An Argentine friend of mine is visiting Atlanta for a conference and asked me for some tips about my university town. So I thought I would share them with all (and write them down before I forget...it's been 5 years since I've been there now). Here are some spots that I recommend:For southern food:
The Varsity (for greasy, fast-food brought to your car - honestly though, don't eat too much, but do get a peach pie)
Silver Skillet (diner - for pancakes, of course!, or pie, or both)
The Flying Biscuit (for brunch)
Mary Mac's Tea Room (traditional southern food)
Thelma's Kitchen (for Sweet Potato Pie and traditional souther food-good luck if you're a veggie)
Sweet Auburn Bread Co. (for Sweet Potato Cheesecake)
Atlanta can be surprisingly quiet for a city. It's really the best of both worlds-you can have a yard and all the conveniences of city life. It's not as great as NYC with public transportation, though - you can get around but it's really a driving town.
Seems a little rough around the edges but this is an historic part of town-visit Sweet Auburn Curb Market (grab an Italian sandwich from DiRienzo's) and soak up the history of the neighborhood.
This is where Georgia State University is squished into the city. Yes, there are homeless people occasionally hanging out in the library but that's part of the charm. ;) Wander around the Fairlie Poplar District - plenty of spots for a quick bite - Try Ali Baba for falafel or Rosa's Pizza.
Check out First Thursdays, which is an open house art walk - artist studios and galleries open up their doors on the first Thursday of every month and give you free wine and cheese - perfect for the starving student.
The World of Coca-Cola I haven't been to the new location, but as a kid I went to the World of Coke for field trips nearly every year - Georgia public schools really want you to know the history of coke, apparently. It's basically a museum but the fun part is trying all of the coke brands sold around the world. The worst part is the tummy ache that follows.
I don't really have sports loyalties and I'm no baseball aficionado, but I still wear a Braves hat. If you have the chance to eat boiled peanuts while watching a game, do it. There are plenty of cheap ticket options, but the cheapest are skyline tickets for $1 - available for non-sold out games, 2 1/2 hours before the game - and you have to go directly into the ballpark. You could go to your seat, or go to the Top of the Chop party zone for beer and ballpark food with a view (take your glasses). Look under Tickets on the A-Z guide for more info.
The best way to see Atlanta is from the Sun Dial Restaurant and Bar on top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza (closed through the end of the year for tornado repairs). The restaurant is expensive but if you're on a budget, the view is worth the price of a martini from the bar.
The most adorable part of town, full of shops and restaurants. It's like Park Slope with more greenery and real houses.
Walk N. Highland Ave and grab a pint at Limerick Pub or a noddle bowl at Doc Chey's. Blind Willie's is a great blues bar (Good times listening to Lotsa Poppa singing about killing the ice cream man...classic). Harry & Sons is an affordable Thai restaurant and Ben & Jerry's is, well, some of the best American ice cream around.
Little 5 Points
Fun, hipster neighborhood. Best place to find vintage clothes (at places like Junkman's Daughter). Here's a map.
The Vortex is a burger joint with attitude representative of the area, but there are plenty of restaurants and cafes.
Park Tavern in Piedmont Park. While you're in the area, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite spots in town. And during the summer, there are free movies in the park - check Screen on the Green.
Apres Diem Cafe Bistro - perfect for dinner, after dinner coffee or drinks. Nightly DJs and Wednesday night Jazz.
The Old Spaghetti Factory (budget lunch specials)
The Fox Theatre is worth a visit - the ceiling looks like the night sky. Mom used to take me to the summer movie series (probably more for the air conditioning than the old films - looks like they're not so old anymore).
Cafe Intermezzo European coffehouse - amazing spiked coffee menu and cakes of all sorts!
This part of town is about upscale shopping at Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza. Plenty of upscale restaurants too, like Atlanta Fish Market and The Capitol Grill. Though I usually just stuck with Fado Irish Pub. If I were visiting, I would try this cheesey place with live jazz and fondue, but I haven't been. It seems like there's a lot of Atlanta that I still need to experience!
Sweet Water Brewing Co. use to have a happy hour during which you bought a pint glass for $5 or $7 (I don't remember) and filled it up as many times as you could before closing - a cheap but inebriating way of trying all of their brews. It was held outside but it seems that they have an indoor bar space these days. And now they have tours with a sampling on Wed, Thurs, Fri, which is still only $8, but I hear that it's gotten a little too yuppie frat party-ish on Fridays.
It's really a nice town...enjoy!