Explore the City of Atlanta: Where To Eat and What To Do
If you and your spouse are flying into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport (yes, you read that right!), or you’re driving through Atlanta on your way to Rome, Georgia, welcome—we’re glad you’re here! If you’ve never been to the state of Georgia before or spent much time in the capital city of Georgia, consider extending your trip one or two days on the front or back end of your weekend Marriage Retreat. Below we’ve got suggestions for places to eat and things to do while you explore the city of Atlanta.
A couple of things to note before checking them out—like many other major U.S. cities, Atlanta has several “neighborhoods” including Downtown, Midtown, East Atlanta, Westside, Little Five Points, Buckhead, and more. In theory, you could spend a day, at least, in each of the neighborhoods. Therefore, you should note, our list below is barely scratching the surface of all there is in Atlanta—Atlanta is so big! Additionally, it’s worth noting that many of the places we’re listing below are the top tourist attractions—if you’ve never been, then, you must see the top things! So, keep these things in mind when reading through our suggestions, and enjoy your time in “The Peach State.”
If you go hungry while visiting Atlanta, it’s on you! Below are a few of our favorite spots for coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert while you’re in town.
- East Pole is a trendy Atlanta coffee bar that has two locations you can check out for different espressos and craft coffees. They’re also connected to a roastery!
- Chrome Yellow Trading Co. is known for being an industrial-style hangout to get coffee and yummy pastries, courtesy of their friendly staff and quality service.
- You can’t go wrong with any of the toasts at Spiller Park—specifically, their avocado toast is most popular. Additionally, try their Shake, Shake aka a 16 oz. iced latte shaken.
- Check out Revolution Doughnuts & Coffee in Inman Park to get your coffee plus fresh doughnuts—they even have gluten free and vegan options, as well.
- Cultivate Food + Coffee offers an exceptional atmosphere where you can hang out with your coffee and get food once you work up an appetite. They also offer a full gluten free and vegan menu.
- Silver Skillet, an old-school diner, has been serving classic southern meals on its breakfast and lunch menu since 1956. A cool note—the restaurant has been featured in several movies, and several celebrities have eaten here!
- Serving breakfast and brunch for more than a decade, West Egg Café is in the heart of Westside. You’ll choose from several southern comfort dishes, and you can check out the separate coffee shop area in the café before or after you eat.
- If you’re not from Georgia and you’ve never eaten at a Waffle House, then you must while you’re here. Waffle House is not known for its presentation, but it is known for its delicious and fresh breakfast food and waffles (of course!) you can get 24 hours a day, and it was founded by two Georgians in 1955. There’s basically a Waffle House on every street corner in Atlanta—we’re not kidding!
- Sun in my Belly originally started as a catering company, and it still is in addition to being a breakfast and lunch café in East Atlanta where you’ll find delicious food, whimsical decor, and friendly folks serving you.
- Buttermilk Kitchen opened its doors in Buckhead in 2012 making much of its food from scratch—an ode to its name. You can view their full breakfast and brunch menu online featuring photos of all their meals—even better!
- “What’ll ya have?” is the main thing you need to know when you walk in The Varsity’s doors because that’s the phrase you’ll hear many, many times. The Varsity has been serving the best hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, and onion rings in downtown Atlanta since 1928. P.S. Try their classic Varsity Frosted Orange shake aka F.O.
- The Dwarf House is where Chick-fil-A began in 1946—it’s the first restaurant S. Truett Cathy opened with his brother, Ben. Today, you can still visit—it was redesigned in 2022 and features many of the original touches. Bonus, you can get all your Chick-fil-A favorites, but the Dwarf House has several menu items you won’t find at any old Chick-fil-A.
- It’s no surprise, Atlanta’s very fond of its history of southern cuisine. That’s exactly what Mary Mac’s Tea Room has served since 1945. Fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, fried okra, and many other delicious southern dishes are on their large menu.
- You know Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is good because it’s been an Atlanta staple since 2007, but it was opened by twin brothers, Justin and Jonathan, who are from Fort Worth, Texas. Brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken are some of their meats you can order plus their fox-a-roni is a must-try side item—a blend of mac and cheese and Brunswick stew.
- The General Muir is a unique Atlanta restaurant that’s inspired by the style of classic New York Jewish delis. In addition to getting a great sandwich for lunch, you can also check out TGM Bread next door where everything is freshly baked.
- Chef Ford Fry has 13 Georgia restaurants including two on our list of dinner recommendations—the food at his restaurants is out-of-this-world good! If you love seafood, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at The Optimist, which is a fine dining experience.
- The Iberian Pig in Buckhead serves a wide array of Spanish tapas, quesos, and charcuterie meats. Bonus—they also offer a full vegetarian and gluten free tapas menu, too!
- Load up on handmade pasta dishes at BocaLuppo, a bustling Italian American restaurant in Inman Park. The chefs keep an eye on fresh seasonal ingredients, so their menu changes from time to time.
- We had to include at least one southern style eatery on our dinner list, and the perfect option is Wisteria in Inman Park. From pork tenderloin and fried chicken, to scallops and grouper, to an upscale vegetable plate, there’s something for everyone!
- If you love Tex-Mex, you’ll love Superica. Another Ford Fry restaurant, Superica serves street style tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and fajitas. A fun, casual atmosphere—this is a great dinner spot.
- You can’t go wrong with classic ice cream in a waffle cone from Big Softie. It’s not too fancy, but it certainly hits the sweet spot.
- Mouthwatering cookies, cookie pies, ice cream sandwiches, and desserts galore are what you’ll get at A Haute Cookie. Take one look at the pictures on their site to see what we mean!
