The 1996 Olympics, Coca Cola and the world’s busiest airport are three things you may first associate with Atlanta, but it is so much more than that. As the capital of the New South, Atlanta is home to award winning restaurants, world class shopping and family-friendly attractions. Each neighborhood has its own distinct personality, just like the city’s residents.
9 AM WEST EGG CAFE
1100 HOWELL MILL RD. ATLANTA, GA 30318
Atlanta might not have one signature dish, but knows how to do Southern food right. A big breakfast is part of the culture, so start at West Egg Cafe on the up-and-coming Westside neighborhood. The cafe is named for The Great Gatsby and has bookshelves and a photobooth to keep you entertained while waiting for a table. Brunch is an all day affair with pimento cheese grits and turkey sausage biscuits.
10 AM GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Head over to the Georgia Aquarium, the largest in the world. It may be touristy, but you will find plenty of locals with their noses to the glass trying to spot the beluga whales. Scuba diving buffs have the opportunity to swim in the tank with the whale sharks, one of the only places they thrive in captivity. The Georgia Explorer section is the most interactive, where you can pet horseshoe crabs and baby sharks.
12 PM SWEET AUBURN CURB MARKET
Sweet Auburn was the stomping grounds of the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sweet Auburn Curb Market serves as the culinary hub of the neighborhood. Vendors bring their best produce, meats and other products to sell alongside permanent restaurants. You can buy products that aren’t in your typical grocery store like whole pigs, rabbit and chitterlings. Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Arepa Mia, and Sweet Auburn BBQ are the most popular restaurants and walking around the stalls will surely make you hungry for lunch.
2 PM WORLD OF COCA-COLA
Located down the street from the Aquarium, the World of Coca‑Cola is a 4-D interactive museum that features more than 1,200 artifacts celebrating the world’s best-known beverage brand. After a unique look inside the bottling process, the tasting experience gives you a refreshing opportunity to sample over 100 flavors from around the world.
4 PM NATIONAL CENTER FOR CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS
Located around the corner from Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta's Civil Rights Museum finally has a place to tell it's story. A pivotal arena in the fight for freedom and equality, explore how African American leaders galvanized black voting power, gained access to public facilities and increased economic opportunities during the cornerstone of American history.
6 PM COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Relocated from Southbend, IN in 2009, if you're a sports nut, the College Football Hall of Fame is your mecca. Located right in downtown Atlanta, a 94,256 square foot hall includes 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 45-yard indoor football field to test out your skills. The ultimate fan experience, highlights include a wall of 700+ vintage helmet designs and a giant HD "behind the scenes" film featuring former players and coaches.
8 PM FLIP BURGER BOUTIQUE
If you're a Top Chef fan, checking out Richard Blais' FLIP Burger Boutique should be a must-do. No ordinary burgers, these little bites of heaven are a modern, imaginative, chef-driven dining experience that gives all your senses a night out. Menu favorites include the Nutella Shake and Sweet Potato Tots, the perfect food to nosh on after a day of sightseeing.
10 PM SKYVIEW ATLANTA
For a perfect end to the evening, take a spin on the SkyView, Atlanta's newest attraction towering 20 stories above Centennial Park. The ferris wheel features 42 climate-controlled gondolas providing guest with breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Atlanta, but if you're looking for an even more romantic experience, the VIP gondola boasts Ferrari leather seats, a glass floor and extended ride.
8 AM THE FLYING BISCUIT
There are hundreds of breakfast spots in Atlanta, but if you ask someone on the street where you should go, they’re very likely to reply with The Flying Biscuit. The Candler Park original location was opened in 1993 by Delia Champion and Indigo Girl Emily Sallers. They still serve breakfast all day and are known for the biscuits, which are served with a cranberry apple butter.
10 AM PIEDMONT PARK
Piedmont Park is the ideal place to spend a sunny day and is Atlanta’s answer to Central Park. It hosts a variety of events all year, like Screen on the Green, Atlanta Dogwood Festival and the finishing line of the Peachtree Road Race, just to name a few. If nothing else, just take a walk around and enjoy the natural surroundings.
11 AM ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDENS
Within the confines of Piedmont Park lies the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which has a beautiful collection of orchids and other plants with glassworks by artist Dave Chihuly. The flowers and plants on display differ by season. In the fall they have a scarecrow exhibit and in the winter there is a Christmas lights exhibit. The new Canopy Walk lets guests walk among the tops of the trees.
1 PM THE VARSITY
The Varsity, located across from Georgia Tech, is a "love it" or "hate it" institution in its own right, serving up hot dogs and hamburgers to hungry college students, sports fans, tourists, and locals since 1928. Don’t be intimidated by the yells of “What’ll ya have,” as the servers are intentionally rude (all in good fun). Order a Frosted Orange, or FO, and chili dog for an authentic experience.
2 PM VIRGINIA HIGHLAND
Spend the afternoon wandering the historic neighborhood of Virginia Highland, which is full of boutiques, bars and restaurants. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, grab gelato from Paolo’s Gelato or a latte from Aurora Coffee. HoneyButter and Mitzi & Romano sell stylish women’s clothing or plan your own bar crawl as this area is always hopping and fun for nighttime, as well.
6 PM ANTICO PIZZA
One of Hugh Acheson's favorite restaurants in Atlanta, Antico Pizza is true Neapolitan-style 'za cooked right in front of you in their giant wood-fired ovens. A lively, loud BYOB establishment, we recommend trying the amatriciana or the diavola, which has spicy soppressata and bufala mozzarella.
8 PM JENI'S WESTSIDE PROVISIONS
For a sweet, after-dinner treat, Jeni's is always hopping, usually with lines out the door. A local favorite, every ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt is made from scratch with grass-grazed milk, local produce, American bean-to-bar chocolate and ingredients from around the world, including exquisite Fair-Trade-Certified African vanilla and Dutch cocoa.
WHERE TO STAY: THE OMNI
190 MARIETTA ST. NW ATLANTA, GA 30303
The Omni Hotel at the CNN Center is located steps away from the top attractions of the city. Rooms overlook Centennial Olympic Park and the downtown skyline. There are a number of dining options in the hotel itself, as well as in the nearby Marietta Street area.