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A 2 Day Guide to Visiting Atlanta

I always forget about Atlanta. Living in Greenville, SC we’re uniquely located within driving distance to so many amazing cities. Charleston, Nashville, Savannah, Charlotte, Gatlinburg, Atlanta are all 5 hours away or less. And because of that, our Atlanta trips are few and far between, but we always end up enjoying the city immensely when we do visit.

This past weekend Lee and I planned a weekend trip to the city for a concert, an IKEA trip, (sadly Greenville’s closet IKEA is ATL or CLT) and to get out of town for a bit.

We tend to experience Atlanta differently from many of the people we know. Atlanta is home to a world-class aquarium, a bustling midtown, major sports teams, and large museums, but this post won’t be filled with Cocoa Cola tour tips or Centennial Park parking suggestions.

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Midtown West

I first visited this area when I was shopping for my wedding dress and had an appointment at BHLDN. That was 3.5 years ago now and the area has grown up tremendously since then.

Where to Shop

If you’re looking to do some shopping this area has something for everyone.

  • Warby Parker – for checking out new glasses/sunglasses
  • Design Within Reach – a beautiful interiors store that will make you want to drop $1,400 on a clock. No joke.
  • Serena and Lily Design Shop – beautiful beachy home goods
  • Sid & Ann Mashburn – upscale men and women’s clothing store
  • IKEA - no additional explanation needed

And then you also have your typical stores like Anthropologie and Free People.

Where to Eat + Drink

  • Brash Coffee – delicious coffee served from a shipping container. A perfect place to relax if the weather is nice.
  • Jenni’s Ice Cream – famous in its own right, Jenni’s has some of the best ice cream out there. The line is always long but worth the wait.
  • Blaze Pizza – right across from IKEA if you’re looking for a fast, delicious place to eat
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We stayed up in the Cumberland area because it was 2 minutes from the concert venue which was right next to Suntrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.

Where to Stay

  • Marriott Northwest – Clean and cheap. Two words I always look for when rating a hotel. This was our first time staying in Atlanta and it was the perfect place. We got a hotel room for under $100 and knew it was a solid choice when we walked in and saw an MLS team in the lobby, several cheer groups, and youth soccer leagues.

It wasn’t a luxury place to stay but it was perfect for what we needed. I actually used Hotel Tonight to find and book the hotel and I could not recommend the app enough. It saved us at least $30 and was an incredibly easy process – right down to check in.

If you’re looking to book a vacation soon, download the Hotel Tonight app and use the code EMCAMPBELL27 for a special discount!

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Old Forth Ward

Where to Eat

  • Emerald City Bagels – this was our first time visiting and it will definitely be in our rotation when we go back. I found it on Google Maps after looking for bagel places in ATL and it is clearly a local favorite with a line out the door at 9:30 on a rainy Sunday morning.
  • Chrome Yellow Coffee – Hard to park at but still our favorite coffee shop in Atlanta. The coffee is roasted by a Greenville-based coffee shop, Methodical, so the drinks are top notch.
  • Bartaco - one of our favorite taco establishments has a located in Old Forth Ward and we always like to pay them a visit
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Ponce City Market

Located just down the street from Chrome Yellow, Ponce City is a 2 million square foot building that now houses shops, restaurants, apartments, and an amusement park of sorts. We’ve been a few times now and have found our favorite stores to wander in and out of –

  • Citizen Supply
  • West Elm
  • Glossier
  • Amour Vert
  • Marine Supply

Also, if you’re hungry going in, you won’t be for long. They have so many tempting food stalls and restaurants that reminds me so much of Chelsea Market in NYC. We tried pastries from St. Germain but there was a ramen place we wish were hungry enough for.

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I think there are a few things to remember about Atlanta – that we didn’t know before – that make the city experience bearable and even enjoyable.

  • Go in the right state of mind. If you keep in mind it’s a major city with notoriously bad traffic it can be a lot less frustrating to navigate.
  • Ditch the tourist traps and do a little out of the box research. Unless you’re going specifically to visit museums or aquariums, take some time on Instagram to find out where the locals and spending time. You’re going to get a much better feel for the city at those spots than the touristy ones.
  • Go at the right time. Unless you’re in the city for multiple days and don’t have to worry about the I-85 traffic, make sure you know when to come into the city. Rush hour is a madhouse and big-ticket events – like basketball games and conferences – bring in just that many more cars. If you’re going in for the day make sure you know when to go and how to get where you’re going.