Updated: Oct 18
If you’ve been following my blog and travels (thank you!) then you know I love to experience places with my kids. I genuinely love to explore, and the teacher in me wants to share the experience and make a great memory for others as well. Atlanta was unexpected. I didn't have a bucket list hope for this fun city, but I've been sent on several work trips, and you know I love to share what I've experienced to make planning easier for others. My kids have made the Atlanta trip a couple of times without me as well, seeing some of the main attractions including Centennial Park, the Aquarium and Stone Mountain. I will add some of their tips below...
**All underlined bolded text indicates a live link to that site by clicking **
My first Atlanta trip:
I was fortunate enough to attend a NAEYC Conference for work, and my job flew me there to gain insight I could share with our Early Childhood team. One of my coworkers joined, and the entire, although brief trip was amazing. Atlanta had never been on my bucket list. I had no idea what I was missing out on! My coworker had family there, and she was happy to show me all the local spots.
Let's make some great memories in a new place!
One December morning I flew from Melbourne Fl to Atlanta, and Ubered to the Hilton Atlanta Downtown. I was looking forward to some chilly Atlanta weather and had packed to stay warm. The one thing since I’ve moved to Florida, I miss is a good sweater and boots day! I hoped for some history and culture while I was there but looked forward to a few days away from the regular routine.
If you've never been here before, be prepared for a big travel hub.
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the major international airport serving Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is also known by its airport code ATL. The airport is 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Atlanta's downtown core. It has 195 gates spread over two terminals and seven concourses. The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal is on the east side of the airport, while the Domestic Terminal is on the west side. The Transportation Mall, a pedestrian tunnel with a series of moving walkways, and The Plane Train, an automated people mover, connect the terminals and concourses. Concourses E and F handle all foreign arrivals. (from the About ATL Airport - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL/KATL) (atlantaairport.info)
ATL Airport has been the busiest airport in the world since 1998. It flies to more than 150 destinations in the United States and more than 75 international destinations. On a daily basis, the airport sees an average of 275,000 people.
Every day, there are 2,700 arrivals and departures.
ATL is home to Delta Airlines, which is for that reason a great airline to use when coming and going from Atlanta.
What this means to you: Plan to be there early.
If you ae arriving, that is the fun part. Land at your gate, there's tons of food and shopping meeting you right away. Take the escalator or elevator down to the Plane Train and zoom over to the terminal to collect baggage, or get your transportation to the next stop.
When departing, they recommend 90 minutes for domestic flights and 2 - 2.5 hours for international flights. I don't feel 90 minutes is quite enough, I plan 2 hours. Maybe that's some travel anxiety... I've experienced delays and gate changes, so I recommend getting there early to get through security, take the tram and find your gate. Then wait to board in your zone.
Back to trip #1:
I landed, Ubered, and settled in with enough time to get unpacked and find some dinner. I asked at the front desk where to eat and was given a map of the connecting hotel passageways – I did not even have to go outside to get to the food court as the hotel is connected via skywalk to Peachtree Center mall. I followed the directions and walked through the adjoining hotels. Mind you I am a pretty tiny single woman walking in an uncharted place and I was being very aware of my surroundings. I felt safe, and I was impressed with the structural engineering, city views through large windows, and even the lounges in the passing hotels were inviting.
The Peachtree Hub/ food court has many options for food to eat! This multileveled food court/ shopping plaza was revitalized as a professional lunch spot with easy access to all of the Main Street Atlanta (AKA Peachtree) area. Located on Peachtree in-between International and John Portman BLVDs, it is directly across the street from AmericasMart. You can enter through the CVS, or the Foot Court doors, but also the sky bridges connect above the ground levels. This may seem a bit confusing but because Atlanta is so hilly, part of this hub is above ground on one side, and underground on the other side. I do not eat fast food, and I still had many selections. It was almost 6 pm on a Sunday evening and some of the places were closing. At this particular time, they were also under construction. I stopped in the corner drug store (CVS) to grab some milk for my tea in the morning – my personal essential. This is also where water, beer, and all the basics can be found.
I wandered in close proximity checking out the fitness center and spent some quiet time reading and doing yoga in my room. I mapped out a few places I wanted to see. I called down to the front desk and requested a microwave, and they happily brought one up. They were all so friendly.
I loved walking through the hotels to the Peach Tree Hub!
