While your first trip to ATL will most likely take you on a tour of the traditional Peach City sights (i.e. the Coca Cola Factory, CNN Studios, the Georgia Aquarium or a Braves game), this foodie insider is here to give you the inside scoop on where to eat, drink and be merry in the Empire City of the South. Over Labor Day Weekend, I packed my bags and hopped on a plane to visit one of my best gal pals and do some first-hand research on the best that Atlanta has to offer.
Here are my top picks of how to spend a weekend in Georgia’s happening capital:
Sip on Something
There’s no doubt that Atlanta has some of the tastiest places to eat and drink in the south. Two neat places to grab cocktails are Beetle Cat in Inman Park and The Luminary in Krog Street Market. Whether you’re in the mood for the nautical feel of the oyster bar or the 70s vibe of the den, Beetle Cat is a great place to sip on a specialty cocktail or munch on some late-night snacks. The Luminary is a French American Brasserie located in Krog Street Market.
My top menu pick is the Meghan Royale Rosé, a wine slushy with aperol, lemon and sparkling rosé. This tasty pink cocktail will give you the courage to conquer the town and remind anyone from NOLA of Willa Jean‘s famous Frosé.
Insider Tip: Try Uber Pool to save some funds while hopping from bar to bar.
Find a Fest
Much like NOLA, there seems to be a different festival going on in Atlanta every weekend. This Labor Day weekend, I made my way to Crush Fest at Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, GA, which is about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta. This beautiful local is a two-hundred acre family winery at the foot of the beautiful Yonah Mountain. Food trucks, wine tasting, an outdoor marketplace and grape stomping made this unique event well worth the $30 admission. Whether you’re into red or white, this wine fest is a must!
Brave a Brewery
Atlanta is totally leading the pack right now in the craft brewing industry. With multiple breweries located within the city limits, taking a brewery tour should be at the top of everyone visiting Atlanta’s agenda.
I spent an afternoon at SweetWater brewery, where $10 gets you an entertaining tour, keepsake glass and six 6oz samples of select brews. With a nice outdoor seating area and corn hole, this dog-friendly brewery’s motto is just my style: Don’t Float the Mainstream.
Whether you bike the Beltline or stroll through Piedmont Park, there’s no excuse not to get active in this bustling city- even if you’re only there for the weekend. The Atlanta Beltline truly is “Where Atlanta Comes Together.” With plenty of unique street art along the BeltLine, you’ll never get bored trekking this path. Piedmont Park, known as Atlanta’s “Common Ground” since 1904, is located approximately two miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. While the paved path throughout the park is ideal for running, walking, biking or skating, the park is also the perfect place to picnic.
Shop ’til you Drop
Ponce City Market is located in the old Sears, Roebuck & Co. building and is the largest adaptive reuse project in Atlanta. With tons of unique shops, Ponce City Market is the ideal spot to shop ’til you drop. Afterwards, grab a bite at the various food stalls in Central Food Hall. With regional fare, global cuisines and hand-crafted market goods, it’s impossible not to find something you’ll love. While you’re there, head to Citizen Supply to pick up a unique ATL souvenir.
Pick a Patio
With the weather in Atlanta at a beautiful 70 degrees over Labor Day Weekend, there’s no excuse not to make a reservation at one of the gorgeous outdoor spaces in the city.
My favorite picks: Barcelona & Panita Thai Kitchen. These restaurants both offer fresh, authentic cuisine at reasonable prices. The best part besides the food? The breezy seating areas!
Be a Caffeine Fiend
Dying for a caffeine kick after tackling the best of Atlanta? Head to Julianna’s for coffee and crepes or Dancing Goats Coffee at Ponce City Market for a cup of joe roasted by Batdorf & Bronson coffee roasters. You’ll find it hard to decide between these two-both are whipping up some delicious treats that will give the perfect start to your day in Atlanta.
One thing is for sure: visiting this charming southern city is well worth braving a seven hour car ride or splurging for a quick flight. With a varied social calendar, Atlanta truly has something to offer every visitor. After spending the weekend in Atlanta, I’ve definitely got Georgia on my mind!