Nestled in the northern portion of Georgia lies Atlanta, one of the most popular and populated cities of the south. Whether you call it “Hotlanta”, “The A”, or the “Hollywood of the South”, it’s definitely somewhere to visit in this lifetime. Unlike other southern cities, Atlanta caters to a wide array of cultures and interests throughout its six zones and surrounding areas.
Now let me say, if you’re not from Atlanta you might not understand the lingo. Anything outside a 10-mile radius of Atlanta is still considered Atlanta. The city is also composed of six zones encompassing several counties and popular locations.
The most popular zone, thanks to Gucci Mane, would be zone 6, which is east Atlanta. Zone 6 houses neighborhoods such as Old Fourth Ward (O4W), Virginia Highlands, and Poncey-Highland. Inside of these neighborhoods are beloved attractions and other unique hidden gems.
Visitors of Atlanta will be able to see sites like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home and right down the street is the MLK National Historic Site. If history isn’t your thing, no worries, East Atlanta also offers tons of art. There are several wall murals throughout the area which leads to Krog Street Tunnel. Unlike most cities, Atlanta actually encourages local artists to express their creativity and support diversity through art. Connecting Krog Street to the rest of Atlanta is a newer development called the Beltline.
The Beltline is a must see! It currently connects 45 neighborhoods over a 22-mile radius with plans of expansion. Visitors and residents alike are able to walk and bike ride the continuous sidewalk while viewing eclectic art from artists like William Massey.
Right off of the Beltline trail is a small skate park and grassy area. During the warmer months, free yoga is hosted by King of Pops on Tuesday evenings. This is a great time to unwind and escape the busy hustle and bustle that is Atlanta. KOP Yoga caters to all levels of expertise so you will never feel out of place. As an added bonus KOP or other sponsors occasionally provide free ice pops and other snacks to participants.
After visiting Old Fourth Ward take a quick stroll down to Ponce City Market. This mixed development project has become increasing popular since its opening in 2014. The market offers a wide variety of restaurants and shopping centers. Another fun attraction found at Ponce is Skyline Park. This is Atlanta’s own mini version of the Jersey Shore Boardwalk, but on a rooftop. This attraction is family friendly and can be booked for private events.
If these scenes don’t tickle your fancy don’t fret there’s more! Right off the Beltline approximately 2.5 miles from downtown lies Little Five Points, a safe haven for hipsters. On a typical Friday night one can find the local bars and restaurants packed with lines coming out the door. One of the most famous is The Vortex, known for its burgers and uniquely named drinks. (Side note from a local, if you plan on dining at The Vortex arrive early, or be prepared for a wait, oh and you’re ID’d at the door.)
Whether you’re looking for a great place to spend time with family during the day or somewhere with a fantastic night life to indulge in adult beverages with friends the eastside of Atlanta caters to all interests and never disappoints.
Zone 5 of Atlanta has some of the city’s most visited and heavily populated venues. The Georgia Aquarium (psst. you get in free on your bday!), Philips Arena, World of Coke, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Fox Theater just to name a few, all call this area home. Downtown Atlanta offers to convenience of several paid parking lots and attractions within walking distance. There’s also a pretty good chance you’ll spot a celeb in this area, ya know since this is where the Falcons and the Hawks play.
Next up is Zone 4. Not much to do here, but it's home of the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International. This area also leads to the west side of Atlanta where you can find Six Flags.
Moving right along, Zone 3 home of the Atlanta Braves, well it used to be anyway. Late last year the Braves bid farewell to their old home, Turner Field, in preparation to move to SunTrust Park.
Buckhead calls Zone 2 home. Here you will find higher end shopping such as Lenox Mall, and again a great place to spot celebs. This place is also jammed packed with little restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
Last but not least Zone 1!! Here is where you’ll find HBCUs Clark Atlanta, Morris Brown, and Spelman. This is a great place to be during homecoming season, and Atlanta Greek Picnic during the summer.
I have lived around Atlanta for about 10 years, but still find hidden gems and new places I never noticed. I can honestly say the best decision I ever made was to take a bike tour of the city. I was able to go through 2 or 3 of the zones and saw tons of landmarks and other cool places not mentioned.
Though I might as well call myself a Georgia peach, I’m amazed at how many niches Atlanta offers in such a compact area. The key to a successful Atlanta trip is to not be afraid to get out there and explore. Trust me when I say you won’t get lost because after all the city is one giant circle. Happy travels!