Last week I was able to travel to one of the coolest cities and spend a few days exploring what they had to offer... ATLANTA is awesome, y'all!
I was raised by southern parents in the southwest, but I currently live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and have grown to really love and appreciate ~The South~ so much more in the past 10 or so years. Atlanta is probably one of the coolest places I've visited- it was the perfect hybrid of big city and charming Southern city, and I definitely fell in love.
I really want to thank everyone who commented on my Instagram post with suggestions of stuff to do! We got some great recommendations and this blog post is literally just a compilation of what all of you told us to try!
My boyfriend had a work convention in Atlanta, so I decided to tag along and we made it a long weekend getaway. For the most part, everything we did I would recommend. Bear with me as I type all of our experience out...this is not going to be a well written blog post, it'll be more like a play by play of what we did. If you want a comprehensive list scroll to the bottom and pin the ATL Bucket List image onto Pinterest!
Something I didn't know about Atlanta (and was surprised to find out) was just how STACKED their tourism opportunities were. We got the City Pass which was $76 and got us entry into the Georgia Aquarium (the largest aquarium in North America apparently) the World of Coca-Cola (which I didn't know Coca-Cola was based in ATL!) CNN Studios (also didn't know that was based in ATL) Zoo Atlanta (they are one of 4 places to see Pandas in the US!) and the College Football Hall of Fame. These were all HELLA touristy places, but still worth visiting and definitely a deal with the City Pass.
The first day we got there, we visited the original Chick-Fil-A location, which is called the "Dwarf House." Still don't really understand that, but anyways... it's a classic diner-style restaurant serving the original items that basically paved the way for what the Chick-Fil-A menu is today. We are dumb and went in the wrong door and just saw the normal Chick-Fil-A part, so we ordered that. Then we went around the corner and saw the OG diner and were like DANG IT. So make sure when you go, you sit at the diner part otherwise it's just a regular ol' Chick-Fil-A (I don't even like Chick-Fil-A so I was a little bummed that we didn't see the diner part first.)
We went to the Aquarium that evening because it was one of the few attractions we wanted to do that was open after 5pm. The Georgia Aquarium is pretty epic! We also ate at Antico Pizza which was recommended to us by plenty of people. Understandably so... it was some of the best pizza I've ever had! And it's BYOB (but we bought Peroni there.)
The next day, Christian had work meetings all day so I hung around our hotel and worked. We ate dinner at the famous Varsity, which is currently the world's largest drive in restaurant and is SUPER nostalgic. It actually was celebrating 90 years of service that weekend! We then went to Monday Night Brewing, a really cool craft beer brewery and then went to the world famous Clermont Lounge (it's a no-frills, old school strip club that's been open since the 60's and is in the basement of the Clermont Motor Hotel.)
The next morning we ate at The Silver Skillet, which is a famous old-school diner known for being in lots of movies and TV shows like Remember the Titans and Ozark. It was also on Diners Drive ins and Dives. I had amazing chicken and waffles here and then I had them again at another place on the trip (I love chicken and waffles y'all.)
We then spent almost the entire morning at The World of Coca-Cola which I thought was incredibly interesting and really well done. At the end you get to try over 100+ Coca-Cola products from around the world which was really cool!
After that we did the CNN Studio Tour, which I honestly thought was pretty dumb. It was probably actually the worst tour I've ever been on. You don't really get to see anything at all... so because it was included in our City Pass I was okay with it, but if we had paid separately to go I would have been furious. I would recommend walking by the studio and seeing the big CNN letters and maybe walking inside the whole complex because it's pretty impressive, but the tour legitimately didn't show us anything. The whole time we were just walking up and down stairs and being shown "replicas" of cameras and studio setups.
