authentic Atlanta

3 Hot Stops on the Atlanta Streetcar

Now that you’ve been informed on the Atlanta Streetcar, we want to show you how you can take advantage of it. We love the transportation hybrid of the Streetcar. It’s not just about getting here to there - it’s an experience, which is great for commuters and even better for visitors. The Streetcar goes through some of Atlanta’s oldest, most famous neighborhoods - it would be a pity not to step off and walk around awhile. We’ve got a few stops you might want to make on your Atlanta Streetcar journey.


MLK Historic Site/Ebenezer Baptist Church

Auburn Ave is a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, and only two city blocks holds Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home, The Ebeneezer Baptist Church where he preached, and The MLK Jr. Historic Site where he is laid to rest. How amazing is that? Do yourself a favor and hop off at Auburn Ave, take a right, and walk the same steps of a man that changed history.


Centennial Park

This park was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and still hosts some of the city’s most popular concerts and events.There’s an aptly-designed Olympic rings fountain, some excellent green space, and is within eye-shot of CNN, The Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coke. It’s an Atlanta sandwich, basically.


Sweet Auburn Curb Market

If you read our blog on old Atlanta Landmarks (and why wouldn’t you?), Sweet Auburn Curb Market  should have a familiar place in your heart. If you didn’t, Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a place that features fresh produce and unique food stands, so it’s a great place to catch lunch and take a walk! Some of Atlanta’s most unique and amazing eats call Sweet Auburn Curb Market home.


The Streetcar is bringing a much-needed transportation overhaul to Atlanta’s downtown area, an area brimming with some of the city’s biggest destinations. The Streetcar route is also providing a boost to the neighborhoods it goes through, increasing business development, shops and green spaces.

Christine Adams is a copywriter, honorary Atlanta native, lover of ugly animals, introvert dynamo, and frito pie enthusiast. Her work can be found on the internets without much trouble.

An Intro to the Atlanta Streetcar

Let’s be honest, Atlanta has struggled through the years with transportation issues. Unlike other major metropolitan areas like New York City or Chicago, Atlanta public transportation has failed to get the widespread support and resources it needs. Atlanta is a car city, which is both bad for the environment (ahhhhh, sweet exhaust fumes) and bad for visitors coming into the city who may want to explore the sites.

Enter the Atlanta Streetcar, a transportation effort from the City of Atlanta, local businesses, and MARTA. The goal has been to put in place the badly-needed infrastructure that can finally connect downtown to other regions, reducing the congestion and general headache of driving downtown. The lack of affordable (if any) parking and the limited number of MARTA stations means that this new infrastructure should create a welcome improvement.

The Atlanta Streetcar is making all rides FREE for the first 3 months (end of March) so that people can have a chance to use it, which we think is an excellent idea (c’mon, who doesn’t love free samples?). To get Atlantans used to the idea of sharing the road with cars, pedestrians, streetcars, and buses, the City of Atlanta has made big efforts to promote safety. The Be Streetcar Smart campaign has some helpful tips for riders, pedestrians, and gawkers alike that will make the transition easier.

So far, the East-West route from the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic site to Centennial Park is completed, with plans on the way to create a North-South route with federal grants.

So, readers, have you had a chance to ride the streetcar? What are your thoughts on cities embracing streetcars on public transportation? Can a streetcar really be named “Desire”? Let us know what you think?

Christine Adams is a copywriter, honorary Atlanta native, lover of ugly animals, introvert dynamo, and frito pie enthusiast. Her work can be found on the internets without much trouble.

Nom Nom: The ATL's 5 Best Brunch Spots

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a town that loves brunch more than Atlanta. A simple Google search for “ATL Brunch” will lead you down an exhaustive rabbit hole of limitless possibilities. Where do you even begin? Well, luckily, I’ve eaten my weight many times over in hollandaise and Bloody Marys, so I’ll steer you straight. And best of all, we’ve included a map where you can find these places, so as God as my witness, you’ll never be hungry again (end Gone With the Wind reference).


 

Homegrown

This local haunt is open until 3 pm every day - no dinner here - so brunch is their specialty. Google reviews for this place include “I would smack my grandma for a Comfy Chicken Biscuit” - so you know it’s got to be good with a threat like that. There’s a thrift store in the back (really) and the place is packed - but always worth the wait.

Dish to get: Comfy Chicken Biscuit (or the grandma gets it)

 

hour_pancake_650.jpg

Ria’s Bluebird

Ria Pell was a powerhouse in the Atlanta food scene. While she’s no longer with us, her legendary Ria’s Bluebird lives on. Lines on an especially busy weekend can seem endless but there’s a reason this place attracts Atlanta’s hungry and hip. Ria’s is home to the World’s Best Pancakes (a claim heralded even by the New York Times), and the recipe is a much coveted Atlanta treasure.

Dish to get: Pancakes, all day, forever.

