Atlanta, Georgia will always have a special place in my heart. It’s the first place that I ever took a trip without my parents. My best friend and I packed up her car and took our first of many road trips to ATL. It started an annual event, and we’ve been back multiple times since that first visit. I’ve finally put together an Atlanta city guide you can follow with my favorite places to eat and visit for your next trip!
What to Do:
Now that I’ve been a few times I feel like I can give some solid recommendations on what to do in Atlanta, GA. The city has a lot to offer but I’ve narrowed it down to my personal favorite destinations and attractions.
I don’t know how we missed this gem on our first and second trip to Atlanta but I’m glad we finally made it there on the 3rd visit. Aside from having a bunch of very cute spots to stop for a quick pic, there are also a ton of things to do. The first 2 floors consist of a bunch of different local shops and restaurants. The third floor has The Beltline, a quiet outdoor area that is perfect for photo ops or just relaxing away from the busy indoor activity. You could spend hours just exploring those, but if you plan ahead you can also make a trip up to the roof. The roof offers different events and activities so make sure you check their website. It does cost extra, but if you can swing it the views look amazing!
Right in the middle of downtown Atlanta there is a 22 acre park connecting some of their most popular attractions. Before you rush by to get to the aquarium or World of Coca-Cola, spend some time exploring Centennial Olympic Park. There are fountains that dance to music, gardens, and playgrounds to commemorate the city hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics. It’s a beautiful spot to take a break and maybe grab lunch at a nearby food truck or food stand.
If you are looking for an indoor activity for hot summer days, this is it. You could seriously spend the whole day here, there is so much to do and see. The aquarium is HUGE (the largest in the western hemisphere) and is home to animals from all over the world, from penguins to piranhas they have it all. My favorite parts had to be the sea lion show and seeing the massive whale sharks being fed in the Ocean Voyager gallery. Their focus on research and conservation is inspiring and conveys a great message for all ages!
We had so much fun trying all of the different Coca-Cola flavors from around the world. There are over 100 to try! I definitely didn’t like a lot of them, but that gamble was half the fun. Before you reach the tasting room there are theaters and rooms with Coke’s story, they even have the vault containing their secret formula. It is a great interactive experience for all ages and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Atlanta.
Little 5 Points is a neighborhood in Atlanta that’ll give you all the hippie/artist vibes. It’s lined with vintage clothing stores, book stores, coffee shops, record stores, and so much more. I love the new-age/metaphysical shop called Crystal Blue. There are also a variety of local restaurants and street art, plus it’s only a mile from Krog Street Market. We took a short electric scooter ride between the two last time we visited.
If you love nature and want to see some beautiful views I highly recommend exploring the trails at Stone Mountain. They have an old mill and quarry exhibit if you love history, or you can take the summit skyride to the top of Stone Mountain for gorgeous views of Atlanta and the Appalachian Mountains (if you’re not scared of heights like me). They have different events throughout the year so make sure you check that before you visit!
Where to Eat:
Exploring the food scene is one of my favorite things to do in a new city. Here are my top food recommendations. I’ll try to update it as I visit because they always have great new spots popping up. All of the places on my list have vegetarian/vegan and seafood options to enjoy!
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Folk Art is a cute and eclectic restaurant offering delicious southern-style foods. They also have vegan food options, so anyone can stop for a bite. They give southern classics a twist, and the diner’s aesthetics give off country-hipster vibes. It’s really delicious and I definitely recommend stopping by for anything from breakfast to dessert. They even serve a few signature alcoholic drinks!
The Tap on Ponce has a large selection of craft beer and wine to choose from. It is located on the first floor of Ponce City Market, right near all of their great local restaurants. The employees were very friendly and helpful, which was great for someone like me who doesn’t have a ton of experience picking out beer. The best part is you can take your drink and walk around the shops in Ponce. You could also grab food from a local restaurant on the same floor!
We stopped here for a quick breakfast on our way out of Atlanta, and we were very pleasantly surprised by this unassuming little location. They are not kidding when they say they make the best breakfast in town! Great prices and variety, their pancakes were great but I will never stop raving about their salmon cakes. We tried to recreate them at home but it just wasn’t the same. We were so hungry we didn’t get any photos, but if you don’t mind a no-frills experience and love your taste buds come here!
Krog street Market is a food hall with lots of options- so if you are with a group that has different tastes, or you just crave variety you should definitely give it a visit. There’s a bakery, southern comfort food, pho, ice cream, Indian, dumplings, and more. Hop City is a bar within the food hall that has a bunch of craft beer and wine to choose from too. There are even a few retail stores to shop in after you eat!
Located inside Krog Street Market, Suzy Siu’s Bao was delicious and had a great variety for a small location. I love bao, and their soft, fluffy buns with various fillings made from local ingredients just makes me happy. Plus they had options for meat eaters and vegans alike. They also offer a few ramen options if that’s what you prefer (or get both!).
Technically in Avondale Estates, My Parent’s basement is just outside Atlanta but worth the trip if your crew loves good beer and some nerdy fun. They are a comic book store with a full bar and arcade games in the back. It’s truly a unique experience. We stopped by for brunch in the off-season and had the place to ourselves! The food was great and I would love to come back at night for the full bar experience.
- Traffic: While I love the city, Atlanta is the worst to navigate. There are a bunch of one-ways (not always marked), and they have been reported to have some of the worst traffic in the world. So buckle up and pay attention!
- City Pass: If you want to experience everything Atlanta has to offer, getting a City Pass is your best bet financially. For $77 you get to go to 5 different attractions. If you already planned on hitting those stops it will save you a good amount of money.
- Try to group your activities by location, that way you can park somewhere in the middle and rent electric scooters or bikes to get around. It is so much easier than hunting for parking at every stop (plus it’s a thrilling activity on it’s own!)
- If you’re on a budget, check out my blog post on how to eat cheap while traveling!
Stay Tuned for More City Guides!
I plan on going back to ATL so I’ll update this Atlanta City Guide as I find new places, let me know your favorite spots to visit in Atlanta, GA!