Best of ATLANTA!
Urban Backpacker visits Atlanta! Here are some of the favorite finds in Atlanta – Hotels, Restaurants, and Best Things to Do! Create your own action packed three day itinerary from these Hot Spots in the big – ATL.
Stayed at my favorite Four Seasons Atlanta (click here), and loved it! Walked everywhere. The food was amazing. The fabulous waitperson “Jaca” helped us the second day, and we found out her parents named her “Jaca,” after their names: James and Carmen Always! OH SO ROMANTICO!
Garrett served us up the best dessert! Chef Jomo took us on a tour of his special honey bees and 5th floor urban garden oasis! Four Seasons Exec Chef makes chocolates and salted caramels! Gluten free options for everyone. Iced tea ice cubes. Mouth watering best bacon cheddar biscuit at breakfast time you will ever taste! Two highly rated (downtown higher end) hotels we did not stay in are the well known: Mandarin Oriental (click here), and the Ritz Carlton Click here).
If you don’t need fanciness, and your adult kids are not treating you, please compare the “nicely priced” options in this “must compare” section. We loved the Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown (click here), situated right next door to Starbucks, also next door to the Four Seasons. Bar is cool. No frills. Definitely reasonable pricing. Great location.
Theses hotels are NICELY priced: Ellis Hotel (click here), Hilton Atlanta (click here), and the best priced winner at $25.00 a night at The Atlanta Hostel (click here). The Atlanta Hostel has weekly and monthly rates available. For last minute amazing travel deals, I will always make a quick hop on to Kayak (click here).
Atlanta Best Things To Do
Best Soul food experience EVER. Finger licking fried chicken! Go to Mary Macs Tea Room (click here). The wait for dinner is wrapped around the block. No reservations – go anyway. Half an hour is easy, they are fast moving. Cornbread dry, sweet rolls (eat the center) – so yummy. I tasted black eyed peas for the first time, and loved em.
Four restaurants I did not make it to, and I will definitely try them on a return trip. A deli, best sammy’s, and great foodie market – Star Provisions (click here). Star Provisions’ two elegant sister restaurants, do sound amazing! Reservations need to be made many moons in advance. Try these higher end gourmand delights Quinones prix fixe menu restaurant (click here), and Bacchanalia (click here).
Last, but not least, is Ecco Restaurant in Midtown ATL – Pizza and European cuisine. Date night perfect. Eat the goat cheese bites with honey. Love in your mouth. Go to Ecco (click here).
First order of business for every trip to Atlanta, is an Atlanta Falcons game! Get your Atlanta Falcons tickets and information here! RISE UP Atlanta!
My son in law Dwight Lowery #20 plays for the Atlanta Falcons. I am amazed, impressed and so proud to witness the ambition, training, perseverance, and skills that this team serves up every week. Go Falcons!
There are amazing places to take kids all over this fine city. Here are my top favs. Do not forget the World of Coca Coca Cola in the “MUST TASTE” section below. It’s so cool!
A wonderful water adventure, and don’t miss the sea monsters – head to the Georgia Aquarium (click here). At the Sky View Ferris Wheel (click here) – do yourself a favor and upgrade to the VIP gondola Ferrari leather seats (for five people) with the glass floor! Beat the heat and splash in Centennial Olympic Park’s Fountain of Rings(click here). Definitely take the kiddos to Imagine It – Children’s Museum of Atlanta (click here) and enjoy the power of PLAY. They say that “Puppetry is awe-inspiring and magical.” Unlock your, and your child’s imagination, at the Center for Puppetry Arts (click here).
Yes, Margaret Mitchell wrote about Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind.” Yes, the Urban Backpacker wanted to slap that nasty, badly behaved, Southern smarty pants – Scarlett O’Hara, from here until tomorrow, in that old-time-best-selling-novel!
Enjoy a gander where this incredible woman wrote that very long book, and brought that movie to life. Urban Backpacker claps with joy, that Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award! Enjoy Atlanta, AND the Margaret Mitchell House (click here).
Wandering and window shopping is a way of life for some. Here are a few places on the Urban Backpacker “favorite’s” list to wander, ogle, and shop till you drop. Darling hipster Bohemian town of Little Five Points (click here). Head to Vinings Jubilee (click here) in the heart of Vinings Village – you won’t regret it.
Head to a day spa, buy some “do it yourself “pottery, and feast your eyes on these seven commercial villages while your pocketbook sings SAVE ME……click here for Virginia Highland.
The Grande Dame of outdoor shopping malls in Atlanta is the popular Atlantic Station (click here), so go hit the movies, get shop happy, and go ice skating! Shop or sit and take a stare at quaint Marietta Square (click here), best local artists, farmers markets, darling cafes, and live music!
Find yourself a famed “Googie Burger,” enjoy a concert, or play in the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park (click here) – this place boasts loads of incredible outdoor fun! Check out the artistry and expert tagging in the tunnel at Krog Street Tunnel (click here) – this Atlanta landmark is laced in color, culture, and creativity! For outdoor Snow Mountain fun, a singalong Christmas train, hiking, biking, camping and a seasonal Rudolph meet and greet, head to Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park (click here)!
