After a direct flight from Aspen, you’ve survived arrival at the world’s busiest airport. Now what?
Ah, Atlanta: home to Outkast, Chick-fil-A, and Coca-Cola. Those things are true, and yet, there’s more! Fantastic restaurants, music, art and design, a unique perspective on civil rights and yes, a Walking Dead tour. So, if you’re ready to hop on winter’s twice-daily Delta direct out of Aspen and get away from the snow for a couple of days, here’s how to make the most out of your time.
Like New York City, Atlanta is a city made up of neighborhoods, each one with a unique personality all its own. Unlike New York City, it’s not laid out quite so logically. Peachtree Road runs north to south from Buckhead to Midtown to Downtown with neighborhood offshoots. Some neighborhoods to note are Midtown, West Midtown, Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park.
Midtown, as the name might suggest, is a central and popular place to base a stay. It’s home to Piedmont Park, with more than 180 acres of park space in the heart of the city, perfect for going for a run and enjoying lung capacity at less than 1,000 feet. After that run you’ll have earned a meal at The Nook, home to Tatchos which are the tator-tot version of nachos—surely no additional information is needed.
Old Fourth Ward offers a little bit of everything and bridges Atlanta’s past with the present. Home to the childhood residence of Martin Luther King, Jr., a visit to The King Center is a part of experiencing the city. While Atlanta isn’t particularly walkable, there are plenty of places to walk. Check out the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail by starting at Ponce City Market, once the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. headquarters and now a bustling shopping and dining area. Grab a coffee at Dancing Goats and hit the trail. About 2 miles later, you’ll end up at Krog Street Market, the food hall that started the food hall craze in Atlanta and remains the best. Along the way, there are plenty of parks to meander through for some extra mileage and an ever-changing array of murals and public art.
All over the city, you’ll find great options for filling up that empty suitcase. Explore Buckhead Village for lux labels, Westside Provisions and Ponce City Market for a mix of local merchants and larger brands, and don’t worry—if you’re a mall person, there are two, Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall. Word of warning: Lenox Mall has a Nike store and a Zara that people go into and some are lost to the line forever. Don’t miss Sid and Ann Mashburn in Westside Provisions. This couple created a set of shops that will have that piece that keeps people asking, "Oh, where’d you get that?" The answer: on a quick trip to Atlanta.
Eat, drink and
do it again
Little Tart, Grant Park, Krog Street Market, Summerhill: Farmers’ market fave turned café.
Taqueria del Sol, West Midtown: The line goes quickly and do not grab a table before you order.
Superica, Krog Street Market
Amore e Amore, Inman Park: It may not get all the write-ups, but you can’t not have fun here.
Lyla Lila, Midtown:The New York Times heralded it as Best Restaurant in Atlanta
Delbar, Inman Park:Middle Eastern food for the cool kids.
Ticonderoga Club, Krog Street Market: Come for drinks, stay for the food.
Jojo’s Beloved Cocktail Bar, Midtown: Every trip should have a speakeasy moment, reservations required.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Midtown: A southern classic, an Atlanta institution.
Miller Union, West Midtown: Refined southern cooking and great for dinner
A few inside tips:
1. No one calls it Hotlanta.
2. The Varsity: Go ahead, but yes, you’ll either find hungover GA Tech students
or tourists waiting to order their chilidog. If you do go, get a Frosted Orange.
3. Dive In! The Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the U.S., is a spectacular place to visit and the only aquarium in the world with whale
sharks and manta rays. If you have time to do an “animal encounter” you won’t be sorry. Get there when it opens to enjoy some quiet time before the
crowds roll in.
Where to stay:
Midtown: Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. What’s not to like about Four Seasons? Stop by Bar Margot for a cocktail. The Starling is in a great, bustling area at a more budget-friendly price point.
West Midtown: Bellyard
Poncey Highlands: Hotel Clermont. But wait, why does that sound familiar? Ah yes, the famed Clermont Lounge, Atlanta’s oldest strip club. Look it up.
And yes, you should go.