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  • Writer's pictureHannah Ghafary

50 Quality Dates in Atlanta, Georgia

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

I’m back, writing to you from the heart of Midtown Atlanta. Since deciding to continue pursuing my art career at SCAD Atlanta, I have recently relocated into the city. Living right in the midst of the hustle and bustle, I have been exploring everything A-Town has to offer this busy summer season. And, as your self-proclaimed tour guide, I have compiled a list of 50 not-so-ordinary outings in Atlanta, Georgia. So, this blog is dedicated to anyone who is in that end-of-summer rut and is feeling fresh out of fun things to do. From the city’s hidden gems to Atlanta classics to everything in between, this list is sure to have something for anyone and everyone.

Dates that Don’t Break the Bank

Glenwood Park Wine Tasting | Atlanta’s 3 Parks Wine Shop hosts a free wine tasting every Wednesday from 5:30-7 PM. The wine tasting include educational background on the regions and the production of the wines, and, of course, samples from several bottles. If you’re looking to become a seasoned Oenophile, or if you simply want a fun way to spend Wine Wednesday with your squad, head over to 3 Parks Wine Shop in Glenwood Park.

Atlanta Contemporary | Slightly more off the beaten path than Atlanta’s famed High Museum, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is a great, affordable way to indulge yourself in Atlanta’s art scene. It hosts the works of both established and emerging artists of Georgia and the surrounding Southeast, as well as a plethora of artists who work in studio spaces on site.

Scavenger Hunt for the Tiny Doors | Local artist, Karen Anderson, has installed fifteen adorably tiny doors around the Atlanta and Decatur area (see above). Hidden in plain sight throughout the city, these tiny doors inspire visitors to take a closer look at some of Atlanta’s more familiar landmarks. Finding your way through some of Atlanta’s main attractions on your search for the Tiny Doors is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the city.

Village Theater Secret Show | Once claimed to be “the best time you’ll have after 1 AM in Atlanta that doesn’t involve strippers”, the Village Theater Comedy Club blesses us all with a free late-night stand-up comedy show every Saturday at 1 AM. Village Theater has been known to host several big names in comedy over the years, so this is a great opportunity to catch some great comedy for free.

SCAD Fashion Exhibition: Oscar De La Renta

SCAD Fash | SCAD Fash is truly a hidden gem of Atlanta’s art and fashion scene. Admission is free to students and only ten dollars to the general public (but, you may be lucky enough to end up with a free guest pass if it’s your first visit). The museum has been host to renowned photographers such as Trine Søndergaardand internationally-acclaimed designers such as Mary Katranzou in her most recent exhibition featured at SCAD Fash, Kaleidoscope. Bonus Points: The Museum has an amazing view of the city that is Instagram-worthy for sure.

Self-Guided Street Art Tour | Atlanta has so much urban art worth exploring, from the Krog Street Tunnel to the Beltline. Living Walls is an impressive collection of over 100 murals throughout the city created to inspire social change and revive neglected public spaces. There’s lots more street art to be found around Edgewood Avenue, Little Five Points, and Cabbagetown. Find more to explore using a guided street art map.

Cabbagetown street art; artist unknown

Scooter the Beltline | Atlanta’s Beltline is an old railway that has been transformed into a multi-use trail winding throughout the city. Renting a ride-share scooter (such as those offered by Uber, Lyft or Bird) is a fun and affordable way to explore miles’ worth of the art installations and amazing views the Beltline has to offer. Pro Tip: start your adventure at Highland Avenue and Alaska Avenue, where you there’s free parking accessible to the beltline.

Free Yoga in the Park | Every Sunday, Atlanta’s iconic King of Pops Popsicles hosts a free yoga class complete with complimentary popsicles in Old Fourth Ward Skate Park. The class is from 7 to 8 PM, but I’d recommend arriving early to secure a good spot!

