4 Venues for an Authentic Atlanta Experience

The GA Aquarium, the biggest in the US. Photo via  Juan Silva Photography

The GA Aquarium, the biggest in the US. Photo via Juan Silva Photography

Atlanta has no shortage of great venues and event spaces. As a city with a lot to offer (check out our walkable neighborhoods blog here), you can find a space for most budgets that can accommodate a small group or as large as you dare. Whether you’re entertaining out-of-towners or the rare Atlanta native, you should aim to give an authentic “Atlanta” experience.  As for criteria, we tried to keep every good party in mind by looking at 1) the food, 2) the ambience, and 3) how “Atlanta” is it? Because nobody wants great ambience and bad food--that’s just bad karma. With wedding season around the corner, or in full swing depending on your Facebook newsfeed, all of these will work for that, too.

Here are 4 venues for an authentic Atlanta experience.

Park Tavern

Piedmont Park is an Atlanta staple for social gatherings - picnics, festivals, concerts, and tons more. Park Tavern, at the corner of 10th and Monroe, takes advantage of all that Piedmont Park has to offer. It can accommodate 50-300 people with ease.

How’s the food?

Pretty tops, IMHO. A menu that features fresh, upscale ingredients.

How’s the mood?

It can accommodate 50-300 guests and has rooms that have excellent views of the park and the city. It can accommodate swank and casual in equal measure - which makes it a great idea for corporate parties.

How “Atlanta” is it?

So Atlanta.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs. Not every venue has them (but they probably should). Fernbank is one of Atlanta’s best event spaces. Martinis & IMAX (yes, please) is a popular event held every Friday. No more excuses for a “blah” happy hour ever again.

How’s the Food?

Fernbank works with a list of excellent caterers, so you’re guaranteed to have something really special. Proof of the Pudding, a popular Atlanta caterer and award winner, is one of the approved vendors for Fernbank.

How’s the mood?

Kind of magical, honestly. You can eat dinner with dinosaurs. Seriously. Let your inner child wrap their head around that.

How “Atlanta” is it?

Totally Atlanta.

Swan Coach House at The Atlanta History Center

Part old South, part new South, part afternoon tea. The Swan Coach House has southern charm and hospitality to spare. It’s location at the Atlanta History Center has a formal garden and great examples of Southern architecture.

How’s the food?

The Swan Coach House is open for Lunch Monday through Friday and has bona fide secret recipe chicken salad (that’s delicious). They also do private events in the evening and their food focuses on fresh, Southern favorites.

How’s the mood?

There’s a distinct elegance about the place that harkens back to the days of Gone with the Wind, so if your pinky starts coming up after every glass of sweet tea, don’t fight it. Just go with it.

How “Atlanta” is it?

How much Atlanta can it NOT be is the harder question.

Georgia Aquarium

When you need to bring out the big guns, look no further than the biggest aquarium in the US, conveniently located in Downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that houses some of the rarest marine life in the world. And at over 550,000 square feet, it has quickly become a popular large event space for weddings, corporate events, and other functions.

How’s the food?

Wolfgang Puck catering is the exclusive caterer and, as the name suggests, attendees are treated to some elegant, high-end fare.

How’s the mood?

The Ocean Ballroom, one of the largest event spaces at over 16,000 square feet, has a jaw-dropping view of thousands of species of saltwater fish and is the real star of the aquarium.

How “Atlanta” is it?

It’s big, it’s swanky, brilliant views. It’s about as Atlanta as they come.

Large event, intimate party, or a corporate function - Atlanta has a wealth of venues to choose from that offer a unique perspective on a vibrant city. When picking a venue for your event, try to pick something that adds to the occasion and highlights the attributes you’re looking for. City views, dinosaurs, architecture, and sharks certainly help wow your guests, and Atlanta is home to all four. A party at these venues will give your guests a true Atlanta experience.