Today Atlanta-based Paprika Southern contributor Monica Farber is sharing some of her favorite places and things to do in Atlanta. When we travel, we love getting to explore the hidden gems of destinations that might not be immediately obvious to a visitor. If you’re planning a weekend away in Atlanta, read on to learn how to experience the city like a local.
This week, we’re sharing Monica’s picks for shopping, a night out, and fall happenings–be sure to check back next week for her picks on the best places to eat and drink in Atlanta!
Also, be sure to check out Monica’s blog for more of her writing, photography, and style tips!
Mercedes Benz Stadium, SunTrust Park, and the High Museum will be bustling with visitors this Fall, but there is so much more to be seen beyond the fancy stadiums, high rises, and 5 star dining. Skip the Varsity, head east, and you will find more authentic restaurants, bars, and shopping than you ever knew existed. Here are a few recommendations from an Atlanta native…
Let’s begin with the Atlanta Beltline. Following a historic railroad corridor, this 22 mile paved trail for walking, biking, rollerblading, etc. will eventually connect 45 of Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods, with parks located throughout. Most locations I am highlighting run along the Eastside Trail, making it a convenient and scenic walk whether you’re out for exercise, or just exploring Atlanta’s neighborhoods.
Of course Atlanta is chock-full of fabulous shopping destinations including Phipps Plaza, The Shops Buckhead and other fine boutiques, but here are a few shops with real character, that you must visit in person…
A highlight from Little 5 Points, this unique custom t-shirt shop has a huge selection of designs to customize a t-shirt, hat, or gift. The staff is super helpful and will assist you in finding your color, style, and graphics for whatever you are trying to achieve. These shirts are great as a gift or if you want to recreate a vintage style tee that you can’t find for sale anywhere else.
This hip, Poncey-Highland boutique sells unique, handcrafted jewelry, home goods, potted plants, candles, fragrances, and art from independent artists all over the world. Young Blood is owned by Atl-native Rebecca Hanna, who believes in the power of individuality, craftsmanship and supporting her fellow artists.
“We believe that supporting independent makers is better for our communities, our economy, and our environment.” – Rebecca Hanna
They’ve recently added flower subscriptions to their collection of offerings, as well as individual bouquets for purchase, arranged by Ayla Gurganus, and I must say, they are absolutely lovely.
Deserving of its own category all together, KSM is great for dining, drinking, shopping, all of the above… Located in the heart of Inman Park, this food hall and market has a wide variety to accommodate all tastes. Some of my favorites include Fred’s Meat & Bread and The Little Tart Bake Shop. The Little Tart Bake Shop is a French-inspired local establishment, baking locally sourced, fresh goods each day. You can find them at two storefront locations: Krog Street Market and Grant Park, as well as various farmers markets throughout the city. While wandering KSM, stop at Hop City for a beer. This large store sells a variety of beers, with a knowledgeable staff who will happily introduce you to an array of new boozy delights… are we starting to see a theme here? Atlantans love their beer. Attached to the store, they have a large bar with over 60 rotating craft beers, ciders, and some wines. Grab a beer from Hops City, and a sandwich from Fred’s, then post up at one of the community tables throughout the hall.
While dining at KSM, be sure to stop by Mama Handmade Bath + Body for some heavenly scented all-natural soaps, body care products and soy candles, whose scents are inspired by various Atlanta neighborhoods. Take one home as a souvenir or give them as a gift.
A Night Out
Upon the rooftop of Ponce City Market, yet another wonderful food and shopping hall, located in the historic Sears & Roebuck building on Ponce de Leon Avenue, you will find Skyline Park. Tickets are $10 for adults and kids over 12. The freight elevator will take you to the top, as the operator gives you a quick briefing of the history of the building, auctioneer style, as you ascend to the rooftop.
Themed as an old-school carnival, this rooftop attraction is reminiscent of Coney Island during it’s hayday. Featuring a mini golf course, traditional games like skee ball and ring toss, a 3-story slide, full bar, a hot dog and soft pretzel stand, and an elevated beer garden called 9 mile Station, all with the most spectacular view of the city skyline, particularly during sunset.
September kicks off a season filled with events that bring neighbors together for fun and fellowship.
Each Fall, Art on the Beltline transforms the trails and parks into a large art exhibition featuring local Atlanta artists. This event is kicked off with the Lantern Parade, which will take place this year on Saturday, September 9th from 8:15 – 11:30pm. You can join in the parade with your own homemade lanterns (no charge to join) or bring blankets and lawn chairs and watch your neighbors, local businesses and artists march from KSM to Piedmont Park, second line style with their lanterns creating a trail of light in the night sky. Go early and enjoy the live music, food, and festivities at the Old Fourth Ward Fall Festival. This is also a great place to view the parade, so make a day of it.
Also, in the Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, The annual Cheese Festival returns on September 23rd, featuring some of Atlanta’s finest chef’s, cooking up their cheesiest concoctions. October 13-15th, Atlanta hosts The annual Pride Festival and Parade, the largest pride festival in the Southeast. The festival returns to Piedmont Park, followed by the Pride Parade, filling Peachtree Street with extravagant costumes, floats, and music. And then Atlanta Botanical Gardens will host “Scarecrows in the Garden”, on display October 4- 29, featuring locally handcrafted scarecrows, pumpkins, and decor throughout the gardens. If you make your way to the peach state capital this fall, join in the festivities, with a dose of Southern comfort.
Written and photographed by Monica Farber for Paprika Southern.