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Site | If you want to learn more about the deep histories of Atlanta and one of our nation’s great heroes, the MLK Memorial Site is a great, free way to spend the afternoon. Visitors can wander the corridors of MLK Jr.’s childhood home and explore the Historic Fire House. The Sweet Auburn Neighborhood also has several other attractions to stop by while you’re there, including the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and eating at Dr. King’s favorite spot for fried chicken, Paschal’s.

Atlanta Streetcar | The Atlanta Streetcar is a $3-ticket to many of Atlanta’s main attractions. No, seriously - the Streetcar will take you to the Aquarium, the World of Coke, Underground Atlanta, the MLK Jr. Memorial Site, and even to the Old Fourth Ward bar scene. The car is hardly ever busy and unexpectedly clean. Skip the Uber, forget the outrageous parking fees, and take the Streetcar.

Doll's Head Trail | The Doll’s Head Trail, which is about as creepy as it sounds, is an installation art project by local carpenter, Joel Slaton. But behind the eerie façade, the Doll Head Trail is an uncanny example of upcycling one man’s trash to become another man’s treasure. Slaton used discarded doll parts and other trash he found around the site to create the pieces, and he encourages visitors to contribute their own “found” art.

High Museum |On the second Sunday of each month, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta offers free admission to all visitors. This adventure may require more advanced planning, but it’s an awesome way to get access to both contemporary and historic art from all over the world without having to pay a dime.

Atlanta by Day

City Surf Fitness, Atlanta

City Surf Fitness | City Surf Fitness Atlanta offers a fresh and fun take on a workout with 50-minute full body, surf-inspired group workout classes. If you think this intense, core-focused workout sounds like an afternoon well-spent, be sure to reserve a spot by “booking your board” in advance.

Julianna's Coffee and Crepes | This historic, circa-1901 house is known around Atlanta for the famous crepes it serves. Baking every crepe from scratch using Hungarian family recipes that have been passed down through the generations, patrons are sure to leave Julianna’s feeling fat and happy.

ATL Beer Bus | The Atlanta Beer Bus is a hot, new attraction for both locals and tourists of city. The Beer Bus offers five different, half-day tour options that includes drinks at every stop. Support local businesses by drinking beer---you can’t beat it.

Jeni's Splendid Ice-creams | Cool off on a typical Hotlanta day with Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp ice-cream; you’ll thank me later.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room | This historic restaurant and tea room has been an Atlanta institution for over seventy-five years, serving an average of 2,000 diners every day! If you’re looking for good ATL eats, go to Mary Mac’s to enjoy a killer meat-and-three with a side of true southern hospitality.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens | The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is not exactly a hidden gem of Atlanta, but don’t sleep on all the beauty this outdoor sanctuary has to offer. Currently, there's a trippy Alice in Wonderland Exhibit that you won't want to miss. 

Waffle House Museum | Located about 30 minutes outside of the city, the Waffle House Museum can be found at the world’s very first Waffle House from 1955. The museum houses enough Waffle House history and memorabilia to satisfy any true WaHo fan.  

Pictured: Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party, cafe interior

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party | Book a reservation to attend Dr. Bombay’s high tea in this cozy and eclectic café filled with books and funky memorabilia. And the best part - all proceeds go to benefit international women’s education.

Little Five Points | Atlanta’s colorful Little Five Points neighborhood is sure to make a fun afternoon of window shopping and people watching anytime. In this eclectic corner of town, visitors can do anything from thrifting at trendy vintage resale shops to stock up on vinyl to getting a tattoo, or even simply doing some work over a good cup of Java. For more ideas on how to spend a day in Little Five, read more here.

The War Horse Coffee House, at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Goat Farm Arts Center installation on the property by residential artist

The Goat Farm | The Goat Farm Arts Center is quite literally an urban oasis, a quiet retreat from the concrete jungle. The property at the Goat Farm is equipped a petit coffee shop that looks like it fell out of your Instagram feed, unique art installations throughout the property, galleries and studio spaces, and, of course, goats. The Goat Farm is currently about to undergo a several hundred-million-dollar remodeling project that will bring its name to the front-runner of Atlanta daytime activities, so be sure to enjoy this hidden gem before it is transformed in a few months.

