Food in Georgia is about as good as it gets in the American South. Depending on where you are in the state, you can find innovative takes on old favorites in bustling Atlanta or straight up, original southern cooking in towns like Macon and Savannah. In general, meals are refreshingly affordable, especially considering the homemade quality of the dishes with recipes often passed down by family members for centuries. Be sure to have grits for breakfast and sweet potato pie for dessert. In between is a cornucopia of hearty plates, so forgo your diet and indulge. Atlanta is the hub of nightlife in Georgia though the college town of Athens certainly has its gems. Stick to the big cities for a serious evening out.

Bars and Pubbing in Georgia

Atlanta is easily the center of nightlife in Georgia. This huge city has everything from world-class rock bands to classical performing arts and down-home neighborhood bars. Buckhead is a hotspot for a night of bar hopping, while Virginia-Highland offers low-key sophistication. Little Five Points is the place to head if weird, funky, and fun appeal to you. The Fox Theater (660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta) is a legend for live music and even the Atlanta Ballet when needed. Atlanta’s hotels also host some of the hottest bars like the Ritz-Carlton’s Lobby Lounge (3434 Peachtree Road, Atlanta).

Athens is another hit for fun after dark, especially live music. The hometown of bands like the B-52s and R.E.M., the town still births some impressive musical talent. Head to the 40 Watt Club (285 W. Washington Street, Athens) or Georgia Theater (215 Lumpkin Street, Athens) to catch the newest hit act. To relax in style, try the Globe (199 N. Lumpkin Street, Athens) and hang with the locals. Closing time is 2:00 a.m. in all Georgia bars and clubs.

Most other major cities in Georgia like Savannah have lively nightlife scenes, as well. River Street downtown is the main strip for bars and clubs, most of which have live music that draws in wandering patrons. Johnson Square is also a good spot to head to catch local bands. Outside of Atlanta, Savannah has the state’s top performing arts scene. The Savannah Symphony Orchestra, Savannah Theater (Chippewa Square, Savannah), and Johnny Mercer Theater (Orleans Square, Savannah) are all top venues in the city to catch a quality performance of any kind.

Dining and Cuisine in Georgia

Georgia has a perfect balance between sophisticated New American cuisine and good old down-home Southern cooking. Atlanta’s Buckhead district is the hub for much of the innovative culinary action, evident in the five-star experiences found regularly at Quinones (1198 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta) or Bone’s (3130 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta).

Georgia is also ideal for dining al fresco with its balmy weather seven months of the year. Atlanta has loads of restaurants with outside patios like the riverfront Canoe (4199 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta) or the French American Brasserie (30 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd, Atlanta). The state is famous for its barbecue, wild game, and catfish, all of which serve up great on the grill and are often very reasonably priced.

Savannah is famous for its seafood and a dining scene rivaled only by Atlanta. The best haunts are along River Street in the Historic District. Try Elizabeth on 37th (105 E. 37th Street, Savannah) for creative Southern fusion in a lovely historic home or Mrs Wilkes’ Dining Room (107 W. Jones Street, Savannah) for classic dishes like black eyed peas, fried chicken, okra, corn bread, and collard greens. It’s the real deal.