If you are planning to visit Atlanta Georgia anytime soon,then there are some things you should know about this city. First of all, it is a great place to visit and there are plenty of things to do in Atlanta. Here is a list of a stuff we will discuss: Visiting Atlanta, Places to Stay, Events, Attractions, Shopping, food, and at the end I will discuss some of my favorite places to eat! Let’s get into it.
Travel to Atlanta
The two most popular ways to get to Atlanta are by Flight or Driving.
Fly to Atlanta
In order to fly to Atlanta, you are going to need to fly to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Known as one of the busiest airports in the world, Hartsfield is pretty simple to navigate. Once your plane lands, you will have to walk through the terminal in order to board the train. There should be signed tell you which way the train is.
The train can go both ways depending on what gate you land at, so it is important to board the train that is headed towards the baggage claim. Once you arrive at the baggage claim exit from the train, there are two main sides to choose from. One side is mostly Delta (it is usually red) baggage claims, and the other side is pretty much all other airlines.
If you get lost at any point there are TVs throughout the airport and at every gate that will display:
- Flights that are departing
- Flights that are arriving
- Baggage claims of each flight if necessary
- Gate number for each flight
- Flight number
All of this information is extremely useful if you are new to the airport.
Once you have claimed your bag, walk outside on either side terminal to try and catch a cab, call an Uber, or head downstairs to try and catch a bus or van headed to your destination. The most popular transportation service in Atlanta is MARTA. There are trains and buses to and from the Airport, but honestly Uber is just as handy. Uber and Lyft are both extremely popular in Atlanta, so I would recommend just using one of those for your trip.
Drive to Atlanta
If you are planning to drive to Atlanta, make sure you plan your trip around the traffic. Typically, Traffic is at it’s worst from 7:00 am – 9:00 am in the mornings and from 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm in the evenings. Fridays are the worst day to drive into the city with Saturdays and Sundays just depending on the events going on.
If you are planning on driving from the north (down I-75) then traffic is at its worst in the morning hours. In the evening, it is not as bad getting into Atlanta. If you are planning on coming from the south (up 85), then you are going to have pretty decent traffic most of the day but generally stay away from the trouble hours listed above.
Overall, driving into Atlanta is not as bad as it may seem. Just remember that 285 goes around the perimeter of Atlanta while 85 and 75 both go directly into the city.
Parking in Atlanta
Parking is not too bad in the city, but you will not find free parking most places. Garages will let you park at an hourly rate with a maximum rate of around $10 dollars for a full day on average. There is meter parking in some areas but it is easier to just park in a garage.
If you are staying at a hotel in town, then parking should be free for you. I would recommend using Uber when you get around to avoid parking charges and complications if you are visiting. Additionally, you can use MARTA to navigate the city, but it can be confusing for first timers. MARTA is the cheapest option if you take the time to look at the map.
Places to Stay in atlanta
If you are visiting Atlanta, then you are going to need a place to stay! There are plenty of options for in the city, but here are two of the most popular and luxurious places to stay.
Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market was an old warehouse that was reestablished as a trendy, town favorite market place. There are unique stores here only found in Atlanta to shop, amazing and authentic restaurants, yogo studio for all your workout needs, and my favorite a wine store that has a variety of tastes.
What most people do not know about Ponce City Market, is that there are rooms available for rent on the upper floors. There are Studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom rooms available. These rooms are exquisite and are honestly one of the best places to stay if you have the buck for it. You will have to Uber into the city, but you will have an amazing time staying at such a lively place.
The Westin Atlanta is probably the most well known hotel in the city. It towers above all of the other buildings and hosts the most well know restaurant on top, The Sun Dial. To note, The Sun Dial is one of the more impressive restaurants in the city and if you have never been, you should go at least once.
Additionally, the Westin is smack dab right in the middle of the city. You can practically walk to anywhere you would like to go within a couple of blocks. If you are going out for the night, it is probably still better just to call and Uber as the Atlanta streets can be quite confusing and winding.
Staying here will definitely give you that Atlanta experience that you may be searching for.
AirBNB and VRBO
Just like most cities, there are plenty of options on AirBNB and VRBO available in the city.
For your convenience, we have picked out a few spots that are great prices and in good locations around the city. None of these are sponsored, so you know they are good deals!
Great spot and price right downtown near Centennial Park on the WEST SIDE (West of I-75) of Atlanta. – Link
Great spot and price slightly on the edge of town on the EAST SIDE (East of I-75) of Atlanta near old fourth ward. – Link
events in Atlanta
The great thing about living or visiting Atlanta is that there are always events, concerts, conventions, and interactive things going on.
Atlanta Weekly Events
Before you plan your trip, or before you come, make sure you check the Atlanta downtown website out to see what is happening during your stay! Chances are that there will be some awesome events happening you did not even know about! Typically, there are several events per day and even more on the weekends which means, you will have plenty to choose from.
