Atlanta is home to the busiest airport in the United States, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International, so it should be no surprise that millions of people visit Atlanta every year. However, many of them miss out on some of the coolest and quirkiest things that the city has to offer. Don't be one of them! The next time you are in Atlanta, make sure to check out these quirky and offbeat sights and activities:
One of my favorite theatres in all of the USA and arguably the best independent theatre in Georgia, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema is known for showing amazing indie and foreign films. Of course they also show a few regular blockbusters too, if those genres are not your type of thing. Friendly staff, clean cinemas, polite audiences and -- best of all -- cold beer! Popular with the locals but never too crowded, the Landmark is a perfect way to kill a couple hours.
Remember the good old days of arcade games? They are back thanks to Pac-Man Play Arcade. From the classic games we grew up with like Pac-Man to newer crazes such as Dance Dance Revolution, there is something here for everyone. Bring a few friends and challenge each other to see who can get the highest score.
What, you weren't planning on coming back from Atlanta with a kid? Better think again! Located about an hour outside of the city is Babyland General Hospital, the birthplace of the famous Cabbage Patch Kids. First created in 1978, new Cabbage Patch Kids are still born every hour -- but only during business hours, of course. Adoptive parents get to pick their name and a birth certificate is drawn up right then. It's a very interesting place and process, one that should definitely be on everyone's Atlanta "to-do" list.
The fast food chicken chain Chick-Fil-A actually got it's start in the suburbs of Atlanta in the 1940's as the Dwarf Grill (due to its small size) but was later renamed to the Dwarf House. This original location is still going strong, serving thousands of local customers every day -- as well as those few tourists looking for off the beaten path sights or the occasional road-tripper lured in by the sign on the I-75 that reads "Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House." Here they serve much more than your modern Chick-fil-A, including burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese.
The Little Five Points district has been referred to as Atlanta's version of San Francisco's infamous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood or New York City's Greenwich Village. Here you will find a mixture of independent record label studios and stores, new-age shops selling crystals and other assorted goods, vintage clothing stores, novelty shops, tattoo parlors, coffee shops and other offbeat goodies. It is the best place in town for both shopping and people-watching, two often underrated pastimes.
Planning your summer vacation already? Check out these up-and-coming destinations.
The Biloxi Lighthouse by Ipung Zan via Flickr
The beachfront city of Biloxi is a popular summer destination for people looking to enjoy the gulf. Water-based activities such as fishing are some of the biggest pastimes of the area. In fact, every 4th of July the city holds the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, which draws crowds in excess of 50,000 people. Nearly all the hotels in town are located on or near the water, and because gambling is legal in Biloxi, most have casinos as well.
Charlotte, North Carolina skyline by James Willamor via Flickr
Charlotte is the largest and most well-known city in North Carolina. Home to nearly 3 million people, there is no shortage of sights, activities, museums, theme parks, festivals, and excitement to keep visitors of all ages and interests amused. Plus, all the sports fans will be excited to hear that not only does Charlotte have a team for every major sport, it is also the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Sunset on the grounds of Deer's Head in Salisbury, Maryland by Eric B Walker via Flickr
Salisbury is a small city at the head of Wicomico River in southeastern Maryland. It is a peaceful, unassuming town that is perfect for a family weekend getaway or a quiet pit stop on an American road trip. Venues like the Salisbury Zoo, Coco's Funhouse, Pemberton Historical Park, and the Wicomico County Youth & Civic Center are perfect for the entire family. Other places, such as the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame Museum, are geared more toward older guests. When it comes to lodging, the Hampton Inn Salisbury is the only one you should consider. Not only does it have a central location, but it's also the highest-rated hotel in town!
Main Street in College Park, Georgia by Robert S Donovan via Flickr
Contrary to the name, there is no college in the small, charming southern town of College Park; the building that was a college many years ago is now city hall. Despite having a population of only 14,000, the city has over 850 properties on the National Register of Historic Places, making it an intriguing destination for anyone interested in the historical side of Georgia. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Atlanta, College Park is home of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport. As such, there is no shortage of hotels and restaurants in town.
Sunset over Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky by Scott Smithson via Flickr
Louisville is Kentucky's largest city and one of the most popular year-round destinations for out-of-state visitors thanks to its abundance of things to see, do, and eat. Baseball fans will immediately recognize the city because it is the home of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the iconic baseball bat. However, the city is also the home of the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center, among others. Plus, just outside of town are countless parks, trails, lakes, and rivers offering a seemingly never-ending amount of outdoor activities. If you've got an entire family to keep happy or just want to pack as many diverse activities as possible into one trip, definitely put Louisville on your list of destinations this summer!
