Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: Avondale Estates
Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: Druid Hills
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: Atlanta Underground Market
Date taken: January 6, 2012
My tamale was filled with sweet potatoes, coconut and raisins. It was an interesting combination of ingredients, but tasted quite good. The Atlanta Underground Market is where foodies come to dine and local cooks come to show off their newest creations. The website calls the monthly events “food adventures,” and they certainly are. Find out the secret location, pay $5 at the door, then go exploring to discover and taste what some of your fellow Atlantans have been cooking at home. The portions are small (and only a few bucks), so bring your appetite and adventurous tastebuds.
Location: Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
Date taken: January 7, 2012
I don’t know how fast I was going as I drove my go-kart around the track at the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center in Roswell. I do know that I was glad I was wearing a big, heavy helmet. I know the track’s curves were giving me some trouble … I slowed down each time I neared one for fear of crashing. I also know that a whole lot of people were passing me. I fared better at skee-ball and basketball in the arcade section of the center. But I didn’t fare as well on the rope course — my fear of heights got the best of me. But the Andretti center proved a good way to test my skills (and fears) and not a bad way to spend a cold, January afternoon.
Location: Lake Claire
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: The Margaret Mitchell House and Museum at 10th Street and Peachtree Street
My middle school Social Studies project was titled “When Atlanta’s Past Meets the Wrecking Ball.” One Saturday afternoon, my mother drove me around town in our family’s mini-van so I could take pictures of historic Atlanta buildings that had at one time been threatened to be demolished (like the Fox Theatre) or were currently in such a state (like the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote “Gone With the Wind”). If I remember correctly, I think my project received a decent grade, and fortunately, in the past few decades Atlanta has done a much better job of preserving its historic buildings. This is thanks in part to organizations such as the Atlanta Preservation Center and Georgia Trust and citizens who see value in the city’s historic landmarks.
Location: Ponce de Leon Avenue
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: The Biltmore
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to recreate the photo from this 1940s postcard of Atlanta’s famous Biltmore, which occupies an entire city block in Midtown Atlanta. A parking deck now fills the space immediately in front of The Biltmore … and blocks the view of the building’s main entrance. Once considered Atlanta’s premier hotel, The Biltmore opened in 1924 as a hotel and residences and hosted famous Americans such as Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Bette Davis and Charles Lindbergh. The two towers on the building’s roof, which have become a famous part of the Atlanta skyline, are former radio towers from WSB, which broadcasted from The Biltmore for three decades. Now, The Biltmore features condos, apartments and event space in two historic ballrooms.
Location: The Varsity
Date taken: December 17, 2012
No Atlanta blog or list of places to visit is complete without The Varsity. The restaurant has long been a favorite of visitors, Georgia Tech tailgaters and natives (yes, my grandparents used to head to The Varsity when they were dating). When you step up to the long row of registers, know you’ll be asked “What’ll ya have?”. And, I recommend placing an order for a Frosted Orange, onion rings and chili dog (the grilled pimento cheese is pretty good too). Opened in 1928, The Varsity has been a unique place for many reasons — the world’s largest drive-in, the addition of the “lunching pad” and rooms set up with televisions before they were commonplace in homes or businesses. If you dine at The Varsity, you’ll walk out with a little taste of Atlanta history and maybe your very own paper Varsity hat.
Location: Lake Clara Meer at Piedmont Park
Date taken: November 10, 2012
160 people in a Picnic Shelter
70 jets at Legacy Fountain
60-minute guided historic tour of the Park
30 vendors at the Saturday Green Market
12 tennis courts
8 items on the Scavenger Hunt
4 lap lanes at the Aquatic Center
3 fishing piers
2 bocce ball courts
Location: Atlanta Botanical Gardens‘ Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Date taken: December 9, 2012
Holidays are all about traditions. Your Atlanta tradition might be seeing the lighting of Macy’s Great Tree, picking up a tree from the same lot each year, buying tickets to the Fox Theatre’s Nutcracker or touring Christmas at Callenwolde. Growing up in Atlanta, our family tradition was heading to the downtown Rich’s store to ride the Pink Pig. The Pink Pig is now a train ride in a tent at the Lenox Mall parking deck, but back then it was a monorail style ride located on top of the Rich’s store. We would climb the stairs up to the roof, hop aboard a small pig car and circle the base of Rich’s Great Tree, admiring its surrounding Christmas village. When the ride was over, we stuck our ”I rode the Pink Pig” stickers on our coats and wore them proudly for the rest of the day. If you are looking for a new holiday tradition in the city, check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Holiday Nights event, which is now in its second year. There’s no sticker at the end of the tour, but the lights are bright and plentiful and the event is great for all ages.
