Going local in Atlanta
From Martin Luther King Jr to Gladys Knight, Kanye West to Hulk Hogan, Atlanta’s residents are what makes the city great. After ticking the must-see sights off your itinerary, ditch the travel guide and follow the locals to their favourites haunts to discover another side of The ATL. From Bohemian neighbourhoods to food markets and countryside escapes, get under the skin of the city with our guide to ‘going local’ in Atlanta.
Little Five Points
Bohemian, artistic, edgy: Little Five Points is arguably Atlanta’s most unique neighbourhood. Thrift stores, record shops and street performers are all part of the landscape here in the city’s creative heart. Come to shop for vintage clothing, sample craft beers at a local brewpub, or watch performing arts at the district’s intimate theatres, playhouses and live music venues.
Sweet Auburn Curb Market
Sweet Auburn, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr, is home to another iconic attraction, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Since opening in 1924, long before segregation was abolished, the market has been a long-standing favourite among locals of all backgrounds. Arrive hungry and eat your way around the many trendy eateries and market stalls selling fresh produce and baked goods.
While Centennial Olympic Park and Grant Park may attract most visitors, when the sun shines, the locals flock to Inman Park in East Atlanta. The tranquil space offers a welcome respite from the city bustle, with a picturesque park surrounded by a leafy neighbourhood filled with restored Victorian homes and foodie destinations such as the Krog Street Market.
Just a few miles from downtown Atlanta is the quaint neighbourhood of Virginia-Highland. Lovingly known as “VaHi” or “Highlands” to locals, the lively enclave is chock-a-block with pocket-sized parks, trendy restaurants, designer boutiques and buzzing bars filled with college students and young professionals. The neighbourhood’s principle artery is the North Highland Avenue, so this is a good place to start.
When Atlantans need a break from the concrete jungle and its grid-locked rush hour traffic, where do they go? The Chattahoochee River. The National Recreation Area is an excellent place for a leisurely stroll or an action-packed day of water sports. Run or hike the riverside trails before taking to the water for rafting, boating, paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing, or try the local favourite, ‘shooting the Hooch’ (tubing). While most of the river is calm, there are sections of rapids so hold on tight.