City I Love: How to Tour Atlanta, Georgia Like a Local
There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta, GA. The “Big Peach” is home to fantastic museums, historical sites, parks, restaurants, nightlife, and more—and we certainly recommend exploring everything that piques your interest! However, if you’re looking to skip the major tourist attractions and take a more local approach, then allow Direct Auto to be your guide. Click play on our videos below for some of our favorite, unique spots around, then scroll down to discover more about why it’s a city we love.
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Watch The City I Love: Little Rock – Part I
Watch The City I Love: Little Rock – Part II
The High Museum of Art
Originally located inside a home on Peachtree Street, the High has grown into one of the leading art museums in the Southeast. It has more than 18,000 works of art in its permanent collection, meaning there’s something for everyone to appreciate, from famous European paintings to contemporary art and photography. The High also emphasizes supporting Southern artists by putting their work on display. Be sure to check for special events and limited-time exhibits as you plan your visit.
Atlanta is home to plenty of delicious dining options, but perhaps the most famous is The Varsity’s original downtown location. After opening in 1928, it became known as “the world’s largest drive-in,” and many decades later, it’s still considered one of the largest restaurants around. It can hold up to 800 diners inside, and the restaurant takes up two city blocks by itself. So, for some old-fashioned family fun, stop by the varsity for a hot dog and onion rings before you leave town.
What do you do with an old railway corridor spanning more than 20 miles? Turn it into a massive trail to connect many of the city’s neighborhoods. All along the BeltLine, you can find activities to fill your time. So, put on your walking shoes or rent a bike and take advantage of this great way to see the city. And, when you get bored or need a break, you can stop to eat, drink, shop, view art, skate, and more!
Little Five Points:
Little Five Points is a colorful neighborhood that delivers a unique slice of Atlanta culture all day long. Here are some of our favorite places in the area.
- Psycho Sisters: If you’re looking for an outlandish costume, a hard-to-find prop, or something entirely off the wall to wear to a friend’s dinner party, then this is the spot. Nestled in the heart of Little Five Points, this local favorite is the best stop for finding something offbeat and funky.
- Village Coffee House: This cozy, laid-back coffeeshop ticks all the boxes: great location, over-the-top friendly service, and well-crafted coffees. Crowd favorites include the Soy Chai Coffee, Caramel Macchiato, and mango and chai smoothies. Plus, the patio seating makes for great people-watching in the heart of Little Five Points.
- Criminal Records: This is the locals’ records shop. Low prices, hard-to-find albums, and a large comics section are what they’re known for. It would be a crime not to browse their vinyl collection!
This donut shop is next-level soft, buttery deliciousness. Our personal favorites include the Nutella, Raspberry Hearts, Dirty D, and Dulce de Leche flavors. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Maple-Bacon-Cheddar, Red Velvet, or doughnut ice cream cone. You can also spell any phrase you want with donut letters, which is great for gifts and parties. And they’re open 24 hours every day, so there’s really no excuse not to go.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room
Since 1945, Mary Mac’s Tea Room has been serving made-from-scratch southern fare with genuine southern hospitality. If you’re looking for the quintessential Atlanta dining experience, the restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere and Southern cuisine are everything you could hope for. Try their famous Sweet Tea and ask for a complimentary cup of Pot Likker to start. Follow with fried okra, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings (you can share!), and finish with the peach cobbler.
Stone Summit Atlanta
Looking for a workout that doesn’t involve the gym? Then try your hand at rock climbing and bouldering. This adult fitness playground is a fun way to build muscle, increase agility, and reduce stress. Day passes are available and include a harness, belay device, shoes, and chalk bag with chalk.
As you walk or drive around, look down to see if you can spot tiny doors throughout the city. Since 2014, the art project Tiny Doors ATL has been installing 7-inch-tall doors in strategic spots around Atlanta. Each door holds a special meaning or message about Atlanta and is designed to look and feel like the surrounding neighborhood’s architecture and community spirit.
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