Since Atlanta is my hometown, I am extremely excited to be writing about must-see sites in the city! Atlanta, Georgia has exploded in population in the past thirty years ever since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The city has expanded as well, and so have the surrounding suburbs. Naturally, the traffic has gotten insane. Hundreds of thousands of commuters come into the city every week day, which makes rush-hour traffic completely hectic. Atlanta is lovely, but there are also many suburbs surrounding the city that have a lot to offer as well. One of my favorites is Roswell and Roswell Mills. Downtown Roswell has a fun main street with shops and stores, and Roswell Mills is an old mill surrounded by many fun hikes. For the purpose of this blog post, however, I’ll mainly focus on neighborhoods in the city!
Atlanta is similar to Birmingham in the way that it is comprised of neighborhoods. From the young professionals in Virginia Highlands and Old Forth Ward to the old mansions of Brookhaven to the shopping in Buckhead, the city is extremely diverse. As I always say, diversity is good for the soul! I believe that the acceptance of diversity and diverse beliefs is what has made the city so successful. Atlanta is full of so many different cultures and backgrounds, and that makes the city well worth visiting (or living)!
I think my favorite question in the world to be asked is “What restaurants do you recommend?” for multiple reasons. The main reason I like this question is because I like that people trust my taste in restaurants. The second reason is because I genuinely love dining out. It’s truly a hobby of mine… that is, if going to restaurants can be considered a hobby!
Because Atlanta is comprised of neighborhoods, the city has an extremely diverse array of restaurants. Since I’m from Buckhead, I will start there! I know I am a bit biased, but I believe Buckhead has some of the best dining and retail options in the city. Buckhead is separated into a residential district of beautiful old homes and a more commercialized area with skyscrapers, shopping malls, dining, and apartments. In the new “Shops at Buckhead,” there are some delicious restaurants including Le Bilboquet and Dolce. My favorite two restaurants in Buckhead are St. Cecelia and King & Duke. If you’re looking for great outdoor dining, try Canoe (which is technically in Vinings). Blue Ridge Grill and Houston’s are in the more residential area, and they rarely disappoint. As for coffee shops, check out Corso in the Shops of Buckhead and Chattahoochee Coffee Company (which is technically in Marietta). The first is an Italian-themed coffee shop and the second is a coffee shop in the woods that sits on the Chattahoochee River. As for desserts, it’s Georgetown Cupcakes or bust. They have the best cupcakes in the USA – I’m convinced!
For my second neighborhood, I want to talk about the West Side, which is located west of downtown. This area really expanded in the past decade or so, and it is home to many great restaurants and coffee shops. For dining, I always recommend the Optimist. It’s my favorite restaurant in the area, and they have the most amazing seafood. I also recommend Bocado and JCT. For casual dining, I recommend Taqueria del Sol, Yeah! Burger, and Six Feet Under (which has a rooftop bar). For coffee, I recommend Chattahoochee Coffee Company (same name, different location) and Revelator. For dessert, check out Jeni’s Ice Cream!
Thirdly, Virginia Highlands and Old Fourth Ward are really nice neighborhoods located downtown. For restaurants, I recommend Sotto Sotto and Parish (which has a cafe downstairs and it’s located on the Beltline, which I’ll get into more later). My favorite restaurant in this area right now is Bread and Butterfly, which is a French-inspired cafe with amazing food, pastries, and coffee. I’m obsessed! I also really like a cafe called Cacao, which has delicious macaroons and ice cream. I am recently obsessed with Juliana’s Crepes, which has amazing savory and sweet crepes. There are so many cool finds in Virginia Highlands and Old Fourth Ward, and I look forward to discovering more restaurants I like!
Lastly, Midtown and Downtown Atlanta also have some fantastic can’t-miss restaurants! One of my favorites is Cafe Intermezzo in midtown. Cafe Intermezzo has outdoor seating, great selections of cheesecake and coffee, and it’s open past midnight, which is really nice. I’ve had many late night conversations here with friends over the years! I also really like the Sun Dial in the Westin Hotel and Tamarind Seed!
Atlanta has a diverse array of shopping all over the city! The new Shops of Buckhead are reminiscent of a mini-Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. This shopping center is home to many high end stores including Hermès and Louboutin. The Shops of Buckhead also have my favorite candle store – Diptyque! If you’ve never smelled their candles, I highly recommend checking them out! Other great shopping can be found in Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza. These two malls have just about all you could want, and they’re right across the street from each other! Ponce City Market (more about this below) is also home to a ton of great shopping. There are great stores including Anthropologie, Citizen Supply, and J. Crew. Ponce is also home to a Candlefish where you can make your own candle! Lastly, the West Side has some of the best shopping in the city. Between Ann Mashburn to Calypso St. Barth, the West Side is home to some really lovely retail!
I also am a huge fan of consignment and vintage shopping! I really enjoy the store “Labels” in Buckhead. They have some of the best consignment in Atlanta, and there’s also a shoes and bags separate location. I also love the Clothing Warehouse for vintage items and Buffalo Exchange for really hip consignment items!
One thing I really love about my home town is that there is so much to do – no matter the weather! If it’s sunny out, I recommend going on a run or walk or bike ride on the Beltine, which is sort of like the Highline in NYC, but not elevated. Essentially, it’s a path that goes through downtown, and it hits many of Atlanta’s main sites, including Ponce City Market and Krog Street. Ponce City Market is the renovated old Sears and Roebuck factory. It houses many options for retail, home furnishing, and dining options. Rain or shine, I always recommend PCM to visitors of Atlanta. If it’s rainy, you can peruse the dining and retail options. If it’s sunny, you can park in a nearby neighborhood and walk to PCM on the Beltline. You could also check out Skyline Park, which is a mini-amusement park on the roof of PCM. There’s put-put, restaurants, slides, arcade games, and so much more.
Krog Street Market is another indoor warehouse that is home to many dining options. The food at Krog street is delicious, and there are so many options! I also always recommend checking out Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. The park is so expansive and well-manicured. There is also a great view of the Midtown skyline! Lastly, I absolutely love the High Museum in Midtown. The High is an art museum with some of the most beautiful paintings and works of art. They currently have the Andy Warhol prints, so check them out as soon as you can to see this exhibit! The interior and exterior of the museum is also extremely visually appealing!
I hope this was helpful for anyone planning a trip to Atlanta some time soon! Or, if you already live here, I hope I gave you some inspiration as to how to spend your next weekend in the city!