We were able to snag $6 tickets to the Braves game that night which was in their BRAND NEW stadium complex. The Battery Atlanta is the name of the whole shopping and dining complex that's attached to SunTrust Park, where the Braves play. It was really great and full of brand new shops and restaurants! We actually ended up eating at this hole in the wall place on the way up there, and it was phenomenal. Heirloom Market BBQ was suggested on a lot of food lists we looked up, and it was literally a one room operation attached to a gas station market. This place had amazing Korean BBQ and hugeeee portions, so I'd definitely recommend making the trip up north to get it. It was really close to the Braves stadium too!
LAWD this blog post is getting long, but if you didn't already notice we tried to cram a lot into our trip and I think we succeeded! The next day we spent most of the day at Zoo Atlanta, specifically to see the panda twins! They are currently 2 years old and it's rare to see pandas in the US. They're my favorite animal so we had to do it (and it was included in our City Pass!) That morning we ate at Thumbs Up Diner, and there was like a 2 hour wait. It was tasty, but definitely be prepared to wait as it's a hoppin place in the Old Fourth Ward, just blocks away from where Martin Luther King grew up and was a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. We definitely wanted to see all of that, so we did a little self-guided tour before we headed to the zoo.
After it started pouring down rain on us leaving the Zoo, we decided to go check out Ponce City Market to find some food. Y'ALL. This place is insane. It was originally the Sears building back in the day, and it was one of the largest buildings Sears had in the country. This massive brick building has been converted into a mall/food hall of sorts, complete with a rooftop carnival. We didn't get to see the rooftop because the weather was bad, but there were plenty of food and shopping options inside to keep us busy. We had some phenomenal Indian food at Bottiwalla inside, and then some cookie dough afterwards for dessert. I'd definitely recommend checking this place out because it's so unique (at least compared to what we have going on in Louisiana.)
That night we checked out the Sweetwater Brewery and did a tour there (we are big beer people, can you tell?) and then ate that night at The Vortex in Little Five Points, a really hip area that I wish we could have explored more. The Vortex was a cool spot and the food was ok in my opinion. But I'm not a gourmet burger kind of girl (probably would have rather had Whataburger or something, but the atmosphere was cool.)
The second half of our trip we were staying at an Airbnb in Inman Park, a historic suburb of ATL that was really charming. Our Airbnb was a dump, but that's a different story. I'd still recommend checking out the Inman Park area, as it was really close to Little Five Points and other cool parts of town.
Okay... home stretch y'all. The last day we were there, we ate breakfast at Atlanta Breakfast Club downtown, which was right across the street from the Aquarium and near the College Football Hall of Fame, which we were planning on spending the day at. This breakfast spot was really busy and we had to wait about 40 minutes to eat here, but it was a really great menu and experience! We walked on over to the College Football Hall of Fame (included in our City Pass) and spent a good 3 hours or so there. If you're a football fan, you'll definitely love this place. I had a good time looking at the archives and interactive experiences- the museum is really well done. I happened to wear a dress that day, which was a mistake because at the end you're able to do practice drills and kick a field goal.
We left and went on to Krog Street Market which was literally a block from our (gross) Airbnb in Inman Park. This market was like a smaller version of Ponce City Market but still had lots of awesome food options! The market is right by the Atlanta Beltline, which we kept hearing about... it was like a city-wide walking/biking loop that is its own little highway for pedestrians. There was a lot of street art and public murals along the beltline, especially near the Krog Street Tunnel! (FUN FACT- we passed by the lofts where Queer Eye is filmed in Cabbagetown too! Didn't get a photo, but it's called the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts.) We walked around for a bit but then had to get to the airport to leave that evening. If we had more time, we probably would have rented a scooter or a bike to do the Beltline and try to see the city more.
The last thing we did on the way to the airport was visit the Jackson Street Bridge and take a picture of the city skyline. This is a really cool view of the city, and then we found out it was the exact view that was used for the Walking Dead (never watched it, but still coo.)
ALL IN ALL Atlanta stole my heart. Everyone there was so nice and hospitable, and so many parts of the city were charming. There was a ton to do as you can see, and I'd definitely recommend it for both families and couples to go check out!