 

West Egg Cafe

This critically-acclaimed restaurant, named after the fictional town in The Great Gatsby, is frequently named one of the best breakfast spots in Georgia. And who can disagree with pimento cheese grits and Coca-Cola cupcakes? The food is an interesting play on Southern favorites that is kind of life-changing.

Dish to get: Benedict Burger, because regular benedicts are for suckers.

 

Murphy’s

This popular spot has been featured by Zagat as a go-to brunch destination. The restaurant features upscale American fare and serves amazing breads and muffins from their very own bakery. And with so many movies filming in Atlanta these days, it’s not unusual to spot a celeb or two on Sunday mornings.

Dish to get: Portobello Frittata, because goat cheese is a superfood.

 

Sun in My Belly

Modeled after a traditional European cafe, Sun in My Belly in Decatur is quaint and adorable. There’s a nice outdoor patio that’s perfect for people watching and Sun in My Belly is a popular caterer for special events. They focus on seasonal ingredients, focusing on the freshest available, so the changing menu is filled with awesome surprises every time.

Dish to get: The Hangover (because Sundays).


Check out the map and make every weekend a delicious brunch adventure. These Atlanta standouts each have a unique personality that attracts locals and out-of-towners alike. Any places we missed? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Christine Adams is a copywriter, honorary Atlanta native, lover of ugly animals, introvert dynamo, and frito pie enthusiast. Her work can be found on the internets without much trouble.

4 Old Atlanta Landmarks That Got A Cool Second Life

Image via Ken Rowland

Image via Ken Rowland

All of our talk last week about Ponce City Market got us thinking about other Atlanta historic sites. Taking old things and making them new again is something us Atlantans have gotten really good at (with the exception of “New Coke”, of course). Atlanta has no shortage of historically significant buildings, even with General Sherman burning the whole thing down a few years back, and many Atlanta landmarks have had interesting incarnations over the years. Think of it like the Sarah MacLachlan ASPCA commercial...but for buildings. Here are 4 Atlanta landmarks that got a cool second life.


The Flatiron Building (pictured above)

No, not that Flatiron Building. Atlanta has our very own Flatiron and, fun fact, ours was here first. Built in 1897, the Atlanta Flatiron building was originally called the English-American Building and is the oldest standing skyscraper here (hey, 11 stories was pretty impressive for the 19th century). The building is currently being renovated to be an “innovation center” by Microsoft and will be marketed as a next generation entrepreneurship hub - with Microsoft providing tenants with mentoring, grants, guest speakers, events, and state of the art technology.

 

Underground Atlanta

If you mention Underground Atlanta to a native Atlantan, you’re bound to get a wide range of reactions. Sometimes revered, often reviled, Underground Atlanta has a long, tumultuous, and legendary history. Remember that whole Sherman thing? Underground Atlanta’s construction dates between 1861 and 1877--making it the oldest buildings still standing--and being indeed under ground probably saved it from the cruel fate that befell the rest of Atlanta during the Civil War. Underground had a bad reputation, housing speakeasies and other gambling ventures during prohibition. It converted into a restaurant district and then became a shopping mall. It has since become a nightclub district again. Now under new ownership, the future is still up in the air for this Atlanta staple and, love it or hate it, it never stops kicking. And that’s got to count for something.


 

Image via  ciambellina

Image via ciambellina

Sweet Auburn Curb Market

The Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta was an important area for the local civil rights movement in the 1960s. Built in 1918 after the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 (Atlanta was a big fan of getting burned down, apparently), the market started as a large tent and became instantly successful, bringing fresh produce to Atlanta’s urban dwellers. Sweet Auburn was the heart of the African-American commercial district - and is also home to the MLK Historic site. After an update in the 1990s thanks to the Atlanta Olympics, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market is better than ever, housing some of Atlanta’s best food finds and bringing business to one of Atlanta’s most historically significant neighborhoods.

 

tabernacle

The Tabernacle

Few Atlanta spaces have had the real underdog story that the Tabernacle has had. Built in 1910 as the Third Baptist Tabernacle, it housed nearly 4000 churchgoers well into the 1950s. After membership dwindled, the building was abandoned in the 80s and was in terrible shape for the better part of a decade. Enter the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Not wanting an abandoned eyesore near the newly constructed multi-million dollar Centennial Park (and who could blame them) the building was converted into a House of Blues venue for the Olympics. Renamed “The Tabernacle,” it’s now one of the nation’s best concert venues according to Rolling Stone and Paste Magazine - and the balconies still have the original pews as an homage to the building’s former life.


Ponce City Market isn’t the only Atlanta building given a second chance in the 21st century. We encourage you to explore the historic places you live in and embrace the idea of making old things new again. You never know, they might be the next big things 50 years from now.


Christine Adams is a really awesome person, copywriter, and lover of all things Atlanta. You can find her other work around the internets without too much trouble.

3 Reasons We're Excited About Ponce City Market

PCM Render

In our last post, we discussed what Ponce City Market means for Atlanta and the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Now it’s time to get excited. PCM will be housing a ton of exciting things and is completely accessible through the Beltline - and we love a walkabout with a fun destination. Here are 3 reasons to get excited about PCM.


