The Coolest Places to Shop, Play, and Stay in Atlanta During Super Bowl Weekend
It's almost time for the Super Bowl, which means crowds are already flocking to Atlanta—the host of Super Bowl LIII. Once you arrive, however, you'll find that there's a lot more in Georgia's capital city than just its football stadium. Atlanta native Gabrielle Sorto dishes on the best ways to pass the time until the big game.
A little ATL 101: If you’re looking for a place where everything’s within walking distance, head to Decatur. While it’s technically its own city, Decatur is located inside the perimeter that Interstate 285 draws around the whole Atlanta metropolitan area. The square is a favorite among locals, since tourists often aren’t aware of everything it has to offer—including local shops, under-the-radar restaurants (we recommend Kimball House for its delicious oysters and James Beard Award-winning cocktails), and even music venues like Eddie’s Attic, where John Mayer and The Civil Wars have played.
Shopping local is easy at Westside Provisions, whose trove of boutiques stock clothing, jewelry, and furniture all made in Atlanta. For craftier buys (think home goods and artwork), check out Atlanta MADE and Crafted Westside or Little Barn Apothecary for eco-friendly bath and body products. (Pick up the must-try Flowers + Pink Clay Dry Shampoo.) If you get hungry along the way, stop into JCT. Kitchen, which puts an upscale spin on Southern comfort food.
Ponce City Market
Located on the Beltline in Midtown, Ponce City Market is a central spot for locals to eat, shop, and enjoy rooftop views. Our top picks: Citizen Supply for affordable, artisan-made goods; City Winery for house-made wine and a show; and The Mercury for a vegetarian-friendly meal. After you’re done perusing, ride the elevator to the top of the market take in the best view of the city while participating in a slew of activities, from the carnival-style amusement park (mini golf, skee ball, etc.) to the rooftop igloo private dining experience (on through February 14, 2019).
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Adjacent to the ultra-popular Piedmont Park, the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden is the perfect place to take in the city’s greenery. Stroll through the treetops on the Kendeda Canopy Walk or learn about seasonal fruits and veggies in the Edible Garden—there are even weekly cooking demonstration classes using the garden-fresh foods in the summer months. Into the arts? On display now through spring is a one-of-a-kind contemporary installation called Narcissus Garden crafted by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
The Goat Farm Art Center
You’ll likely be greeted by animals when you pull up to The Goat Farm—but this isn’t your average farm. The Westside gathering place has been transformed into a visual and performing arts center home to over 300 artists, where concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings, dance performances, art exhibitions, artist residency programs, and professional ballet and contemporary dance classes are put on throughout the year. Before you leave, don’t miss The Warhorse, a quaint on-site coffee shop known for its pay-as-you-wish menu. (Just don’t forget cash!)
The Krog Street Tunnel
To keep up with the city’s activist and artist communities, just turn to the ever-changing tunnel of street art linking Inman Park to Cabbagetown. The cement serves not only as a canvas for graffiti and creative murals but as a message board with call-outs for local events, so you can plan out your next cultural adventure while you browse. If you’ve got some paint on hand, you can even make a mark of your own—and don’t worry about getting ticketed; the city allows anyone to paint in the tunnel.
Revery: A VR Bar
In the heart of Midtown, Revery stakes its claim as the nation’s first full bar to pair cocktails on tap (using a draft carbonated system) with virtual reality technology. Gamers can rent semi-private spaces by the half-hour for a one-of-a-kind VR experience. (Non-players are welcome, too—just know that there will be headset-clad people experiencing a different reality beside you.)
Craft Beer Tours
Atlanta has no shortage of local craft beer—Monday Night (known for its frequent specials and events), Orpheus (a must-try for its sours), New Realm (the best food), Wild Heaven (fun taproom) and Scofflaw (IPA heaven) are just a few breweries worth planning a night in. If you don’t want to hop around on your own, sign up for a beer bus tour, which stops by all the best spots. Between good sips and great tunes, you’ll find both tourists and locals hanging at any of them on a given weekend.
The Painted Pin
If you’re looking to get back to your childhood roots, The Painted Pin is the place to do it. More than just your average bowling alley, it’s an upscale boutique entertainment experience, where you can nibble on wood-fired pizzas and crudité and drink craft cocktails (their Pin’s Cup is made with Pimm’s, lemon, and grilled pineapple soda) as you bowl. If you get tired of spares and strikes, there’s a slew of other games to play, too (like bocce ball and shuffleboard).
The famous Hotel Clermont, which catered to a high-class crowd in the ’40s and ’50s before going downhill in the following decades, just reopened last year after a $30 million makeover, and we’ve gotta say—it lives up to its swanky beginnings. Stylish interiors are just the right amount of retro, with new additions that include a bourbon-heavy lobby bar, a charming café, and the French brasserie Tiny Lou’s, as well as a rooftop bar with unparalleled city views. One thing that didn’t change: the legendary (but unaffiliated) Clermont Lounge, an eccentric dive bar in the basement where you can still see the infamous sixty-something dancer, Blondie.
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