If you stay at the Hilton, The Marriot, or the Hyatt these corridors lead the way to the food court and shopping galore!
Monday my friend and coworker Sandra was landing around 3:00. I had the morning to venture out. It was a chilly and rainy day, but I came prepared for this. So I bundled up and walked out on to Baker Street towards the Centennial Olympic Park. I got caught in some sports championship parade briefly, but I wandered into the Park enjoying the Christmas decorations and being in a new city. The park is scenic with lots of memorials and landmarks. I planned to do all the "free" things. Right there in Pemberton Place are also a variety of places for the wanderer: The Cocoa Cola Museum, The Georgia Aquarium - Then in my wanderings, I saw the National Center for Civil and Human Rights was free for the day, and I went in.
This is where the story really begins.
As a person who has been to many museums and loves history, and appreciates a good exhibit, I was moved by this place. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a place for everyone. I had the chance here to learn so much about our nation's history and had to respect the spirit of struggle and courage that Americans of all faces and races have shown against injustice. This is not just a museum, but a cultural institution that focuses on the achievements of the civil rights movement in the USA, but also in the human rights movement worldwide. I was there for quite some time, taking my time, a luxury I don’t always have but when traveling solo I enjoy more. I read through the exhibits. I sat and watched the clips from the past. The entire experience was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t want to leave at the end.
Also, it was now pouring. I did not have an umbrella.
I went into the gift shop to see if there was an umbrella, (there was not) and purchased books, magnets and a shirt for my daughter. I even bought coffee mugs for my boys. I missed my kids, and hope to be able to share this place with them in the near future. And then, out into the rain I went to walk back to the Hilton. It was during this return walk of a few long city blocks, I realized my boots were no longer up to the job. I must have had a little hole in the toe top and my foot was soaked. Ok! Back to the room, dry off, change and drop off the gift bags because now I was really ready to see the Martin Luther King Jr. birthplace, and monument. I asked the man in the lobby (this had been working for me so far) how to walk there and he told me. He should have advised me NOT to walk there. I was feeling safe all down Piedmont Avenue, but once I got onto Auburn Ave and under the highway area the mood definitely changed. I was approached by several homeless people for money or food, and even witnessed two homeless people arguing, and the argument was escalating as I was walking by. I would advise an Uber when traveling in this area. The good thing was, the rain had let up. (So much for doing all the free things I laugh to myself...)
I started out at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, walking around and decided to catch the tour of his home. Again, because I was a solo traveler, they were able to squeeze one more into the tour group and off I went.
The beautiful home of the King family was well preserved. I loved the timeliness of the kitchen, and seeing how they used to live, back in the days! The home itself is a piece of history. The tour guide did a wonderful job bringing to life the family dynamics and painting how all of this impacted Martin’s upbringing. Giving context to his work and the time he lived in really made him come to life. Along with my morning trip down the Civil Rights lane, I was in a very reflective state.
The last stop was to the Museum, and through the back into the monument where Martin’s eternal flame burns. I was moved. I was alive. Or as I prefer to say “alove”.
I did Uber back to the Hilton, and it had started to rain again, but also the homeless were closing in around me right when my car pulled up. I felt like a movie scene where right as things get hairy there’s a quick get away! Suggestion: Call your Uber BEFORE you walk out into the street.
It had been a wonderful day and I was back in my room around 5 pm and met up with Sandra to walk to the food court for dinner. I was telling her about my boots gone bad when we were eating and she spotted a boot store right from the pizza place we were sitting in. After dinner we walked over, and I ended up purchasing not 1, but two pairs of boots! I would not have wet feet anymore, and Sandra was a great influence. My room had a great view and was very comfortable. I was enjoying my discovering of Atlanta.
The conference was really excellent. If you are ever able to catch a NAEYC conference, it’s worth the time! Sandra and I were training in two different tracks and were able to share what we were learning to really make the most of the experience. In our off time, Sandra and I stayed busy! There was food every night and we were both thinking along the same lines... We visited her sister who lived close by and gave us the tour of the area. She lived in a beautiful Victorian home with her big Rottweiler "Max" who was quickly my best friend. She drove us by the Tyler Perry studios. She took us around showing us the local schools and giving us some area history. The best way to see any city is surely with a local! For Sandra, the family time was a real bonus, and I will say I felt welcomed into the family with open arms :-)
The Juke Joint
Our favorite night out was surely when we went to the Juke Joint for Diner. Sandra, her sisters, niece, and I all waited for our table to be called back, it was a busy place! The girl time was fabulous, we laughed so much and spoke so candidly about everything under the sun! The food, was by far the best soul food I’d had. Excited for my leftovers! The music – there was live jazz music and it was spot on. Sade, and favorite cover songs made it hard to sit still and eat without moving to the beat. The sax player really knew what he was doing, and the singer’s voice was ever so sultry! The crowd was upbeat, everyone was happy, and we enjoyed our evening immensely. Take me back!!!