A very favorite “thing to do” in Atlanta is to visit the Botanical Gardens Atlanta(click here). Take a picnic, wander the gardens, and watch as the children squeal and giggle with their parents in the playground. The Garden Lights Holiday Nights is spectacular and romantic. They serve up fire pits and s’mores for kids, vino for parents, hot chocolate, and a lights extravaganza! Carolers, cider, snacks, model trains, holiday DJ, and a mesmerizing blinking rainbow of color beneath the glittering galaxy!
A definite five star MUST MUST DO. The orchids are wonderful, the Art in the Garden is magnificent! Do not miss the Butterfly pavilion in the children’s garden. It is a 12 foot stainless steel stunner!
Four “Must Learn” OUR HISTORY lessons, and should not be missed as part of our culture: Apex Museum (click here), and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (click here) and do not miss the Center for Civil and Human Rights (click here), and this beauty proudly sits on land donated by the Coca-Cola company.
It might seem a bit odd, but some cemeteries are rich in history and culture. Atlantan’s celebrate their people, and their Civil War Soldiers. Experience it for yourself while you wander and respect our dearly departed at the Oakland Cemetary (click here). It really is quite lovely.
There are two websites Urban Backpacker found for discounted tickets on some of the local attractions in Atlanta. First is Atlanta Performs(click here), and click on (discounts).
Second is Atlanta CityPASS(click here), and save over 40% on five attractions! As of March 1, 2015, they have some changes with the Atlanta CityPASS program and added two new attractions — the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the College Football Hall of Fame. The new Atlanta lineup includes:
World of Coca-Cola
Inside CNN Studio Tour
Zoo Atlanta OR Center for Civil and Human Rights
Fernbank Museum of Natural History OR College Football Hall of Fame
Prices (as of March 1): $79, including tax, for adults; $64, including tax, for youth (3-12)
Percentage Savings (as of March 1, 2015): 44% off the cost of purchasing the included tickets separately
I had never heard of Waka Flocka(click here), before I swooped into Atlanta. Made me laugh out loud when I asked my kids if was he real. Yep, I’m a hip older-lady-like gal and appreciate music with some serious beat. I LOVE TO DANCE. Not to mention, I love Waka’s arm tats. Waka is beautiful! Evidently, the list is HUGE for Hip Hop artists in Atlanta. Their names sound like some good food I want to eat right up! Check my short list out: Ying Yang Twins, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Outkast, Cee Lo (and Goodie Mob), Lil Wayne, Jermaine Dupris, 2 Chainz, Akon, Soulja Boy, B.o.B., Gucci Mane, and T.I.! Here are the ten best hip hop songs dedicated to Atlanta(click here)! Check out the show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta featuring Women of Hip Hop (click here)!
Must Taste – Worlds Most Famous Soda
I know its sweet. I love the marketing. Adults and children alike will love this amazing museum (The World of Coca Cola (click here)! See Red. Taste Coke (100 different worldwide beverages). Hug a Polar Bear – the CEO of Happy!
The perfect Georgia travel gift for friends or family – Georgia Peach Cookies (in a post card tin) from Byrds Famous Cookies (click here) or the beautiful honey gifts from the Savannah Bee Company (click here). These gorgeous bottles of golden bee love will make anyone smile! Don’t Worry Bee Happy!
Here is what they write about Tupelo Honey: “Tupelo Honey is the gold standard by which all other honeys are measured. For two weeks every spring, White (Ogeche) Tupelo Trees in the Southeastern swamps bloom with fine sunburst-shaped flowers that glisten with nectar. Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey has buttery undertones and a mellow, clean-finishing sweetness. It’s like a thick, slow-moving river of liquid sunshine. Tupelo Honey complements a variety of foods but it’s so delicious, we like it best just by the spoonful!” Yes, Van Morrison wrote that sweet angel song – Tupelo Honey!
Anther last minute, perfect, ship to yourself gift, and some of the best jams and relish in Georgia – here at former chef Emily G’s (click here).
Last but not least, my all time loving gift spot – Sugarboo Designs (Dealers in Whimsy) click here, they have the perfect Georgia gifts! I bought this metal heart with French writing for my sister and I about three years back. It is a treasure (we both collect hearts), and a dominant design piece in both our living rooms. Don’t miss Sugarboo Farms(click here), in the video below. An upscale large family (or retreat vacation spot) in the North Georgia Mountains. I would love a “STAYcation” at this delightful farm with my big Italian family and all the grandchildren!
Sugarboo Farms Video Tour
Definition of Urban Backpacker:
1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.
2. Backpacker redefined: Artful reviews that lead you from hidden budget gems to five-star destinations helping you find palate pleasing adventure, enjoyment, and story collection.
3. Pack bag. Travel there. See city. Eat food. Respect culture. Take picture. Share story. Be thankful. Repeat.