If you’re planning a brief visit to the capital city of Georgia, you’re in for a real treat including delicious southern dining, historical sights, and charming must-see “hotlanta” spots. The following suggestions and guide to Atlanta are perfect for a 2-day stay so that you can make the most of your trip.
Where to Eat in Atlanta
Mary Mac’s, has been serving up delicious Southern food since 1945 in Midtown. This restaurant not only serves comfort food, but is itself a comfort with a welcoming staff and cozy living room décor.
I went all in and ordered a starter of fried green tomatoes, which were both sweet and savory. Followed by made-from-scratch fried chicken with white gravy and a side of fried okra. Tip: First-time visitors, be sure to tell your server you’re new to the restaurant and you’ll be offered a complimentary pot likker (cornbread in chicken broth)!
Another popular dining option is Two Urban Licks, which was recommended to me by two different people, and my cab driver. The site says it serves “Fiery American Cooking,” but sadly I didn’t get to try it firsthand.
For brunch, check out the popular hot-spot Rosebud near Virginia-Highland. The restaurant uses local and regional ingredients in their comfort food. Their biscuits to start were fluffy pieces of heaven. I also had their Shrimp and Grits, which was spicy and decadent.
After brunch, check out the nearby Cacao, a darling chocolatier in the heart of Virginia Highlands, which also came highly recommended.
If you like tea and books, you’ll have to book an afternoon tea reservation at Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party in the Candler Park neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. Filled with vintage furniture, this is also a bookshop that does a traditional high-tea. There is also a chari”tea” element. The proceeds from purchased books go to international women’s education program. So, pinkies up! Oh, and see if you can spot my novel Jesse’s Girl among the shelves. They have two signed copies there.
What to do in Atlanta
Stroll through Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown. This is where the 1996 Summer Olympics were held and a free outdoorsy thing to do in Atlanta. It’s a community gathering spot sculptures and fountains. I could easily picture my boys running wild there and having a great time. There are also walking tour spots that you can follow as you walk around the grounds. Plus, the next two locations are right near the park too.
The famed Georgia Aquarium holds more than one hundred thousand species, including whale sharks, bottlenose dolphins, and manta rays. If you have time, it’s worth a stop with or without kids. World of Coca-Cola is 60,000+ square foot exhibit where you’ll find the world’s largest permanent display of Coke memorabilia, a tasting room with over 100 Cola beverages from around the world and a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process and history of the brand. The museum also houses Pemberton’s secret formula. Although I prefer to drink Pepsi, even I had a lot of fun. It reminded me of a soda version of the Guinness Factory Tour in Dublin or the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, which are both must-see tourist stops abroad too.
There is also the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Zoo Atlanta, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, CNN Studio Tour, College Football Hall of Fame, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel, Margaret Mitchell House and so much more.
Where to Stay in Atlanta
Walking distance from Peachtree Center MARTA stop and many of the above sightseeing stops, the Marriott Marquis is a great centrally located hotel in downtown Atlanta. With floor-to- ceiling windows, the views of the city are spectacular too. There’s a lively sports bar and a cocktail lounge, plus a Starbucks and a market.
Here’s a quick peek from my stay a few years ago: Marriott Marquis Atlanta Hotel Room Tour
Getting Around Atlanta
Unfortunately, the traffic in Atlanta is no joke. It’s one of the Top 10 cities in the country with the worst traffic delays. However, if you stay in Downtown or Midtown, you can avoid the traffic jams for the most part. Instead, you’ll be able to walk, take a ride-share or cab or ride the MARTA.
You can save money by taking the easy to navigate MARTA from the airport even right to Buckhead, Downtown’s Peachtree Center and more. For $6 roundtrip, I rode the train both ways to the airport easily. I’d highly recommend it.
Planning Your Trip to Atlanta
Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in the world. That means there’s always a flight coming or going. Now that you have your quick guide to Atlanta, it’s time to put the hot in “hotlanta”!
A mom of twin preschool boys, Tara often travels with her family utilizing local advice and insider tips along the way. From popular hot spots & secret entrances, to off-the-beaten-path restaurants & sights, Tara likes to be “in the know” when she travels. You can read more about her adventures over on her lifestyle and parenting blog, When Tara Met Blog and follow along at @TaraMetBlog.