**I've been back several times since this initial visit. Every time the food is great, and entertainment is AMAZING!
Another night Sandra and I walked down to Panera after training to eat and see some of the area. The Christmas lights were awesome, and our conversation while walking was great. We walked 1.7 miles down Peachtree (in a well-lit safe environment) to the Panera, and I always say the best way to see a city is on foot. Another great night, and got some exercise.
In my final day at the Hilton and conference, they were setting up an art and fashion market right in the middle of the cross walkway. This certainly had a holiday theme to it and many things caught my eye as I tried to pass through. I did buy a few Christmas gifts in my final moments before heading out. The entire trip had been a success. Now if you know how I typically travel you know this was a very different trip for me! I spent a lot more money on spontaneous items than I normally do. Guess it’s safe to say I was feeling myself and enjoying being grown. Also, it was a work trip, the travel, and accommodations did not come out of my pocket, so I felt a little more willing to splurge on some extras. I think the fact that I was solo took the guilt of trying to keep the spending fair and even also – I was the only one asking and the only one paying!
While we spent a lot of time at the Hotels and the Hub, we were able to see quite a bit of the area around Atlanta and see some of the up-close life. I’d heard a lot about Hotlanta! And that there is a high percentage of people there with Aids, 25.9% infection rate means - More than 1,000 people are diagnosed with HIV each year in Atlanta. What’s more, 50 percent of those people aren’t diagnosed until they already have AIDS. So I wasn’t going there to “meet” anyone. Us ladies talked about this while we were out at dinner, and how as an older single woman your sights change. Before you even go out with someone you used to want a picture. Now you want a clear bill of health signed by a doctor, and a bank statement attached. Ohhh how we laughed. We laughed at our own aches and pains and yet we celebrated the ability to live laugh and love at will!
The Downtown Atlanta Area - and walk from the Hilton
A few shots from the wandering...
Overall: Atlanta outweighed my expectation.
It is well designed and built with engineering creativity.
Atlanta was bigger and bolder than I'd imagined.
The history there was some of the best exhibited and well laid format's I've experienced.
If you have a chance to go - go!
I recommend: (links will take you to the sites)
The Hilton - 255 Courtland Street NE Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA with 5 Stars.
It was clean, comfortable, and extremely professional. I felt safe as a solo traveler and would also bring my family to stay.
I strongly recommend the National Parks- birthplace of MLK Jr. Do the ranger led tour of his house and gain the perspective of the 1940's - 60's and see how life used to be! You do need to get the tickets at the visitor center, and walk one block to the home, to participate. Time well spent!
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a great place to stop - there were field trips in progress the day I was there, and I wished my own children had been there to understand the presentation of the civil rights movement so thoroughly. I learned! I loved it.
And my favorite place to eat: The Juke Joint.
Yes! Food was better than I'd expected, music was so good, atmosphere 5 stars!
Each trip has a slightly different flavor, and the second trip was also during winter and with coworkers but had a totally different vibe!
Trip # 2:
January 2023 I was with a new company and sent to be a part of a Head Start Institute.
The event I was there for was Tues - Thursday and I arrived Monday in time for a quick settle and walk to the Peachtree Food Court. Still a lot of options, and the construction was completed, but it did seem like many of the previous businesses had left. Sadly, I wasn't connected by the Skywalk. I had to walk two blocks to and from. I walked around a bit, then got back for a planning meeting and dinner. I was meeting my new work team in person after months of collaborating through zoom. Being in person was lovely! The good thing is, this company is based out of Atlanta, so they had all been several times and were looking forward to delicious dinners.
For dinner Monday we chose Mary Mac's Tea Room - And I strongly recommend. Our dinner group was 6 Early Childhood Specialist's and we each ordered something else. The food was soooo delicious. Great portions for low prices. I had enough food for several left-over plates.
