Like A Local: Your Ultimate Guide To 48 Hours In Atlanta
A few years ago, I wrote my most popular blog post to date: a travel guide for Nashville (where I lived for six years). I have since relocated to Atlanta, GA, and figured it was about time I shared my favorite local spots in the city I now call home!
1. Ponce City Market
Located in the infamous Old Fourth Ward district, Ponce City Market is a renovated Sears, Roebuck & Co. building turned modern-day bazaar. Host to some of the most unique shopping and dining experiences in the city, PCM is always the first place I take out-of-town visitors that I want to WOW. You’ll find everything from local gems like Citizen Supply and H&F Burger to commercial favorites like Anthropologie and Madewell. For $10, you can ride the elevator up to Skyline Park for one of the most stunning views in Atlanta (along with carnival games, food, and refreshments!). There is also convenient access to the infamous Atlanta BeltLine trail right outside of PCM!
2. Atlanta BeltLine
So what is the Atlanta BeltLine, you ask? It’s a 22-mile loop of trails, parks, and a modern street car that runs right through the city of Atlanta connecting 45 neighborhoods. It’s THE spot for running, biking, or walking your dog on a perfect summer day. Along the BeltLine you’ll notice local art installations, painted murals, restaurants, breweries, and more! It’s also host to one of the most magical experiences: the Lantern Parade.
3. Krog Street Market
I usually describe Krog Street Market as the smaller “baby brother” of Ponce City Market. In fact, you can easily walk from Ponce to Krog on the BeltLine! Krog is more food-centric than Ponce, but definitely worth checking out if you need a quick bite to eat (Jeni’s ice cream, anyone?). Krog is host to one of my favorite boutique shops, The Merchant. It’s also within walking distance of the cutest Hungarian cafe: Julianna’s Coffee & Crepes!
4. H&F Burger
Searching for the best burger in Atlanta? Then look no further. H&F Burger has two locations in Atlanta, but I recommend visiting the one inside of Ponce City Market (it’s more casual and only serves burgers). The original location is more pricey and has an upscale vibe, and when that location runs out of burgers for the day, they’re out! Not only does H&F have the most delicious burgers, they also make their own homemade ketchup that is TO DIE FOR. You can sit down and eat or order at the walk-up window and take your food elsewhere. As ironic as this may sound, I am a vegetarian so I order the veggie burger (again, the best one in ATL). But I did have their meat burger before I became a vegetarian, so I can 100% vouch for it. Insider tip: order the shaved crisp onions on your burger to take it to the next level!
O-M-G I am so obsessed with Takorea that we’re on a first-name basis. This Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant is my go-to spot for taco Tuesday (literally EVERY Tuesday) because allllll of their amazing tacos are only $2!! As a vegetarian, it’s so nice to find a restaurant that satisfies meat eaters but also has creative options for us herbivores. My favorite tacos are the tofu taco and Banchan taco. I always add an order of sesame fries, which taste like a heavenly combination of salty, spicy, and sweet. Plus, they come with spicy ketchup that’s made in house. Y’all know I can’t resist a place that serves homemade ketchup ;) If you go to Takorea, tell our favorite manager, Bakari, that Chasing Lovely sent you!
6. Cafe Intermezzo
My mom introduced me to this place years ago before we lived in Atlanta. She knows I’m a sucker for fancy, European-esque cafes that make me feel like a true French girl. I ordered their key lime cake (CAKE, not cheesecake!) and it was the most divine cake I have ever tasted in my life. However, it seems they have discontinued making this cake because I haven’t been able to order it since. These days, Cafe Intermezzo is my go-to spot for coffee dates with my girlfriends. I usually order their hazelnut hot chocolate (Nutella lovers, rejoice) that comes in a giant cup. I’ve also had their Turkish coffee (the presentation is unreal) but I don’t do it often because my body does not react well to that much caffeine. In the summer, I prefer the Dunwoody location because of their outdoor patio. If you’re going to the Peachtree location, there is a parking garage off of 11th St. NE where you can get 2 hours of complimentary parking with a validated receipt. Heads up: the Peachtree location can get CRAZY busy late at night!