The Tabernacle is a well known building that holds many concerts and shows throughout the year. It has a reputation of filling the entire house on shows and can be quite a fun experience. Check out this link here to see some of the upcoming shows at the Tabernacle in Atlanta.
Another great place to see is visit is the Fox Theater. A pillar of the community, the theater has been around since 1928. It is one of the most well known theater in this region and lays host to some of the most magical and wonderful shows that come to the city. Most of these shows will be on the high end, but they can be worth the buck if you have the time.
From the 2019 super bowl, most people now understand how enormous the Mercedes Stadium actually is. If you ever get the privilege of watching a game in this place, you too will understand. It is easily the biggest structure I have ever been in and is such and amazing experience to watch an Atlanta United game in, Atlanta’s home soccer team. This is a must visit if you ever come to Atlanta and prepare to be blown away.
Likewise, the new Braves Stadium is quite a feat of ingenuity. Although it is not as massive as the Mercedes Stadium, there is still a whole culture and mini city built up around it. By mini city, I seriously mean there is a mini city surrounding the stadium of hotels, restaurants, stores, apartment complexes, and buildings. If you go see a game here, we highly recommend using Uber as parking is difficult. Oh, and do not forget your very own tomahawk chop either.
After you play ball at the new braves stadium, you may want to enjoy some of that other things Atlanta has to offer.
The Atlanta Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Take your time and you could end up spending almost a full day enjoying all of the exhibits and amenities. If you want to play with some penguins, dive in a tank or touch a sting ray and baby shark this is the place for you. Tickets are not bad price wise, and there is usually a discount online somewhere if you look for it.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
One of the hidden gems of Atlanta is the botanical gardens. It does not get very much exposure compared to some of the other places on this list, but from personal experience it is a sight to see! My fiance and I went during Christmas time and had so much fun walking around sipping hot chocolate looking at the lights.
The gardens are at full bloom in late spring and throughout most of fall. We would say do not go early Spring as the topiaries will probably not be planted yet.
Christmas time is one of the best times to visit. Everything has lights strung across from tree to tree and there are plenty of exhibits lite up throughout the park. Sip some hot coco, sit by the fire, and take plenty of pictures of all the creations!
World of Coke
Do you like coke? Do you like different flavors of coke? Well then this place is just for you! No, seriously this place has a variety of coke products from all around the globe that you can try. While you are enjoying your international beverage at the World of Coke, go ahead and cruise down history lane and learn all about our favorite drink, Coca-Cola.
A great place for kids, the Atlanta Zoo is a school and group favorite spot. It is usually overrun with field trips and scout groups, but still offers plenty to do for smaller groups looking to check out some of natures finest creatures.
One of the most fun things to do and at the same time scariest things to do right in the middle of Centennial park is, ride the Atlanta Ferris Wheel. Your first thought might be, why is it scary? Well for starters, the 200 foot Ferris wheel is quite big. Additionally, the cabins that go up have see through flooring. If you can stomach this, then remember to bring a camera for pictures of the city and make a fun video as a keepsake!
USA Today has a great article on the Ferris Wheel with more details that you should check out if this is on your list of things to do!
Atlanta has a vast selection on shopping centers and outlets. There are a few places that rank above the rest that you should visit first if you have limited time in the Peach City.
Midtown Ponce City Market
Ponce City market was mentioned before in this article as a place to stay. Besides renting a room above, the building, stores, restaurants, and events are enough to put this place on this list as well. There are some amazing stores that are startups native to Atlanta. For this reason, you can get some unique outfits that can not be purchased anywhere else!
Buckhead Lenox Square
The Second place on the list is non other than the famous Lenox Square mall. Sitting in the middle of Buckhead, the mall has every expensive store you can imagine in it. There is even a Tesla store (yes in the mall) where you can learn all about the cars and even test drive one in the parking lot. Beside Tesla, there are stores with $50,000 diamonds, clothes with a paycheck as a price tag, and of course a Starbucks. Because you can’t spend a lifetime worth of saving without your Mocha Frap right?
Ironically, if you time it right and know the mall well enough, there are plenty of stores that have massive discounts at the end of each season. I will typically go in to certain stores and get 50% off on items that they are trying to “get rid of”. This is not the case for all of the stores clearly, but for some of the clothing stores it is a must.
Additionally while you are here, make sure to check out our friends at Hammer Made! Hammer Made is a store that custom crafts men’s dress shirts. Every month they release a batch of 50 shirts and never make any more of the same shirt.
I have met the owner and this guy clearly loves what he does. He works hand in hand with a team of designers in New York to push out a new line up of shirts every single month. Talk about dedication. The limited 50 shirts of each design are then divided and distributed around to 7-10 stores around the country. This means purchasing a shirt in your city almost guarantees no one will ever match you at the party.