For dinner Tuesday, our birthday girl in the group chose The Juicy Crab. This place was also a fun atmosphere with a DJ and karaoke as well as tasty food. They serve each meal with a bib and gloves! While the girls got all their crab mixed in a big, seasoned butter bag, I opted for the tilapia. This was a great experience and we all enjoyed our meals immensely.
On Wednesday we went with my personal favorite, a repeat from my first trip: Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint. OMG. Mouthwatering food. We ate so good. The music of course is live and jazzy. The whole vibe just makes my heart happy. It's one of my few favorite places I can eat where I feel like I can't wait to return for more of that same food again. While most of our team Ubered back to the Sheraton, one new coworker friend Tammy and I walked a little way to check out the downtown area a bit before returning. As we wandered around a bit I was back by the Centennial Park and Cocoa Cola Museum. The Children's Museum is there on the corner. It was dark and I was looking at the cool Atlanta climbing blocks thinking about getting a picture when we saw a rat run in front of us. Then we saw another looking for the original. Next think I know it's like a million rats just appeared all over the playground area. How gross. I imagined the people bringing their children during the day don't know how infested the park is with rodents.
Bad Weather Blues...This is where it gets a little hairy. Thursday the work obligation was ending at 12:30, and my flight wasn't until 8:50 pm. I anticipated going to Piedmont Park, Ponce Market, and riding the belt on a scooter to see the area faster. When I saw the weather advisory, I was willing to switch to some indoor activities, perhaps the Aquarium, or the Harry Potter exhibit which was right next to the Juke Joint. But the weather was forecasting tornados. And it seemed severe. So, I stayed put at the Sheraton and had a couple of work meetings using my time to be productive. I will say we camped out in the lobby and watched their news updates while being safe on a low place.
You may know from my other blogs that I don't usually stop for rain, this was definitely a struggle for me, but safety must be first!
How's the Sheraton? On a scale of 1 - 5 I rate it a 3.
The pool is great. Well known for the retractable roof over their pool, (which is an impressive sight), even when closed as it is too cold this time of year to swim. Still a nice place to sit, and many of my coworkers requested pool view for the view. The fitness center was awesome. My room was nice and clean. But I had some issues I can't get passed and can't say I would stay there again. They agreed on my final day to give me a late check out time of 1:30 (adjusted from 12 noon). When they knocked on the door at 1:30 I was still in a Zoom call, and they kindly allowed e a few minutes to finish up.
When I travel one of my top personal requirements is hot water and good water pressure.
The morning time while everyone is showering there was not a drop of hot water in the shower. I noticed in the nights it was fine, but as I am trying to get ready in the morning this was not good.
--Two nights in a row I asked at the front desk if they could send me up an extra blanket - it was chilly, and my room had a chill to it. They both times assured me they would send someone up - and no one ever came!
-The microwave - is a shared microwave in the hallway by the elevators. I am not sure how I feel about that since it was clean, but I prefer to have my own in my room. I prefer my leftovers without needing to venture out into the whole hotel.
I recommend staying in the block that has the connecting sky walk, which is such a nice touch and gives that extra closeness to whatever you need.
I did like their deli/ marketplace on the 3rd floor. There is lots of seating inside and outside. Again, it was chilly but really pretty and all the skyscrapers give a great backdrop for conversations, meetings, or reading. These are pictures I took from there a few hours apart.
** The Sheraton is now the Courtyard Grand by Wyndham, and that have made many improvements. I have stayed again. It is still NOT my favorite choice, but it is a place that is welcoming.
In Centennial Park, this is the largest aquarium in the United States, and the third largest in the world. They do some pretty amazing things for conservancy and rebuilding species in decline. Many of the local Hotels offer tickets you can purchase through their front desks, BUT it may end up being a better deal to purchase tickets online through the Georgia Aquarium website. Save $5.00 by purchasing your ticket at least one day prior to visiting. They have a $4.00 off pass for later evening entries, and while I was under the impression they're open nightly until 9:00 pm, my hotel gave me the wrong info. **Check the website!
*Hours of operation vary daily; please check the calendar online before your visit. Purchase tickets online to save money. Choose the date and time of your arrival and arrive within an hour of your selected time.
This is the ONLY aquarium in North America where you can see both whale sharks and manta rays.
