Snowy Palm Trees- Exploring Atlanta, Georgia
When I booked my 30th birthday trip to Atlanta months ago, I was imagining a warm, sunny trip in comparison to the harsh reality that is St. Louis in January. I guess I should have gone further South, maybe Miami because the opposite was true. It doesn't snow very often in Georgia but we happened to visit during one of the few times it did.
We still had a great time but a lot of our plans changed up quite a bit to closures. If you've never been in the South when it snows, things straight up shut down. When I lived in Nashville, I marveled at school closures for even the possibility that there may be snow. Thankfully there were still some Lyft drivers to help get us around. On the plus side, we pretty much had the city to ourselves.
I had planned on taking quite a few more photos on this trip but it was a little too chilly out for wandering out without the gloves I should have brought along. We were lucky that our Airbnb was really close to some great places including the Krog Street Tunnel and Revolution Donuts. I 100% ate donuts for breakfast on my 30th birthday and have no regrets.
Where to eat:
-Carroll Street Cafe: We had a little time to kill before we could check into our Airbnb so we had the Lyft driver take us here from the airport. This was a cute neighborhood cafe with a bar as well in case you wanted an afternoon drink. I had a latte and their salmon ciabatta sandwich.
- Fred's Meat & Bread: They are located in the Krog Street Market and my favorite place we ate this trip. Namely, I had an incredible oysterPo' Boy with bacon and avocado on top. Since the market is an open food hall situation, I would also recommend getting a beer or cocktail from Hop City. (Spoiler: I got both)
- Xocolatl: Also located in the Krog Street Market, this craft chocolate shop is really friendly and can help you out with a sample or two. I got the Kissed Mermaid bar which mostly made it home to St. Louis with us. I tried the Commuter bar too and wish I had picked up one as well. These are really a perfect gift to bring back to almost anyone.
-Revolution Doughnuts: I linked to these above as well but they're worth a second mention. My boyfriend and I never visit a city without finding at least one donut shop. Our favorite is still a shop in New Orleans but these were pretty good. This was my birthday breakfast and a short walk from our Airbnb. They also have lattes and other espresso drinks here which was much appreciated after a particularly brisk walk in the snow.
-W.H. Stiles Fish Camp: This is located in the Ponce City Market, which was one of the only things open on my birthday, and serves seafood. We actually came here after I received a call that our dinner reservation at Beetlecat had been cancelled due to the snow. I guess I decided I would have something tasty no matter what and ended up with a great clam roll at W.H. Stiles. (We ended up at a pizza place that night)
-Julianna's: We had breakfast here on our second morning. It was a really sweet cafe tucked into the neighborhood. The crepes weren't amazing or anything but it was a really nice breakfast and the staff was really friendly.
-The Vortex: We went here for lunch and had some great burgers. I would caution that these burgers are big so you should come hungry. We were at the Little 5 Points location which is the one you may have seen all over Pinterest with the large, laughing skull entrance. My favorite part? They serve tater tots :)
-Joystick Gamebar: Joystick was one of my favorite places we hung out this trip. They have arcade games, serious living room vibes, amazing cocktails, and they call their menu the "the food situation". What's not to love?
I had a timely named drink called "Disease Ansari" that consisted of gin, house made basil syrup, lemon, and maybe some other stuff. It was really well balanced and the bartenders there were really friendly. After a few drinks, I had the Butter Chicken Poutine which is both unexpected and a surprisingly perfect fusion dish.
-Thumbs Up Diner: We ate at this small city chain our last morning in Atlanta and left super full. They aren't kidding around with their portion sizes so keep that in mind when ordering. Our Lyft driver warned us to only order one pancake and kept threatening to join us- he was that excited we were eating there! They had pretty standard diner food but this is a good chance to get some chicken and waffles if that's on your list. After a few days of super rich food I opted for an omelette and some black coffee.
-Octane Coffee: I'll have a short separate post about Octane but we ended up at the Woodruff Arts Center location. This was nice but I was bummed I didn't make it to one of their larger shops.
-Aurora Coffee: This shop is in Little 5 Points and a great place to stop after some shopping. Will have a spotlight about them as well.
Where to go:
-Krog Street Tunnel: If you enjoy street art, you should take some time to check out this tunnel. It's basically a living gallery that changes constantly as evidenced by the occasional spray can found in the tunnel. This was our main walkway into the part of the neighborhood close to our Airbnb. Outside the tunnel you'll also find another long wall with more street art and the iconic Cabbagetown mural.
