I’m excited to interview my good friend, Pete McPherson of Do You Even Blog about Atlanta, Georgia. Now that I’ve moved into the South, there are so many great cities for me to explore. Pete’s tips for the best things to do in Atlanta are amazing because you can just hear his passion for the city. Pete is definitely “made with Soul in Atlanta.”
Atlanta is known for many things, including the music scene, Southern hospitality, and as the home of Coke, Delta, and CNN. Pete says that the tourist attractions in Atlanta live up to the hype, so make sure you visit them, even if they seem too “touristy” for your liking.
Pete says that the best time to visit Atlanta is during the Fall. The Fall season lasts from late September to early December, so there’s plenty of time to visit and enjoy the changing of the leaves, cooler weather, and college football. During the summer… there’s a reason why they call Atlanta “Hotlanta” – it gets hot and muggy during the summer. Just like much of the South. Winter can get pretty chilly and there’s the occasional snow.
The city of Atlanta is basically a circle, surrounded by the 285 freeway. Pete suggests MidTown and Downtown as the places to focus your travel time. Buckhead is to the north, but it is primarily businesses and homes.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Explore Atlanta, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Atlanta
Here are some of the best things to do in Atlanta according to our local expert, Pete McPherson. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and places I’ve visited. Pete says that MidTown is one square mile of awesomeness, so many of the places on our lists will be focused there.
- Buckhead – this neighborhood is north of Atlanta’s downtown. It is focused on businesses. Some great restaurants, but not a tourist destination. Pete lived and worked in this area when he was in Atlanta.
- Centennial Olympic Park (reviews) – a great park to play in and explore. A nice oasis in the middle of the city.
- CNN Studio Tours (reviews) – take a tour at CNN headquarters to catch a behind-the-scenes view of cable news.
- Delta Flight Museum (reviews) – home of the only full-motion flight simulator in the world that is open to the public.
- Fox Theatre (reviews) – Pete grew up idolizing this theatre. He would watch concerts, plays, and musicals here. It is the start of one of his favorite memories of Atlanta.
- Georgia Aquarium (reviews) – Pete says it is one the best aquariums in the world.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (reviews) – the major airport for Atlanta. This is Delta Airlines’ hub, so they will have the most options in and out of this airport.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium (reviews) – visit this stadium to catch an Atlanta Falcons football game.
- Old Fourth Ward (reviews) – another neighborhood that is east of downtown. Pete really enjoys this neighborhood.
- Piedmont Park (reviews) – a large park in Atlanta that has a lake, athletic fields, and many gardens, including a Japanese garden, children’s garden, and botanical garden.
- Six Flags Over Georgia (reviews) – a fun amusement park with some of the best roller coasters in the South.
- Switchyards Downtown Club – a co-working space that Pete says has an iconic sign on it. Many people take selfies next to the sign that says “Made With Soul in Atlanta”.
- State Farm Arena – visit this arena to catch an Atlanta Hawks basketball game.
- SunTrust Park (reviews) – visit the ballpark to catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
- Virginia Highland (reviews) – neighborhood to the east of downtown. Some great restaurants and parks.
- World of Coca-Cola (reviews) – a fun museum that lives up to the hype. It is worth a visit and you get to sample Coke flavors from around the world.
Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Atlanta that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Atlanta.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Atlanta
You can’t come to Atlanta without eating at some of the local establishments. Pete knows all about awesome food in his hometown. He shares a great mix of local favorites that can satisfy everyone’s dining desires. Here are Pete’s suggestions for the best places to eat in Atlanta.
- Antico (reviews) – Pete says this tiny, 2-room pizza restaurant has the best pizza he’s ever had. After you order, they tell you where to sit and you share long tables with other guests.
- Bacchanalia (reviews) – offers a four-course, prix fixe menu at $95 per person. The menu can vary each night and based on the seasons.
- Fellini’s Pizza (reviews) – this is Pete’s second favorite pizza in Atlanta. And his recommendation is you’re looking for pepperoni pizza since Antico’s doesn’t offer pepperoni.
- GunShow (reviews) – a truly unique culinary experience that I learned about from Brian Cohen of The Gate. Multiple chefs create menus that change daily (sometimes nightly) where the food is served dim-sum style. Quantities are limited, so if you see something you like, grab it right away. Make sure you book reservations because it is a very popular concept.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (reviews) – gourmet ice cream that is fantastic!
- La Fonda Latina (reviews) – a small Atlanta chain of restaurants that serves Cuban and other Hispanic dishes. Absolutely wonderful. It is Pete’s wife’s favorite place to eat.
- Monday Night Brewing (reviews) – this is Pete’s personal favorite of the local breweries.
- Ormsby’s (reviews) – an underground bar that is a fun place for drinks. They have pool tables, bocce ball, and plenty of other activities to keep you occupied.
- Orpheus Brewing (reviews) – next to Piedmont Park, the atmosphere is amazing and the beers are awesome.
- SweetWater Brewing Company (reviews) – Pete says that Atlanta makes some amazing local brews. They sell SweetWater beers in Nashville and their 420 IPA is delicious. I need to stop by for a tour.
- The Varsity (reviews) – this place is an Atlanta institution. All of the locals know about it. They serve hot dogs and chili dogs and greet you with the question “What’ll ya have… What’ll ya have?” when it’s your turn to order.
