Atlanta’s 30 Best Things to Do
A Guide to the City’s Unique Offerings and Experiences
By Jackson Reeves
As summer comes into full swing, it’s time to get out and enjoythe warm weather, have fun with the kids, and explore your new city. We’ve put together our list of suggestions for 30 of Atlanta’s most unique places that every Atlantan should discover and experience. Whether you enjoy browsing for antiques, tasting some international cuisine or catching up on the local history, you’re sure to find plenty to do over the summer months.
Taste Atlanta’s Flavor
Atlanta Food Truck Park and Market
Looking for a little bit of everything? This spot hosts various food trucks from throughout the city on different days offering a range of items, including tacos at Yumbii, popsicles at the King of Pops, and the eponymous fries at the Fry Guy.
Dining at Inman Park
After a serious construction project, central Inman Park has become a hotspot for restaurants. Check out Beetlecat for oysters, Barcelona Wine Bar for tapas, Sotto Sotto for Italian, and Bartaco for Mexican. inmanpark.org International Cuisine on Buford Highway Explore this northeast corridor for all things outside the typical burgersand- pizza cuisine. Try Vietnamese at Pho Dai Loi, Bangladeshi at Panahar, Japanese at Sushi House Hayakawa, or Chinese at Canton House—all just a short drive from one another. eatbufordhighway.com Krog Street Market An ideal spot for a solid dinner, hit up this destination just off the BeltLine for Mex-Tex cuisine at Superica, French-inspired dishes at the Luminary, or saki and sushi at Craft Izakaya.
Ponce City Market
This open market has everything an adventurous foodie could desire. Let your taste buds run wild with gourmet Italian market Belina, South African beef jerky at Biltong Bar, deep-fried chicken sliders at Hop’s Chicken, and Korean steamed buns at Simply Seoul Kitchen.
Westside Provisions District
Top foodie draws at this walkable destination just west of Midtown include Bacchanalia, widely regarded as Atlanta’s best restaurant; Ormsby’s, a hit with the bar crowd; and JCT Kitchen and Bar, perfect for a family dinner.
Shop 'till You Drop
Chamblee’s Antique Row District
This entire stroll can set you back a pretty penny. One place not to miss: the 12,000-square-foot Broad Street Antique Mall, where you can find vintage jewelry, Civil War artifacts, Art Deco pieces, and thousands of old post cards.
770-458-6316 • antiquerow.com
Need to decorate your new home? Recent trips to this Decatur destination unearthed railroad lanterns, an English oak China hutch, a walnut credenza from the ’60s, a midcentury modern desk, and an orb chandelier.
Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza
Located just across from one another, these two malls offer everything a shopper could desire. For more upscale stores, try Phipps for Gucci, Prada, and Saks Fifth Avenue. For a wider variety, hit up Lenox for Armani Exchange, Banana Republic, and your local Apple store.
Lenox Square: 3393 Peachtree Road • 404-233-6767
Phipps Plaza: 3500 Peachtree Road • 404-261-7910
Little Five Points
Known as Atlanta’s hipper, grungier neighborhood, Little Five probably has more thrift stores than any other neighborhood in the city. Swing by Rag-O-Rama, Psycho Sisters, and The Clothing Warehouse.
The Midtown Mile
Stroll up and down the famed Midtown Mile, which stretches along Peachtree Street from the Fox Theatre up to the High Museum. Its 750,000 square feet of street level retail space showcase great shops for those in need of some new high-quality furniture, including CB2 and Ligne Roset.
The Shops Buckhead Atlanta
After years of planning, Atlanta finally got its own high-end retail center that can rival those found in other cities. Some of the chicest international brands have opened up shop in Buckhead, including Dior, Hermes, and Jimmy Choo.
Music, Movies, and More
Atlanta History Center
As a new resident to Atlanta, you owe it to yourself to brush up on your new home’s history. Thankfully, this Buckhead museum has you covered. View Southern folk art, learn about the city’s role in the Civil War, and relive Atlanta’s own 1996 Olympic Games through tons of historic memorabilia.
