Atlanta, the Dirty South, HOTlanta, the ATL — whatever you wanna call it, Atlanta, Georgia has an incredible history. Since the Civil Rights Movement, the city was kinda known as “The City Too Busy To Hate” because it was one of the only Southern cities with a history of fighting for desegregation — as a result, it became a popular city for many African-Americans in the South to relocate to. Atlanta has a vibrant cultural scene, with many amazing restaurants and bars, not to mention a historical side that is not to be missed. After the jump, our Frisky for your next visit to the ATL.
1071 Piedmont Avenue
(404) 875-7275, PiedmontPark.org
Located in the heart of Midtown, Piedmont Park is home to the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Dogwood Festival, and the summer movie festival Screen on the Green. Grab a picnic from Trader Joe’s and relax in the grass, on a bench, or by the lake. Rent a bike or skates from Skate Escape and explore the many pockets of the park at your own speed.
Starlight 6 Drive-In
2000 Moreland Ave
(404) 627-5786, StarlightDriveIn.com
There aren’t many drive-in theaters left in the country, but it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that a car-crazy city like Atlanta still has one. Grab a cooler of drinks, food, lawn chairs, and a portable radio and head over to the Starlight 6 for a $7 double-feature on one of six screens. Tailgating is a must, necking is optional. Starlight also hosts several annual themed movie events worth attending.
Dinner and a Movie
Ok, so dinner and a movie isn’t exactly “offbeat” but it’s popular for a reason. Eat dinner at the tiny candlelit tables of Après Diem and then watch an independent film next door at Midtown Arts Cinema. Need a nightcap? Walk over to The Highlander. It has pool tables and ample outdoor seating, not to mention bawdy waitresses who could kick your ass.
188 14th St
(404) 892-6000, StarwoodHotels.com
Located in the economic heart of the city on the Midtown Mile of restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions, Atlanta’s first W Hotel will not disappoint you. From the glamorous Whiskey Park to the retro-chic Living Room Bar, you will find yourself enjoying cocktails with the city’s most vibrant young professionals.
The Glenn Hotel
110 Marietta Street
(404) 521-2250, GlennHotel.com
The Glenn Hotel fuses Southern charm with modern décor to create a memorable boutique hotel experience. Dark woods contrast warm fabrics in the candlelit lobby and views from the intimate rooftop bar are stunning. It’s a short walk to Downtown attractions like the World of Coke (c’mon, you know you want to go!), Georgia Aquarium (one of the most amazing in the U.S.), and Philips Arena.
The Georgian Terrace
659 Peachtree St
(404) 897-1991, TheGeorgianTerrace.com
This historic Midtown icon is best known for hosting the world premiere reception for Gone with the Wind in 1939. It sits across the street from another landmark, The Fabulous Fox Theater, and is known for combining old and new design with classically Southern elegance and grandeur. Spacious rooms and a rooftop pool will relax you after a show.
The Clermont Lounge
789 Ponce De Leon Ave
(404) 874-4783, ClermontLounge.net
Described as “where strippers go to die,” the space has held gentleman’s clubs since the 1940s and it’s quite possible some of the original dancers are still entertaining on the Clermont’s single stage. Wood-paneling and cheap beer adds to the dive charm of this Poncey-Highlands bar. Be sure to give Blondie $5 for her signature can-crushing trick and keep an eye out for Clermont fans Marilyn Manson, Kid Rock, and Dave Attell.
North of Downtown and South of Buckhead
It seems like something new is always opening in Midtown. Hidden behind a nondescript steel door is Halo, known for its hip ambiance and inner-lit bar stretching the length of the room. Barely a mile away is Loca Luna, a Miami-style Latin bar with a live salsa band and packed dance floor. By Freedom Parkway is the underground and dimly-lit MJQ Concourse, a favorite with the hipsters who walk over from The Local and El Bar.
Cabbagetown, East Atlanta, and Buckhead
Southeast and north of Midtown
Named for the cooking cabbage smell once emanating from factory workers’ homes, Cabbagetown is mostly populated by urbanites and hipsters. Enjoy an inexpensive draft beer at funky 97 Estoria or wander over to Krog Bar for a communal wine and tapas experience. Not far away is East Atlanta Village, home to music lovers’ The Earl and East Side Lounge. Head a few miles north to yuppie Buckhead and experience the expansive patio of East Andrews.
ROMANTIC DINNER A DEUX
1198 Howell Mill Rd
(404) 365-0410, StarProvisions.com
Known for its nationally ranked cuisine and creative menu, Bacchanalia is on most people’s short list for top restaurants in Atlanta. The red-hued décor is elegant and modern without being pretentious or overly formal and the view of Midtown’s skyline is perfect. Certainly a romantic and memorable spot just minutes from Midtown in the West End.
1845 Peachtree Rd
(404) 355-0411, CafeIntermezzo.com
Everyone in Atlanta has at least one romantic evening at Intermezzo while living here. Open late and serving delectable desserts, coffees, and several dozen pages of wines and liquors, you can never go wrong stopping by this Buckhead gem with friends or a date. Reminiscent of an intimate European café with small tables and low-lighting, you’ll enjoy the people-watching as much as the atmosphere itself.
Carroll Street Café
208 Carroll St
(404) 577-2700, ApresDiem.com
Located in the heart of historic Cabbagetown on what may be the narrowest street in Atlanta, Carroll Street Café is small, dark, and cozy. Local artists’ work adorns the walls and the continually evolving menu is never a disappointment. Sit outside on a nice evening and enjoy watching one of Atlanta’s most quaint Bohemian neighborhoods.
464 Moreland Ave
Serving Atlanta’s subcultures since 1982, this legendary establishment promises to sell you nothing you need and everything you didn’t even know you want. Part variety store, part novelty store, Junkman’s Daughter provides all the kitsch and fetish wear imaginable. At the very least, go for the charm of the surly hipster staff and unique experience of the eclectic Little Five Points neighborhood.
3500 Peachtree Rd
(404) 261-9333, MyIntimacy.com
Featured on Oprah and housed in Phipps Plaza, one of Atlanta’s two premiere world-class shopping malls, Intimacy serves the South with beautiful intimate apparel and the most attentive staff in town. It’s a luxurious experience to be savored and appointments are recommended.
The Blue Corset Co.
56 E. Andrews Dr. NW, Ste. 24
You’ll feel like you’ve entered an old movie star’s boudoir at this shop in Buckhead. The Blue Corset Co. sells high-end lingerie in their Art Deco space. The wallpaper in the shop is almost as enviable.
Previously: The Frisky Guidebook: The Windy City