Things to do in Atlanta

By MaryJo Schmidt, MPH’24 in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences

Moving into a new city is a huge change and finding the ‘hidden gems’ or best things to do outside of Rollins can be a bit of a challenge. Luckily, no matter what you’re into, Atlanta has something to offer. As one of the most diverse and growing cities, there are spaces and places here for everyone. Below I’ve highlighted some of the parts of Atlanta I’ve been able to enjoy, but I’m sure that doesn’t even scratch the surface. 

New Places & New Spaces 
My favorite part of exploring Atlanta so far has been the variety and unique aspects every neighborhood has to offer. Some you have likely heard of places like Buckhead or Midtown but other neighborhoods may not be so familiar. I loved taking a day each week or weekend last semester to drive somewhere, park, and just explore what’s around me. Each neighborhood had a totally different feeling, structure, and new shops/restaurants to explore. Virginia Highlands has some good restaurants, cute cafes, and a local bookstore whereas Little Five Points has tons of local shops and food. Enter the Krog Street Tunnel in Cabbagetown and then walk the belt line through Old Fourth Ward for some incredible Art and views of the city. Buckhead and Midtown also have some classic spots to eat, relax, or play and a few Atlanta staples to check out. Overall, I recommend exploring each and every neighborhood to find your go-to spots. 

Nature here, there, and everywhere! 
Atlanta is called the ‘City in the Trees’ for a reason, there are tons of green spaces to explore in the city as well as just outside of it. Within Atlanta, there’s a few key parks that offer trails and recreation including Piedmont Park, Old Forth Ward Skate Park, and Grant Park. There’s also the Hahn’s Woods and Lullwater Park around campus to explore. However, just outside the city, within about two hours there’s tons of campsites and hiking trails. These include the Bamboo Forest in the East Palisades Trail, Doll’s Head, and Stone Mountain among many many others. If you’re not one for hiking, you can also float! In the summer, you can ‘shoot the hooch’ and float down the Chattahoochee river just northwest of Atlanta. 

Hungry? Let’s Eat! 
As you many have surmised, the food in Atlanta is in a league of its own. There are tons of offerings throughout the city and farmers markets often operate year-round. In addition to individual restaurants, there are also a number of food markets that house 5-10 smaller restaurants within their vicinity to try and taste, including Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market, and the Collective. Other great spots to try include the restaurants along Buford Highway for authentic cuisine from all over the world and going grocery shopping at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market which is filled with a variety of high-quality produce and low-cost bulk items. All in all, the food options and quality in Atlanta are a step above many other cities, I recommend trying as much as you can from as many places you can! 

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