The huge exhibit is impressive!! 6.3 million gallons of water are contained within this one tank.
Multiple sea life species live together in this aquatic home and I was told by a volunteer they do not know how old their whale sharks are, and that they are very happy eating well and having no predators. Plan to spend at least 3 hours here, but this could easily be an entire day.
The aquarium displays its species and animals in seven exhibits and galleries listed below. Each gallery or exhibit represents a diverse environment. Plan to see each of the galleries. I spent much longer than planned with the sharks, as they feature seven types of sharks and many other fish which all seemed to peacefully cohabitate. They were amazing to watch. I missed the dolphin exhibit all together because my first trip to the aquarium I thought this was only for shows.
Cold Water Quest - Beluga whales, harbor seals, penguins, and sea otters are found here.
Dolphin Coast (looks like a vacation time share invitation to me) - home of the dolphin habitat and location of the show offered.
Ocean Voyager - The underwater tunnel with a people mover so you can just stand still as you admire the aquatic kingdom surrounding you. The Whale Sharks, Guitarfish, Eels, Rays, Sandbar Sharks, and more fish of varied sizes and colors call this largest exhibit home. Around the other side are stadium style steps you may sit on to watch the animals moving. From the second floor is another perspective of this home.
Predators of the Deep - One of the newer additions to the aquarium, this is where the sharks al live. You circle their home and see many angles of their life underwater.
River Scout - Small Clawed Otters, Piranhas, Giant Puffers, Yellow Bellied Turtles, and White Alligators, this exhibit is a fun two story look at all things living in both rivers and freshwater environments.
Tropical Diver - Seahorses, Jellyfish and Clownfish in diverse tanks highlighting some of the most amazing tropical variety of sea life.
STEM activities - while many schools attend for field trip experiences, any child or adult is welcome to check out the second floor STEM zone. Fun handson learning with interactive exhibits, including a shark locator and some animal sound simulators. This is a place to learn not just admire sea creatures.
There are two interactive shows included in your ticket. Guests must however reserve their tickets on the day of their visit. Guests are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the show.
There are the Dolphin Presentation and Under the Boardwalk.
The Dolphin Presentation is a 15-minute show designed to showcase the intelligence of these beautiful creatures. You will see trainers in action and if you are in the splash zone, you will get wet!
The Under the Boardwalk features California Sea Lions working together to showcase their abilities!
You may get splashed if you sit in the splash zone. This show lasts about 20 minutes.
I do not feel the QR code map provided is detailed enough and I managed to miss the dolphin exhibit (my favorite animals) while I was there because it looked like a theatre and since the shows were over for the day, I didn't realize you can still view the bottlenose dolphins! Go inside!!
Most of their species were rescues, and some are no longer allowed to be kept.
They have one sea turtle who seems happy as a clam who they rescued from a shark bite in the Hudson River in NYC back in the '80's. Beautiful exhibits help you to appreciate the underwater world in a way that gives you eyes into their view. Don't miss the sea otters who are the most playful of all creatures, and the beluga whales which are just stunning to see in action.
On with the rest of the city....
The ATL Midtown: Get to know The Belt/ Piedmont Park/ Botanical Gardens:
The Beltline is a series of trails connecting through neighborhoods, shopping and activities. When completed it will span 33 miles. Compared to NYC's High Line, this is a loop filled with public art and events that people walk, run, ride, and even ride scooters through to the Ponce Market and around. The Beltway also connects to several parks including Piedmont Park, which is my next suggestion. The stretch of the Beltline from Ponce City Market to Piedmont park - clean, safe, good sunshine (not a guarantee), and plenty of other people out enjoying a stroll!
Piedmont Park Is a great place to take in some nature and walk. I appreciated the uplifting vibe of the park which is drastically different from the downtown area we stay for our work. A huge variety of plants, shrubs and trees attract some beautiful birds which creates such a calming in the middle of the city. Surrounded by skyscrapers this little central park type of park is a great place to run and play or walk and talk 😀 It feels like an extension of the Botanical Gardens!
