Weekend Warrior

Church, Coca-Cola, and Chicken: 48 Hours in Atlanta

Chicken and waffles, museums, ping pong and Southern hospitality.

Georgia’s sprawling capital city is best known for its role in the Civil Rights movement, inspiring loads of hip hop and R&B artists, its Southern hospitality, and, of course, everything Coca-Cola. Atlanta is growing pretty rapidly, and so there’s always something new and exciting to eat or see in town, as well as tons of classic favorite hangouts for locals and tourists alike.

Skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta, Georgia against a cloud-filled sky at sunset

Source: Shutterstock

Vortex Bar & Grill

Start off your trip with a meal at the notorious burger joint, Vortex Bar and Grill. They’re known for their sassy attitude and insanely decadent toppings and burgers, including a behemoth made with 4 full patty melts for buns, sandwiching bacon, patties, mayo, and loads of cheese, plus it comes with bacon cheese fries. The whole thing is over 9,000 calories. Bon appetit!

The World of Coca-Cola

It sometimes seems like Coke is the lifeblood that powers Atlanta, so of course Coca-Cola has a museum, The World of Coca-Cola, dedicated to the beverage right here in the city. Kids will definitely love seeing the vault and watching the 4D movie, and adults will appreciate the retro Coke ads, and the ability to sample strange soda flavors from across the globe at the end, so there’s something for everyone.

Centennial Olympic Park

Built to repurpose the 1996 Atlanta Olympic buildings, Centennial Olympic Park is a public park, and a great place to explore. There’s a ferris wheel, fountains, excellent views of the city skyline, and tons more, plus it’s home to Atlanta’s 4th of July celebration, a cool display of Christmas lights, a summer concert series, and tons more.

Fountain display in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, illuminated in the evening.

Source: Shutterstock

Gunshow

The coolest part about Gunshow is how the restaurant is set up: roving carts bring dishes around to communal tables, dim-sum style. The menu changes frequently and is pretty eclectic: for example, beef tartare, lo mein, crab cakes, and old-fashioned banana pudding are all things that can be found in one night…and they’re all totally worth a sample.

Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium

Ah, how to describe Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium? This irreverent Southern Baptist-themed watering hole is a step on the wacky side. Expect karaoke (performed in choir robes), drag shows or ping pong tournaments, and be prepared to let the quirkiness of “Church” wash over you.

The Glenn Hotel

The Glenn Hotel’s prime location isn’t the only thing this chic boutique hotel has going for it, they also pay attention to the details, from the drinks upon arrival to the kinetic sculpture art on the rooftop terrace, your stay will definitely be comfortable, and probably have a few pleasant surprises.

The Silver Skillet

The Silver Skillet is a classic Southern diner that has been keeping Atlanta citizens well-fed since the 1950’s, and everything from the menu to the decor has pretty much stayed the same the whole time. Expect to see dishes like country ham and redeye gravy, grits, corned beef hash, and steak and eggs on the breakfast menu of this beloved greasy spoon.

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

The Museum of Design Atlanta (aka the MODA) hosts one or two rotating exhibits and is the only institution in the South dedicated to the study of design and its impact on everyday life. The exhibits cover topics like 3D printing, healthy living, Italian motorcycles, and more.

Robert C Williams Paper Museum

Another equally quirky spot, the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum is a free museum dedicated to the art of paper-making and printing. Browse thousands of books, tools, papers, machines, manuscripts and more, and even consider signing up for a class or workshop if you have time.

Margaret Mitchell House & Museum

The city of Atlanta plays an important role in author Margaret Mitchell’s popular Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Gone With the Wind,” and so if you’re a fan of the book (or the movie, starring Vivian Leigh and swoon-worthy Clark Gable) then you’ll want to stop by the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, where Mitchell lived when she wrote her masterpiece.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Atlanta’s essential Southern cookin’ eatery, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, is straight out of 1945. Pork chops, fried chicken, grits, sweet potato soufflé, banana pudding and tons more can be found on the extensive menu. And if you mention that it’s your first time visiting, they’ll give you a free cup of pot licker soup (it’s the liquid left over after boiling collard greens) with cracklin bread (dried cornbread to crumble on top), and a bread basket with cornbread, yeast rolls, and cinnamon rolls.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site has several buildings, all important to Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement in general. You can visit his boyhood home and the church where MLK Jr. and his father were pastors, a historic firehouse that has a display on the desegregation of firefighting, a rose garden, visitor center with a museum, and more.

Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles

Locals and tourists alike love Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles, which is a nice, sit down joint with Southern-Asian fusion dishes (like collard greens spring rolls), as well as classic fried chicken options, including the incredible chicken and waffles for which they’re known (of course).

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