7. DC’s Beauty Salon
Chloe and I constantly get comments on our eyebrows and it’s all thanks to DC’s Beauty Salon. I never thought grooming my eyebrows would make much of a difference, but holy cow—it is revolutionary! If you want your “eyebrows on fleek” y’all need to pay this place a visit. It’s located in the Decatur area which is a little out of the way, but they only charge $4 (so please tip generously!) for eyebrow threading. It hurts like a b*tch, but 100% worth it. If I ever move away from Atlanta, I am going to cry because most salons charge $15-20+ to get your eyebrows threaded.
8. Highland Bakery
Whenever I move to a new city, my mission is always to find the best breakfast spot. For me, that’s Highland Bakery (Highland Avenue location) in Atlanta. My brother introduced me to this place and their mind-blowing sweet potato pancakes. If it weren’t for him, I would’ve never ordered them. They melt in your mouth and are served with a warm, caramelized brown sugar butter and topped with toasted pecans. Need I say more?
9. The Local Pizzaiolo
I am a Neapolitan pizza fanatic. If you’ve only ever had “American” pizza, you are sorely missing out! Before this place opened, I used to go to Pizza Antico, but their pizzas are much pricier. The interior atmosphere inside The Local Pizzaiolo is so cute and their pizzas start at $9 for the classic Margherita. The “Gypsy” pizza is also amazing (it’s a “white” pizza, so no “red” sauce). They also have a lunch special where you can get a drink, salad, and Margherita pizza for only $9. Tip: sign up for their email newsletter on their website to get a free pizza!
10. Chattahoochee Coffee Company
This place is pure magic. As in, I literally felt all of my stress and worries melt away the minute I stepped foot on the grounds of the Chattahoochee Coffee Company. It is important to note that I am specifically talking about the location on Akers Mill Rd SE that sits right on the edge of the stunning Chattahoochee river. I have the lovely Miranda from Occipital Media to thank for introducing me to this gem of a spot when she recommended it for our business meeting. The view of the river is absolutely magnificent in the summertime, along with the expansive green lawn and charming forest walking trail. FYI: you must purchase something from the coffee shop in order to park there and enjoy the outdoor space!
11. Piece of Cake
Four words: Best. Cake. In. Atlanta. Piece of Cake has the most moist cake I have ever tasted! You can purchase cake by the slice and every Tuesday they have BOGO cake slice 1/2 off (it is extremely difficult for me to resist this weekly offer). This is the spot for all of your birthday cake needs! Or, you know, your random Tuesday cake-craving needs… ;)
12. The Painted Pin
If you’re looking for cheap thrills, The Painted Pin is the place to go! They have everything from ping pong to bocce ball to giant Jenga. All of the games are absolutely free, with the exception of bowling ($25/hour M-TH and $35/hour Fri-Sun). Located in the heart of Buckhead in an industrial warehouse, this swanky spot has an upscale-hipster vibe. Think: reclaimed wood meets velvet curtains meets leather chairs. It’s perfect for date night (or double-date night) or group parties. I went here for the first time on my birthday and it was a hit!
13. Caffe Bene
Shortly after moving to Atlanta, I found out that there is a pretty large Korean community in the surrounding area. Which was amazing news—not only because I am half-Korean, but because that means…delicious Korean food! Korea is known for its adorable cafes and bakeries, serving up some of the most scrumptious sweets you could ever imagine. I discovered Caffe Bene when my Korean aunt was in town visiting. We drove out to Suwanee because we all wanted to go to H-Mart (the Korean version of Costco) and eat Korean BBQ. When we finished grocery shopping, we were hungry but it wasn’t quite dinner time. So she suggested Caffe Bene and subsequently changed my life by introducing me to HONEY BREAD. It’s essentially a cube of sweet, warm toast topped with a scoop of gelato and drizzled with chocolate syrup. We always order the “triple choco honey bread” because chocolate, duh.