Buttermilk Kitchen | You may recognize the Buttermilk Kitchen from Guy Fieri’s famous Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives, where it was dubbed as the home of Atlanta’s best biscuits. This casual Southern restaurant serves breakfast and lunch with locally sourced ingredients and recipes made from scratch.

Jack’s New Yorker Deli | The line out that grows out the door every day at noon is a tell-tale sign that Jack’s New Yorker Deli has got some good eats. Jack’s is sure to be a fast and affordable lunch break. If it’s your first time, be sure to order their famous Outlaw sandwich.

Atlanta Food Walks | If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, a Food Walk can be a tasty way to indulge yourself into both the culinary scene and history of Atlanta. For only $75, you can enjoy a bougie taste of the South on a guided tour at a multitude of restaurants.

Ponce City Market | From sampling everything the eclectic food court has to offer to strolling through the hip shops, there’s many ways to spend an afternoon at this historic Atlanta building. Visitors to Ponce can also enjoy a famous walking taco and mini golf from the Skyline Park on the roof, complete with an amazing view of the city. Trigger Warning: the parking is hell, so I’d recommend public transportation or carpooling with friends.

Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market | Somehow a food court becomes much more aesthetic when you add wheels, picnic tables and twinkle lights. Patrons can try a variety of delicious cuisines the food trucks have to offer, browse local art set out for sale, and even pick up local fresh produce. Plus, there’s free parking, which is a hot commodity in Atlanta. Check out their website for summer hours. 

Atlanta’s Nightlife

South City Kitchen Midtown | Set in a 1920s bungalow, this classy eatery offers inventive takes on all of our Southern favorites. Take it from me, the shrimp and grits is to die for.

Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium | Perhaps some might call Sister Louisa’s a spiritual experience, but this two-story dive bar in the Old Fourth Ward definitely isn’t your typical Church. If you go, be sure to order their signature drink: The Spiritual Sangria.

Little Trouble, Atlanta.

Little Trouble | Little Trouble is a trendy bar serving futuristic drinks and a modern take on Asian food. Tucked away at the end of a concrete hallway below the crowded bar scene outside, you may recognize this place from the well-known neon sign that many a basic bitch has posed in front of.

Clermont Lounge | Don’t scroll past this one assuming it’s "just a strip club", because the Clermont Lounge is much more than your average strip club. Through the years, this establishment has been known to be frequented by legendary customers such as Lady Gaga, and even Morgan Freeman. Until you see for yourself, I’ll just leave it at this: The Clermont Lounge has certainly earned its name as the oldest strip club in the city.

The Punchline Comedy Club | Located at none other than the famous Landmark Diner, the Punchline Comedy Club is arguably Atlanta’s most reputable comedy club. Things may get crowded in this historic venue, but nobody can disagree the laughs are worth it.

Havana Night Club | Three theme rooms with three different DJ’s comprise Havana, one of Buckhead’s most acclaimed night clubs. The best way to enjoy Havana is to reserve a VIP table, complete with bottles and hookah; this way you can avoid too many crowds and overpriced drinks.

MJQ Concourse | If you like dancing, then MJQ Concourse is the place for you. This grunge, basement-vibe club is known for having amazing DJs and set lists. Beware the long lines, and come ready in your dancing shoes.

Starlight Drive-In Theater | Have you ever wanted to go to a drive-in movie like in the olden days? Now you can at Atlanta’s own Starlight Drive-In Theater. For less than ten dollars, you can enjoy a movie from the comfort of your vehicle. Warning: definitely show up early to get a good spot, and go to the Starlight website ahead of time to find information on how to use your car radio to access audio for the movie.

Fernbank Museum Star Display | Every Thursday and Friday night, Fernbank Museum opens the Buice Observatory to the public for free from 9-10:30 PM. Weather permitting, you and a loved one can spend the evening looking at the constellations.