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are located inside of Piedmont Park. Although it is set up to be a line of gardens connecting to other gardens, all the whimsical pathways make it easy to get lost. Their Kendeda Canopy Walk is a 600-foot sky walkway which crosses over the park below and separates the garden into a different section. 40 feet in the air this engineering marvel is a great way to see the urban forest. The Earth Goddess exhibit attracts a host of visitors and is something to be seen! I've been to lots of Botanical Gardens in the past couple of years and I have a few favorites. This one is unique and doesn't feel like any other garden I've seen. Their waterfalls, walkways and wonders are so inviting. I sat down in the middle of the rose garden on the grass just to take it all in, to stop and literally smell the roses. Their orchids and lotus flowers at the last stop by the skyscraper garden made me sad that I was running out of time to stay, as I think I could have just sat there admiring the entire scene longer. None of this includes the troll exhibit which is made from completely recycled materials and very well done, or the children's garden which we didn't see all of because it was super busy, and we had no children with us so for the sake of time we turned around. But to say a lot of love went into the building of this garden is an understatement. Beautiful art adorns each area, and they say it's never the same visit twice based on what is blooming. We were luckily there in May, and saw the most amazing colors of all flowers popping to life.
Tips for the Botanical Garden:
It is closed on Monday (we learned the hard way showing up to be set loose into Piedmont Park)
Tues - Sun Hours are 9 - 9 with last entry at 8 pm.
Parking is a little tricky, and I heard people complaining about the cost (more reason to Uber or come down from Ponce Market) 0n-site parking is available in the SAGE Parking Facility for Garden guests on Levels 4, 5 and 6 via the Garden’s Piedmont Avenue entrance. Piedmont Park guests use Levels 1, 2 and 3 via Monroe Drive entrance.
Tickets - Times tickets can be purchased online. (Click link above) Can also be purchased at the window. Prices vary by day and age of those attending. if you are a member of another garden, this garden may share reciprocity. They do have a list at the window. I was super happy my coworker had a membership to her home garden in NC and they granted us free entry! Whoohooo!!
The ATL Vibe:
Atlanta is very business professional with a great balance of southern party!
This is where people go to enjoy themselves. People are VERY welcoming, and friendly for a big city. It is big enough to get a little lost, especially once you realize everything is named Peachtree something (lol) and small enough to feel connected. Strangers are polite and there are a lot of churches!
Atlanta leads the nation with the title of “City in a Forest”, with over 100,000 shade trees planted and distributed through the non-profit ‘Trees Atlanta’. I admire the green spaces and effort into making a city connected to nature!
Located among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Atlanta has unique topography that includes rolling hills and the densest urban tree coverage in the United States.
Atlanta is the 8th largest Metropolitan area in the US.
From Civil Rights history to the Olympic Games, these is a diverse vibe here and busy bee vibe. The population is very accepting and full of personality.
Uber is very helpful, I do not rent a car. In conversations with my uber drivers I was told the daily traffic starts building around 3 and doesn't fade until after 6:30 pm daily. On weekdays restaurants were busy, and the Juke Joint requested a reservation! The traffic each day was seriously backed up and those driving in for our events were often dealing with grid lock and delays on the road.
But we have to talk about those homeless souls which are growing in number and quite bold. They will approach you. They seem to have strength in numbers and on both of my trips I found myself forced to "be rude" to someone getting too close to me. There were also an abundance of rats out at night, which just felt dirty.
Got to love the locals! On this trip one of our co-workers who lives locally was serious when advising us where we didn't want to be when it was dark. She said some of those neighborhoods are just better to avoid all together. And this is a wakeup call for society, that as homeless numbers grow, living conditions and city officials need to be monitoring how to keep their area safe for ALL who are in it.
Some of those neighborhoods to avoid include: U-Rescue Villa, Old Fourth Ward, Kirkwood (which is known for gangs), Castleberry Hill, Washington Park, Edgewood, Peoplestown, Vine City, and East Atlanta Village.
More for families visiting Atlanta:
The Aquarium is very kid friendly. Amazing to see. Worth the cost. Lots of STEM activities for little hands who want to explore. Until you really experience the wonders of ll this marine life you can't imagine it. Sealions and whale exhibits will not be forgotten. A people mover takes you through a tunnel which will surround you with sharks of all kinds! Many places to eat. With out seeing the additional shows it was a fun 3-hour day, perfect for a family with a 1and a 1/2-year-old. Perfect tor any ages.
The MLK Jr. Birth site is so interesting, such a look into our recent history with lots of perspective. Will make you appreciate the modern life! Will also touch your heart.
