On my way back to Georgia
February 14, 2007 10:10 AM   Subscribe

We're heading to Atlanta tomorrow--what to do?

I lived in Atlanta as a poor grad student in the early 90s, and I'm heading back there (wth the MrsMoonPie) tomorrow. What should we do while there?

We will definitely hit the Dekalb Farmer's Market. There are a few restaurants I remember, but their primary allure while I was a resident was that they were cheap. Now that I have some money, I'm guessing that most of the places would disappoint. Is Athen's Pizza in Decatur worth a visit? Mary Mac's Tea Room? That wing 'n' beer place in Virginia Highlands?

Any other ideas about what to do? We'll be staying near the airport, and will have a car. Some time will be spent visiting my wife's brother, his wife, and their new child, but we'll have a good bit of free time.
posted by MrMoonPie to Travel & Transportation around Atlanta, GA (26 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Though it's kind of a tourist trap, I enjoyed the Coca-Cola museum--especially the part at the end where they have about one zillion soda dispensers dispensing about one zillion types of soda from around the world. You get to try what you'd like. At least I think that part of the museum is still there.
posted by printchick at 10:26 AM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: Go to the zoo before they move it. Then go to Hank's across the street for some ice cream. Then drive around Grant Park to gawk at the pretty Victorians.

Come see me at Manuel's on Sat.

Make fun of the new street car proposal.

Try the new tourist loop bus.

See what's shakin at the High Museum of Art.

Take the train into Decatur so you can get smashed at all the great bars.

By all means tramp around Virginia Highlands, the "wings n beer" place is still there, but so are some pretty fancy eating places. They also have very nice trendy shopping places. I like American Roadhouse in the Highlands for a quick brunch, try the Portabella Scramble.

Try accessatlanta.com or creative loafing for upcoming stuff.
posted by stormygrey at 10:29 AM on February 14, 2007

Do you like small museums?
The American Museum of Papermaking is on Tech's campus and is a lot of fun. Rocky Mountain Pizza across the street is a great little divey pizza joint.

Rhodes Hall is a historic house that is within walking distance of the High. On the walk down to Rhodes the museum of Contemporary art is on your right. Directly behind Rhodes and down the street a bit is the Bremen Jewish History Museum, The Center for Puppetry Arts and the highly weird National Museum of Patriotism. The new Atlanta based SCAD is right there as well.
posted by stormygrey at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best burgers: The Vortex
Good homestyle cooking: The Barbecue Kitchen
and The Colonnade
Great Italian: Cafe Prego

And, if you can make the haul, the experience is worth it: The Blue Willow

I have lots more, but I should get back to work!
posted by hankbear at 10:37 AM on February 14, 2007

There's the new aquarium--you can make a timeslot reservation online (or so my parents tell me). It's supposed to be amazing. If you're into the shopping/people-watching thing, you can always wander around in Virginia Highland or East Atlanta. And there's the fantastic PATH for walking/running/biking.

As for restaurants, it depends on what kind of food you're looking for. There are several excellent and somewhat pricey restaurants in Inman Park now: Rathbun's, Fritti/Sotto Sotto, Shaun's, various wine-bar-type-things, etc.

I haven't been to Athens Pizza or Taco Mac in years, but I can't imagine that they've changed much. They're timeless. And, on preview: second Manuels, Grant Park, and the High!
posted by paleography at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2007

I loved the aquarium, and the Martin Luther King Center was fascinating and moving.
posted by matildaben at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2007

The new Georgia Aquarium is impressive. Mary Mac's Tea Room is not-to-be-missed. Take a tour of the Fox. And I'll second the Manuel's suggestion as well. Ooh - I just saw that Five-eight will be playing at the Star Community Bar in Little 5 Points on Friday.
posted by Tasanova at 11:00 AM on February 14, 2007

Response by poster: Another place I remember was an architectural salvage place near Little 5 Points--anyone know if it's still there? Is Junkman's Daughter still cool?
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:04 AM on February 14, 2007

The architectural salavage place is gone. Junkman's Daughter, is still there and still the same, whether you think its cool is another question. :)
posted by stormygrey at 11:07 AM on February 14, 2007

On visiting the Georgia Aquarium: Be sure to get tickets in advance through the website, and get the earliest slot possible, and check out the whale tunnel section before anything else. Around lunch time, the place is slam packed, and it's hard to move around and actually see everything.