14. Breakers BBQ
If you’ve already made the trip out to Suwanee for Caffe Bene, you definitely have to swing by Breakers BBQ. Korean BBQ is an experience that everyone should have on their bucket list. I say “experience” because this is not your average dinner out. When you walk into Breakers, it feels like you’re walking into an upscale futuristic restaurant. The center of your table has a downdraft grill where the server will bring the meats you order out for you to cook right there. We recommend selecting the “All You Can Eat” option because you will want to try multiple items on the menu! Korean BBQ is definitely more for meat eaters, but there is a tofu steak for vegetarians.
15. The Red Clay Music Foundry
While you’re in the Suwanee area, swing one town over to Duluth to catch a live show at The Red Clay Music Foundry. The 260-seat listening room founded by Eddie Owen (credited with helping John Mayer, Sugarland, and the Indigo Girls get their start) has hosted performances by the likes of Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, Patty Griffin, and more. It’s one of my favorite places to play because of the magic you feel—there is something about that room that invites pure, unadulterated human connection. That, combined with the fact that they have one of the best audio engineers, Shalom Aberle, who consistently mixes the best live sound we’ve ever experienced. If you’re visiting from out of town, check our tour schedule to see if we’re playing a concert there anytime soon!
16. Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
There’s a reason this place has 1,411 reviews and 4.5 stars on Yelp. Perfect for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, Desta Ethiopian Kitchen is hands down the best Ethiopian restaurant in Atlanta (and maybe even anywhere). For meat eaters, we recommend ordering the lamb tibs with shiro (tip: don’t order with rice or potatoes because you get less meat…if you want rice/potatoes, order them as a separate side). If you’re the type to order an appetizer, you can’t go wrong with the sambusa. Being a vegetarian myself, my favorite items to order are the miser, shiro, and ater. Skip your traditional fork/spoon and instead use the soft and spongy injera bread as your utensils!
17. Raging Burrito
If you haven’t gathered yet, I LOVE restaurants that have a variety of vegetarians options (i.e. more than just a “salad” or a “black bean burger”). Raging Burrito goes above and beyond because just about every item on their menu can be transformed into a veggie-friendly delight. I also dig their not-so-typical burrito offerings, like the “Tokyo Teriyaki” and “Bangkok” burrito. No joke, these burritos are massive. Come hungry!
18. Eddie’s Attic
One of the most legendary music venues in the city, Eddie’s Attic (yes, named after Eddie Owen) is conveniently located mere minutes away from the Raging Burrito (see what we did there?). This is another one of our favorite spots to play when we feel like staying closer to the city. The list of nationally recognized names that has graced their stage is endless: John Mayer, The Civil Wars, Justin Bieber, Brandi Carlile, Sugarland, Shawn Mullins, and more. This is a listening room for music enthusiasts who are there to truly listen to the songs, so don’t forget to silence your cell phone before the show!
19. Tallulah Gorge (Sliding Rock Trail)
Want to go on an adventure but can’t afford flights? Consider taking a day trip out to Tallulah Gorge State Park. About an hour and forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, this gem of a spot is totally worth the drive. Not only are there incredible views and waterfalls, if you’re willing to make the trek, there is a big rock “slide” waterfall that you can slide down! The water is pretty frigid, but feels good after a long (note: strenuous) hike. FYI: you need a permit to access the sliding rock. They run out fast, so we recommend arriving early (we left ATL at 6:30AM). Be sure to pack a backpack with sunscreen, bathing suit, towels, water, PB&J sandwiches, and plenty of snacks. The rocks and incline can get pretty slippery, so wear shoes with good grip/traction.
20. Raven Cliff Falls Trail
Chloe is obsessed with hiking to waterfalls, so it made sense that she wanted to check out Raven Cliff Falls Trail on her 23rd birthday. This hike is less strenuous than Tallulah Gorge, but definitely longer. You will not regret it when you see the view at the end—large rocks tower over you like giants and you simply must witness the stunning waterfall in person. Just a forewarning: if you get in the water it will be freezing and you may (accidentally) grab a slimy salamander if you hold onto the rocks for balance…don’t ask us how we know.
Other popular places you may want to include on your Atlanta to-do list:
World of Coca-Cola
CNN Studio Tours
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta History Center
Centennial Olympic Park
High Museum of Art
Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Park
Click here to keep up with our latest Atlanta adventures on our @ChasingLovely Instagram!