Atlanta, Georgia was never on my vacation destination list, but when I received an invitation to a girls only weekend I never hesitated. I’d never visited or researched Atlanta before, so I really had no idea what to expect. Here’s what I did know: I would be traveling without my kids, to explore a new city, with one of my best friends! What more did I need to know?
Turns out Atlanta has a lot to offer, and with stops in Virginia Highlands, Little Five Points, Decatur, Historic Downtown, Midtown, and Candler Park we covered a lot of ground. Of course having a hometown guide was invaluable, and because we visited many of her personal favorites at least one of us knew what to expect!
The Atlanta BeltLine
The BeltLine was the perfect place to get an overview of Atlanta. The addition of this mixed use redevelopment project, which takes advantage of the City’s existing railway corridors, is transforming and revitalizing the city of Atlanta in the best possible way.
The multi-use pedestrian friendly pathways are perfect for cycling, running, and walking, but the BeltLine is much more then just an exercise path getting you from point A to point B. With a skate park, shopping, restaurants and the South’s largest temporary public art installation the BeltLine is a destination!
Related: Biking & Art on the Atlanta BeltLine
The Historic Fox theater
The Historic Fox Theater has a long fascinating history, and in addition to the 250+ events, which take place there annually, the theater offers a variety of behind the scenes tours as well.
Originally intended as a meeting place for the Shriner’s organization the theater was built to look like the ancient temples and palaces of Egypt and the Far East.
The financial burden proved too much and shortly before it was completed the Shriners leased the theater to Willam Fox who turned it into a movie palace. The theater opened to a sold out crowd on Christmas Day 1929. The move was Steam Boat Willie, starring Mickey Mouse!
During our tour we had a chance to explore the 250,000 square foot building, including the theater which seats 4,665, and has a twinkling ceiling, The Egyptian Ballroom, and many other ornately decorated spaces.
By the mid 1970s the Fox Theater had fallen into disrepair and was facing demolition. The people of Atlanta realized what a great loss this would be and banded to gather to save The Fox.
Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
More than 75 years after it was released Gone With The Wind is still considered one of America’s most successful films. A life long fan of both the book and the movie, I was delighted to discover that we’d be visiting the home of book’s author, Margaret Mitchell.
Gone With The Wind was written almost by accident. Yes, one of the most famous books of all time, was almost never written. A journalist, who unexpectedly became confined to her apartment due to an injury, Mitchell spent her recovery reading everything she could get her hands on. When she’d exhausted all the library had to offer, her husband suggested she try writing a book of her own. She never planned to publish the book, but when someone suggested that it would never amount to anything, she decided to show them a thing or two… And the rest is history!
The Margaret Mitchell house is run by the Atlanta History Center. Tours are offered daily, check the website for detailed information.
After you’ve toured the home take some time to explore the museum, which has plenty of memorabilia including photos of the cast, premiere movie tickets, and even props from the set of Gone With The Wind.
Ponce City Market
The Ponce City Market is a trendy and fun shopping area located in what was once the Sears & Roebuck Company building. There are fun reminders of the building’s history throughout. Inside you’ll find multiple food choices, unique boutiques and plenty of insta opportunities.
The Market links directly to the Atlanta BeltLine and is directly across from the Historic Fourth Ward Park, making it a perfect place to stop for a quick bite or to meet friends and stay awhile.
The Atlanta Botanical gardens
Open all year round you’re sure to see and experience something different each time you visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Visiting in the winter meant there weren’t as many outdoor flowers blooming, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to see.
The Chihully sculptures placed throughout the gardens provided a bright pop of color on a rainy winter afternoon.
The Orchid Festival was not only lovely, but provided the perfect backdrop for some fun group photos.
I wasn’t traveling with the boys this trip, but I know they would have loved this fabulous play space filled with so many things to discover and experience.
Shopping & Dinning (but mainly dining)
997 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta
Murphy’s Restaurant, offers traditional and regional choices. The food was delicious and the service was perfect! Welcome in!
Murphy’s Restaurant is located in a quaint little neighborhood with lots of fun shops like the Urban Cottage.
Leons Full Service
131 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur
We loved our meal at Leon’s Full Service, which is located in a former service station. The vibe is hip, but casual, and they have an extensive list of local brews on tap. The food was delicious, but definitely on the heavier side.