Also: The Earl in east Atlanta. +1 to Taco Mac.
posted by triolus at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2007

Check out the improv comedy at Dad's Garage.

Catch a movie at the Plaza Theatre.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2007

when I saw this thread my answer was going to be "RUN!" but here's another vote for Dad's Garage...especially on Friday night if you can get to Scandals! (it's funny as hell).

Dad's Garage is improve theater (like Who's line is it anyway) and is very, very funny. You need to get your tickets early (book on the website) and then go get in line around 9:30pm or so (to get good seats).

If you can find your way to Lil5 Points, then just ask people where Dad's Garage is, it's slightly hidden.

Like beer? Then try The Brickstore in Decatur. It gets PACKED on Friday and Saturday nights but they have good pub food and miles (and miles) of beer. In fact, whatever beer you order, they'll bring it in it's appropriate glass complete with logo.

The Aquarium is hard to get into and is always packed, I'd use caution when visiting there.

Here is another vote too for Mary-Mac's Team Room (it's in the heart of downtown Atlanta).
posted by Hands of Manos at 11:47 AM on February 14, 2007

Some Junkman's Daughter clarification: It's actually changed locations from the original, although I can't remember when that happened--certainly a while ago (it's on Moreland now). And it seems more Urban-Outfitters-ey than it used to, although maybe that's just a matter of perception and age.
posted by paleography at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: The Varsity! (That's where my parents met.)
posted by candyland at 12:15 PM on February 14, 2007

Also, the Carter Presidential Center is cool.
posted by candyland at 12:16 PM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: MrMoonPie, since you welcomed me to D.C., I’d love to return the favor here in Atlanta. I’ll be out of town on Saturday and Sunday, but my email is in my profile.
posted by ijoshua at 12:23 PM on February 14, 2007

And since no one else has mentioned it, Daddy D’z for BBQ and Fat Matt’s Chicken Shack for fried catfish.
posted by ijoshua at 12:29 PM on February 14, 2007

I'm a fan of the Cyclorama in Grant Park. Very much Civil War kitsch, but a neat snapshot of what entertainment was like in America before them new-fanlged moving pictures.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:05 PM on February 14, 2007

The High is exhibiting pieces from the collection of the Louvre. It's quite exciting.

The Georgia Aquarium is like a mall with fish tanks. I was not impressed. Lots of people gawking like they had never seen a fish before. It was extremely busy. It will be extremely busy until 2010.

Both the Aquarium and the High will be busy with school tours on weekdays, especially in the morning.

It will be sunny, if not cold and a little windy tomorrow. Stone Mountain is pretty neat. There are two trails I recommend, one around the mountain and the other up and down the mountain.

I recommend Our Way Cafe in Avondale Estates (it moved from Decatur) if you are looking for meat-and-threes. Crescent Moon is pretty good for a leisurely lunch or breakfast. There are two locations: one in Decatur and one in Tucker, at Northlake Mall.

Athen's Pizza in Decatur is still there on Clairmont and is still OK. There's a new Fellini's in Decatur. Decatur has um... changed since the early 1990s. They are even tearing down the old Relax Inn across from Agnes Scott. Fortunately, they are keeping the Dairy Queen!
posted by FergieBelle at 2:53 PM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: The Oakland Park Cemetary is well worth a visit. Haunting Victorian mortuary statues, massive Richardsonian mausoleums, and row upon humble row of nameless Civil War dead. Beautiful.

