There are countless meetings and conventions in Atlanta, as well as famous sporting events. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise to me when I was told that I needed to spend a few days in Atlanta for an industry-wide get-together. What was a surprise was when I learned that I would be done a day earlier than I had planned. I finished an early breakfast and found out that there were no other meetings that day. Rather than head to the airport and hope that I could catch an earlier flight home, I thought about spending those 24 hours here because I had never really seen the city or the surrounding area. I wasn’t sure if it was a feasible plan, though.
The most difficult thing about last-minute travel plans is finding appropriate lodging. There are a lot of Atlanta hotels from which to choose. I started with HotelTonight, and that’s also where I finished finding an Atlanta hotel within a couple of minutes. It was fast, easy and before I knew it I was on my way to that hotel in my rental car to drop off my things. I asked the hotel staff about what locals like to do here, as that’s how I like to travel. I got some good answers and I was on my way to a day of exploring.
Downtown Atlanta is really something else. What’s even better about it is how easy you can move around on foot. I discovered the Atlanta Beltline and didn’t even need my car for the time being. I was sharing the “road” with other walkers and with people on bicycles. I also noticed a lot of really beautiful artwork and locals mixing with other visitors letting them know what they should do with their time in the city. It was one of the friendliest downtown environments I had ever seen, and I’m glad I started my day there.
I drove into Midtown to see what was happening there. It was just north of downtown so it was an easy jaunt. Midtown seems to be the cultural center of Atlanta, as there were museums and other events happening as I went by. Once again, I was able to walk around quite comfortably, and I prefer that anyway as it’s a better way to get to know a place and perhaps talk to some people. I talked to someone about lunch, as I was quite hungry. I got a great tip and enjoyed some succulent southern barbecue. When in this part of the country, this is the way to go for a big appetite. I was more than satisfied.
I decided to head east a bit and rolled into the Old Fourth Ward, one of the truly historic areas of Atlanta. People settled this neighborhood as far back as the early 1800’s, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born here as well. The OFW, as it’s called by many here, offers a mix of this rich history with modern investment. Historic Fourth Ward Park is definitely a place worth seeing, as are the many shops, restaurants and bars that you’ll find here. I stopped in for a quick afternoon cocktail and just watched the people move about.
From there I moved on to Buckhead, which is the quintessential urban area that’s also home to a lot of families. It’s a very nice mix of all of the different elements of any large city, and if you want to do any shopping in Atlanta, this is the place to do so. I picked up a few things from locally owned shops for my loved ones, and none of these items were those cheap touristy things that you regret purchasing a few months down the road. Continuing with the theme, I did a lot of walking in Buckhead, but it was a pleasure to do so.
I ended my day over on the Westside, which sits near the Centennial Olympic Park. It was getting close to dinnertime, and after all of that walking, people watching, shopping and enjoying the city overall, I began to look for a place to eat. I parked the car and asked around, and before I knew it I was seated at a table and ordering some southern fare that I could not wait to enjoy. My anticipation was surpassed by my enjoyment of the meal, and I’m sure I could have found several other desirable spots for dinner in this part of town.
I got back to my hotel and, given all that I had experienced today, had forgotten what a great spot I had found to relax. I got back into my room and sat down for a bit, just enjoying what I had been able to see, taste, smell and hear all over Atlanta. This is a city that I will definitely return to at some point for a longer visit, as it’s a big place that I now had a bit of flavor for. I also knew, as I drifted off to sleep, that finding an Atlanta hotel would be a snap in the future as long as I worked with HotelTonight. I’d just need a couple of minutes, a couple of clicks and I’d be on my way.