Last week, I spent a few days in Atlanta, visiting my sweet friend Ashley for her birthday. When she asked me what I wanted to do while I was there, I had no idea what Atlanta really had to offer, so I did a quick Google search, but told her she pretty much had a blank slate to create any kind of itinerary she wanted. After all, it was her birthday anyway, so what kind of friend would I be if I planned the whole trip around me?
When I arrived, she had a full few days planned out for us, and we made the most of our time. But the weather didn’t cooperate for the second half of my trip, which was only 3 days to begin with. So, we saw a lot, but we also laid low a lot too, which was perfectly fine with me! Sometimes it’s nice to do a little less than usual when traveling, especially when you’re in good company!
I don’t want to call this a travel guide, because a) I made the decision not to bring my regular camera. I knew I was traveling alone with too many bags as it was, and I honestly just didn’t feel like lugging it around. And b) we did a lot of low key stuff like checking out the local thrift stores and ordering pizza/drinking wine at home, which was exactly what I needed, but I’ll admit; it doesn’t make a very fun blog post. So, I’ll call this a recap, where I’ll share some of the things we did that you might want to check out, too. I’ll also share some things we wanted to do, but never accomplished because of time/weather, and you can tell me how it was if you decide to check out any of these things.
Apologizes in advance for photo quality; this is not going to be one of those “shot on iPhone” ads where you’re blown away by how great the photos are. We were have too much fun to commit a lot of time to them!
Hike Stone Mountain
This is the first thing we did, like straight off the airplane. It was great because I’d spent the whole morning sitting on my booty in airports and airplanes, so it was nice to get moving as soon as I landed. Before you start lacing up your hiking shoes, let me say this: this isn’t an easy hike. It was actually really challenging because the surface you’re climbing is one, giant, sheer, smooth piece of rock. And there’s a point it goes straight up. It only took us about 25 minutes each direction, but those 50 minutes were spent breathless. And sweaty.
Once you get to the top, there is a Skyride you can take back down. I mean, you can also take it up to the top, but that’s not really a hike at all, is it? Whatever, no judgement here. We did the walk-up trail, but there are tons of other trails you can hike if you’d rather not climb straight up the big rock. You can check out the map of all the trails here.
Things to note:
- Visiting the park/mountain is free, as well as hiking, but the parking is $20, so be sure to have a payment method with you.
- There are restrooms and water fountains on the mountain, as well as water and snacks in the gift shop at the top.
- Wear shoes with good traction, because it’s a really smooth surface.
Ponce City Market
This is such a cute place to walk around, snack, take photos, and do a little shopping! There’s a lot of fun restaurants and stores in here, and there’s even a Core Power Yoga if you’re in the mood for a little stretch or sweat sesh. Definitely check out Citizen Supply, which feels like a more a local version of Urban Outfitters. While we didn’t eat here, I grabbed a coffee at Root Baking Co. while we walked explored, because I knew we had a long day planned.
The Atlanta Beltline
This is a long stretch of trail that runs throughout 45 different Atlanta neighborhoods and covers 22 miles. But it’s not a trail like Stone Mountain, it’s an urban trail (think paved pathway) that passes by tons of restaurants, shops, and bars. You can stop for coffee, ice cream, or anything else multiple times, and then attempt to walk it off before stopping again.
The Beltline has tons of murals painted along the way, so there’s limitless Instagram photo ops and there’s even a little “tiny door” treasure hunt. There’s 18 doors, and I’m kind of embarrassed to say that we only found 2 of them. But, if you want to cheat, there’s a map you can use, and they even offer Tiny Door Tours, which is pretty adorable.
We actually walked the Beltline from Ponce City Market, to Krog Market (coming up next), and then took it back as well. It was a fairly long walk, and after hiking Stone Mountain (and a glass of wine), we were feeling a bit lazy, so we took scooters back, which can be found almost anywhere along the trail, so if you’re feeling tired, you can hop on one at any time!
Similar to Ponce City Market, there’s lots of shopping and eating here. I would call this market definitely more a foodie market, so if you’re looking for shopping and can only go to one, I think Ponce is probably your best bet. But, for food; Krog takes the cake (literally) in my opinion.
We wandered around several times, because let’s be honest, the worst part about food halls and markets is deciding what to eat. After finding a minimum of 5 things I wanted, I finally decided on Yalla; Middle Eastern food that looked amazing and tasted even better than it looked. Their menu is diverse and interesting, but not “too much” if you’re nervous about trying a new type of cuisine.
Other places that looked amazing (but I can’t vouch for taste): Makimono, Superica, and Jeni’s Ice Cream (okay, I can definitely vouch for that one).
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to offer for this suggestion, because the day we went, it was pouring rain. But, it’s a great space surrounding the Atlanta Braves stadium. It’s filled with shopping and dining, and it’s all brand new. It’s got cobble stone streets and string lights, so when it’s not down pouring, it’s a great place to get out for the day and grab some photos.
There’s never enough time on vacation, right? Here’s a list of a few things we wanted to do, but never made it. If you’re looking for suggestions for your visit to Atlanta, consider checking out the places below, and report back!
- The Sun Dial Restaurant
- Skyview Farris Wheel
- The Georgia Aquarium
- Piedmont Park and the Botanical Garden
- The Shops at Buckhead