And then walk across the street to Six Feet Under for catfish and beer. Or drive around to the other side, turn into Cabbagetown, and get the best coffee and cake in town at the Carroll Street Café.
posted by Haruspex at 4:38 PM on February 14, 2007

Another vote for The Brickstore Pub on the Decatur Square.
Have yourself a martini & steak at the Highland Tap in Virginia Highlands.
The CNN Tour is pretty cool.
Another dinner idea: make a reservation for 2 Urban Licks.
posted by mrmarley at 4:53 PM on February 14, 2007

I remember the one time I went to Atlanta. I spent most of the time checking out the campuses at St. Agnes-Scott which were used in some horror movie or other (and aren't really in ATL, but some city about fifteen minutes out of it I forget the name of.)

The only other eventful thing in my mind that stood out was introducing two of my very northern friends to the joys of Waffle House in Alpharetta, but that may not be applicable.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 5:06 PM on February 14, 2007

The Flying Biscuit for breakfast/brunch. Damn, how I miss that place.
posted by timetoevolve at 6:19 PM on February 14, 2007

+1 for the Aquarium. It's fantastic. If you can stand getting up early on a weekend, first thing Saturday morning is the best time to go -- you'll be able to commune with the whale sharks before the teeming masses get out of bed.
posted by somanyamys at 5:42 AM on February 15, 2007

I'm pregnant, so my food cravings are legion. And I do a lot of hotel/restaurant/food writing, so I get around.

In Decatur: BrickStore Pub is on the Decatur Square. The Brick Burger is really good and the fish and chips basket is the best I've ever had. Flying Biscuit has lovely biscuits but I greatly prefer the Crescent Moon (just west of the courthouse) for breakfast, especially the Griddle Grits (cheese grits fried on the griddle). And Our Way Cafe is the best -- make sure to get the creamed corn. It's on College Ave, heading east from downtown Decatur, next to the Goodwill. It's pretty much in Avondale and is a little south of the Dekalb Farmer's Market.

If you're near the airport, one stop north from Hartsfield is College Park, with some great little places: The Brake Pad is a converted gas station now serving up pub food with an upscale twist -- the day I interviewed the chef he was making chicken and banana eggrolls with a spicy sweet sauce. It's about 3 blocks up from the Marta station. I've talked to the chef/owner of The Pecan (serving southern food), right across the street from the station, and there is also the Feed Store a block or two south. Both look good but I haven't tried them yet. The Feed Store has a cool little bar.

I had excellent panini at Toscano and Sons on Marietta St (sort of near Georgia Tech) the other day.

Taqueria del Sol is good and cheap. 3 locations -- one at the WestSide Market on Howell Mill sort of near Tech, one on Cheshire Bridge, and another in Decatur (my fave). 2 drinks and 5 tacos and a guac/chips combo sets you back a total of 15 bucks. The line is long but you can either walk up to the bar without queueing or get there before the lunch rush. Yesterday was freezing so there was no line out the door. Best for meat-eaters (there's one spicy bean "veggie" taco). Good range of tequilas for margaritas.

I actually went to the Sun Dial downtown (atop the Westin) earlier this week -- it's a total time warp in terms of decor but they have a new chef and the menu is now seasonal-food driven (instead of the old steakhouse fare). Good wines by the glass and an amazing view. Plus the restaurant revolves so you get 360-degree views of Atlanta. There's an internal elevator to the 70th floor if the glass one scares you.

If you go to the Aquarium, go first thing in the morning (it opens at 10) and on a weekday.
posted by mdiskin at 6:29 AM on February 15, 2007

Response by poster: We're back! I've posted a full report on my blog, for those who want to see the details. The Farmer's Market was awe-inspiring, Little 5 Points was fun, Junkman's Daughter was fabulous, Six Feet Under makes an excellent bread pudding, Athen's Pizza sent MrsMoonPie to the hospital (and caused us to miss the Coca Cola museum and the Varsity), Grant Park was lovely, Decatur was unrecognizable--that pretty much sums it up. Thanks, all!
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:15 AM on February 20, 2007

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