- You’ll step inside a European café, but you’ll still be in Atlanta when you visit Café Intermezzo. You can eat a full meal, but even if you stop in just for a hot chocolate and slice of cheesecake, it’ll be worth the trip.
- You may have heard of the famous Jeni’s, which serves a one-of-a-kind ice cream recipe perfected by founder Jeni Britton. There are locations in 14 U.S. states as well as Washington D.C., but if you’ve never been, or if you love their ice cream, you should visit one of the eight Atlanta Jeni’s locations.
- Saint Germain French Cafe & Bakery unfortunately won’t transport you to France, but you’ll feel like it when you head inside and try one of their croissants or macarons.
When you’re not enjoying delicious cuisine, which may be all you have time for given the ample recommendations above, see below for the best places in Atlanta to visit—so many sites to see and so many activities to do year-round or based on the season.
- You could easily spend a full day at Ponce City Market—a place where people eat, shop, socialize, work, live, and more. Enjoy an afternoon trying different foods from any of their restaurants and shopping in their retail stores. Then, head to the amusement park on The Roof where you can play Putt-Putt and Skee-Ball and see amazing views of the Atlanta skyline.
- Krog Street Market is a smaller version of Ponce City Market. It also features great dining and shopping options you can check out while you stroll.
- One way to see it all is by walking the Atlanta Beltline that connects Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market. The Beltline is bigger than just this stretch, but this will give you the best understanding of these three sites. Park near Krog Street Market and then walk the Beltline until you get to the back entrance of Ponce City Market.
- Centennial Olympic Park sits in the middle of several popular Atlanta tourist attractions, and it’s best known for serving as the legacy of Georgia’s 1996 Summer Olympic Games. You can come hang out here to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park, and you can walk to several of the other attractions on our recommended list like the Georgia Aquarium, for example.
- Centennial Olympic Park has about 20 acres of green space as compared to Piedmont Park which has over 200. If you enjoy dining in the city, but you prefer to unwind among green spaces, head to Piedmont Park, where you can walk, fly a kite, have a picnic, and enjoy the slower paced side of Atlanta.
- Now, we take you to Atlanta’s Upper Westside neighborhood to visit The Works, which similarly to other Atlanta sites, offers an expansive food hall as well as retail stores and unique places to hang out and relax. Parking can be hard to come by on weekends, so plan accordingly.
- The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States, and it’s a must-see attraction if you’ve never been to Atlanta. Fun for all ages, the Georgia Aquarium has several different exhibits you can explore at your own pace as well as shows and presentations.
- Coca-Cola famously originated in Atlanta so what better to learn more about this iconic drink than by visiting the World of Coca-Cola. You’ll learn about the history of the drink and the company as well as sample various beverages from around the world.
- As mentioned above, Chick-fil-A was founded by S. Truett Cathy in the great state of Georgia in 1946. Today, you can visit the corporate office, aka the Chick-fil-A Support Center for an exclusive backstage tour where you can learn about the history, culture, and values of S. Truett Cathy and Chick-fil-A.
- While you’re in town, check out the upcoming events at the Fox Theatre to see if there are any that pique your interest. This amazing performing arts event venue is worth seeing purely for its design and architecture—schedule a tour to see the venue—but, it’s a bonus if there’s a show you can catch while you’re here, too.
- Calling all football fans—the College Football Hall of Fame is an amazing attraction where you can learn about the history of college football and try your “foot” at kicking a field goal!
- Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to learn more about both the civil rights movement in the United States as well as the global human rights movement through their immersive exhibits.
- For animal lovers, visit the Zoo Atlanta to see all types of animals—more than 1,000 species including giant pandas—only one of three zoos in the United States where you can see this animal.
- If you love art and museums, then you must visit the High Museum of Art, the largest museum for visual art in the southeast United States. Plus, if you’re here during the warmer months, this will be a great escape from the Georgia heat.
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden is great to visit year-round, but of course, you’ll be able to see different blooms and different aspects of the 30 acres botanical garden based on the season. For example, from February through April, visit the orchid display. Meanwhile, their Garden Lights, Holiday Nights display is a favorite holiday tradition for locals that takes place from November through January.
- Located a bit outside of downtown Atlanta, Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, is worth the visit if you’re a Braves fan or even if you’re just a baseball fan! Check out their schedule to see if you can catch a game during the regular season, April through October. If you can’t make a game, consider doing a stadium tour of Truist Park which happens year-round. Lastly, if you can’t make it to the park for a home game, Truist Park is one small part of The Battery Atlanta, which is also open year-round. People eat, shop, socialize, work, live, and more in this mixed-used development. You can easily spend the afternoon here eating, shopping, and relaxing on the green space.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium is Atlanta’s state-of-the-art stadium most known for being the home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. If you’re in town during either of these teams’ sports seasons, consider attending a game, so you can see this stadium. Additionally, several concerts and other events happen here throughout the year you can try to attend. At the very least, you can also do a Mercedes-Benz Stadium tour to get an inside look at this incredible venue.
- State Farm Arena is the home venue of the Atlanta Hawks, so if you’re visiting during basketball season, check out a game here! Additionally, keep an eye out to see if any concerts will be happening here while you’re in town as this is also a multi-purpose event arena.
Either before or after your time at WinShape Retreat, where should you stay while you’re visiting Atlanta? Here are our suggestions.
- There are so many hotel options in Atlanta since there are many different areas of Atlanta you might want to stay in. We’d suggest reviewing this article describing 13 of the best hotels in Atlanta to start.
- Don’t forget to look for fun Airbnbs in Atlanta. Remember—there are various Atlanta “neighborhoods,” so it might be best to search by specific area.
This blog is not a sponsored post. The restaurants and places featured were compiled by local Atlantans who work for the WinShape Foundation.