Atlanta Travel Guide

Looking for the best restaurants in Atlanta, then check out my Atlanta Travel Guide which shares insight on the activities, traffic, hotels, neighborhoods and eateries that I love the most.
Prior to the pandemic, I was traveling weekly (leaving Houston Monday morning and traveling back home on Thursday evenings) for work for 6.5 years. While I’ll definitely go into more of my feelings about being a road warrior in another post, one of the greatest things about traveling for work is that I got to experience some amazing cities both in the US and abroad on an expense budget.One of the cities I spent the most time in was Atlanta, GA – looking back, I was probably there over 500 days from 2015-2019. While a majority of time was spent in a conference room (I mean, that’s why I was there), I tried my best to explore the city whenever I could and a lot of this guide will focus on the Atlanta neighborhoods, best Atlanta hotels and the best restaurants in Atlanta. So without further ado, let’s jump on in.

My Perspectives on the Different Atlanta Neighborhoods

Based on where my clients were, I didn’t have an opportunity to visit all of the Atlanta neighborhoods, but based on the ones I was able to visit, here’s my take with a comparison to Houston neighborhoods, if you’re familiar:
  • Downtown – I would recommend avoiding the downtown area unless you are going to the see the Olympic rings. There’s not a ton of stuff in the area and it’s a but rough.
  • Midtown – Pretty business and residential with a few good restaurants, the Aquarium, Coca Cola World and CNN. One advantage of staying in midtown is proximity to different things
  • Buckhead – Equivalent of River Oaks. Lots of great hotels and restaurants.
  • Ponce City Market/Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park – Similar to EaDo/Sawyer Yards where there is a lot of new restaurants and artwork popping up.
  • Decatur – Similar to the Heights. Lots of adorable restaurants, cute bungalows, and local boutiques.
  • Alpharetta – About an hour north of the airport. Similar to the Woodlands where it has a nice hotel, chain restaurants and shopping.

Where to Stay

Personally, I love staying in Buckhead. There are a lot of great restaurants, shopping, and workout classes and it allows you to get to Midtown/Downtown or to the northern suburbs fairly easily. My favorite hotel in Buckhead is the Whitley. It used to be the Ritz Carlton so it has a bit of that charm, but has been recently renovated when it was rebranded to the Whitley
While I have never stayed at the Hotel Clermont, a few of my friends have and totally loved it! Honestly, if I were to go back, I would probably stay there because it would be closer to a lot of the things/restaurants that I like to visit in the Inman Park area.
All areas of town have great places to stay and my recommendation is to stay close to where you are going to be doing most of your planned activities since traffic in Atlanta can be super rough.

How to Get Around Atlanta

Public transportation is really not an option in Atlanta. The only time I take the MARTA (aka. subway) it is when I am going to/from the airport during rush hour and know what I will be stuck in a lot of traffic. I’ve always had a really great experience with MARTA but it’s not super close to where I’ve needed to go so I will still have to take a ride share option once I get into the city. If you’re staying in Midtown, you’ll probably be able to rely exclusively on MARTA and a few Ubers/Lyfts.

If you’re going to be outside of the city center, I would highly recommend either renting a car to explore the different neighborhoods/restaurants or planning to grab a ride share to take you from place to place.

I’ve rarely had any issues with Uber or Lyft when I chose not rent a car and ever since 2020, I have exclusively used ride share since rental cars have been a bit harder to come by. Either way – I think there are pros and cons to each – either waiting for ride share or trying to find parking. Atlanta traffic can definitely be a doozy, so be sure to give yourself ample time and ALWAYS check traffic before you leave – you never know where the back up is going to be.

What to Do in Atlanta

In terms of things to do, these would be at the top of my list:
  • Coca Cola World
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum
  • Botanical Garden
  • Atlanta Beltline
  • Johnny’s Hideaway – this bar is an ATL institution. Definitely a retro vibe. 😀

Best Restaurants in Atlanta

I was fortunate to be in Atlanta for about 3.5 years and got to experience a lot of the restaurant scene. Here’s a few of my favorites:
  • Gunshow – Unique restaurant where they cook the dishes and then bring to you to chose if you’d like to have it!
  • Cold Beer – Owned by the same chef as Gunshow (and Top Chef alum, Kevin Gillespie), and offers great food and drinks which are totally different from its sister restaurant! It’s on the Beltline which is a long walk/bikeway with restaurants. I’d highly recommend going before/after walking the Beltline.
  • Miller Union – The farm egg baked in celery cream is amazing!
  • Little Trouble – An ATL institution with good drinks and bar food. If you go, you have to take a pic in front of the neon sign.
  • Aziza – Next to Little Trouble and some of the best Israeli food. The bread is a MUST!
  • Kyma – Located in Buckhead. Amazing Mediterranean food! –
  • The Consulate – Each quarter, the staff spins the globe to determine the following quarter’s menu theme. Then the chefs and bartenders learn about the different dishes from there before creating the menu.
  • Tupelo Honey – Amazing Southern Food
  • Antico’s Pizza – AHHH-MAZING!! Hands down some of the best pizza I’ve had. They have multiple locations with the Midtown one being the original.
  • Pancake Social – Some of the best pancakes and brunch around.
  • One Flew South – If you have some time to spare at the ATL airport, be sure to check out this amazing sit-down restaurant.
  • Chai Pani Decatur – Delicious Indian Street food. My friends who moved here from India agree that this is one of the most authentic spots for Indian food in Atlanta.
  • Storico Fresco – Upon taking my first bite, I was immediately transported back to Rome – anything and everything you get there is scrumptious.
  • Rumi’s Kitchen –  Persian food done right – I highly recommend the Sour Cherry Rice and Chicken Barg.
  • Upbeet – A fast casual Chipotle/Sweetgreen mashup which offers salads, bowls, smoothies, and coffee. Their options are always super fresh with lots of veggies and healthy grains to choose from.

Other Resources

I am so fortunate that I got to spend as much time as I did in Atlanta, but I am by no means a full fledged expert on the city. For some local opinions, be sure to check out these fabulous ladies:

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