exhibits specially for you. Don’t miss the indoor playing field meant for all ages where you can kick field goals, catch the winning touchdown pass or throw like Tom Brady.
Mercedes Benz Stadium (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line.
Mercedes Benz Stadium was host of the 2018 College Football Championship and Super Bowl LIII with The Final Four coming up in 2020. It is a great place to catch any event, but especially a United MLS or Falcons NFL game. If nothing else, take the tour which is offered most days.
SunTrust Park and The Battery (NW Atlanta/Smyrna)
Rideshare or Taxi
Catch a Braves baseball game at SunTrust Park and do the tomahawk chop rooting for the home team. If the Braves are on the road, visit The Battery for great food and fun. Try life-size Jenga, ping pong, bocce or bowling at Punch Bowl Social. SunTrust Park also offers tours on most days with limited access on game days.
Atlanta for the arts lover
Visit the Woodruff Arts Center (Midtown)
Marta station – Arts Center on the Red or Gold Line
Located in the heart of Midtown, the Woodruff Arts Center comprises three art divisions – The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre and High Museum of Art. Check schedules for current shows and events.
See a show at The Fox (Midtown)
Marta station – North Avenue on the Red or Gold Line
Built in 1929, The Fox is a historic concert and event venue built in 1929 originally to be home of Atlanta’s Shriners organization. Today it houses music concerts, Broadway shows, summer movie series and more. Check schedules for current shows and events.
Atlanta with kids
Tour the Fernbank Science Center & Museum (Atlanta)
Rideshare or Taxi
In the museum, you can explore animals, fossils, prehistoric cultures. New exhibits and experiences will be featured during the year. You can also explore the WildWoods and Fernbank Forest of 75 acres featuring walking trails, nature playgrounds and native wildlife. Be sure to check the IMAX schedule for feature films during your visit.
See a Beluga Whale at the Georgia Aquarium (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line or Peachtree Center on the Red/Gold Line (next door to the World of Coca-Cola)
The Georgia Aquarium houses more than a hundred thousand fresh and salt water species. Favorite attractions include beluga whales, whale sharks, penguins, dolphins, otters and more. The GA also offers special encounters with some special animals including dolphin, penguin, and dive encounters. Check the website for prices and schedule availability.
Take a ride on the Atlanta SkyView (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line or Peachtree Center on the Red/Gold Line
SkyView is a ferry wheel towering 20-stories over Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta providing scenic views of the city.
Atlanta for everyone
World of Coca-Cola (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line or Peachtree Center on the Red/Gold Line (next door to the Georgia Aquarium)
Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola including where it was originally formulated and the current world headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company. The World of Coca-Cola is a museum showcasing the history throughout the years. In addition, the artifacts section, visitors can also enjoy a 6-minute film, visit The Vault where the secret formula is safely held, get a behind the scenes view of the bottling process, meet the Coca-Cola polar bear. While there are many other exhibits to see, the final stop is the tasting room where you can try over 100 Coca-Cola products from all over the world. Kids love this stop too!
Walk the Beltline – (Midtown to Reynoldstown)
Piedmont Park access is Marta station – Midtown on the Blue or Green Line. Reynoldstown/Inman Park access – Rideshare or Taxi
The Atlanta Beltline is three miles of a multi-use trail running between Piedmont Park and Reynoldstown. Enjoy the outdoors, rent bikes or scooters, enjoy many of the restaurants and bars along the trail. Be sure to check out the artwork along each side of Krog Street Tunnel. Can you find any of the Tiny Doors of Atlanta?
Center for Civil and Human Rights (Downtown)
Marta station – CNN Center on the Blue or Green Line or Peachtree Center on the Red/Gold Line (next door to the World of Coca Cola)
The museum opened in 2014 dedicated to the human and civil rights movement worldwide. It hosts permanent exhibits including The American Civil Rights Movement “Rolls Down Like Water” and the The Global Human Rights Movement “Spark of Conviction”. There are temporary exhibits, so check the schedule before you plan a visit.
Atlanta for the outdoors lover
Go on a hike at the Chattahoochee (Vinings)
Rideshare or Taxi
Trails closest to the city at the East Palisades trails which is approximately 2.5 miles in total length. Enjoy views of the river high on bluffs, walk through a bamboo forest and river wildlife. You can also visit the Palisades on the opposite side of the river where there is more picnic space. If you are more adventurous, there are several companies who will take you up river with kayaks and then exit at East Palisades.
Hang out at Piedmont Park (Midtown)
Marta station – Midtown on the Red or Gold Line
The park is a green space in the middle of urban Atlanta. While the park hosts many festivals from spring to fall, it can also be a space just enjoy a nice afternoon. Rent bikes or rollerblades for which there are several miles of paved paths through and around the park. The active oval has a running track with various exercise stations around the oval. The park also includes a pool, tennis courts, dog park or green space just to sit back and enjoy the sunshine.
About the Author
Hey there! I’m Nancy and there is nothing I love more than exploring new places. Exploring the world, one place at a time – countries, cities, small towns and all the places in between. I have explored 5 continents, 21 countries, 39 of the 50 states and 26 National Parks in the United States.
I’m not your average travel blogger as this is not my full-time gig and I still work full a 9-5 job in the corporate world. Travel is my passion and I’m here to share my experiences with you and hope to inspire you to explore some of these places.
You are going to learn quickly my adventures are more outdoors, fewer museums, and usually involve some type of adventurous activity and meeting some cool people along the way.
Read more from Nancy on her blog, Checking it off the list.