Help us have a good time in Atlanta for a few days?
June 6, 2007 11:24 AM   Subscribe

What can my wife do in Atlanta while I'm at the conference this weekend?

We'll be downtown Atlanta, staying at the Hyatt from the 9th to the 13th. I'll be at a conference most of the day. What are some things my wife can do while I am away?
We won't have our own transportation, so things that are within walking distance of the hotel are essential. We're aware of MARTA and would possibly use that (how safe and efficient is it?). Any and all information pertaining to enriching a good time in that area for a few days is greatly welcomed.
posted by UnclePlayground to Travel & Transportation around Atlanta, GA (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not very familiar with the area, but I can tell you that MARTA is very very far from being an ideal public transportation. While generally pretty safe, leave plenty of time to get to your destination - they're notorious for their inefficiency.
posted by JacksonEsquire at 11:28 AM on June 6, 2007

And by area, I mean the area within walking distance of the Hyatt.
posted by JacksonEsquire at 11:28 AM on June 6, 2007

The Coca-Cola Museum is pretty cool.
posted by 4ster at 11:29 AM on June 6, 2007

You'll be right next to the new world of coke (which was decent, but you'll have a gross feeling of consumerism afterward, paying to see all those ads. But, free coke from around the globe!) the not-to-be-missed GA aquarium (Not an aquarium fan, and I loved it all three times I've gone!) and the pleasent centennial park.
posted by milestogo at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2007

Personally, I always look forward to trips to Atlanta because I can stay in my hotel room and do nothing. I love the Waffle House, and always go there. But that's just me.

The World of Coke is a thing to behold. You need to embrace the absurdity of it though.

Gone with the Wind fanatics may enjoy the Margaret Mitchell House.

Google points to This and This, depending on your demographic.
posted by Mozzie at 11:53 AM on June 6, 2007

You don't really say much about your wife likes to do, does she have any specific interests or hobbies?

The Botanical Garden is really lovely, I have been there twice and they have amazing orchids. (Don't know if they're in season now, but roses probably are...mmm... I should go back.)

The aquarium was not great when I visited but others have had better experiences. Just don't go on a busy time like Saturday or a holiday.

If she is into shopping, Phipps Mall (for old rich people) and Lenox Mall (for young rich people) are both nearby (I assume you're staying at the Hyatt on Peachtree.)

Maggianos is a delicious place to eat if you are looking for somewhere to go to dinner. I believe that Maggianos in Buckhead is the 2nd most popular restaurant in Atlanta (measured in how much money they make).
posted by crackingdes at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2007

P.S. Marta is slow and unreliable but if she's only traveling short distances within the downtown area I'd think it would be okay. It's safe as far as I know and if you're on vacation time would probably not be as big a factor. It can be sort of an adventure though.
posted by crackingdes at 12:18 PM on June 6, 2007

She could tour the CNN Center. Right next to the Olympic park.

Also, the 15 acre Ikea is always worth a visit!

The MARTA Tourist Loops would be another good place to start. MARTA might be sketchy looking, sometimes, but it's quite safe :)
posted by at 12:21 PM on June 6, 2007

Walking distance, dang! I was going to suggest the Cyclorama! (which is Marta + Bus accessible, but still a bit of a pain in the neck to get to without a car).

Downtown... The CNN studio tour might entertain (or fulfill any secret Blitzer yearnings, if you are lucky). And of course, everyone recommends the Aquarium.
posted by julen at 12:23 PM on June 6, 2007

Marta is safe but if you would like to travel anywhere off the rail line it's going to be a pain. It can be done but it will take a while and probably a transfer or 8. A few things that haven't been mentioned yet, the oakland cemetary is really cool (lots of old and large monument stones/masoleums, good for a walk and taking some interesting pictures, right off of the Marta east/west rail) and a good seafood restaurant Six Feet Under is right across the street, if seafood isn't her thing Daddy D'z is just a few blocks west of Oakland and it is really good BBQ. The High Museum is fairly close to where you are staying and it has some great exhibits, definitely worth spending a couple of hours in. The Martin Luther King Center is interesting. The Virginia Highlands area is nice if she's into boutique shopping (lil pricey but fun) (she'd need to take a bus or taxi from downtown). The Botanical Gardens are beautiful but the heat might be rough if you aren't aclimated to it. Anyway I hope some of this helps
posted by estronaut at 12:24 PM on June 6, 2007

We went to Atlanta for a few days over spring break, and one thing I didn't understand about the aquarium before I got there was the timed admissions. You can't just walk up, buy a ticket and get in; you buy a ticket to be admitted at a specific time, which in our case was 2-3 hours later than when we got there. I would recommend buying your tickets online or by phone.