The Food Hall

This is no drab cafeteria we’re talking about. This is serious food--like, James Beard award-winning serious. Just like the legendary food hall at Chelsea Market, PCM’s food hall will offer excellent fare from all over the globe, some regional favorites, all with an Atlanta twist. Chai Pani, the Decatur staple for Indian street food, will expand their offerings to PCM. H+F Burger, the offshoot of supreme bakery Holeman and Finch and home of “America’s Best Burger”, will also be there. Market stalls offering fresh breads, meats, spices, and other delicacies will make the PCM food hall the destination for all self-respecting Atlanta foodies.


The Shops

This isn’t your typical shopping mall. PCM will be offering some major brands (J. Crew, Anthropologie, Willaims-Sonoma) as well as smaller, specialty boutiques and haberdasheries (Oakleaf and Acorn, Michael Star, Gorrin Bros). The unique offerings are sure to make PCM a premier shopping destination for the Southeast.


The Events

PCM is also home to some innovative companies and spaces that will have lots to offer. General Assembly, the startup and technological cooperative from NYC, has a brand new Atlanta facility at PCM that offers courses in everything from web development to digital marketing. They also host lunch and learns, workshops, and hackathons - many of which are free. Ponce Gallery will also be hosting exciting exhibits from renowned artists. In April, PCM will host limited performances of Nick Cave: Resurrection, featuring music, movement, and sculpture (and did we mention, it’s FREE).


With all this exciting stuff, there’s no doubt Ponce City Market will be the gathering place for Atlanta’s vibrant food and social scene, providing a unique opportunity for intowners and out-of-towners alike to appreciate an old building made new again.

11 Romantic Places in the ATL

Sun Dial rests atop the Westin Peachtree.

Sun Dial rests atop the Westin Peachtree.

In case you didn't know Valentine's Day is, like, tomorrow, and while we're sure you have something super amazing planned out, we decided to take a break from creating awesome event maps to share this map of 11 amazing places to take your sweetheart this weekend. Ranging from restaurants like the Sun Dial and Agave, to attractions and outdoorsy stuff, this map has it all.

Here's a sneak peek:

Sun Dial Restaurant
Pretty much recognized as the most romantic restaurant in the city, Sun Dial has it all--great food, great service, and stunning views. Located at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel.


BeltLine Eastside Trail
The most unique outdoor living room in the city, the BeltLine eastside trail has everything--strolling, art, views, and about 1000 amazing restaurants and bars along the way.


Botanical Gardens
Built in 1980, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a Midtown mainstay. With beauty abound, and lots of little nooks and corners, the garden is the perfect Valentine's getaway.


You can check out the map here.

We hope you enjoy this romantic guide for urban explorers--with love from Walkabout.



Tres Crow is the CEO of Walkabout, and his social media team thinks he spends way to much time on Pinterest pinning color palettes.

 

Color Palettes to Kick Those Winter Blues

Just Peachy.jpg

It takes nearly 7 million cone receptors in the human eye to bring our amazing, colorful world to life. And what a spectacular thing color can be, especially when the right colors are paired. Yet pairing colors is often a difficult and frustrating task when you’re on a deadline and the invitations have to go to the printer. To help bring the color back into your event planning day, we’ve curated this little list of brilliantly balanced color palettes that are perfect for February.


Strawberry Ice Cream

I hope you’re hungry, because these 5 colors could make anyone’s mouth water. Perfect for wedding invites, or Valentine’s parties, this palette is just the right mixture of playful and heartwarming.

I hope you’re hungry, because these 5 colors could make anyone’s mouth water. Perfect for wedding invites, or Valentine’s parties, this palette is just the right mixture of playful and heartwarming.

 

Winter Sea

When most of us think of the ocean, we think of summer. But cool, calming colors can be perfect in the winter too, especially as winter yields to spring. Let these 5 colors take you and your guests to the seaside resort of your dreams.

When most of us think of the ocean, we think of summer. But cool, calming colors can be perfect in the winter too, especially as winter yields to spring. Let these 5 colors take you and your guests to the seaside resort of your dreams.

 

Italian Villa

What better way to shrug off those winter blues than basking in the Tuscan sun in your mind? These 6 colors will have you laying in a settee, plucking grapes off the vine in no time.

What better way to shrug off those winter blues than basking in the Tuscan sun in your mind? These 6 colors will have you laying in a settee, plucking grapes off the vine in no time.

 

Georgia Peach

It may be a little early for Peaches, but it’s never too early for these beautiful springtime colors. I can almost taste the sweet tea.

It may be a little early for Peaches, but it’s never too early for these beautiful springtime colors. I can almost taste the sweet tea.

 

Color plays such an important role in defining your event, so why not try one of these color palettes and see where your event can go?


Tres Crow is the CEO of City Data Company, the creators of Walkabout.

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.