Buckhead Phipps Plaza
Similar to Lenox, Phipps Plaza is just a few blocks away and pretty much hosts any rich and swanky store that is ironically not in Lenox. Phipps is a fun place to run around and plan how to spend your lottery money.
Food In atlanta
Every city has something special about that city, but Atlanta has a lot of special things to share. Food is pretty high up there with the other items on this article. Specifically, steakhouses are a fan favorite around the city. If you want to learn more about steakhouses than listed below, make sure to check out this awesome ZAGAT article on Atlanta steakhouses.
A new steakhouse in Buckhead that opened in late 2018. Alley’s steakhouse features some amazing menu items and will impress any date, or dates parents that you are meeting for the first time. Additionally, This place almost always has a few Lambos and Ferrari’s parked outside which is always fun to check out.
Bones is a classic steakhouse in Atlanta that hardly ever gets a bad review. While your there go ahead and whip out that credit card to try their Wagyu A5 New York Strip (10oz). No really, you are gonna need to use your credit card to eat here if you want a bone-in rib-eye. Although, Like most places there are a lot of other great things on the menu other hen just steak for everyone to enjoy.
Chops Steakhouse and Lobster Bar
Chops is probably the most popular steakhouse in Atlanta. This one I have not personally been to, but most people that I have talked to all recommend it. According to reviews, Chops consistently ranks in the top ten of all steakhouses in the country. They additionally have an amazing seafood selection which is flown in daily. I will have to give this place a try and come finish the review!
Oddly enough, Korean BBQ has become quite popular in the Buford and Duluth areas just north of Atlanta. This is largely impart due to the growing Korean population that resides in those areas. For BBQ, you want a larger party when you go to a place like this and the idea is that you cook the food yourself on a type of stove top in front of you.
A friend of mine recently said, do the “all you can eat” selection, and you can only do that selection if the entire table does the same thing. Therefore, make sure to bring your hungry friends and probably not any vegans. If you have not experienced Korean BBQ before then this is a great time to try it!
Atlanta Iron Age Korean BBQ
Iron Age is the main Korean BBQ place that is advertised around the city. I have not been to this specific place, but I have heard they play K-pop music and it is quite a good time with great food! Worth the try for any food junkies!
While there are plenty of amazing places to eat at in Atlanta, here are some of my personal favorites. No, these are probably not the number one rated or fanciest on the list kind of places, but they are all very very good and I will continually go back to each of these places.
Mission & Market
A new addition to the Buckhead area, Mission & Market (M&M) is right by the Alley’s steakhouse from above. M&M offers a wide variety of dishes, and I have never had a dish that I did not like. Some of my favorites things I have ever had from this place were actually on their special lunch menu.
For lunch they do something called the “Grab and Go”. This is basically a list of items that can be prepared fast for to-go orders. Ironically, this is also where they put some of their creations that are not available on the main menu! From grabbing lunch here I have had some amazing dishes. Two of my favorites are surprisingly the Duck Pizza and one time they made a Shrimp Po-boy that was probably my favorite sandwich of all time. All I have to say is this place never disappoints.
Pappadeaux is actually not a native restaurant to Atlanta, so I am kind of cheating. Although, Pappadeaux is native to my heart ..and its my blog.
All jokes aside, this place is like the seafood holy grail. They even had a over 20 pound lobster one time that was sold and devoured by an entire table. One of my waiters told us they could not even bind the claws this thing was so big.
There are two of these now north of Atlanta and both are conveniently right off of 85. The one closest to Atlanta is right off of Jimmy Carter after Spaghetti Junction and if you get there after 5:30 without a reservation, you might as well go home. This place gets beyond packed because of how amazing it is.
For my favorite meal here is easily the crawfish etouffee. You will thank me later.
Sam’s On Main
This place is a little ways from Atlanta, but if you find yourself in Gwinnett then you know where to go! Sam’s On Main is a little pop shop owned by non other than Sam himself! Sam’s focuses on Greek and Mediterranean food but features plenty of american options as well. Soon Sam’s will be upgrading to a brand new building and growing into the new shoes the lines out the door have bought for it.
My favorite meal here is the Lamb Saute.
No list is complete without a sushi restaurant. Umi sits near the heart of Buckhead, tucked away in a quiet building corner. Although it is hidden, Umi is anything but a hidden treasure. Occasionally, you can catch celebs here and any whos who in Atlanta.
The famous sushi house has rolls that I had never before heard of in my life and a lovely setting for romantic dinners. If you want to visit a top sushi house in Atlanta, then go ahead and put this place at the top of your list and get your taste buds ready.
If you are still planning your trip to Atlanta and still have questions about the city or want to now more specifics, feel free to reach out or leave a comment with your question! Besides that, I hope you enjoy your stay in Atlanta and it lives up to all of your expectations!