Atlanta trip for two artists
June 20, 2016 10:03 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I are heading down to Atlanta in August. We're two artists who, obviously, love art. Any places to recommend?

We're heading down to visit an old friend I haven't seen in a long time. They live in Athens and we're going to be spending three days in Atlanta afterwards. We both love anything art. Especially the performing arts. While we do love an occasional beer or two - fancy dinner - yada yada - we want to get an artistic taste of what Atlanta has to offer. I love independent comics/weirdo music shops also. I've heard a lot of great independent music coming out of Atlanta. We both also enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors.

We do not have any mode of transportation besides relying on public transit. Unless there's a neighboring town that's home to a lot of interesting places/folks - we can consider renting a car.

Also, I know it's probably going to be hot/humid as hell.

Thanks in advance!
posted by morning_television to Travel & Transportation around Atlanta, GA (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of neighborhoods, e. g. Little Five Points and especially East Atlanta, are poorly served by the RAIL system, so you'll be relying on the BUS feeder network. That experience can suck, unless you have the MARTA app for your smartphone, which will at least tell you where/when the next bus is coming.
posted by intermod at 10:10 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

You will need to use uber/Lyft to get places if you are not going to have a car. EAV and L5P as above are not especially accessible via MARTA, so be aware.

It's not totally clear what you would want to do / see based on your description and there is . .a lot.

1. Check out Bands In Town and look for venues - the 5 Spot, Masquerade, Vinyl, The Loft, the EARL. You can get a good taste of what is happening in town based on that. The venues I named above are some of my faves, and it's too bad the Variety is closed right now for renovations because that place is also boss.

2. Performing arts that are not bands - look at Actor's Express, 7 Stages, Dad's Garage, and Horizon just to name a few. GoldStar Tickets online will have a bunch of discounted stuff that you can comb through as well.

3. Little 5 Points (L5P) will have a bunch of the theaters I've named above, plus Criminal Records which is a records and comics shop. There is also Oxford in town, but Criminal is by far the cooler shop, IMHO, and isn't nearly in Buckhead.

4. L5P will also have the Vortex, Corner Tavern, The Porter, and a bunch of other great ATL eating spots, along with your typical Starbucks + two indie coffee shops.

5. EAV will be where the EARL is, and will also have great food. There are other bars there, too, so you can do a bit of bar hopping and the scene at night is pretty friendly.

Hope that helps. I'm living around the corner in Inman Park so holler if you want more on-the-ground Intel.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:35 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

L5P and EAV, as said above, are going to the be artiest parts of town. The High is great. If you're into Eastern stuff, the Carlos museum at Emory is doing an exhibition of Tibetan Buddhist Art. For requisite weirdness, you could check out the bizzarro stripclub, The Clermont Lounge (nsfw). And go get drinks at Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium.

I also highly recommend going to see the Cyclorama, because it's the Most Atlanta Thing Ever, but it's currently undergoing renovations and a move to Buckhead.
posted by dis_integration at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I did Atlanta as a non-driving tourist a few years ago, just pre-Uber... I would not recommend it. Buses were really intermittent, and taxis unreliable and expensive (some weird zone system, and an extra charge just for a second passenger?). If I went back (which I would, because other than transit the city, food, and people are awesome) I'd Uber/Lyft everywhere.

Also, seconding Sister Louisa's, which is incredible.
posted by Gortuk at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Doll's Head Trail --

Living Walls --
posted by lockestockbarrel at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Atlanta Botanical Garden for the Chiluly exhibit!
posted by heathrowga at 11:03 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is all great advice, personally, I'd rent a bike, most of the places mentioned are accessible by the beltline. Here is one such place.
posted by stormygrey at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2016

If you get a rental car or are willing to Uber/Lyft, it's worth checking if there's anything going on at The Goat Farm in the Westside area.
posted by fifthpocket at 11:24 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm an engineer type and am by no means a huge fan of art. That said, the High museum has never failed to impress me when we happen to make a trip.

The Center for Puppetry is always mentioned but I've never been. I think they're re-opening with a huge addition of Jim Henson's stuff here soon (already?) so you might want to look into that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:41 AM on June 20, 2016

Seconding the Doll's Head Trail. This might require a car since it's a bit out of the way, but was one of the highlights of my recent Atlanta trip. The heat made it pretty impractical for us to walk far or consider biking, although the Beltline looked interesting. Oh, and if you're considering visiting the Junkman's Daughter, go in with low expectations. Not much old junk at all, like I was expecting. Mostly new, cheap kitschy stuff.
posted by oxisos at 6:23 PM on June 20, 2016

Here's my recommendations...

The High. It's at the aptly named "Arts Center" MARTA stop. Plan a solid afternoon to really enjoy it. Go across the street to the Museum of Design, which is usually pretty interesting. You can trek from here to the Center For Puppetry Arts, but it's quite a haul. If they are having any shows in their black box theater, go see it. Your mind will be blown.

The Fox Theater is amazing, take one of their tours. It's right at a MARTA stop too.

SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design) has a lot of shows, either by visiting faculty, artists or students. Worth a check to see what they are doing and where.

All the cutting edge art gets exhibited at the fashionable galleries out in Buckhead. You'll definitely need a car for that, but it's where to go to sip champagne and see the high dollar art. There's plenty of hot new restaurants, that are too trendy for me to even know about, check Eater Atlanta to know where to see and be seen.

There's some crafty galleries in Decatur, the MARTA stop is right on the square. Get good beer and play pool/shuffle board/darts at Twain's after. Or fight the crowds and drink amazing beer at the Brickstore. Or get wonderful food at the Iberian Pig. Really, just go to Decatur to eat and drink.

East Atlanta Village is where the DIY hipster artists hang out. Again, you'll need a car to get there, but it's very pleasant to stroll on foot, once you arrive. Food and drink at the Octopus Bar or The Earl.

I have a special place in my heart for the Cyclorama, a snapshot of a weird art/entertainment time in early 20th Century American. One of only four or so that still exist on the planet. Go see it, and either be amazed or appalled, but you'll have a reaction, for sure. Go see the Zoo while you're there. No so much artsy, but: Pandas!

Oakland Cemetary off the MLK MARTA stop has amazing funerary sculpture and is also worthy of a pleasant morning stroll. Go eat at Ria's Bluebird after, or do it in the evening and then go up to Edgewood to drink at Sister Louisa's or to Joystick to play vintage video games. You can take the Edgewood Streetcar to Downtown from here.

If your friends are up for a journey back to the People's Republic of Athens, the Georgia Museum of Art is on the UGA campus, and this time of year is a great time to visit. Have steamed pork buns and cocktails at The World Famous afterwards.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2016

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