In the past, this organization has held the world premieres of such popular plays as Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Elton John’s “Aida.” This summer, it will produce a special interactive outer-space playscape for your children titled “Babies in Space.”
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Part of the elaborate Woodruff Arts Center, which also houses the High and the Alliance, our city’s orchestra highlights music from both the classic and current repertoire. This summer, you can come here to hear the works of Brahms and Copland along with David Bowie and the Eagles.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre
Launched in the 1920s, this historic landmark is famous for its soaring domes, gold-leaf details, and trompe l’oeil art, which rightly earned its stature as “movie palace” back in the day. It’s now the best place in Atlanta to see Broadway shows on tour, including “The Wizard of Oz” this summer.
High Museum of Art
Atlanta’s premier art museum, the High’s ongoing permanent collection includes such French impressionists as Monet and Pissarro, and it is currently presenting an exhibit on work from children’s books illustrator Eric Carle.
The Plaza Theatre
The city’s oldest operating and only independent cinema has been around since 1939. Planning to see the new “Independence Day” sequel this June? Go local, and see it here in an atmosphere of vintage Hollywood style.
Fun in the Sun
The Atlanta BeltLine
Once completed, the BeltLine will connect public parks and neighborhoods along a 22-mile rail corridor around the city proper. While uncompleted, various trails have already opened, including the Eastside Trail, which goes from Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward and is lined with public art.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Enjoy the serene effects of immersing yourself in orchids from around the world or walking through a tropical rainforest, a desert or a Japanese garden. Check out the destination’s ongoing exhibit: Chihuly in the Garden, featuring works by Chastain internationally acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly.
Atlanta’s premier outdoor concert venue, Chastain Park is surrounded by plush greenery and twilight. This summer you can catch acts such as Steely Dan, Pat Benatar, and Kenny Rogers this June and July.
Centennial Olympic Park
A vestige of the city’s 1996 hosting of the Olympics, this Downtown park is central to both the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. Relax, and don’t be afraid to get a little wet.
Dine Alfresco at Piedmont Park
Nothing beats a hot summer afternoon on the green with the family, a blanket, and a hearty lunch amidst a park designed by the same man who created New York’s famed Central Park.
404-875-7275 • piedmontpark.org
Shooting the ’Hooch
Rafting on Atlanta’s very own Chattahoochee River is affectionately called shooting the ’Hooch. Pack a cooler, load the family in a tube (no children under 5, though), and ride down the city’s major waterway.
770-650-1008 • shootthehooch.com
For the Kid Inside
Center for Puppetry Arts
Sign up your child for a Create-a-Puppet Workshop, and watch as their imaginations take flight. Afterwards, browse the museum to see original pieces from Jim Henson, “The Lion King” and “The Dark Crystal,” then see a performance, such as this summer’s “The Little Pirate Mermaid” or “Sleeping Beauty.”
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
The newly reopened museum features everything necessary to start your child down a path toward deeper learning, including activities about robotics, language, and agriculture.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
No child can resist the allure of dinosaurs, and the museum’s central plaza features a family of bronze dinosaurs ready to greet visitors upon arrival. Other exhibits include a look at life on the Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp and one dedicated entirely to shells.
Deemed the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere, this destination offers glimpses of dolphins, penguins, and sea otters—all in their natural habitats. You can even pet the stingrays.
Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta
Located on the top floor of Phipps, this spot boasts plenty for Lego enthusiasts to enjoy, including the Master Builder Academy, Pirate Adventure Island, and a chance to engage in a sequel of sorts to the hit Lego movie.
Of all the myriad species on display at our zoo in Grant Park—including leopards, ostriches and orangutans—the giant pandas never fail to delight. Zoo Atlanta is currently one of only four facilities to house these unique animals. Observe Lun Lun, Yang Yang and newborn twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan as they go about their daily lives in both indoor and outdoor habitats.