Atlanta is a short flight from Baltimore and an ideal long weekend getaway for two. Want to get cozy in this energizing Southern city? Here’s what to do.
There are plenty of big-name hotels in Atlanta, but if you want to stay at a quiet boutique hotel that is a short stroll to many of the best restaurants and museums, the Artmore is it.
Dating to 1924, the Spanish design has lots of character, but inside, the hotel has modern-day amenities. Plus, there is a lovely fire pit that offers the perfect way to relax with a glass of wine after a day of sightseeing. Designed more for adults than families, it is far less likely you’ll see or hear any children during your stay, which is exactly what you want on a romantic weekend.
The hotel is within walking distance to MARTA (Atlanta’s transit system). Take it directly from the airport to the Midtown station and walk the couple short blocks to the Artmore Hotel. Note that the hotel is rather small with only a fraction of the rooms of a chain hotel, so be sure to make reservations well in advance of your visit. artmorehotel.com
After getting settled in, head north to Buckhead and nosh on St. Cecilia’s patio menu. The beautiful Mediterranean- inspired spot features a light afternoon menu, Apero Hour, with different kinds of Aperol spritz, bruschetta, octopus and arancini. stceciliaatl.com
Then head to Piedmont Park and explore. Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s answer to Central Park, is a full
185 acres of greenery and beautiful architectural gems. The large park has lovely spots perfect for you and your sweetie to capture a picture or steal a romantic kiss. Freshen up before heading out to dinner at A Mano.
This small restaurant with a tiny menu is big on execution. Start with its classic Negroni or whatever specialty cocktail of the evening the bartender has mixed up. Servers are excellent at making
recommendations on both wine and food. Sit outside on the lovely patio if a table is available. The signature dish is the scallop pasta, but you can’t go wrong with any of the menu choices. amanoatl.com
Fuel up at nearby Cultivate for breakfast, which is served all day. Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, they have a lovely selection of teas and various beverage options. Then head to Stone Mountain Park. cultivating.co
One of the most unique things you will find in Atlanta is Stone Mountain. The huge granite rock, though not a mountain at all, feels mountain-esque as you hike the mile trail to the top. Or you can take the sky lift. On a clear day, visibility is about 45 miles. Inside the park, visitors can tour antebellum homes and even ride a pontoon boat around the manmade lake.
The front of Stone Mountain with its large carving of Confederate soldiers is what makes it so unique. Weekend evenings from April to October feature a laser show: Short animations are projected on the front of the mountain and are choreographed to popular music. Hiking and the laser show are free, but there is a $20-per-car fee to enter the park. stonemountainpark.com
Many people know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is located in Atlanta, but what they don’t know is that the museum tour is free. Cars must be inspected, but it only takes minutes
and then visitors are on their way. This museum is unlike any other I’ve experienced. Spend some time on the second level admiring all the art work.
Yes, there are artists who are inspired by infectious disease. Next, head downstairs, where the surprisingly fascinating history of the CDC is told. Visitors learn the origins of the giant disease prevention center and move from one carefully curated exhibit to another finding out how it identified, combated, contained and eventually ended the spread of different diseases such as Ebola, Legionnaires and tuberculosis. cdc.gov/museum/index.htm
(Trivia: In the TV show, “The Walking Dead,” the building that was used as the CDC was actually a much newer performing arts building that is on the other side of town.)
After heading back to your hotel, relax before heading to dinner. Atlas’ patio, an oasis in and of itself, is the perfect spot to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail with its comfy chairs and cozy fire pits.
There’s live music several nights a week, so you may get serenaded while you dine. Art lovers will appreciate dining while surrounded by the work of famous painters such as Monet and Matisse. The lobster, rabbit and pasta dishes are impeccable. Pro tip: The bar menu is outstanding yet very affordable. Lemon ricotta agnolotti and Wagyu fries are both on the menu and are under 10 bucks. atlasrestaurant.com
After-dining option: 5 Church for drinks. Though this restaurant does have excellent dishes, the atmosphere alone is reason to go. An entire book, “The Art of War,” has been painted on the ceiling. And the décor makes for a super-sexy date night with attention-grabbing feathered lighting. But don’t spend all your time there, head to the rooftop to enjoy a cocktail or two while you take in impressive views of the skyline. 5churchatlanta.com
Sure, you can go to the popular spots such as the World of Coke and the Aquarium or tour CNN, or you can skip the touristy things and try these instead. Atlanta Movie Tours: It’s hard to turn on Netflix or head to the movies without seeing something filmed in Georgia, dubbed “Hollywood of the South.”
Any movie buff will be thrilled to be on a tour with AMT. If you are a “Walking Dead” fan, there are several. Take in the downtown sights from the early days of the show, or for hardcore fans, head to Senoia, about an hour south of the city, for a more in-depth tour including Alexandria. Another tour, Atlanta Upside Down, is a must for any “Stranger Things” fan. Tours begin at AMT headquarters downtown (except the Big Zombie Walking Dead Tour that requires meeting in Senoia) and last about three hours. Tickets start at $25 on atlantamovietours.com.
Walk the beltline: One of the things Atlantans take advantage of during the spring and the fall is the Atlanta beltline. It connects some of the smaller yet more popular neighborhoods in Atlanta such as Inman Park and Old 4th Ward. Though not yet complete, it eventually will connect more than 40 Atlanta neighborhoods, inclusive of 33 miles of trails, making it one of the largest urban programs in the U.S. Besides greenery, there are numerous murals, so this is a perfect way to see Atlanta’s street art. You aren’t limited to just walking along the beltline. A great way for couples to see it is to rent bikes. beltline.org
Two Urban Licks: While working up an appetite walking (or biking) the beltline, stop at this modern American spot. Though the restaurant is packed in the evenings, brunch is much more laid back but nonetheless delicious. twourbanlicks.com
Or check out the food halls while walking the beltline. All the big cities have their food halls or markets, and Atlanta is no exception. Locals are partial to the Krog Street Market. Get anything from dumplings to barbecue to sushi and sandwiches. The Ponce City Market also has food stalls but is definitely more tourist-oriented. And there’s plenty of shopping to get locally made gifts. krogstreetmarket.com
Wisteria: You can’t visit Atlanta and not have at least one Southern meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a romantic experience. Wisteria in Inman Park has amazing dishes such as butter-bean hummus, molasses-rubbed pork tenderloin and trout with okra. The historic home with exposed brick
is the ultimate romantic setting. wisteria-atlanta.com
Finally, evening entertainment: Skip the Broadway shows that you can see anywhere in favor of smaller venues such as the Horizon Theatre or the Theatrical Outfit, which are awash with shows from talented playwrights. Or head to LIPS for a drag show. The entertainment is fabulous. Shows sell out so be sure to book ahead. horizontheatre.com; theatricaloutfit.org; lipsatl.com