Jan 12, 2023 - Things to Do

A visitor's guide to 24 hours in Atlanta

highways lead to the Atlanta skyline at night

Atlanta skyline from Jackson Bridge. Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hello, Atlanta. Southern bureau chief Michael Graff here. 

As a Charlotte resident, I’m obligated to find flaws in Atlanta in the same way that a younger sibling must find flaws with a firstborn. But your Axios Atlanta authors showed me around on a quick December visit, and I must concede: Atlanta's neat!

  • I was there for a little more than 24 hours, and here's what we packed in:

Eat

a food stall frontage for Aviva by Kameel
What we learned: It's important to remember that there are multiple locations of Aviva by Kameel, and everybody you're meeting with should know that. Otherwise, some members of your party (ahem, Kristal and Thomas) will show up to the wrong one. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Lunch: Shawarma and rosemary chicken and falafels and baba ganoush at the Aviva by Kameel location at CODA in Midtown. The small food hall also made for a fine place to meet and talk shop on a rainy day.

Dinner: At Ponce City Market I spotted Botiwalla and King of Pops, which made me think of Charlotte's favorite slogan: Hey, we have that in Charlotte, too! 

  • But on this trip, Kristal and Thomas and I went a little fancier with Atrium, where we had a mix of cocktails like the Deal's Revenge (a spicy old-fashioned) and zero-proofers like the All That Glitters (ginger, pepper, lime and soda), and followed them with steak and duck. One downside: I ordered mussels that never arrived.
  • Of note: I did eye the W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, which I want to try on the next trip.

Coffee: The next morning, I met Emma at Biggerstaff Brewing for coffee and a warm apple cider, then we snagged a light lunch at Bread & Butterfly.

Stay

view of Fox Theatre from above
View from the Georgian Terrace hotel room. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Hotel travel can be like opening a Christmas gift from your off-the-wall aunt: Never know what's inside. But the Georgian Terrace exceeded expectations. The cost (about $200) was reasonable and the staff was kind and allowed me an early check-in. 

  • The building itself, made of brick and marble with huge windows and chandeliers, sparkled with holiday decorations. 

Do

Green space with the Atlanta skyline in the backdrop
From the back lawn of the Carter Center. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

The sun came out on Day 2 and Emma took me on a walking tour of Old Fourth Ward.

  • We saw the old Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. (and Sr.) preached; the new version where Sen. Raphael Warnock preaches; the tomb for King and his wife, Coretta Scott King; and MLK’s birth home. 
sign for Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta
Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Of note: We also strolled past a restaurant Charlotte can't wait to see arrive: Slutty Vegan.

From there, we walked a bit along the Beltline, where I saw a few places we've written about, and I learned a little more about the trail's story. Then we cut across to the Carter Center and its rolling green backyard.

My thought bubble: I may lose my Charlotte card for saying this, but Atlanta is a breathtaking blend of past, present and future. I'd move there … if not for the traffic. 

  • Sorry, had to.
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