Livingston Restaurant & Bar
659 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
The Livingston is located in the Georgian Terrace Hotel just across the street from the Historic Fox Theater. They serve southern style cuisine with a modern twist. I loved my chicken and waffles, don’t tell my mom, but the apple fennel slaw might have been the best coleslaw I’ve ever had!
299 N Highland Ave NE Atlanta
Barcelona Vinoteca is a neighborhood wine shop/bar with a cozy vibe. Stop in for a drink, or bring a bottle home. The large pull down maps on the walls brought back memories of my pre smart board school days.
1136 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta
Located in the heart of the Little Five Points, we stopped at the Yacht Club for late night drinks. This place is the definition of a dive bar!
Have you ever turned over the travel planning to someone else? Was it a success? Would you do it again?
Pin for later:
Take Me With You!
Would you like directions to these fabulous places? Why not take me with you! You can download this and other fun hilarystyle articles using the GPSmyCity app!
Atlanta suddenly looks soooo much more appealing! All I know about it is that Coca Cola is from there, right? But now you’ve intrigued me with that beautiful theater AND the home of Margaret Mitchell! Pinned! #FarawayFiles
Yep, it is the home of Coke! There were a lot of things we didn’t get to, and I admit I was surprised to see it’s a pretty neat place!
Ashley // Born Explorers
You know, we lived in the Southeast for almost 6 years and somehow we never made it to Atlanta. To be honest, I didn’t have the best impression of it, but your post has me thinking maybe it is worth a visit! 🙂
It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area. There is a lot to do there especially with a family.
I have never thought about visiting. Somehow it is what I imagined, and somehow it’s not. Thanks! #farawayfiles
I felt the exact same way!
Niche Travel Design
Our friends just moved to Atlanta. Hoping to have time to see them this trip home. I’d love to go see that theater. I am going to pass along this post for their exploration. #farawayfiles
Thanks! Hopefully it will be helpful! If I ever get back I hope to see the Center for Puppetry and MLK’s birthplace.
I’ve only been to Atlanta once and it was to meet my parents who were there at a conference, so we definitely didn’t get to explore as much of the city as you did. Love the murals along the Beltline. You always sniff out the good stuff in a place Hilary. Love this post! #FarawayFiles
Thank you! I do my best, especially where the art is concerned, but it really helps having a hometown guide!
Georgia has always called my name and will definitely be one of the places I visit when I visit the States! This looks like so much fun!!
The people are incredibly friendly, and I found that even after three days there was still so much left to see and do there!
Atlanta was never on my travel radar, either. But my brother and his family just moved there so we will probably be visiting sooner or later. #FarawayFiles
When you do you’ll find a ton of family friendly things to do!
We were in Georgia recently but didn’t venture into Atlanta – looks like we missed out! Though the smalll towns around it were spectacular
Glad you had fun! Where did you go in Georgia? I’ve only been to Atlanta…
Wow, I’ve never thought about visiting Atlanta but it really seems as though there is so much to do!
There absolutely is! However if you haven’t been to the States it wouldn’t be first on my list. 😘
I love the look of that street art and that park, a friend of mine is from Atlanta, but I haven’t made the visit just yet.
The parks and street art in Atlanta are amazing! When you do visit don’t miss the BeltLine!
I’ve sadly never made it out of the Atlanta airport! The food looks awesome- and that’s really interesting about Gone With the Wind- I’m glad she did publish it in the end.
Until a few months ago I’d also never made it out of the airport! Glad I finally did!
That movie theatre is something else! Now I do give a damm about visiting Atlanta, pinned and stumbled. PS love your shoes #FarawayFiles
Thank you! Vans are my new favorite traveling shoes! SO comfy! It’s quite a venue isn’t it?!
I have a gunmetal pair of Vans and they are, as you say, SO comfy
Oh, those sound right up my alley!
The Fox theatre looks really interesting, sometimes it’s not until will nearly lose these iconic landmarks that we truly appreciate them.
Well done Atlanta for ‘saving the fox’. #farawayfiles
So true! Hopefully it’s a trend!
