By Guest Blogger Christine Murray
Whether your ideal weekend getaway involves relaxing, exploring, eating, shopping, playing, learning, or all of the above, Atlanta offers a great mix of experiences and is a great weekend getaway idea for Triad residents. Because Atlanta has so much to offer, this blog will just focus on a few ideas to give a sense of why Atlanta is a great place for a fun weekend as a family, couple, or with friends.
Getting There by Way of Greenville, South Carolina
Atlanta’s an easy city to fly into, especially with the airport being a hub for Delta. However, the driving distance from the Triad is not too bad either, at about 5 hours. Driving also offers the opportunity to find fun stops along the way. In our recent trip to Atlanta, we made a stop for a couple hours in one of my favorite Southern cities: Greenville, South Carolina. Downtown Greenville is not far off I-85, and it has a lot more to do (and eat!) than just a couple hours allows, but at just over the halfway point of the drive, Greenville makes for a great place to stretch your legs, walk around, and break up the trip.
Our first stop in Greenville was to grab some lunch overlooking Falls Park at Passerelle Bistro. From there, we walked across the bridge in Falls Park and enjoyed some people watching around the falls before heading up Main Street to check out some stores. There are many stores and restaurants to explore, but our favorite was the Savannah Bee Company, where they offer honey tastings and mead tastings. Another fun experience in Greenville, especially if you’ve got kids with you, is to search for the “Mice On Main,” the bronze mice statues hidden along Main Street.
Greenville is a great weekend getaway idea on its own, but it also makes for a fun add-on to an Atlanta road trip.
Arriving and Staying in Atlanta
Even people who haven’t spent much time in Atlanta usually know about Atlanta’s reputation for bad traffic. We arrived in Atlanta in the late afternoon on a Saturday, and traffic certainly was a factor. If you plan to drive to Atlanta, it helps to stay patient and give yourself a little extra time to navigate the traffic. Also, since the traffic is a factor in getting around while you’re there, consider staying in a hotel in the part of town that’s close to the attractions you want to see while you’re there.
We stayed in a hotel in mid-town right off Peachtree Street, and by staying there, we were able to walk to a lot of the restaurants, shops, and attractions we wanted to visit. There are so many choices of hotels and other accommodations in Atlanta, so here is one website to help narrow down your search.
Eating in Atlanta
I have a personal rule to avoid eating at major chain restaurants when I’m traveling, and Atlanta offered a seemingly endless number of local options to enjoy some good food and different dining experiences than we have locally in the Triad.
Our first stop was The Sugar Factory in Midtown. It would be difficult to have a bad time at The Sugar Factory, since they have drinks that are huge (think the size of a fishbowl) and sweet (such as the Peanut Butter Cup Martini). Kids will love their “Insane Milkshakes,” and the food menu has lots of fun takes on familiar options, like the Rainbow Sliders. For dessert, we had a Cookie Jar Sundae for Two, which definitely could feed way more than just two people! The loud music, fun décor, and candy shop at the exit also added to the fun of the experience.
Another example of a fun dining experience in Atlanta is the Old Lady Gang (OLG) restaurant. We went to the Castleberry Market location. Fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta will know OLG as one of Kandi Burruss’s restaurants, but the experience and food will appeal to even those who’ve never seen the show. OLG doesn’t take reservations, so we went for lunch on a Monday, and even then, we had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated. They seemed to be very short-staffed on the day we visited, so we had long wait between ordering and eating our meals (we would definitely order an appetizer the next time!), but the wait was well worth it! The food was delicious Southern comfort food, and we made sure to save room for dessert, which was peach cobbler bread pudding for us.
To learn more about Atlanta’s culinary scene, check out this website.
Having Fun in Atlanta
There are way more options for fun experiences and attractions in Atlanta than you could possibly fit into just a weekend, so consider what types of experiences you and your fellow travelers enjoy, and try to fit in as much as you can. Of course, Atlanta is known for its aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola museum, but we chose to visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights for some more serious learning and conversations instead. (All three of these attractions are right next to each other in the Centennial Park area, so it would be easy to visit them all in one day for ambitious travelers who don’t want to miss out on any of them!)
The Civil Rights Center was very eye-opening, especially with the way they explore the connections between civil rights and all kinds of human rights, such as women’s rights, rights for the LGBTQ+ community, and workers’ rights. It took us about an hour and a half to explore the Center’s three floors, and there were some very interactive and informative exhibits. One special exhibit to see as Triad residents is the Lunch Counter Sit-In Exhibit, which features Greensboro’s Woolworth Sit-In. Visiting this exhibit in Atlanta would be a great opportunity for further learning for those who have visited the International Civil Rights Center & Museum here in Greensboro.
One other fun stop we made in Atlanta that combines eating, shopping, people-watching, and more was the Ponce City Market. There was a huge selection of restaurants with all different kinds of food (we enjoyed oysters and a cookie batter shop!), as well as an urban winery. Be sure to visit the Ponce City Market with a big appetite!
Overall, we had a great trip to Atlanta and look forward to going back again soon! This blog only scratches the surface of our experiences, and especially of all the things you can do during a weekend getaway to Atlanta. If you love visiting Atlanta, too, be sure to share your favorite spots in the comments section below!
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