I don’t go to the South. Or at least that’s what I make a point of telling people. I’ve only gone to Florida and Texas before, and have been informed that those do not “count” as the South.
But when my friend asked if anyone would join her on her non-refundable* trip to Atlanta, I agreed without any consideration for whether there was any part of me that wanted to go there. And that’s how I found myself on a long weekend in Atlanta. Which happens to be in the South.
*Guys, only book your flights through Southwest.
Atlanta is an expansive city. There is so much to do in the far stretches of the city, but we only had a few days. See you some other time, Decatur!
We chose to stay in the downtown area in a hotel instead of getting an Airbnb in a neighborhood mainly because we would be taking cars to most places. To the shock of us DC people, we didn’t encounter surge pricing even once on Uber or Lyft (thanks everyone with cars in Atlanta!). So in the end, taking cars cost us about the same price as, if not less than, taking public transportation.
Pro tip: When traveling from the airport into the city, the MARTA is an incredibly easy, cheap, and fairly fast option. Yay public transportation!
Although it’s a bit far outside the city, I hinted multiple times that we should go to the roller rink where Beyoncé had her 21st birthday (Cascade Skating Center, if you’re wondering). We did not. Here are the places we actually went:
High Museum of Art – I will go to at least one museum in any city I visit. The High is an encyclopedic art museum, which makes it a great option for both your art historian friends and your friends that don’t know much about art. Also, the building itself is worth seeing (h/t to Renzo Piano).
Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site – This National Historic Site covers a few blocks—the visitor center, the King Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, a historic fire station, and his birth home. A lot of the buildings in the area also have historical markers in front of them, so it’s worth walking around the whole neighborhood.
Piedmont Park – This park is just a short walk away from the High. Want more plants? At the north end of the park, you can go to the Atlanta Botanic Gardens.
Shopping in Little Five Points – My friend came prepared with a list of all of the vintage shops in Atlanta, and we were not disappointed. We started with some caffeine from Java Lords, stopped by The Clothing Warehouse which has an enviable vintage dress section, picked up some gifts at The Junkman’s Daughter, picked up some cheap records at Criminal Records, and searched through racks and racks of clothing at Rag-O-Rama.
To Eat and Drink
During any good trip, the majority of your decisions should revolve around food.
Ponce City Market – We went to this indoor market on our first night. I love these types of places because you can find so many options. And if there’s a wait, you can walk around or try another place. We chose Minero, a Mexican restaurant, and were not disappointed. I also liked the look of Botiwalla, an Indian street food restaurant. Next time!
Side note: There’s also a mini-golf course and amusement park games on the roof, but we could not find it after numerous attempts. Someone please tell me how to find this.
Krog Street Market – Another indoor market! This was a short walk away from the MLK Historic Site and a great option for some casual eating. We got the hummus and falafel from Yalla, a bao each from Suzy Siu’s Baos, and dessert from The Little Tart Bakeshop. I also picked up some amazing chocolate bars from Xocolatl (try the Kissed Mermaids and Americana bars).
The Silver Skillet – Gravy is considered a side in the South. Always get the extra biscuit, even if you don’t think you need it. You will.
The Vortex – When we were looking for a place to grab a drink in Little Five Points, we of course had to pick the place with a giant skull as the entrance. I couldn’t resist getting the Hip-Mo-Tizer, but I (shockingly) resisted getting the souvenir tiki mug that looks like said skull entrance.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium – Have you ever thought, “I’d really like to see over a dozen Pee-Wee Herman dolls posed in weird ways?” Well, have I got the place for you! This place has enough junk on its walls and hanging from the ceiling to keep you entertained. They also allegedly have church organ karaoke on Wednesdays.
No better way to get in the mood for a trip to Atlanta than with a playlist featuring Georgia’s finest. This playlist will last you an entire flight from DC to Atlanta. I had to cut back on the amount of Outkast and TLC I originally put on this list.
I’ve mapped out everywhere we ventured on our trip and added a few other suggestions.
This post is the first in my 12 Trips in 12 Months challenge.