After living in Atlanta for over a year now and having a million Hotel Richter guests (OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a tad there!) I think I’ve become a pretty good ambassador for the city when it comes to being a tour guide! Yep, I’ve visited many places 3 or 4 times and know them inside out and back to front! Maybe I should apply for a job in this field? (I actually did that at CNN…it would appear they didn’t want me. 😦 )
So, I thought I’d put together a list of my 5 must see places in Atlanta, then, if you’re ever in da hood for a couple of days and have a limited amount of time, you know exactly which places to head to! I know, I’m just so nice to you guys!!
So here goes:
1. Stone Mountain
The clue is in the name on this one – it’s literally a mountain made of stone! It’s situated just outside of Atlanta (like with most places in this lovely city you’ll need a car to get there!) but is definitely worth the trip! The mountain itself has the carvings of Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davies and Robert E. Lee depicted on it and is more than 5 miles in circumference – yep this thing is huge! Now, you can either walk up and down the mountain (if you ask me that’s a little bit mad, especially when you see people RUNNING up and down it…RUNNING???? Madness!!) or you can get a cable car – that’s more like it! I’ve been here 3 times now and each time I’ve got the cable car up and walked down – once in 90 degree heat which wasn’t very pretty! But, if you’re a little unsteady on your feet I wouldn’t recommend this and would go back down in the cable car – there are some hairy moments walking down where things get pretty steep! The view at the top is amazing though – you can literally see all of Atlanta and beyond on a good day, checking out Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead’s skyscrapers! To be honest it’s pretty pointless going up there when it’s cloudy – that’s why Ma Cook hasn’t been yet – the weather wasn’t playing ball everytime we planned to go with her! Once you’ve checked out the mountain there’s loads of other things you can do at the bottom – take a walk around it, play crazy golf (I’d like to point out I beat the German and my brother at this!) climb an obstable course, check out the plantation, watch the glass blowers and of course there’s food! We checked out the Campfire Grill – the Po Boy was good!
2. Zoo Atlanta
You definitely cannot visit Atlanta without taking a trip to the Zoo! This place is amazing and at the moment has lots of little baby animals to check out – there’s nothing cuter than a baby animal right? This is just outside the city but you can take the Marta and a bus to get there if you don’t have a car – phew! I wouldn’t want you to be missing out on that one! I’ve been here twice, once in summer and just recently in the winter. The last time we went we were given half price admission because some of the animals were staying inside because it was so cold. Now, I’m no expert on zoos but I think this one is pretty awesome! For a start they have pandas!!! And not just one panda either – 4 of them along with 2 of the cutest panda cubs you will ever see! Then, of course there are monkeys, gorillas, orangutans (including babies!), rhinos (there’s a baby rhino too!), zebras, elephants, giraffes – you name it, they have it! Oh and we can’t forget the giant tortoises who put on a pretty good show when I visited with my brother and sister-in-law! More about that in a future post! If you want some food after the zoo, just around the corner you can head to Six Feet Under for some amazing fried fish or Tin Lizzys where we had some very tasty nachos covered in queso!! Yum!
3. Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park is kind of like Atlanta’s version of Central Park only on a much smaller scale! It’s located in Midtown, right next to the skyscrapers and is a big piece of tranquility close to the city! There’s a lake to take a walk around, loads of space for picnics including BBQ grills for you to use, a swimming pool (I think you have to pay to enter this but still, it’s a swimming pool!) sports pitches (we’re talking baseball and possibly football of the American variety!) oh and not forgetting the doggy park! Yep, there’s an area just for dogs where they can be off their lead and make friends with other doggies! If you ask me, this is my idea of hell (being scared of dogs and all!) but it’s heaven for the pooches!! During the summer months plenty of different festivals take place in the park including the Dogwood Festival, Music Midtown and this year Party in the Park, so there’s always something going on! It’s a fab place to chill out in if you’re a little bit fed up of the hustle and bustle of the city! Oh, and if you need some food, Willy’s Mexicana grill is just outside the park – definitely worth a trip for a burrito!!
4. Georgia Aquarium
When this place opened it was the largest aquarium in the world! I think it’s been oven taken now but believe me it is pretty huge! Located in Downtown Atlanta, it houses more than 100,000 animals, representing 500 species in 10 million US gallons of water! Wowzers! So I’ve been here twice (that’s a surprisingly small number for Tour Guide Richter here!) and each time was just as exciting as the last! They have everything here…dolphins, beluga whales, penguins (they were sooooo cute!), otters, every kind of fish you can imagine, sharks, stingrays, crabs, eels, you name it, they have it! They even have an exhibit tunnel where you feel like you are actually in the water, looking up at all the creatures! Here they have 4 manta rays and believe me, those things are huge!!! There’s also a Nemo flounder fish and of course a Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo! I LOVE that film!! I could spend hours checking out the little fishies – it’s fab for adults as well as children! Oh and if you’re a little bit peckish, just outside there’s a restaurant called Legal Seafoods – it feels kind of wrong eating fish when you’ve been checking them out at the aquarium, but this place is worth the visit!!
5. World of Coca-Cola
And a trip to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without a visit to World of Coca-Cola! This iconic brand was created in Atlanta so it obviously has a huge influence over the city! The company’s headquarters are here and all around the city there are bottling plants and sales centers including one at the end of my street, meaning I am constantly spotting red Coca-Cola trucks! Amazing! Back to the museum! It’s located just opposite of the aquarium so you can technically visit both these places on the same day. I’ve been here 3 times, yep, you read that right, 3 times! I could probably do the tour myself! You can check out the history of Coke, search for the secret formula, see how the brand grew into such an iconic symbol and check out loads of different Coke memorabilia, from Olympic torches and badges to old adverts, Coke trucks and Coke machines! Oh, and we can’t forget the fact that you can try every single drink Coca-Cola makes and sells around the world!!!! Yep, I think it’s around 65 different flavours! The German heads straight for the Mezzo Mix (a mixture of Coke and Fanta that’s sold in Germany) but after a while you kind of get a little bloated (or hyper if you’re my brother who still gets a little bit too excited when he has E numbers!) but it’s loads of fun trying the different flavours! Don’t forget to pick up your free bottle of Coke on the way out too! We can’t forget to give you a food option – Ted’s Montanna Grill is nearby – they do fab bison burgers!!
So there you have it – my 5 must see places in Atlanta! There are many, many, many more places to see but I figured these were the most iconic! Maybe I’ll do another list in the future…
Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? Where would you recommend?