Hotlanta: the biggest surprise

I’ve now visited Atlanta twice in the last year, and if you’d told me how much I would end up liking the city, I wouldn’t believe you. I also most likely wouldn’t have visited if one of my best friends wasn’t living there, but when there’s an opportunity for a free place to stay and a free tour guide, count me in!

Atlanta is a vibrant, creative, cultural city with plenty of delicious fried chicken to indulge in.  It’s got that Southern charm but big city feel, with diverse neighborhoods to offer everything you could need.

Here’s my Top 5 of Atlanta (plus an extra day trip option at the end!), and Brews & Food to follow.

  1. Georgia Aquarium
    I’ve visited my fair share of aquariums and went into my visit at the Georgia Aquarium with a somewhat apprehensive attitude, and (like much of Atlanta) was very surprised. The floor-to-ceiling tank room with views of whale sharks, sea turtles and the largest sting rays I’ve seen yet is incredible. It’s actually the largest indoor aquatic habitat in the world!  Dolphin shows, penguin walks, sea lion presentations, there is plenty to sea! 😉
  2. The Center for Civil & Human Rights Museum
    I can’t recommend this museum enough.  It’s inspiring, heartbreaking, informing, and beautiful.  With interactive exhibits like the lunch counter sit-in, Jim Crow laws, and the Human Rights Movement gallery showcasing the hardships and diversity across our world, there is not another museum like it.  P.S. Bring the Kleenex, you’ll need it.
  3. Living Walls
    This is more of an area to see if you are willing to walk a bit or have a car.  The mission of Living Walls  is to promote, educate and change perceptions about public spaces via street art.  The result is some intricate, colorful “graffiti” art throughout the city.  This link provides an interactive map of some of the best living walls in Atlanta.
  4. Ponce City Market
    OMG this place is cool.  Imagine a place with an adult slide, vibrant food hall (offering everything from seafood to burgers to local beer to deep fried chicken) carnival games, rooftop miniature golf, great views of the city, located in an industrial warehouse building with a rooftop space, and that is Ponce City Market.  While you do have to pay $10 to get up to the Skyline Park rooftop area, which is where all the fun is, the views and excitement are worth it!
  5. College Football Hall of Fame
    This may only speak to a certain audience, but as a Texas Aggie and fan of college football, this museum was quite an exciting trip.  It’s relatively new, so a lot of the technology is way fancy, like RFID chips in your badge once you register your team so touch-screen media walls showcase your registered team videos and pictures as soon as you walk up.

Brews & Food

  1. SweetWater Brewery
    For $12, you’ll get a souvenir pint glass, six 6 oz. tastings and a tour of this massive brewery.  They’ve got two huge taprooms to hang out in and some delicious, unique flavored brews.
  2. Busy Bee’s
    Authentic fried chicken that’s been in business since 1947.  Count. Me. In.
  3. Chick-fil-a
    The original is located in Atlanta (well, technically Hapeville), and has its own unique menu.  Side note: It’s veryyyy close to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport if you have a layover or a little bit of time to kill before your flight! 😉
    Address (because we may have gone to the wrong location on our first attempt…):
    461 N Central Ave Hapeville, GA
  4. Antico’s
    Family-run pizzeria known for their brick-oven pies and communal atmosphere.  Oh, and there’s gelato across the street. 🙂
  5. Sun Dial Restaurant
    Located at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza, grab a drink at sunset for some great views of the city.

Got enough time for a roadtrip?  Head out to Amicalola Falls, Georgia’s tallest waterfall, about a 1.5 hour drive from Atlanta, for a hike with a view.


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