We also went to the (old) World of Coke, CNN studio tour and the Zoo (baby panda requires separate ticket).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:26 PM on June 6, 2007

If you do go to Maggiano's, as crackingdes suggests, do try the lasagna. It's a 4 inch cube of lasagna-y goodness!
posted by at 12:28 PM on June 6, 2007

check out Creative Loafing Atlanta for a list of places to see, do, eat etc.
posted by mrmarley at 12:30 PM on June 6, 2007

If you are not from a major urban center, Atlanta has a newer IKEA store she might like.
posted by contog at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2007

Go to the High Museum, they're got a great art collection and right now they're showing works from the Louvre's collection, it has it's own station (Arts Center).

Oakland Park Cemetery is a short walk from the MLK Jr. station. See neat statuary, and then have good fish at Six Feet Under.

Go to Midtown and then over to Piedmont and Peachtree for neat shops and restaurants (Flying Biscuit and Mary Mac's Tearoom especially).

The Cyclorama is also a very interesting bit of civil war kitsch, but may be a haul from any public transportation, unless you figure out the bus system.

Check out this thread, it gave me plenty of ideas on how to occupy myself while accompanying my mother to a convention in Atlanta. I used the MARTA (and free tourist shuttles) exclusively to get around, but I don't mind walking, so YMMV (literally).
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:59 PM on June 6, 2007

I can't believe no one's mentioned Piedmont Park, which is quite close to where you're staying. It's a lovely place to enjoy the outdoors.

If eating is your thing, you may want to try something entirely local instead of Maggiano's (which can be found in many cities). My personal favorite is Watershed, though it would be a bit of a long trip but doable by Marta (in Decatur).

I second Oakland cemetery as well. Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell are both buried there. But I'm biased as it's a block from my loft.

Marta works fine, and it's not especially inefficient, but it does run on a slower schedule outside of rush hours (about 15 - 20 minutes between trains).
posted by trox at 2:08 PM on June 6, 2007

If you are at the Hyatt Regency, you are quite literally accross the street from the Marta Station (N1 Peachtree Center). Marta may not be the El train but it is 1/10 the price of a cab and more efficient than walking.

I also suggest the Aquarium, (I haven't been but everybody I know who went was awestruck)

The King Center is also a big one for many many americans.
posted by Megafly at 3:07 PM on June 6, 2007

Go to the Aquarium, it's really cool. And have a beer and a burger at The Vortex in little 5 points.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:30 PM on June 6, 2007

I stayed at the Hyatt back in March. The Marta station is just through the lobby - you don't even have to go outside. There's also a small mall connected to the hotel, and there's a Hard Rock Cafe and a bunch of fun restaurants within walking distance. Gotta be honest, though, my mom was on her own while I had conference meetings during the day and she just vegged out in the room on the balcony and read books.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:57 PM on June 6, 2007

The Jimmy Carter presidential Library.
posted by brujita at 10:53 PM on June 6, 2007

You guys have been great so far! Thank you so much!

She's really into history and culture, so any other recommendations along the lines of MLK Jr. Center or museums? Any quaint, tucked-away neighborhoods that might give her a sense of "the old south" and the culture? We're yanks from Ohio...
posted by UnclePlayground at 5:18 AM on June 7, 2007

Vehicle or not, please do not go to Atlanta without going to Fat Matt's Ribshack on piedmont.

undoubtedly the best ribs and brunswick stew in all of Georgia...
posted by chasles at 8:02 AM on June 7, 2007

Some cool neighborhoods for poking around: Virginia Highland, Little 5 Points, East Atlanta Village.

Avoid Underground Atlanta at all costs.
posted by spilon at 9:17 AM on June 7, 2007

I'll second avoiding Underground. Not because it's sketchy, but because it's been redeveloped (AGAIN) and has lost what little soul remained.

In terms of "Old South" feeling neighborhoods - ever since the War of Northern Aggression (snicker), Atlanta hasn't really had really old-timey antebellum stuff... a certain someone put it all to the torch...

The Atlanta History Center has the Swan House, as well as some nice historical exhibits (including some slave cabins and an old farm house, iir).

And to get to the VaHilands, take the 2 bus from North Avenue Marta Station and get off at Highland Avenue.
posted by yggdrasil at 2:11 PM on June 7, 2007

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