All you need to know about A-town
Nestled in the Deep South, Atlanta, Ga., specializes in charm and sophistication. It has a little something for every kind of tourist – museums for the history buffs, countless restaurants for foodies and clubs and live music for those who love a rich nightlife. You can expect your Atlanta visit to include plenty of eats, education and fun. Here are some specifics:
Q: Where can you stay in Atlanta, Ga.?
A: Atlanta is home to hundreds of hotel accommodations. Here are a few to consider:
- Omni Hotel at CNN Center: You can't beat this location. It's within CNN's world headquarters, right next to Philips Arena, the Georgia World Congress Center, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Fan Experience. Rooms start at $159 per night.
Artmore Hotel: Located in Midtown, this is a boutique hotel
– a rare form of accommodation in this southern city. It offers two-bedroom and loft suites, making it perfect for families. Rooms start at $155 per night.
* St. Regis Atlanta: If you're looking for something truly fancy, here you go. You get butler service, fine dining and afternoon tea, and in the wintertime the outdoor pool is converted to an ice skating rink. Rooms start at $650 per night.
For a cheaper or homier option, spring for an Airbnb in Atlanta, instead. It's relatively easy to find an entire house or apartment available for under $100 per night.
Q: Where can you eat in Atlanta?
A: You can eat your way through Atlanta and find soul in every meal. Here are a few of the top restaurants to keep in mind:
- Staplehouse: This casual spot features an a la carte menu that changes with the seasons. The restaurant is also a for-profit subsidiary of the Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit organization. Reservations are made for two to four people online only, and they book quickly, so make your plans early.
- Miller Union: If you enjoy pairing a good glass of wine with your meal, Miller Union is for you. The restaurant is located in a Westside loft and features menu items such as the farm egg baked in celery cream with thick grilled bread and the butter bean hummus with house-made lavash – both starters.
- Cakes & Ale: The menu here reaches far beyond the South, incorporating influences from such places as Italy and India. It's walk-in friendly and relatively casual, though the food is elegant enough to pair with a special occasion.
- Tomo: For a unique taste of Japan, shell out $100 for the restaurant's reservation-only tasting menu, which only five diners per night have the opportunity to experience. The menu comes with 10 impeccable courses.
- Atlas: Come for the classics, such as the roasted duck, and stay for the intrigue, like the corn stuffed agnolotti or lobster with creamy sesame sauce. Restaurant decor features original art by Picasso and Matisse.
Q: What is the weather like in Atlanta?
A: It's partly cloudy year-round, with hot, humid summers and short, wet cold seasons. The hot season spans from late May to mid-September, with average daily high temperatures at 81 degrees F. The cold season, starting in late November and persisting through February, sees temperatures rarely exceeding 60 degrees F. Snow is unusual, but can happen occasionally, usually in January.
Q: Why is Atlanta traffic so bad?
A: Many might argue that Atlanta's most glaring flaw is its seemingly constant traffic, with INTRIX ranking it the fourth worst traffic in the United States in 2016 (behind Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco) and the ninth worst in the world.
Historians trace the congestion back to an illogical city grid pattern, which began when white settlers started claiming the area in 1821. Those early landowners tried to construct streets that were either parallel or perpendicular to the city's railroad tracks, which created even more mess. On top of that, Atlanta's traffic situation has been compounded by the area's tremendous growth and urban sprawl.
Q: How many airports are in Atlanta?
A: Atlanta is home to two airports in the city: the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, located near Brookhaven, and the Atlanta DeKalb/Peachtree Airport, located near College Park. The main airlines flying into Atlanta's airports are Delta, Southwest and American.
Q: Where is the Peach Drop in Atlanta?
A: If you plan to spend your New Year's Eve in Atlanta, don't miss the Peach Drop. It takes place each year in the city's downtown area and features live musical performances as the 800-pound peach makes its descent. The peach finally drops at midnight, launching a fireworks show.
Q: What is there to do in downtown Atlanta?
A: The short answer: Pretty much anything you can think of. Downtown Atlanta is home to the Georgia Dome, where you can catch an Atlanta Falcons game during football season. You could also take an Atlanta movie tour, which leads you through backdrops for the Walking Dead, Anchorman 2, the Blindside and other films and TV shows made in Atlanta.
Keep it light with Segway tours, the Chick-Fil-A Fan Experience or an afternoon at Centennial Olympic Park, or aim for a more educational downtown experience at the Center for Civil and Human Rights or with a tour of the CNN studio.