Walk around and visit Lennox, the underground mall. Lots of stores for everyone from the average to the high-end shopper will be satisfied.
Stone Mountain is not too far away, but worth the drive. $20.00 to ride the tram to the top of the mountains for fabulous viewing is a great day trip. Pack a picnic to offset the cost and enjoy the outdoors! On the days they went, one day was too windy to go up to the top and one day was a bit rainy. Still loved the park.
Piedmont Park is in Midtown and though it is less than 2 miles from downtown it's a completely different world. 200 acres of green space will surprise you in the middle of this urban oasis, providing views of skyscrapers and rare foliage at the same time, art lines the trail around the lake. Lots of people are walking dogs, exercising, fishing and leting their kids run around!
The Atlanta Botanical Garden lives in one corner of Piedmont Park, and the sky canopy walkway crosses over the path below of those with in the park. This garden is so well designed that every nook and cranny of the 30 acre facility will offer something unique. They say it's never the same place twice. Roses, the earth goddess, trolls, lotus flowers, rare varieties of plants and the sky scrapper garden make this a scenic place to walk. The children's garden is not very large, but it is fun for the kiddos! Together Piedmont Park and the Botanical Garden offer much beauty in nature, which can be a lovely balance within the hustle of this busy city.
More local fun:
If you love all different types of things to eat you will find a wide variety or choices, 31 options of places to eat under one roof, and more if you include the surrounding restaurants. The atmosphere was great. Throwing axes is a great way to build a team or work off some steam. In any event, this combo of amazing food and a fun activity captured everyone's need that night (there were 10 of us). We shared two lanes and had a great instructor who kept us trying to hit the bullseye. Several of us did. This is not easy. But it is also not hard. Maybe it's just the Early Childhood Specialist way, but we did not even keep score. However, I can see how this could be very competitive.
Tips for your trip:
* Check the forecast and dress for the weather. Atlanta is a subtropical climate with hot humid summers and "mild" winters, but this varies from day to day. They do get snow, and they do get rain!
* Uber and don't drive - traffic patterns are vicious.
* Don't be out alone after dark.
* Known for nightlife, good food and a great place for singles - have some fun!
* On weekdays, Downtown Ambassadors (city officials in white hats who provide directions and other services to visitors are out in the streets helping to manage the crowds and are available for questions.
* Auburn Avenue is a must. Explore the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, and The King Center, and experience the life and teachings of world renown civil rights leader. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted.
*Stay in a Hotel that connects to the Peachtree Hub! This gives you the most central location and easy to walk to access of food and essentials. (You'll stay dry or cool regardless of the weather)
The Marriott in the center of the Peach Tree hub (on Courtland) has a very interesting vibe and 47 floors. Ride the elevator to the top for views of the entire city, and Stone Mountain.
* Piedmont Park is one of the nation's largest urban parks and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Uber to the Ponce Market and explore the Beltway and Park for a few hours!
Overall, I know work will send me again to Atlanta and I will be happy to go! I always wanted to have a job that would allow me to travel. I am so extremely appreciative for the chance to go places and visit new cities and areas. At the end of January, I will be visiting Knoxville Tennessee, I've never been there. I am sure I will share all I learn on that trip. Other upcoming adventures are: Washington DC, North Carolina, and more Fort Walton fun. Subscribe for more ideas for your itineraries!
See another work trip: How to enjoy a few nights in Miami....
Our Family Trip to the Florida Panhandle and highlights from my work trip to Fort Walton:
Wherever your travels take you, I hope you are healthy, and enjoy every step of the journey!
Stay positively blessed and thank you for visiting, I appreciate you!
Savvy Single Mama
A note from the editor:
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning your trip.
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I specialize in helping families spend more time enjoying their quality time together and less time having to figure it all out. My four children have been my test subjects of how to plan a great family adventure for many years and now that my youngest is 18, many of my travels are work related, or grandma related! As time has changed, I've evolved but I still LOVE TO TRAVEL, explore, wander, visit, discover, learn and love. If nature is there, I can find my happy place. I use the term single not to emphasize my status but to signify that if I can manage some family fun on a limited teacher's salary with four children, anyone can do it. I am just very intentional in how I spend my time and earnings. I typically seek out budget friendly ways to enjoy my time, but will occasionally splurge for the right reasons :-)
Happy Travels!!My goal is to make traveling easier for families and cut down on the planning process. 💜
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