Getting away in ATL
by Loren Pratt
YOU DON’T HAVE to travel to New York for quality shows or New Orleans for haute cuisine for summer fun. Stay in the comfort of your home and forgo long airport lines by planning an Atlanta staycation. We’ve created a wonderful weekend of exploration that’s great for families, couples or solo venturing
Bottom line: Explore Atlanta, try new things and treat yourself without breaking the bank.
Atlanta Staycation Itinerary
Stop 1: Begin your day with a tasty treat: coffee and delicious handmade doughnuts at Revolution Doughnuts, located in Decatur or Old Fourth Ward. Come hungry because you’ll want to try each flavor. These doughnuts are truly edible art.
Stop 2: After your sugar rush, make your way to the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. This three-mile stretch between Midtown and Reynoldstown is great for working off your doughnuts in cultural style. Take in the sights as you stroll, jog, skate or bike along this urban redevelopment of former railroad corridors. Encounter public art installations, parks, restaurants and shops. It’s a wonderful opportunity to feel the city’s pulse.
Stop 3: Keep your walking shoes on as you next explore the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a 42,000-square-foot facilty in downtown Atlanta. The center prides itself as a “cultural attraction that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s struggle for Global Human Rights.” The building itself is architecturally stunning, and its exhibits are beautifully executed.
Stop 4: Lunch at Ponce City Market for the ultimate gastro experience that’s part of the food hall trend. PCM offers numerous food options (and boutique retail shops), many from James Beard Award winning chefs. For something unique, try Botiwalla, which offers Indian street food, or travel to PCM’s Skyline Park rooftop for
carnival food and games. While visiting PCM, take time to walk around this historic building, which used to be a Sears, Roebuck & Co. store.
Stop 5: Now that you’re close to Midtown, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the High Museum of Art, or both. The Atlanta Botanical Garden offers thirty acres of outdoor gardens, including a Children’s Garden, and various exhibitions and concerts depending on the season or day. Only one mile from the garden is the High Museum of Art. The High is another example of stunning architecture and houses 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection. It also offers free live jazz the third Friday of each month. The High is kid-friendly and has a learning gallery specifically for the young or the young at heart. You could spend hours at the High, so it’s a great option for a rainy afternoon.
Stop 6: Find your dinner hotspot in quaint Decatur or eclectic East Atlanta Village for dinner. The food and vibe at Café Alsace will feel as if you’ve traveled straight to France – the Choucroute Garnie or Poulet Farci are favorites. Don’t know what those dishes entail? Just ask the servers, who speak fluent French and English, for an explanation.
For an alternative global dining experience, We Suki Suki in EAV will fit the bill. This “global grub collective” is a mini food hall with authentic fare from various countries. The small, skinny layout and gritty vibe will make you feel as if you’re dining in New York.
For Day Two, Choose Your Own Adventure
Say goodbye to cabin fever:
Take an 18-mile road trip outside of Atlanta and go hiking at Sweetwater Creek State Park. This park includes 15 miles of beautiful trails and rapids. Afterwards, cool off at one of the many breweries on the hip Westside of Atlanta.
Get your luxe on:
Perfect manicures are the hallmark of both staycation and the nail artists at Lark & Sparrow. You won’t be disappointed with this uber-cute salon tucked in Grant Park. Sip on a beverage of your choice (even champagne and wine) while reclining in the most comfortable chairs.
Spark a love story:
Surprise your special someone with a picnic lunch or dinner at Oakland Cemetery in Grant Park. While a cemetery may not be top of mind for a date, it’s actually Atlanta’s oldest public park with lush landscaping and beautiful monuments. Alternatively, Piedmont Park offers close-up views of the Midtown skyline and is particularly dreamy at sunset. If picnicking isn’t your thing, then try Wisteria (Inman Park), White Bull (Decatur), Dish Dive (Kirkwood) or Atlas (Buckhead) for a special dinner.
Catch it live:
If you love the theatre, don’t forget to check out the glitzy Fox Theatre or the recently remodeled Alliance Theatre, both located in Midtown. Upcoming Fox shows include Les Miserables and Jersey Boys while The Wizard of Oz will be playing at the Alliance this spring. For live music venues, the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points and Eddie’s Attic in Decatur are fantastic options, both offering well-known and lesser-known musicians on a more intimate scale.
For more information on these staycation stops, check out these websites: