The Ultimate Guide To Atlanta

things to do in Atlanta, atlanta skyline - My Style Vita

I’ve been a resident of Atlanta for over 12 years. Crazy. I finished high school in Peachtree City which is a suburb south of the city. Then I headed to Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta for college and never left. I’ve seen this city completely transform. We now have a really cool path through most of the city called The Beltline that’s helped to connect several of my favorite neighbohoords. New hip spots that didn’t exist 5 years ago like Inman Park and the Westside are making this city feel cooler than ever. It’s a changing city and I’m here to share some of my favorite places to eat, stay and explore.

But First, Getting To ATL & Around Town

Flying In – Ask anyone who lives here, ATL airport is hands down THE BEST. I feel like it’s got a cult following with the locals. It’s fast, easy and full of amazing restaurants. No joke, I purposefully don’t eat before I head to the airport because there’s certain restaurants I want to visit like Argo Tea, my go to oatmeal at Corner Bakery, and I’m also wanting to try Ludacris’ new restaurant. When you fly in, you can take Marta to your destination if you’re within walking distance of a station. If you aren’t, just Uber.

Around Town – We sadly don’t have a very great mass transportation system. Unless you live near a Marta station, it’s really only convenient for a few spots.  Instead, we rely on Uber and Lyft to get around town. Some neighborhoods are walkable, but you’ll have to drive to them and then walk. Welcome to Atlanta, y’all. We’re slowly adding bikes to rent around the city which is great! Many neighborhoods are now bike-able thanks to the Beltline too.


My Favorite Neighborhoods


I figured it would make most sense to start with the neighborhoods of Atlanta before diving into specific spots. The city is super spread out requiring you to drive to get to any of these, but once you’re there, you can usually walk around, bike or take a quick Uber.  The city is broken down mostly by three main areas starting at the bottom with Downtown, Midtown and then Buckhead. Downtown is where all the businesses are, and as a visitor you likely won’t spend much time here. Midtown is a very happening neighborhood and near many of my other favorite smaller neighborhoods below. Buckhead is our version of “uptown” with fancy shopping, restaurants and lots of high rise condos.

• • •

Inman Park

Probably my favorite neighborhood since it’s walkable, full of great food and shops.  A few personal favorite spots here are Hampton & Hudson, Victory Sandwich Bar and Folk Art.  If you walk down the Beltline a bit you can visit Ponce City Market for more shopping and eating. Head inside of PCM to check out some local to Atlanta shops like Elk Head Clothing and Citizen Supply which is home to The Victorian.  There’s also Krog Street Market and I highly recommend trying Bar Mercado and finishing the night off with an ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Cream.

The Highlands

Just half a mile up from Inman Park, this is another great neighborhood that has some classic Atlanta restaurants and is completely walkable. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods and has quite a bit of charm. A few favorite spots are Mali for Thai food and DBA BBQ for the best bbq in town (don’t forget the banana pudding!).  There’s also La Tavola which is a fantastic Italian restaurant. Stop into a few specialty shops like Cacao and Alon’s Bakery.

The Westside

This is the newest neighborhood in Atlanta and is quickly growing. Shop at Westside Provisions and dine at my favorite spot, Marcel or grab a quick sandwich at Star Provisions.  Breakfast at West Egg requires a nap afterwards, but totally worth it.  It’s also where my beloved Upbeet is, our only make your own salad spot worth visiting. Also, one of Atlanta’s favorite chef’s, Ford Fry, has two great restaurants here, Marcel and JCT Kitchen.

Buckhead

This is where the shopping is, friends. The upscale standard shopping. The malls, malls and more malls are all here. Visit Shops Around Lenox (grab a Roots Juice, my favorite is the Pink Breakfast Smoothie) and shop at South Moon Under. A mile and half down from the malls are the Buckhead Shops where there’s more swanky shopping and dining plus my favorite workouts, FlyWheel, Highland Yoga and Barry’s Bootcamp.

Piedmont Park & Midtown

Midtown is quickly becoming a super cool neighborhood. It’s home to our rainbow crosswalk because Midtown is the heart of the LGBTQ community in the city. Visit the Vortex for great burgers and a comedy show at Laughing Skull Lounge that’s right inside. This tiny comedy club is one of my favorite things to do in the city. Walk to Piedmont Park and then hop on the Beltline to explore all the way to PCM and then make your way to Inman Park (see you’re becoming a local already!).

Decatur

The farthest from everything, but a very very cool spot. Decatur is home to a few of my all time favorite restaurants like Iberian Pig and No. 246 (another Ford Fry must visit). It’s a great area full of amazing restaurants and bars (I like S.O.S Tiki Bar) and isn’t too far to a great brewery, Three Taverns.



Where To Eat


Breakfast & Brunch

Buttermilk Kitchen

Tupelo Honey

Folk Art

Ria’s Bluebird

Joy Cafe

South City Kitchen (several locations)

Morningside Kitchen

The General Muir

Rise N Dine

West Egg Cafe

Highland Bakery (visit the Inman Park location only!)