I’ve been to Atlanta many times but I haven’t had the chance to do much sightseeing. It looks like you saw a lot of colorful and intriguing things! I’m not far from Atlanta so hopefully I can see some of them too. #FarawayFiles
Ooh! I hope you do get a chance to explore More of Atlanta. It might not be the most beautiful town, but there is plenty to explore!
The Fox Theatre looks like it’s right up my alley! It’s beautiful on the inside. I have been wanting to get to the south since I moved here. And it’s all still on my list. #FarawayFiles
It was a gorgeous old building, and worthy of a visit! I’d choose a few other cities over Atlanta if I had limited time, but there is definitely a lot going on.
SeasonedTravelr, aka Jessica
This post reminds me that I have a lot more of the good ol’ USA to explore! I’ve seen way more in Europe than the US, and that needs to change. I’ve heard good things about Atlanta, but now I’m definitely interested in going! Looks like a great city with a lot to offer. And that was a super interesting story about Gone with the Wind, I had no idea! Funny how great things happen on accident sometimes. Thanks for sharing! #FarawayFiles
The US is so big it’s hard to get a lot on at once unlike the lovely and more compact Europe which allows for quick trips to amazing places! Atlanta is pretty nice, but I’d visit New Orleans, Seattle, LA, New York first and foremost!
Urska - Slovenian Girl Abroad
Who would of thought Atlanta has so much to offer. Lovely. Thanks for sharing. #FarawayFiles
Certainly not me! It was a pleasant surprise!
I went long, long time ago to Atlanta for a conference. I saw some parts of the city but not that much. I am sure the city has changed a lot since my visit. I follow some Instagrammers that live in the city and their photos are awesome. There are so many cool cities in the US. Sometimes it is overwhelming to decide where to go next. #FarawayFiles
So true about so many great places here! Still, I keep going to Europe… 😘
Atlanta Georgia has never been on my list, primarily because I knew so little about it! Reading #farawayfiles blogs makes me realise just how much of the world there is still to see!
Exactly! I feel the same way. If only I had more time and money there are SO many amazing places just waiting to be seen!
Kathleen (Kat) (@katpegimana)
Oh I never knew that the author of Gone with the Wind was from Atlanta! Looks like Atlanta is a great city for a weekend getaway – I’d love to see street art at the Beltline and explore food and restaurants 🙂 #FarawayFiles
It was a fun place to spend a weekend!
Ladies What Travel (@LadiesWTravel)
Love that photo of you with a friend, so cute! Seems like a good choice for a city break in the US – never really considered it as a ‘destination’ before… #FarawayFiles
Thank you! I never did either, but I suppose any city can be a destination when you’re with a friend!
What a fun, rich experience! I’ve been to Atlanta once, but most of my time there was spent hiking in the mountains. I would love to go back and visit the Margaret Mitchell museum especially. And we never did find a place to eat that I would recommend. Love your restaurant suggestions and photos!
I was lucky to have some Lucas guiding me, which always makes a huge difference where food is concerned!
fifi + hop
Greetings from a 1:15 a.m. insomniatic me. Have been trying to get to sleep since 11 to no avail! I feel like I’ve already gotten to know these places so much through your IG posts. The Beltway, Gone with the Wind, so many cool things you did. I’m thinking the Chihully exhibit must be the one from the NY Botanical Gardens? I loved it. #farawayfiles
Oh! I’m sorry you can’t sleep. We did see and do some pretty neat things! I’m not sure if these pieces were from the NY garden? I know he has permanent pieces in the seattle Chihuly garden, but I have no idea about these because I couldn’t find any signage. I was surprised at how much there was to do in Atlanta, but I was with a friend so ma matter what we would have had fun!
This looks fabulous! Like (I guess) many people, my only experience of Atlanta is its enormous airport. But that enormous theatre really is something else – WOW!! Thanks for educating me. #FarawayFiles
I was plenty surprised though I won’t say it’s the most beautiful city there is a lot to discover!
Yes, but I often end up preferring my visits to “less beautiful” cities over prettier places. They are often more genuine and relaxed, and big cities like Atlanta are nearly always host to at least a few hidden gems.
So true! Just don’t want to false advertise. 😉
Caity Pfohl | The Pamplemousse Papers
I love the art on the BeltLine and at the Ponce City Market! I’ve also only been through Atlanta while flying but I would love to stay longer and see more of the city! Thanks for sharing these tips! 🙂 #farawayfiles
Both areas were a lot of fun and definitely worth a visit!!
