There’s no doubt that Atlanta’s world-class attractions and destinations make this city shine bright like a diamond. Add to that a booming film and television industry, and it’s easy to see why we had the nickname "Hotlanta" for so long.
But the real magic in this city is in the lesser known gems, the areas within Atlanta's dozens of neighborhoods that delight locals and visitors alike, time and again, throughout the seasons. From concert venues to brunch spots to bowling alleys, these places take care of us, become part of our lives and even at times keep us sane. Take a look at a few insider favorites.
Take in the views from high above Downtown. (Joleen Pete)
- Eat: White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, Polaris, Cuts Steakhouse, Braves All Star Grill, Park Bar, NaanStop, Cafe Circa.
- Enjoy: A spin on the Ferris wheel at SkyView Atlanta, SkyLounge at the Glenn for drinks with views, the original food hall experience at Sweet Auburn Curb Market and history at the The King Center.
- Interesting: Entrepreneurial hubs like Switchyards Downtown Club and Flatiron City.
- New: Fresh energy is entering Downtown via revitalizing efforts like the Atlanta Streetcar and the redevelopment of the historic Olympia Building and South Downtown.
ATLiens take pride in the heart of Midtown. (Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
- Eat: The Lawrence, Einstein's, Bab’s, Empire State South, Cypress Street Pint & Plate, Sivas, RA Sushi, Uncle Julio's Casa Grande, Nakato, Park Tavern, 10th & Piedmont, Lobby at Twelve.
- Enjoy: The large scale, stylish food hall Ponce City Market plus Piedmont Park, The Carter Center and nightclubs MJQ Concourse and Kat’s Cafe.
- Interesting: Home to the largest concentration of arts facilities and organizations in the Southeast, including the High Museum, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Fox Theatre, Museum of Design Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts and more.
- New: The Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail not only connects three neighborhoods for safe pedestrian and cyclist use and enjoyment, it also brings vibrant energy to the area via destinations like Ponce City Market, Historic Fourth Ward Park and the Skate Park.
Hip shopping and dining on the Westside. (Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
- Eat: The Beautiful, Nuevo Laredo Cantina, JCT Kitchen, Bartaco, Marcel, West Egg, Antico Pizza Napoletana, The Optimist.
- Enjoy: Topgolf, Goat Farm Arts Center, King Plow Arts Center, Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail and nightlife including music at Terminal West and drinks at Ormsby’s.
- Interesting: Known as a hub for textiles and furniture, with specialty shops like Lewis + Sheron, Kings Home Furnishing & Design Center, Westside Market Antiques & Interiors.
- New: Atlanta continues to make a name for itself in the craft beer industry, and several breweries are located on the Westside, including Atlanta Brewing Company, Second Self Beer Company, Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, Monday Night Brewing and 5 Seasons Brewing.
Streeet art in Cabbagetown on the Eastside. (Melissa McAlpine)
- Eat: The Porter Beer Bar, Carroll Street Cafe, Stone Soup, Argosy, Barcelona, Elmyriachi, Le Petit Marche, EAV Thai & Sushi, Grant Central Pizza, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q.
- Enjoy: The funky shops, bars and art venues in Little Five Points and East Atlanta Village including 7 Stages Theatre and The Earl, WonderRoot, Grant Park and the vintage movie experience at the iconic Starlight Drive-in.
- Interesting: All the neighborhoods in this eclectic area (Reynoldstown, Cabbagetown, Inman Park,Little Five Points, East Atlanta, Candler Park) have some pretty cool street art, including the famous Krog Street tunnel, which is a frequent location for photo shoots and music videos.
- New: Krog Street Market splashed onto the scene in fall 2014, renovating a 1920s warehouse into a bustling community marketplace that serves tasty food, cold beer and unique gifts.
Explore Buckhead dining in style. (Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
- Eat: Chops Lobster Bar, King + Duke, New York Prime, Tomo, Katana Teppanyaki & Sushi, Buttermilk Kitchen.
- Enjoy: Learning about Atlanta's past and present at Atlanta History Center, taking in an outdoor concert at State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park, nightlife at The Painted Pin, Havana Club and Whiskey Blue,
- Interesting: There’s no fashion crisis that Lenox Square, Shops Buckhead Atlanta and Phipps Plaza can’t solve.
- New: Buckhead has always been a posh neighborhood, but the ante was upped when the Shops Buckhead Atlanta opened, featuring luxe retailers like Louboutin, Hermes and many more.
Beth Clark is a writer and foodie who loves to roam around Atlanta, uncovering the city's quirky, glam, upscale and down-home character. Curiosity is her compass, and you'll find her writing on www.thecitydweller.me.