Atlanta Travel Guide: The Local’s Hidden Gems

Even though we lived there for 9 short years, we consider Atlanta our hometown. Our girls will probably grow up not remembering that they were born Georgia peaches, but this place holds such a special place in our hearts.  There are so many fun things to do that Atlanta is famous for, like attending a Braves game, going to Centennial Olympic Park, and of course we love the aquarium and zoo (we had memberships to both as long as we lived there), but I want to give you guys the scoop on a few of our favorite places to eat and play that might not be on your radar. So if you want to explore Atlanta like a local…

 

Eat Here

R. Thomas

Founded on the “You are what you eat” expression, it’s a 24-hour health food restaurant.  I mean, that almost sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?! No doubt, this place is as funky as it gets, with exotic birds in cages along the entrance and multicolored neon lighting inside, but with everything on the menu made with high quality, fresh ingredients, you can rest assured that any choice you make here is good. Our favorite is the breakfast menu, which is a good thing considering they serve breakfast all day! *Fun fact: this is where Zach took me to brunch the day he proposed, over 8 years ago!

Recommended item: The Mr. Rogers

 

Taqueria del Sol (Westside & Decatur locations)

This was our fave long before The Kraze was even born. Maybe it’s the amount of Taqueria cheese dip I ate while pregnant with them, but they love it just as much as we do. The line out the door every time you go will tell you we’re not alone. One of the best parts is grabbing a drink at the bar and socializing (and letting the kids play) while waiting in line – we’ve seriously met lifelong friends in this line! The made-from-scratch Southern Mexican dishes are truly original and the specials change every week, which is a big reason why we hardly missed a week! We’ve literally had tears more than once since moving to Florida because they just want Taqueria! A few weeks ago when we visited, the girls went straight to the owner and asked him personally if he would please bring Taqueria to Florida… here they’re literally hugging it goodbye!

Recommended item: Westside Margarita & cheese dip (made with minced jalapeños – it’s spicy!)

 

Henri’s Bakery (on-Ree’s)

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This Buckhead gem has been around for almost 100 years, and this enormous case of assorted pastries and sweets is only the beginning. The variety of breakfast sandwiches are all amazing and will cost you a whopping $3 a piece. With their full service bakery, sandwich counter, espresso bar and grab-and-go options, plus I’m a sucker for good outside seating, it’s seriously good any time of day.

Recommended item(s): French vanilla muffin,  ham, egg & cheese croissant / Kid favorite: Thumbprint cookies

 

Antico

A little fun-fact: A couple years ago, Antico was named one of the top 10 pizzerias in the country! When the weather is nice, the ambience is seriously just as great as the pizza – the whole experience is just about as authentic as you can get, I would imagine. You can bring your own bottle of wine (make sure you bring your own bottle opener too) and they provide the clear plastic cups & napkins, but no plates – it’s all about community here!

Recommended item: The Diavola & Margherita DOP + pepperoni (and be sure to go to the back by the kitchen & pick up some peppers and fresh parm)

 

A few more favorites:

Sun in My Belly

Homegrown

Universal Joint

 

Play Here

Chastain Park

 

 

 

This park was just renovated a couple years ago and is unlike any other park I’ve ever been to.  It’s nestled in one of Atlanta’s nicest neighborhoods and is the nicest playground in the city (with clean bathrooms!).  There’s plenty to do for kids of all ages with so many engaging things and inspiring features like the spaceship-like tree house, the “rolly slides” (what we call them) and musical features such as drums, windpipes and piano for all to play! I think the swings are my favorite!

 

Ponce City Market/ Beltline

 

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I think Ponce City Market is the coolest renovation I’ve ever seen unfold.  It was so highly anticipated, as I used to drive right by the historic building on my way home from work every day, and now it’s considered a landmark, placed right in the middle of some of Atlanta’s most prominent neighborhoods.  It’s a full marketplace with the best shopping, eating and hang out spots. You can even grab yourself a pretty cool pad if you’re looking for an urban apartment in the heart of Atlanta.

The BeltLine is a huge pedestrian trail that will eventually make a 22 mile loop, connecting Atlanta’s inner-perimeter neighborhoods. All along the trail there are renovated parks, unique and tasty restaurants, and can’t-miss events happening every day, as well as really neat artwork all along the path (see above).  Our favorite stretch runs right past Ponce City Market, from Piedmont Park to Krog Street Market, which you can make a whole day out of – playing at the park, strolling down to Ponce City for shopping, then continuing on to Krog Street for dinner.

 

Atlanta has so much to offer – I hope you’ll consider checking out these spots if the ATL is ever on your destination list.

 

Happy Travels!

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