Eddie's Attic | This cozy music venue in metro Atlanta features up and coming artists in intimate shows. Audience members are seated at tables where they can order drinks or food from a full menu throughout the show, but the lights are dimmed and casual mealtime conversation is discouraged by the venue in order to respect the performer and performance. General admission prices vary from show to show, but this venue offers one of the most affordable ways to enjoy live music in Atlanta.

Himitsu | Himitsu is Japanese speak-easy in the city serving upscale cocktails and sushi, amongst other things. It is reservation-only and a code is required to enter the discreet venue. If you enjoy mystery and a little adventure, finding and going to Himitsu is a exciting deviation from your typical bar outing.

Red Phone Booth | This is another speakeasy in the city where you don’t have to be a member to partake of the fun. To go to the Red Phone Booth, you must get access to a phone number (which is updated periodically) that is entered on the rotary dial in an actual phone booth that serves as entry to the underground joint. Once inside, clients can enjoy craft cocktails, small plates, and cigars in this chic speakeasy. Be warned, the dress-code is strict.

Painted Pin | The Painted Pin is a chic vintage bowling alley complete with 20 full-service lanes. It’s the perfect place to gather with your gang over upscale bar fare and friendly competition. The venue also has other games out to join in such as bocce ball, shuffleboard, ping pong and darts.

Variety box of Sublime Doughnuts

Sublime Doughnuts | Sublime Doughnuts is home to Atlanta’s most Instagram-worthy, fresh-made donuts. This donut shop is known for their unusual variety of flavors, with everything from the Nutella donut to the signature A-Town Donut. Bonus points to Sublime because they’re open 24/7 to cover all your late-night munchie needs.

Laughing Skull Comedy Lounge | This intimate, 21-and-over lounge is tucked away in the back of Atlanta’s legendary Vortex restaurant. Throughout the years, the Laughing Skull been known to host big names in comedy such as Doug Benson.

Specialty / Seasonal
Refinery29's 29Rooms Exhibit from Chicago.

29Rooms Atlanta: Expand Your Reality Experience

29Rooms | This immersive exhibit created by Refinery29 is coming to Atlanta, and you will definitely want to mark your calendars. An art show designed with Instagram in mind, 29 Rooms has returned with a fresh take on divine aesthetic, touching on important political, social and environmental topics.

Decatur Alpaca Cottage | This small farm situated just outside of Atlanta is the perfect weekend getaway for animal-lovers. Home to a miniature llama, some chickens, and a whole herd of alpacas, this friendly flock live at a cottage available for rental through AIrBnB. Surprisingly booked primarily for “staycations” by locals, the Alpaca Cottage is a one-of-a-kind animal experience.

Treehouse in the City | Holding the title of Airbnb’s most requested property in the world, this intimate, urban retreat makes for a “staycation” like no other. Featured on too many television shows and magazines to count, these three bougie treehouses are connected above the canopies in a romantic and dreamy feat of architecture.

Ice Skating at Atlantic Station | Every holiday season, Atlantic Station hosts the city’s largest, open-air ice rink open to the public. Surrounded by romantic twinkle lights and bustling with holiday spirit, this massive skate rink is a great Atlanta tradition to remember for the holidays.

Sleepover at the Aquarium | Sips Under the Sea is essentially a bougie adult sleepover hosted by the Georgia Aquarium a few times every year. The Aquarium invites guests to explore the exhibits after hours, sans the children and the crowds. Experience the magnificence of the marine life that the aquarium has to offer with a craft cocktail in hand at this exclusive twenty-one-and-up party.

Ponce City Farmers Market | This massive farmers market can be found under The Shed at the Beltline entrance to Ponce City Market every Tuesday night (seasonally). Vendors comprise a cast of urban farmers, artisanal food makers, as well as pop-up chefs. This sustainable market is all organic and local grown.

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