Destination Travel Guides

A Beginner’s Guide to Atlanta – How to Live Like a Local

I’m happy to announce a guest post today from Olivia Parker, a writer and Atlanta local who has written some tips for us on how to get the most out of your first trip to Atlanta. Enjoy!


If you’re coming to Atlanta or have just got here, you’ve got plenty to be excited about. The city has a lot to offer, and it may seem overwhelming. If you’re moving here, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind, and vacations can be just as tricky to organize! So, here’s a rundown of how to enjoy the city like a local. In no time, you’ll feel right at home.

Food

Moving from your house can be a big job and planning a vacation is no mean feat, either. So, when you get here, there’s no better way to restore your mental energy than with a hearty meal. The city is known for its food, and the food is a big part of life for locals. You can get an excellent meal at any time of day to suit every taste and budget.

For a good Southern breakfast, The Flying Biscuit Cafe on Piedmont Ave is one of the many local favorites. Manuel’s Tavern is a good spot for brunch for a reasonable price. But you’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to a good dinner. Fat Matt’s Ribs is one of the best-known local spots, or check out Mary Mac’s on Ponce for an authentic Southern dinner.

If you’re hungry for something out of the ordinary, stroll down Buford highway and check out the variety of international restaurants—a nice way to get a feel for Atlanta’s multicultural side. For a late bite on the weekend, there’s no better option than Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand in East Atlanta Village.

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Bars

Atlanta is famous for its nightlife, and the best way to get to know it is to just get involved! The best places to explore are Buckhead or Midtown, where you’ll find a good selection of bars and restaurants. For beer fans, The Porter in Little 5 Points also has to be mentioned. Atlanta is also crazy for cocktails, so a trip to Soundtable comes highly recommended for well-mixed drinks and a nice lounge atmosphere.

Historical Sites

This is a city steeped in history, and some of the local landmarks and sites are a way to get a feel for what the city is all about.

The Oakland Cemetery should be near the top of your list, which is the resting place of some of Atlanta’s most famous historical figures. The cemetery itself was a part of history during the Civil War, with the Battle of Atlanta being fought just to the east of the cemetery, and a farmhouse on the site was used as a temporary headquarters for the Confederate commander John B. Hood.

Only a few miles away is the World of Coca-Cola museum, which is well worth a visit.

Art and Music

Culture of every kind is a big part of daily life for Atlantans. The city was historically a major hub of the country music industry, and you can still hear some great acts at places like Wild Bill’s. But the real musical highlights of Atlanta these days are the hip-hop/r&b and indie music industries. This is the city that produced OutKast and Gladys Knight, so have a look through the bookings at famous venues like the Tabernacle and see if there’s something that suits your tastes.

Out-of-towners might overlook the art scene in the city, but there’s plenty to see. The High Museum of Art is one of the most visited galleries in the world and something locals are very proud of.

Also, it might not be high culture, but shopping is top of the list for many visiting Atlanta. If this is your priority, a day spent in the Buckhead district should give you all the shopping you need.

Sports

We love our sports in Atlanta, and it’s one of the best ways to get to know the city. This year will be the Falcons’ first trip to the Super Bowl, and the whole town is electric with anticipation. A trip to the Georgia Dome is a rite of passage for newcomers to the city, or you can watch the Falcons practice in the off season for free.

The Braves are the most historical team here, and, despite an up-and-down season last year, expect them to bounce back in 2017. The Braves have a rich history, and catching a game and getting involved is a good way to feel right at home.

Don’t write off the Hawks, either. If basketball is your game, then a Hawks game followed by a beer at the Luckie Marietta District should be a real treat.

College sports are a big attraction, too. Georgia State and Georgia Tech games bring a lot of game-day buzz to the city, so check out the campuses when a big game is coming up to get in on the action.

The College Football Hall of Fame is another nice way to spend the day. It’s located in downtown so there are plenty of places to get a bite afterward. It’s a new facility (opened in 2014), and it should make for an experience to remember for any football fan.

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Outdoor Activities

The weather here gives the city an energetic, active atmosphere. With lots of parks and green areas, life in Atlanta always offers ways to get a nice view of nature. Piedmont Park is the main spot to get a breath of fresh air. It’s a good place for dog walking, picnics, or even taking part in a pick-up basketball game.

After checking out the park some nice weekend afternoon, have a look at the Atlanta Botanical Garden next door. Then go for a long walk down the Beltway to get an idea of how Atlantans like to unwind.

And, for when the weather isn’t too fine but you still want to get a good dose of nature, the Georgia Aquarium is the biggest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. It’s a source of pride for locals and definitely something to check out.

Final Thoughts

Atlanta might seem too big to get to know easily, but the friendly locals and many things to do make it easy to feel right at home. Food and music might be what the city is best-known for, but there are a lot of things to do and many ways to mix in and enjoy the place.

There’s no better way to unwind after moving here (or even if you’re just visiting) than to get out and explore great neighborhoods like midtown, catch a game at the Georgia Dome, or go for a stroll down the Beltway. Just make sure you do as the locals do and fit in a nice meal afterward!

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