Great timing, I’m headed to Atlanta in July!
Great!! I’m betting the parks and gardens will be stunning!
To be honest I didn’t think of Atlanta as a travel destination before either. But it does look like a great place. The botanical garden looks really cool.
It was a truly lovely weekend, and the garden was stunning even in the winter. If I ever get back there I hope to see it in full bloom.
Hilary, thank you for such a great post. I have been thinking about traveling to Atlanta, and this quick summary would surely be helpful in planning my trip. I didnt know they had a fox theater there, so good to know!
So glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it is helpful when/if you make it to Atlanta! Funny, but I feel like there is a Fox Theater in every city… most probably aren’t this ornate though!
I loved reading a traveler’s view on the ATL! I was raised in Georgia – mainly around Atlanta and Athens – and both of my parents families go back generations in the state, so I am always biased. 😉 The airport brings people through but often they don’t see much beyond that, except maybe a day’s worth of touring around Coca-Cola and CNN. I can understand why it might not rate as a top choice for adult travelers looking for an American city destination (there are just too many choices!), but I will say that if you have a car, you can find a week’s worth of really cool stuff to do with a family in the city and within a two-hour drive around north Georgia. And you having a local as a friend can make a big difference! The Fox is a point of pride for many Georgians, and it is where I first saw The Nutcracker Ballet when I was in 3rd grade in the early ’80s – it was soooo grand. I didn’t know that about the theatre tour, though, so I will pass that along to my Atlanta friends.
Love your photos and posts about the BeltLine, that will be new-to-me. You should definitely try and visit the MLK Historic Site, I am actually planning to write about that later this spring, I took my kids a few years ago before we moved to London. It was my first time, there, too – so moving and an incredible part of our history. So glad you had a great experience in Atlanta! 🙂 #FarawayFiles
I’m so glad this post met with your approval! Really! I get nervous at times writing about a place, in the hopes that I’ve done it justice. I really wanted to visit the MLK Historic Site, but alas ran out of time. Visiting for a friends birthday meant less time to roam on my own… next time! The BeltLine is amazing and such a great addition to the city! I hope to visit the Puppetry Center next time I visit. There is SO much to do in Atlanta! 😊
This sounds and looks like a really great city. So far I’ve only ever been to the airport in Atlanta but I think I should plan a visit soon. Especially love the flower mural! #CityTripping
That mural was one of my favorites too! It’s a fun city with lots to see and discover!
I never knew the story of what was behind the writing of Gone With The wind before- but also didn’t know much about Atlanta either so it was great to read this. I loved seeing your earlier shots of the Belt Line and that still sounds amazing. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
Having never considered a visit before I was really pleasantly surprised! Margaret Mitchell was a fascinating woman, but sadly does young at only 48. Yes, the BeltLine is wonderful!
I grew up in Atlanta and am heading back for an extended visit with my parents for a bit this summer. This is such a great list and a few places have changed quite a bit since my last visit three years ago! I love all the bright beautiful photos! Your making me miss my hometown! #CityTripping
Ooh! I hope you have a wonderful time on your visit! Atlanta has a lot to offer! Have you been to the Puppetry Center? That’s a place I’d love to visit.
Yes. We took the boys to Click Clack Moo there last time we were in town. I’ve not seen the new museum though and am very excited to check it out.
Fortunately, we get to Atlanta on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, it’s usually for a specific event and we rarely make the time to explore. Obviously, we need to change that! Thanks for sharing some highlights we can look for on our next visit. Somehow, we’ve completely missed the BeltLine and it looks / sounds fabulous! We do love Ponce Market, but really want to take that Fox Theater tour now. Not sure when we’ll be back in Atlanta, but kinda feel like it won’t be soon enough!
I hear The Fox has some fun Halloween time tours as well!! The BeltLine is a must do!
I just came back from Atlanta less than two weeks ago. Did you go see the Capitol? It’s quite nice..
Surprisingly fun city! No, I ran out of time, but enjoyed what I did see very much.
Jen at The Places We Live
Thanks for the advice. I just arrived yesterday and can’t wait to try a couple of these places out
Oh! Enjoy and please do let me know what you think!