A Side-Street Tour of Atlanta: Little Five Points
One of the things I love most about Atlanta is that it is a city with many faces. It is a hub for entrepreneurs, entertainers, artists, sports fanatics, and travelers alike. One of my dear friends, Jess, paid me a visit this weekend, and we spent an evening exploring my native city on Friday. Jess had enjoyed a small taste of Atlanta’s urban landscape once before on a previous trip to the Peach State. She already indulged herself in a refreshing Frosted Orange from the Varsity and explored some of the more mainstream attractions of the city. But, as her self-appointed tour guide, I took it upon myself to give her a “side street” tour of Atlanta and hit some landmarks that are off the beaten path.
We headed off for our early evening trek, and I led Jess towards a corner of East Atlanta known as Little Five Points (LFP). This alternative scene is an easily walkable, little neighborhood only half a mile outside the heart of Atlanta. Moreland Avenue, the main street of Little Five, is peppered with dive bars, music venues, indie shops, and eclectic eateries. Street musicians and vendors stand scattered along the sidewalks. But don’t underestimate the cozy, quaint feel of Little Five, because, truth be told, one afternoon isn’t enough to explore this little gem of Atlanta. This bohemian corner of the city has so many treasures waiting to be found around every corner, and I will only touch on a few of them in this blog post. But I will leave you with a few resources so that, if you ever find yourself in Little Five Points, you are prepared to see the most noteworthy nooks and crannies of this neighborhood.
Criminal Records stands amongst a few of the shops in LFP that sell vinyl records. Situated in the center of this small neighborhood, the shelves of Criminal Records are stocked with new and used vinyl, CD’s, cassette tapes and even action figures. Alternative music buzzes in the background, emanating over the many boxes of records from a DJ stand in the back. Customers sample music through old beats as they relax beside listening stands situated throughout the store. Amongst some of my more interesting, offbeat finds in the store were an old binder of vintage stickers and a collection of car air fresheners designed with the faces of music artists like Post Malone and Atlanta native rapper 2 Chainz.
It is no secret that the concrete jungle of Atlanta is scattered with public artwork and installations, but LFP is truly a must-see when it comes to sight-seeing street art in the city. One could easily spend a whole day exploring the treasure hunt of art woven through the district of Little Five. The shops and storefronts don the works of both internationally renowned street artists such as Jerkface as well as local artists of LFP and the surrounding neighborhoods. I particularly enjoy this area because, while it is not hard-pressed to find colorful murals and graffiti around every corner, there are still countless less trafficked back streets and alleyways with lesser known art to see.
It is also worth noting that Little Five is very close to Krog Street Tunnel, another shining beacon of public art in Atlanta. Krog Street Tunnel and the two streets that run perpendicular are covered from top to bottom in artwork (including mine) that is well worth tacking on to the front or back end of your visit if time presents itself.
If you are interested in exploring the street art of Little Five Points or anywhere else in Atlanta, this website provides an extensive guide to the best public artwork in the city: https://streetartmap.org/atlanta-street-art-maps/
The Junkman’s Daughter stands beside the Vortex, an acclaimed bar and burger joint you may recognized from its feature on Guy Fieri’s Drive In’s, Diners, and Dives. This novelty store of unusual treasures stands a little further back from the center of Little Five. The shop is filled with funky costumes, unconventional home decor, and eclectic novelty items you never knew you needed until you walked through their door, complete with a smoke shop in the back. Junkman’s also boasts an impressive repertoire of art prints and original works from local artists worth giving a look. Amongst my favorite finds in the store that day were a whole rack of Knock Knock pads, a plethora of naughty wrapping papers, and a to-die-for Alice in Wonderland inspired incense burner of a caterpillar on a mushroom smoking hookah.
This off-scene corner of Atlanta is great for visitors or anyone who wants to see a new side of the city. Live music venues, theaters, and independent record labels are among the other unique attractions of L5P. I was quickly enamored by the artistic cluster of bookstores, new and used clothing retailers, and novelty shops I found there. If you ever find yourself in Little Five Points, I’ve added a more extensive list below of spots worth adding to your itinerary.
Must-See’s in Little Five Points of Atlanta:
A Cappella Books is a unique selection of new and used literature that has been making a name for itself in the Atlanta area for nearly three decades.
Criminal Records (see above)
Clothing Warehouse is one of the best-known vintage clothing stores of the Southeast, home to one-of-a-kind consignment clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Wax’n’Facts has new and reissued vinyl and CD’s serving Little Five for upwards of 40 years.
Mood Music is another new and used music shop that also has comic books, t-shirts, incense, DVD’s and music magazines.
Aurora Coffee is an independent cafe (pictured above) covered in local artwork inside and out. It is a better alternative than the Starbucks of LFP both for flavor and support of local business.
Java Lords is another mom & pop shop coffee house, roastery, and bar with an uncannily impressive martini. If you go, be sure to try the watermelon beer!
Rag-O-Rama Clothing is an acclaimed consignment store to buy, sell and trade clothing items.
7Stages is a unique nonprofit theater which hosts a range of shows featuring artists of all kind that touch on topics of social, political, and spiritual importance.
Horizon Theater is a theatrical troupe and venue that puts on productions of contemporary plays year-round.
Variety Playhouse Music is a venue which has worn many hats over the years, from movie house to performance space to community gathering location. Today it maintains a sharp focus on live music events, even known for featuring big artists such as Billie Eilish.
Junkman’s Daughter (see above)
I hope this post was able to do Little Five some justice, and maybe even inspire you to plan a day trip for a good-weather weekend soon. If you have any comments or questions about other things to do in Five Points, feel free to comment below or message me!
Until Next Week,
Hannah from Posh & Painterly