Many of the major cities across the United States play host to annual gay pride events, often a parade that encourages solidarity, fun, and comradery. Members of the LGBT community may travel far and wide to attend these events, so they want to make sure they will have the experience they are seeking when they go. Here are some of the top gay prides that are known for their memorability.
There are dozens of gay pride festivals and parades that happen in New York during the summer months, so visitors really have their pick of which to attend. Of course, there is one in Manhattan that’s pegged to the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in 1969. It’s really the event that started it all. However, there also are celebrations in each of the other boroughs of New York, as well as smaller events in several city parks. Just check a list of events here to get a feel for all the options in New York.
Of course, the LGBT community is huge in this iconic city, so it stands to reason that it would boast the largest gay pride gathering in country. Starting where pioneer Harvey Milk addressed the crowd in the early 1970s, the parade routinely draws more than a million marchers. There really is a whole month of tangential events, and visitors can be part of one or many of them. Find out more about what makes the event so popular by clicking here.
This city really goes all out for the members of the LGBT community and includes not only a Gay Pride march attended primarily by men, but also an event for lesbian marchers and one for the trans community. Many of the city’s business owners show their support of the marchers with sponsorships, partnerships, and special events during the annual Gay Pride Festival. Plus, the Atlanta event has the bonus of being held at the end of summer instead of at the beginning as a lot of other cities do. This means the heat is more tolerable and visitors don’t have to miss another great city’s event in order to attend.
There are hundreds of gay pride events held throughout the country every year, even in cities one might not think would be a likely place to host a festival. For people who want to attend an event as part of their travel plans this summer, all that’s required is a perusal of this master list in order to find the right fit for them.
Atlanta is home to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International, the busiest airport in the United States, so it should be no surprise that millions of people visit Atlanta every year. As such, there is no shortage of hotels in Atlanta. However, staying at the same lackluster cookie-cutter hotels can sometimes get a bit boring. The next time you are in Atlanta, be sure to throw some freshness in your life by checking out these unique and offbeat hotels:
Located in the historic district of Atlanta, The Highland Inn is unique in every sense of the word. Built in 1927, the hotel exudes character while still maintaining its historic charm. They even use the same old traditional metal keys instead of those new digital keycards. The Highland also has a few pet-friendly rooms, so if you are traveling with your favorite furry friend, this is the hotel for you.
Although the front lobby of Artmore Hotel - Midtown appears like most any other hotel, guests quickly realize they are staying somewhere unique as they venture further into the hotel. Its theme centers on movie stars of the golden age of cinema, and throughout the hotel are old black-and-white photos and cool artwork. However, it's with the rooms that the Artmore shines! (After all, isn't that what you want most in a hotel, a great room?) The rooms are stylishly designed and complete with a full kitchen, so the hardest part about staying here is actually leaving the hotel and exploring Atlanta.
With room names like the "Fantastic Suite" and "Extreme WOW Suite," there should be little doubt in your mind that the W Atlanta Midtown Hotel is doing something different. Each spacious room features a modern design with amazing decor, fashionable new furniture, and floor-to-ceiling windows allowing you to look down on the busy Atlanta streets while also providing the perfect amount of natural daylight.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Aloft sports a modern design that relies heavily on rich, vibrant colors -- but not so much that it becomes distracting or overwhelming. This same sense of style is also evident in their rooms, which feature an interesting mix of non-traditional colors. Aloft is also both clean and affordable, two very important features when it comes to choosing the right hotel.
Behind its rather traditional, nondescript exterior shines the unique, artistic flare that the Hotel Indigo chain has become known for. Each location is styled and furnished in a way that compliments the local culture and history, and the Hotel Indigo Midtown Atlanta is no different. Inside each room, wood floors with plush rugs compliment the vibrant color scheme and bright murals.
Combining Oriental luxury with Southern charm, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is my favorite 5-star hotel in all of Atlanta. Their spacious rooms are immaculately furnished with unique, stylish artwork, furniture, and decor. Some of them even have terraces, allowing you to enjoy the sunrise or sunset (depending upon your room) in all its glory.
flickr // mikeschinkel