12 Dope Things You Should Do In Atlanta
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Referred to as the New York of the south by the truly optimistic, Atlanta is unique for a city below the Mason-Dixon line because its southern roots are a little harder to find.
But once you get right outside of the I-285 beltway, the south creeps back into view and you realize you’re actually in the state of Georgia, which is really anything but peachy tbh.
When I lived there for a few years, I learned that problem with Georgia, and really any other southern state, is that racism and a lot of social problems still exist. The people are much different once you leave the urban setting, and it’s noticeable. There’s a huge divide between cultures, (mostly between black and white) and that’s what makes it unlike New York in many ways that southerners don’t understand. Where NYC is a melting pot, Atlanta is a cafeteria lunch tray, separating the cultures so they don’t touch.
Still, if you get over the heat (which is why it is also called Hotlanta), Atlanta is a really cool, super diverse city unlike any other. Like New York, every neighborhood has its own flavor and feel.
Here are some dope things to do in Atlanta that aren’t peach picking.
1. Lenox Square Shopping
This is a spot for really great shopping, and it has really upscale stores as well as more affordable stores. Lenox Square is a great place for any price point, and there’s also a Cheesecake Factory right there, so you know Drake would love this place.
2. Coca Cola Museum
Although you probably wouldn’t expect it, the art at the World of Coca Cola Museum is really what makes this place so cool. They also have several pop art pieces by well known artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist. They also have a 4-D theater and several interactive features too. It’s fun, and I don’t even like Coca Cola.
3. See the Olympic torch
The 1996 Olympics were hosted in Atlanta, and they turned the grounds into a permanent park called Centennial Park. There’s also a fountain that is in the shape of the Olympic rings and a huge ferris wheel. Also you can see the Olympic torch that still stands there.
4. The Drunken Unicorn and MJQ Concourse
These two venues are connected underground, and they couldn’t have more different vibes. The Drunken Unicorn is an indie venue that small traveling bands stop at and play, and it’s kind of divey. The MJQ Concourse is a really poppin’ dance bar that plays throwback tunes and popular music. It’s also really lowkey, like you would have to find out about it through a friend because there’s no website, but that’s what I’m here for! Also both of these places are cash only.
5. Clermont Lounge
What’s a trip to the south without a visit to a strip club, and not just any strip club. The Clermont Lounge is one of those places that is really has a lot of history. It’s ranked as one of the world’s coolest dive bars and it’s the oldest strip club in Atlanta. A bunch of celebs go here, like a few months ago Jennifer Lawrence went here. Shocking but also not.
6. Visit the original Chick-fil-A Dwarf House
Chick-fil-A is a big fucking deal in the South, especially the original one. It’s a little bit south of Atlanta, and it’s not like every other Chick-fil-A because the Dwarf House has different food, like they serve real Southern food aside from their chicken. There’s also both a sit-down restaurant and a fast food side. There are several options for sides, like okra and mac-and-cheese and many other things you would never seen on a regular Chick-fil-A menu, like beef for instance. It’s really weird honestly but cool to see how the whole thing started.
An up-and-coming music venue that is gaining more prominent performers, the Tabernacle is a beautiful venue that was once a church in the early 190os until the congregations relocated in the 80s. Up until the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta it sat empty, but then it was converted into a House of Blues club until it was bought by Live Nation. Honestly, it’s gorgeous on the inside, and it makes you feel like you’re in another era.
8. Buford Highway Farmer’s Market
Anthony Bourdain went here once, so you know it’s good. The Buford Highway Farmer’s Market is an international farmers market with food you’ve probably never heard of and would be hella afraid to try. You can also take cooking classes here.
9. Swan House
The Swan House is an old mansion that was built in the 1920s, and they now give tours of the house and the grounds. The house was also used for filming the Hunger Games. It was restored recently and has some of the most beautiful grounds and fountains, also there are several actors and actresses walking around full house maid and butler costumes so you really feel like you’re at a real 1920s style mansion. Rhett, is that you?
10. The Varsity
Atlanta and The Varsity go hand in hand. Famous for its crazy ordering style (as in you have to shout your order or else you will be harassed by one of the employees), and it’s also very famous for its hot dogs. It was one of the first restaurants in the south to conceptualize the drive-in dining experience. It’s super retro and perf for Instagram.
11. Atlanta Botanical Garden
Located in the Ansley Park area of the suburbs near Midtown, the Atlanta Botanical Garden has all these beautiful topiary statues and exotic plants. There are also several water exhibits with unbelievable glass work on them. You can also go to this at night, and walk around the gardens while sipping on a glass of wine. V nice.
12. Martin Luther King National Historic Site
This historic site is a huge landmark for tourists, but it’s worth checking out. The site includes his birth home, and the actual museum is an old fire station that was repurposed. It is really heavy going here and there are several exhibits that are about African American history. It’s really cool to just be there and see it for yourself. Much different from reading about it in a history book.