-Ponce City Market: This was mentioned above with a similar food hall style center like the Krog Street Market. The Ponce City Market is a much larger and fancier version of this. They have some upscale chain shops mixed in with local shops. I was able to get a Herschel Supply beanie from an outdoor shop here to keep me a little warmer.
-Citizen Supply: I really loved this shop and dropped some money on a sweatshirt that said "Ya'll" on it. We also picked up a print and some stickers. This is a good spot to grab any Atlanta souvenirs that are nicer than a shot glass from the airport. They don't have the sweatshirt on their site but you can check out the t-shirt version here.
-Criminal Records: I loved this record shop! In addition to records there was an extensive graphic novel collection. I scored a book of Peter Bagge collaborations with some of my other favorite graphic novelists featured. I was also able to find an L7 record and an X-Ray Spex record, both of which were fun special color editions. I kept these along with a print in the middle of my Away Carry-On on the flight back to keep them safe. The real bonus was that they had a photo booth! I've collected photo booth strips for a long time and get excited any time I can add more to my collection.
-Wax n' Facts Records: This shop is a little more unassuming than Criminal but had a nice selection and I got a feminist 80's metal band album that I hadn't heard of. The owner was really nice and they had great prices on cassettes which my boyfriend collects. Both shops were in Little 5 Points which is a central neighborhood spot of indie shops and restaurants.
-Joystick Gamebar: Did I already mention how much I loved this bar? I need to mention it again because it's a great place to hang out for awhile and play some arcade games. I should note that their ATM only dispenses in ones for easy change making. There's not a lot of games I'm actually good at but they did have my specialty: Street Fighter II. My boyfriend reluctantly played a couple rounds with me and I shot at some dinos on the Jurassic Park game with incredibly bad accuracy. The 2nd time we went here they were also hosting some sort of cosplay competition in the back. Check out their event calendar if that's your kind of thing.
-Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium: This may not be the best stop for you if you're actually very religious or offended easily. I really loved it and it was jam packed with careful details like their church lights and confessional photo booth.
I have to say, the bartender I dealt with was pretty damn rude, carding me heavily and scoffing at the drink I ordered. I had a temporary license since my real one was expiring while I was in Atlanta and the new one wasn't delivered before we left. I get that, but I also don't think I look remotely under 21 and wouldn't be dumb enough to make a fake ID say I was turning 30 on the day I was going to the bar. Nice birthday present, right? After the museums being closed and our dinner reservations cancelled, I was disappointed to deal with this guy on top of everything.
Regardless, I learned my lesson from my first drink and had PBR tall boys the rest of the night. After all, we were there for church organ karaoke which was amazing to say the least. I don't do karaoke due to issues with speaking much less singing in front of people. My boyfriend has come to enjoy it though since his best friend insists on going every time he's in town. I might not participate but I really enjoy watching.
The guy leading karaoke was super sweet and also the one playing the electric church organ. There was a surprising amount of curated songs to choose from including some punk classics my boyfriend went for. I was going to include a video here but this is best experienced in person. I'm not sure what their usual crowd is like but due to the snow it was basically us and a couple people in the back of the room playing ping pong. Our host still made a night out of it and even sang me happy birthday.
-High Museum of Art: In case you've ever wondered who had the url high.org, it belongs to the art museum in Atlanta. We had to choose between going here or the aquarium due to time constraints caused by the snow day. I'm really happy with my choice and the architecture alone was worth a visit. There was a lot of natural light and really well thought out mix of works. We mainly viewed the contemporary section and the African art before we needed to leave. This museum also seemed to have an emphasis on African-American artworks which was refreshing. You really could spend the majority of a day here if you had the time to spare. It seemed as though we only skimmed the surface.
-There were a lot of places we weren't able to fit in on this trip whether they were closed for the snow or we just ran out of time. I think we'll need to make another trip when it's warmer out.
-I read several times before going that this is a driving city and I would definitely agree with that. We choose an Airbnb in Cabbagetown which was adjacent to a lot of the places we wanted to visit. We found we were able to do a lot of walking with a few Lyft rides here and there which weren't too expensive. Not everyone may feel safe walking somewhere like this at night but coming from St. Louis most cities feel marginally safer than my own. It really depends on your comfort level but where we were seemed like a family friendly neighborhood.
Questions about my trip? Ask me anything in the comments :)