The first day of 2018 dawned chilly and snowy and while most people opted to stay indoors and enjoy football and feasts Lee and I headed out the door and hit the road to Atlanta by 8 am. We had both been to Atlanta previously and decided between the horrible traffic and over-hyped tourist attractions it wasn’t for us. But the last few months of some calculated Instagram research proved we should give the Southern city another chance.

First stop was Ponce City Market a 2 million square foot building (and that’s not an exaggeration!) that is now a shopping paradise with gems such as Madewell, Citizen Supply, Anthropologie, and a number of other boutiques and restaurants that warmed our chilly hands and made us wish we hadn’t put a ‘no spend’ restriction on the trip.

After grabbing a mid-morning ham and cheese croissant snack out of the Saint Germain’s tempting pastry counter, we wandered the rest of the Market to find an amusement park on the roof, an entire apartment community and charming little nooks and crannies to sit and watch the world go by.

If you’re planning a trip to Ponce City Market I would highly advise getting there right when it opens. For one thing, you’ll miss most of the crowds that tend to show up around noon and you’ll be able to get a great parking spot by the main doors.

Next stop was one of the ‘can’t-miss coffee shop‘ we found on during an Instagram rabbit hole – Chrome Yellow Trading Co. It’s a deceptively large coffee shop and dry goods mercantile right on the edge of Old Fourth Ward with delicious lattes, charming atmosphere, and a fantastic little shop. It is clearly popular with the locals so we grabbed a seat by the window and were content to unthaw, watch the snow sprinkle down, and sip on our chai lattes.

It was here we stayed until the caffeine kicked in and our stomachs told us it was taco time! Two years ago Lee and I discovered a smaller restaurant chain called Bartaco located in Atlanta, Asheville, and maybe Charlotte and it quickly became our go-to. Fresh ingredients and a great selection of flavors make this one of our favorite taco places to date. *Insider tip – order a side of fresh pineapple to go along with your tacos. Trust me, it’s delicious.

After lunch, we had plans to check out the opposite side of the city and go to another coffee shop on the list – Relevator – but when we got to the area we discovered everything from shops to restaurants was closed for New Year’s Day. The coffee shop Octane was nearby and caught our eye on the map but we were less than impressed with the experience so we headed back to Greenville content with our day of exploration.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Hope you enjoyed my little recap of our Atlanta experience.

Catch us on our next adventure: NYC!

~ Emily ~