- Westside Provisions District (reviews) – a mini-mall with small shops and local restaurants. Some of Pete’s favorite restaurants are located here.
- Wrecking Bar Brewpub (reviews) – they make their own beer that is excellent, according to Pete.
Best places to stay in Atlanta
When you come to “Hotlanta”, here are the best places to stay in Atlanta.
- Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort (reviews) – I stayed at this hotel once for a conference, and the resort is really pretty with the lake and forest surrounding it. This Marriott Rewards category 5 hotel is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
- Best Western Plus Atlanta Airport-East (reviews) – this Best Western category 3 hotel is 16,000 points per night.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Atlanta Downtown South at Turner Field, GA (reviews) – this Radisson Rewards category 4 hotel is 38,000 points per night.
- Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park (reviews) – this Hilton Honors category 7 hotel is 30,000 to 60,000 points per night. I love the free made-to-order breakfast and nightly manager’s complimentary happy hour.
- Glenn Hotel, Autograph Collection (reviews) – this Marriott Rewards category 5 hotel is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
- Grand Hyatt Atlanta In Buckhead (reviews) – this World of Hyatt category 3 hotel is 12,000 points per night.
- Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown (reviews) – this IHG Rewards category 5 hotel is 30,000 points per night. It’s right across the street from the Fox Theatre that Pete loves so much.
- Hyatt Regency Atlanta (reviews) – this World of Hyatt category 3 hotel is 12,000 points per night.
- Wingate by Wyndham Atlanta/Six Flags Austell (reviews) – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night. This hotel is located right next to Six Flaggs, so it is the perfect spot if you want to hit the amusement park.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Atlanta
The local airport is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is about 10 miles to Downtown Atlanta.
Pete says that, if you’re staying in Midtown or Downtown, there’s no need to rent a car. Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. Parking can be pricey downtown, but as you get further away from central Atlanta, you can start finding free parking.
Atlanta has the MARTA light rail and bus system. I did a search for a trip I’m taking to Atlanta, and it would take 55 minutes from the airport to the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. That Red Line train seems to run every 20 minutes. Prices are affordable at $2.50 per person each way, which includes free transfers within a 3-hour window. Children under 46 inches can ride for free. Seniors are only $1.
Bird Scooters are available to get around the city without walking or renting a car.
If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Atlanta – Pete says that Antico (reviews) is the place to go. Pizza is his favorite food and it is one of the best in the country. Even if there is a long line, don’t worry, it goes quickly.
2) Favorite memory of Atlanta – When Pete and his wife were newlyweds and just moved to Atlanta, they went on a date night. They went to Fox Theatre (reviews) for a show. They were hungry and Googled pizza to find Antico (reviews). Ready for dessert, they Googled ice cream and found Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (reviews). And for the trifecta, Pete and his wife wanted to ice skate and, sure enough, there was ice staking at Centennial Olympic Park (reviews). It was a perfect date night and they found some favorite places to eat that they still love going to today.
3) Happiest Happy Hour in Atlanta – Pete says that any brewery in Atlanta will have an awesome happy hour. SweetWater Brewing Company (reviews) is an excellent choice. But Pete’s favorites are Monday Night Brewing (reviews) and Orpheus Brewing (reviews). The beers and atmospheres are amazing.
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza in Atlanta – Pete’s favorite pizza place, Antico, doesn’t serve traditional pepperoni. So, he recommends his second favorite place, Fellini’s Pizza (reviews). It’s more of a traditional pizza that most Americans are used to. You’ll find them next door to any La Fonda Latina (reviews). He thinks they may be owned by the same people.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Pete McPherson about Atlanta, Georgia. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Atlanta
- Green dots = best things to do in Atlanta
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Atlanta
Who is Pete McPherson?
Pete McPherson is an online entrepreneur that runs the Do You Even Blog website and podcast and the online training course Blogger U. Pete is one of the most genuine people I know, and he puts his heart and soul into helping people create better online and social media content.
His podcast episodes run the gamut from uber-popular and successful influencers to people who are just starting out with their online business. There are important lessons learned from every one of his guests.
Here are a few of Pete’s latest podcast episodes:
- Not selling out: How Lee (Bald Thoughts) is growing a sustainable family travel blog.
- How to translate blogging goals into WHAT you should focus on – Alex Felice
- How to Get Started in Public Speaking (and Give Amazing Talks) – Grant Baldwin
If you’re looking to start your own blog, podcast, or other online business or already have one, I highly recommend that you join Pete’s Blogger U course. Pete’s site is a great resource, but Blogger U takes the knowledge to a whole another level. He is constantly adding new courses to Blogger U, and once you sign up, you get complimentary access to all new material. Click here to sign up for Blogger U now.
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – RewardExpert
This episode is brought to you, in part, by RewardExpert.com, which offers financial insights to make life rewarding.
Reward Expert offers three amazing tools that will help you find the best deals based on personalized recommendations, earn more travel rewards or cash back through their shopping portal, and discover how many miles it will take to book your next vacation.
Visit WeTravelThere.com/rewardexpert for more details.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Robert Farrington of The College Investor tries to convince us why San Diego is the beer capital of the U.S. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Atlanta? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
To learn more about Atlanta and the surrounding cities, listen to our other episodes:
- Best Things to Do in Marietta, Georgia with Bill Nowicki
- Hidden Parks, Tiny Doors & The First Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia
- Twilight Criterium, Children’s Garden & Athens Beer Trail in Athens, Georgia