I visited Atlanta in the ‘Fall’ (Autumn) which was a good time to visit. When I told people I was going to Atlanta, it was generally met with a bit of a weird stare that said ‘why on earth are you choosing to go there?’. The reason I chose it is that I love the Olympics, and Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996 which is the first Olympics I am able to remember watching.
But there is more to Atlanta than that! Did you know it’s the home of Coca Cola? Did you know Martin Luther King Jr was born there? Did you know The Walking Dead is filmed there? Or loads of Marvel Films? Did you know President Jimmy Carter’s presidential library is there? No…me neither. All these things were cool to explore.
However, I would recommend staying in Mid-town or Buckhead for your stay. We stayed Downtown and it didn’t make us feel safe. On one evening we were walking to dinner and someone asked us for money, we refused and he chased us up the road threatening to kill us both after raping me. We had to run, fast.
We also had to move rooms in our hotel. We stayed in the W Atlanta Downtown – a nice, upmarket hotel. However, our neighbour had a serious weed smoking issue and our room smelt so bad that we physically couldn’t stay in it. There does seem to be a drug problem – we saw discarded needles on the streets and a lot of people in the Downtown area were pretty out of it after dark.
So – don’t stay Downtown – it was fine in the day but not at night. AND don’t be put off visiting. Every city has good and bad areas, and we chose to stay in a bad one. We moved to Midtown for our final night and it was totally different. So just learn from my mistakes, but don’t be put off going.
That was the bad, but there was so much good. My top 5, ‘best of the rest’ and full itinerary are below.
OK, OK, I know…another of my Top 5 having museums in. But. They were SO GOOD. Do you want to learn all about the Civil Rights Movement? Do you want to learn all about human rights across the world, learn which countries still have dictators in charge, and about the amazing human rights campaigners across Africa, Asia, America and the world? If so, then the Center for Civil and Human Rights is for you. Right up there with our top museums.
And if that wasn’t enough, did you know that Atlanta played a key role in the American Civil War in the 1800s? Do you know about the battle between The Union and The Confederates? Who was who? (The Unionists wanted a United States of America, the Confederate states wanted Independence for the South) Who won? (The Union…) What was it all about? (A lot of complex reasons, but really slavery) Did it change anything? (Probably not…slavery still existed in all but name). And if you want to learn more, The Atlanta History Center is for you!
OK, museum rant over…for now….
TWO. The Aquarium
I love a good aquarium because I love penguins (who doesn’t?!) but this one was extra awesome. We visited at 6pm because all the school trips had gone home and it’s open until 9pm. We had it pretty much to ourselves, didn’t have to queue and explored the various areas. We also watched a dolphin show which was pretty cool. But the highlight…..sitting with a glass of wine, watching this wall……
THREE. Martin Luther King Junior Historic Site
It doesn’t get much more historic than this! The birthplace of the most recognised Civil Rights leader in the world, his church and his story. He and his wife are also buried here, and you can visit their graves at the site. You can even tour the actual house where MLK was born – we had a fantastic guide who really brought his early years to life.
FOUR. Ponce City Market
We didn’t do that great with our food in Atlanta. But my goodness, the food in Ponce City Market was amazing. Our personal favourite was Botiwalla, which is Indian Street Food and utterly delicious. They even serve alcoholic slushies so I was in heaven. In such heaven, I didn’t even take any photos….
There are also lots of nice clothes, home and other shops here. Our fave was Citizen Supply which had not only lovely things to buy, but also had a hidden bar which was quiet and a great spot for a rest in between shopping.
FIVE. The Olympic Park
It had to make it on to the list. The reason I went. A lovely park honouring the event and its legacy. The rings are still there. I was happy.
The best of the rest in Atlanta
- The World of Coca Cola – meet the Polar Bear, unlock the secret formula, learn about Coca Cola’s history and brand marketing, and of course taste every drink owned by Coca Cola. So much fun!
- The Jackson Street Bridge – for a cool view out over Atlanta, that anyone who has watched The Walking Dead will recognise.
- The Carter Center – learn about this President’s early years, presidency and post presidency years. A fascinating insight in to his life.
- The Atlanta Botanical Gardens – A really pretty site which you can easily spend a few hours walking around. There are cool flower sculptures everywhere, an Orchid house and greenhouses which double up as jungles.
- Piedmont Park – We spent a few hours here sunbathing (in the middle of November!). A nice park with some lovely views of the Atlanta skyline.
- The Atlanta Beltline – like the high line in New York, this redeveloped walking path is home to cool art work, quirky bars and nice shops. A fun way to walk between attractions.
- CNN Tour – who knew Atlanta was home to CNN. Working for a media company myself, I found the tour fascinating. You get to go in to the filming studios, see how they deliver news and even see in to the offices.
- Krog St Market and tunnel – A cool tunnel full of graffiti with a nice indoor market to eat in nearby. Good for a lunch time stop off and some cool Insta shots.
- Basketball – We watched The Hawks take on The Bucks. We had Outkast and 2Chainz perform and it was amazinggg. Such a great night out. Loved it, loved it, loved it!
The Full Itinerary (for those interested)
- Day 1 – Center for Civil and Human Rights, Olympic Park, World of Coca Cola, Aquarium
- Day 2 – Jackson Street Bridge, MLK Historic Site, The Carter Center, Krog St Tunnel and Market
- Day 3 – Atlanta History Center, Olympic Stadium, CNN Studio tour, basketball game
- Day 4 – Piedmont Park, Botanical Gardens, The Beltline, Ponce City Market
Thank you for reading! Has this post inspired you to go to Atlanta? Have you already been and what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!