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 neighborhoods. 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 Atlanta 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.
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 or PLANTA and finishing the night off with an ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Cream.
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.
This is the most recent neighborhood to transform 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 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.
This is where the shopping is, friends. The upscale standard shopping. The malls, malls and more malls are all here. Visit Shops Around Lenox to check out stores like Madewell, Faherty and West Elm. And grab a bite to eat at Flower Child.
A mile and a half down from the malls is Buckhead Village where there’s more swanky shopping and dining plus my favorite workouts like Highland Yoga and Barry’s Bootcamp. Try grabbing a French dinner at Le Bilboquet or something Thai at Le Colonial.
Piedmont Park & Midtown
Midtown is always 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!).
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
South City Kitchen
The General Muir
Rise N Dine
West Egg Cafe
Highland Bakery (visit the Inman Park location only!)
Quick & Casual
Root Baking Co
Victory Sandwich Bar
Lunch & Dinner
Hampton & Hudson
Mali Thai & Sushi
One Eared Stag
Coffee, Cocktails & More
Coffee Shops, Juices + Treats
- Inman Perk
- Chrome Yellow Trading
- Atlanta Dairies Cold Brew Bar
- East Pole Coffee
- Full Commission
- Dancing Goats Coffee
- Revolution Donuts
- Sublime Donuts
- Jeni’s Ice Cream
- Roots Juices
- DTox Juice
- Honey Bubble Tea
- Read Shop
- Five Daughter’s Donuts
- Little Tart Bakeshop
- Spiller Coffee
- Proof Bakeshop (best vegan cookie ever)
Bars, Breweries + Clubs
- Whiskey Blue
- Bar Amalfi
- New Realm Brewery
- Ormsby’s -great food & lots of games
- Tiny Lou’s Lobby Bar
- 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
Waldorf Astoria – Great spa
Loews – just two blocks from Piedmont Park
St. Regis – Probably our most luxurious hotel. Spa, restaurants and experiences
Artmore Hotel – Most centrally located in Midtown
Hotel Clermont – The hippest of the bunch. Great rooftop for a drink and also is home to The Clermont Lounge, a must visit strip club. Yes you read that right.
The Whitley – In the heart of Buckhead, this newly renovated hotel has the most beautiful lobby and bar for a cocktail!
Adventures To Take
Roughly a 30 minute drive from the city, but a great place for a hike
Paddle Boarding Or Float 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. A popular summer weekend activity is to float the hooch. This is when you get your friends together, a few good floaties and a cooler of beer and snacks and float down.
Dog park, tennis courts, pool, soccer fields and lots of walking! Visit Park Tavern for a cold beer and live music on occasion.
With several exhibits rotating through here, this is a beautiful modern museum to visit. Spend an afternoon here and grab a bite nearby at Colony Square.
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!
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.
StellarBodies (quite possibly the hardest pilates class I’ve ever taken)
Highland Yoga – Several locations
Barry’s Bootcamp (be sure to visit their smoothie bar)
Best Photo Spots In Atlanta
Atlanta has some incredible spots to capture beautiful content. We have stunning murals that are bold and colorful. We also have charming neighborhoods and parks. Plus a gorgeous bridge with the most epic views. Here are a few favorite Instagram-worthy spots in Atlanta.
- Jackson Bridge – as seen in this post
- Krog Street Tunnel
- Piedmont Park
- Little Five Points
- Beltline Murals – they’re always changing!
- Westside Cultural Arts Center – 969 Marietta St- as seen in this post
- 985 Monroe Drive – the spotted colorful mural as seen in this post
- Highland Bakery Birds @ 655 Highland Ave NE – as seen in this post
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.
If you want a lake day, this is where to go.
A beautiful resort with a winery on property.
Georgia wine country, enough said.
A beautiful resort and land full of fun activities like clay shooting, golf and horse back riding. The food is also incredible!