Parish

Quick & Casual Eats

Upbeet

Farm Burger

Bantam & Bitty

Bartaco

DBA BBQ

Victory Sandwich Bar

Star Provisions

Shake Shack

Souper Jenny’s

Sweet Auburn BBQ

8arm

Storico Fresco

Gio’s Chicken

Antico Pizza

Cafe Agora

Lee’s Bakery (a Buford Highway gem)

Lunch & Dinner

St. Cecilia

Barcelona

Bocado

O-ku

Hampton & Hudson

Char

Beetlecat

JCT Kitchen

Ladybird (great patio and brunch too)

Le Bilboquet

Marcel

Mali Thai & Sushi

One Eared Stag (also great brunch)

Superica (most underrated brunch in the city)



Coffee Shops, Juice Bars & Treats

Inman Perk

Chrome Yellow Trading

Octane

East Pole Coffee

Dancing Goats Coffee

Revolution Donuts

Sublime Donuts

Jeni’s Ice Cream

Roots Juices

DTox Juice

Honey Bubble Tea

Proof Bakeshop (best vegan cookie ever)

Bars, Cocktails & Breweries

Whiskey Blue – great rooftop view

Bar Amalfi

Establishment

Ormsby’s – great food & lots of games

Church

Noni’s

Mother

The Lawerence – also a great restaurant

Little Trouble

Orpheus Brewing – right at Piedmont Park

Sweetwater 420

Monday Night Brewing

Urban Tree Cidery

Three Taverns Brewery – near Decatur

Johnny’s Hideaway – an ATL institution


Where To Stay

Where To Pamper Yourself


Mandarin Oriental

Treat Your Feet

Spa Sydell

Adore Hair Studio – I see Nichole for my cut

Coleman Alexander Salon – Cut, color & lashes!

Hammond Nails – Great mani & pedis and they do fun nail art


Made With Soul In Atlanta


Adventures To Take


Stone Mountain – Roughly a 30 minute drive from the city, but a great place for a hike

Paddle Boarding On The Hooch – Just a short drive from the city and you feel like you’re in a different part of the state. You can rent paddle boards or kayaks to spend an afternoon on the water.

Piedmont Park – Dog park, tennis courts, pool, soccer fields and lots of walking! Visit Park Tavern for a cold beer and live music on occasion.

High Museum of Art

Clermont Lounge – A must visit strip club. Atlanta has one of the largest strip clubs per capita ratio making us real proud. Either way, you can’t visit Atlanta without a drunken night at Clermont. I mean, their resident gal, Blondie, has a documentary.

Civil Rights Museum

Coca Cola Museum – This is also near the CNN Center, College Football Hall of Fame and the Georgia Aquarium. It’s our only touristy section of the city so I recommend spending an afternoon here if you want to see the tourist stuff!


Sweat Session


best local fitness boutiques in Atlanta

I know not everyone may want to work out while on vacation, but sometimes you do. Personally, I have in the past especially on work trips.  So here’s a few locally owned spots I love to visit.

ScultpHouse

StellarBodies (quite possibly the hardest pilates class I’ve ever taken)

CrossFit 404 – They also have an all girls workout MWF and Sundays, highly recommend.

Highland Yoga – Several locations

FlyWheel – Several locations

Barry’s Bootcamp (be sure to visit their smoothie bar)


Day Trips


Athens – Home to the University of Georgia and Creature Comforts. This is a great little town to explore for the day and is less than an hour from the city.

Lake Lanier – If you want a lake day, this is where to go. 

Chateau Elan – A beautiful resort with a winery on property.

Dahlonega – Georgia wine country, enough said.

Barnsley Resort – A beautiful resort and land full of fun activities like clay shooting, golf and horse back riding. The food is also incredible!


PS Check out my favorite brunch spots, coffee shops, donuts and shopping destinations to visit.

Leave a Comment

10 Comments

  1. Emily wrote:

    Thank you for this! I was in brunch hell yesterday trying to find a place that took reservations on Saturdays, and I totally forgot Parish! Total lifesaver! xx

    Posted 4.20.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Parish is SO good. I always forget about that place too!

      Posted 4.20.18 Reply
  2. Courtney wrote:

    Sounds like there is a lot to do in Atlanta. The food places sound really good.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

    Posted 4.20.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yes so many great spots!

      Posted 4.20.18 Reply
  3. Laura Leigh wrote:

    This is an amazing guide! You freaking rocked it lady! Pinning now and jotting down a couple of this recommendations for August.

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://www.louellareese.com

    Posted 4.20.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yay I love to hear that! If you’re coming for the conference (I’m assuming 😘 ) there’s actually a lot of these restaurants or same owners, who opened up places at Avalon. We’ll have a full guide of our favorites for our attendees!

      Posted 4.20.18 Reply
  4. Emma wrote:

    You went to GSU too? That’s awesome! I loved that school so much. It has grown by leaps and bounds in the 7 years since I graduated, though. We just keep buying up all of downtown! But I am always singing GSU’s praises.

    Posted 4.23.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      I graduated in Dec 09 and can’t believe how much it has changed. I loved it though. My only regret is not having a football team while we were there.

      Posted 4.23.18 Reply
  5. Erica wrote:

    Nice overview of the city. I do want to point out that both Inman Park & the Westside are established neighborhoods that have had thriving communities for years, they didn’t just become inhabited in the last five years. I think that what you’re getting at is that these neighborhoods now have more restaurants and amenities and are attracting more attention than they have in the past.

    Posted 4.23.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yes definitely! They definitely weren’t on many people’s radar to live/play/eat at until more recently.

      Posted 4.23.18 Reply

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