You don’t have to empty your bank account or spend hours traveling to find the paradise you deserve. Instead, love where you live by exploring these affordable staples of Atlanta. With all the money you save, culture you encounter and Atlanta charm you rediscover, you’ll know that the city loves you right back.

Lullwater Park
When city life gets claustrophobic or metropolitan, there’s plenty of nature to enjoy, including 154 acre Lullwater Park in Emory. Sitting between parking decks and buildings galore, Lullwater Park is the perfect place to escape the city without exhausting the treasury. Lullwater is an enchanting place to spend the afternoon, whether you’re taking photos for a special occasion or just hiking around. Don’t miss exploring the old mill.

Decatur High School’s “Grease”
Big Broadway on a local budget, you can follow the enchanted love story of Danny and Sandy. Starting March 15, Decatur High School’s theatre will transform into a drive-in, Vince Fontaine’s special edition prom and the hallowed halls of Rydell High School with its spring production of “Grease.” Come out to hand-jive with the cast in this adapted family-friendly, swanky musical. Support young artists of Decatur, local schools and the classic show that puts the “heat” in “theatre” all at once. See www.dhsperforms.com for more information.

Korean Barbecue Taco
Just outside of the Decatur square lies a little-known Korean Barbecue restaurant. Run by a sweet couple and filled with delicious, authentic Korean food, KBBQ Taco has something for everyone. Whether you’re craving fries, wings or a Bibimbap burrito, you’ll be shocked at the low prices, especially once you taste the gochujang sauce. Even for those weary of sending their taste buds all the way to Asia, the friendly faces, heavenly menu and accessibility of KBBQ Taco will feel like home. Every trip to KBBQ Taco ends with a to-go box and an urge to find space in your schedule to go again.

Candler Park Market
Nothing makes you feel like a true Atlantan like hearing someone ask, “Just the regular today?” That’s exactly what you’ll find at Candler Park Market. The employees both in the market its deli are so friendly, you’ll forget that you weren’t raised on their egg salad sandwiches and individually wrapped Lindor truffles. The market is right in the hub of Lake Claire, and the steady stream of bikers, children and friendly locals give it a lively bustle. Head to the back of the market for the deli, where you can order delicious sandwiches, salads and chips. Eat in to meet friendly faces and enjoy the hubbub of Lake Claire, or take your food to go for a picnic in Candler Park. The market will be just where you left it, just as friendly as you left it, each time you need fresh produce, funky wine or a bit of ATL lovin’.

Java Monkey’s Open Mic
If you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to sip on coffee or wine and enjoy local art, head to Java Monkey in the Decatur Square. Java Monkey hosts weekly Open Mic nights on the patio, and they’ve got something for everyone. Come out to the Funny Monkey comedy night every Wednesday if you’re looking for local laughs, Music Monday for Atlantan jams or Spoken Word Sundays to hear the poetry and other writing artists of ATL have to share. Each week brings a vibrant mix of new art, and Java Monkey’s menu is full of enough delicious drinks, meals and pastries to keep you coming back for more.

Strolling Sweet Auburn
Begin a sunny afternoon in North Druid Hills at Condesa Coffee, a coffee shop with industrial undertones as delicious as its euphoric “Adult Grilled Cheese.” Bask in the natural light on a cozy armchair, or head outside to enjoy the patio and views of Atlanta’s skyline. Then head out to the nearby Jackson Street Bridge. You’re bound to see photoshoots (professional and selfie alike), and with the astounding view, you’ll want to do the same. Once you’ve gotten your fix of city views, walk over to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. You’ll have to plan ahead for a guided tour of King’s birth home, but feel free to mozy around the museum, the Kings’ gravesites, Ebenezer Baptist Church and the general Sweet Auburn Area.

Sunrise Hike on Stone Mountain
There’s nothing like an early morning hike up Stone Mountain with the best seats in the city for watching the sunrise to keep you feeling the love. Sunrise hikes are a fun way to keep the whole family active, connected and enthralled with where you live. Not a morning bird? The views from the top of the rock are just as beautiful during a lunchtime picnic or a sunset viewing. If you and your family have already mastered the hike up Stone Mountain, give Songbird Trail or Indian Island’s trails some attention. There’s enough park (and sunrises) to keep you and your family loving Atlanta all year long.

 

by Ellie Butterfield