Sometimes the cool stuff is right in front of you. If you live in Georgia, or plan to visit at some time, this might be a useful (or not) list of cool things to do or see.
This is not an exhaustive list of cool stuff in Georgia – just some places we have been that you might enjoy. In places where we have been to and posted previously, I have provided a link to that original post. That’s right – same old drivel, repackaged.
In addition, I have tried to create a link to Google Maps if you click on the town name, so you can see about where these places are. And of course there is plenty of additional (and probably more accurate information) if you do any kind of legitimate search online. Or send an email to Vladimir Putin. Whatever.
Got all that? Pretty simple? We’re going alphabetical because I have zero creative talent.
Awesome – let’s begin!
- Atlanta Botanical Gardens (Atlanta). We have been several times, once during the Chihuly exhibit, and once for the Garden Lights, but I am pretty sure any time is a good time to visit these beautiful gardens.
- Cabbage Town / Inman Park (Atlanta). If you enjoy a day walking around town, this is a perfect place. The area of Cabbage Town, Inman Park, Reynoldstown etc. just gives off a cool vibe. Whatever impression you may have of Atlanta having driven through it to go somewhere else, this is not it; these are just cool neighborhoods with interesting history and stories to tell. Stop and smell the roses.
- Fox Theater (Atlanta). The Fox Theatre is iconic Atlanta, and has a long and storied life. This is really a great venue to catch a performance, and the theatre itself is something very special.
- Little Five Points (Atlanta). If you want to make a night (or a day) in Atlanta and spend it in Little Five Points you will not be disappointed. This quirky neighborhood (there are actually a lot of quirky neighborhoods in Atlanta – that’s a good thing) has really unique shops, some great restaurants and venues like the Variety Playhouse offer evening entertainment. Kind of feels like a little slice of San Francisco. And if you are hungry and enjoy BBQ, Fox Brothers BBQ rocks.
- Oakland Cemetery (Atlanta). I know, Debbie Downer for steering you to the Oakland Cemetery. Well, it may not make it as the best choice for a “first date” destination (that might be awkward), but this cemetery has a huge amount of history and beauty, and is worth the time to visit.
- Philips Arena (Atlanta). This multi-purpose venue, Philips Arena hosts hockey, basketball, concerts… Philips is one of the venues that attracts big name concerts. This wouldn’t be where you’d want to go to see Yo-Yo Ma, but it does the trick.
- Zoo Atlanta (Atlanta). Zoo Atlanta is awesome. Give yourself enough time to walk it leisurely (a couple of hours at least) to take in the experience. Some time later in 2017 the adjoining Cyclorama will re-open, and while I have not been I have heard it is terrific as well.
Outside of Atlanta:
- Augusta. Can you say Masters? If you are superbly fortunate to somehow have purchased or received a ticket to the Masters golf tournament in April, this is over the top. The grounds are simply unbelievably beautiful and there exists a rich tradition of golf within its hallowed walls – or more accurately trees and shrubs.
- Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville). The Booth Western Art Museum is EXTREMELY GOOD! Wow! It is just so well done, and so interesting. And seemingly out of place sitting in downtown Cartersville, GA, but this is a “must see” museum.
- Doll House Trail (Constitution Lakes Park). Why do I keep ending up in these weird places? Don’t answer that. The Doll House Trail is clearly on the list. Part wildlife refuge, part art exhibit – I don’t really know how to describe this place, but it is both weird and wonderful – a great hike location not far from downtown Atlanta – maybe about 10 miles south of the city proper, but still inside of the perimeter.
- Kingston Downs (Rome). Atlanta Steeplechase is held here in April, and if you have the chance to attend this event I have to say it is a lot of fun. Everybody is from high society on race day. Pack your floral hats and garb.
- Marietta Square (Marietta). Marietta Square is a destination and has a lot of activities throughout the year. There are of course numerous shops and restaurants (and some pretty good ones), but there are also activities that occur throughout the year. In the summer there is a farmers market on Saturday mornings, Motown Night, Zombie Apocalypse, free concerts on the last Friday night of the summer months, and on Tuesday nights there are acoustic bluegrass “meetups” throughout the square where pickers can meet up to play some live music. But really any old time there is cool stuff to see and do in the square. If you are in the square and hungry, Taqueria Tsunami is awesome, and if you don’t mind a 10 minute drive from the square (in East Cobb) try BBQ1 for some awesome barbecue.
- Old Car City (White). Old Car City is another one of those hard places to describe. So why exactly would you pay admission to a junkyard? Well, if you enjoy photography that would be reason enough. But there are miles of trails (that might be using a liberal description of the word trail) where you can view old cars in a junkyard setting. Because that is what this is – a junkyard. It’s just cooler than any others, though.
- Paradise Garden (Summerville). I don’t even know how to describe Paradise Garden, but I would say you need three qualities to enjoy this place: 1) enjoy art, 2) have an open mind/sense of humor, and 3) a decent GPS in order to find this out-of-the-way artistic garden. Created by Howard Finster, this, ahh, museum? Garden? is listed on the National List of Historic Places. Bring your camera – no one else will believe you otherwise.
- Pine Mountain. South of the city and a world away is the town of Pine Mountain, maybe a two-hour drive south and west of Atlanta. The town itself is really cute and is home to Callaway Gardens and FDR State Park. FDR is one of our favorite campgrounds, and Callaway Gardens is a beautiful parcel of several thousand acres that (particularly) in the spring explodes with beautiful azalea gardens. There are several very nice golf courses and plenty else to do. Not too far away (maybe a 20-30 minute drive) is a great restaurant for supper called Hunter’s Pub. You would never go there (or perhaps even realize it was a restaurant) if someone didn’t specifically tell you to go there. Go there. Their steaks are to die for, and typically their nightly fish special is OMG superb. Did I mention the peanut butter pie?
- Red Top Mountain State Park. (Acworth). This is a really pretty state park, sitting maybe 45-60 minutes north on I-75 from downtown Atlanta. There is some nice hiking, kayaking, fishing on Lake Allatoona, camping – in all just a pretty place.
- Tellus Science Museum (Cartersville). Tellus Science Museum is kind of a cool science museum that sits within view of Interstate I-75 about 30-45 minutes north of Atlanta. Of course, that measurement will depend on your time of day, but if you are traveling to a museum you are probably not battling rush hour traffic.
- Vogel State Park (Blairsville). For anyone who loves camping this is a great little state park, located in Blairsville, convenient for north Georgia hiking and other outside activities. The North Georgia Mountains are really special, and this is one of many great places to use as a base camp for your outdoor activities. Remember: the Appalachian Trail originates (or ends depending on your point of view) here in the north Georgia mountains at Springer Mountain.
Hiking/Biking/Kayaking/Canoeing. There are so many places to go hiking, biking and paddling in and around the Atlanta area that it could be a book on its own. But here are a few additional places that we have enjoyed:
- Chattahoochee River.
- Etowah River.
- Altamaha River.
- Lake Allatoona. Several posts…(1) and (2)
- Lake Acworth.
- Little Tybee Island.
- Lake Hiawasee.
- Silver Comet Trail. I haven’t written about this rails-to-trails route, but it is an awesome bike trail that runs for MILES along a former railroad track, beginning a bit west of Atlanta.
I may try to update this from time to time, but that might be a lie. Enjoy your visit – or exploration!