Location: Edgewood Avenue
Date taken: December 15, 2012
Socks. Josh Woiderski recommends always having a pair of extra socks at your office. That’s the one thing that’s usually forgotten when packing for a long trip or in Josh’s case … a trip to work. Josh is a run commuter. He runs approximately five miles every morning (then again every evening) from his home in Kirkwood to his job downtown at the Department of Justice. The commute takes him about 40 minutes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Josh, a Michigan native who has lived in Atlanta since 2004. “Being able to get to work without having to rely on an automobile or public transportation gives you a sense of accomplishment. At first, that’s the mental hurdle to overcome, knowing that you can do it. For me, it’s a way to exercise daily without sacrificing family time. And, running is the best way to explore Atlanta. You can stop and check things out, have conversations with people and stumble upon interesting things.”
Josh, who has two young sons, started running regularly while he was in the Army. Previously, a bike commuter, Josh saw run commuting as an opportunity to get a great cardio workout doing something he was going to do every day anyway — commute. “For awhile, my co-workers did think I was weird for doing this, but now they are used to it,” said Josh.
So how does the practical part of run commuting work? Josh irons and folds his clothes and packs them in the backpack he runs with. He recommends leaving shoes and belts at the office for less weight to carry. Once arriving at his office, Josh changes clothes and washes off (using a combination of soap, water and baby wipes) and starts his work day.
Josh estimates that there are around a dozen run commuters in Atlanta — people who might use some form of transportation (car, bike, MARTA, etc.) but make running a part of their way to get to work each day. Washington D.C., with it’s flat landscape and great public transportation, is the nation’s top city for run commuting. In Atlanta, Josh is working to help others figure out how to run commute effectively and easily. He started The Run Commuter blog, where 10 contributors from across North America offer tips, advice and stories. For example, listing the best waterproof backpacks and reminding people to pack socks.
Check out Josh’s The Run Commuter blog for tips and ideas on run commuting.
Date taken: December 2, 2012
Concerts. Bed races. Beach volleyball. Beer festivals. Food festivals. Cirque du Soleil. The 138 acres now occupied by Atlantic Station have seen a lot of changes in the past 100 years. Opened as the Atlantic Steel Mill in 1901, this Westside neighborhood is now a tourist destination for shopping (only IKEA for hundreds of miles) and dining. And, for locals, it’s a space to live (buy or rent) and work (Creative Loafing’s offices are here) and attend a variety of events. If you can navigate your way in and out of the massive parking deck, it’s a great place to spend an evening.
Location: High Museum of Art
Date taken: November 20, 2012
Touring the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles earlier this year, I kept thinking to myself, “This looks familiar. This looks like MY art museum.” Of course, my art museum is the High Museum here in Atlanta. I grew up going on regular field trips to the High and exploring the children’s part of the museum, which back then featured a giant tongue, giant nose and giant ear for exploring. The Getty did not appear to have any of these giant body parts or a children’s area, but it turns out that the Getty and the High were designed by the same person — Richard Meier. Meier is know for his white buildings and rationalist style. Except the Getty is cream not white. People were afraid the California sun bouncing off the white walls of the museum might create a blinding sight for motorists on the nearby highway or people in nearby homes. While Atlanta’s sun might be hot it’s rarely blinding, so we got the real deal — classic Meier white.
Location: Festival on Ponce
Date taken: September 15, 2012
Along the path in Atlanta’s Olmsted Linear Park, there’s a stone that reads: “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. – Benjamin Franklin”. Parks, of course, are designed for play. They are designed for throwing a ball or throwing a frisbee, for swinging on a swing and hanging upside down from monkey bars, for playing tag or playing hopscotch, for running a race or jumping rope. And sometimes, when you stumble upon an arts festival, you might get to play awhile layering colors of sand in a small, plastic bottle. Play is simple. Simply play.
Location: Krog Tunnel
Date taken: November 3, 2012
Driving along Dekalb Ave at rush hour, traffic usually slows around Krog Street. As the main thoroughfare linking Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward on the north side of the train tracks with Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown on the south side, Krog Street and its famous tunnel can get quite congested. In addition to cars, there is usually a flurry of bicyclists and pedestrians … and the occasionally film crew (such as on the day this photo was shot). But stopping for more than a few minutes in front the tunnel does have its advantages — you can find out about upcoming events. I don’t know when or how the tradition started (or who oversees the process), but the front of the tunnel serves as a homemade billboard for the next big neighborhood event. The main event is painted across the top, while smaller events find their way onto the pillars and inside walls of the tunnel. Drive slowly through and you’ll probably learn about some upcoming events.
Location: Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark
Date taken: November 4, 2012
The veterans gather on Sunday mornings at the skate park in the Old Fourth Ward. There are some newbies too … and kids on scooters and tourists and general onlookers. It’s part performance, part competition, part social club and mainly a great way to spend a warm fall morning. I recently fell down a set of stairs (yes, just walking normally), so placing a board on wheels beneath my feet and propelling myself down a sloped concrete wall does seems like a death wish. It also makes me more impressed with those who do skateboard … who gather early to share a few dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and a love of their sport.
Location: Adair Park
Date taken: November 9, 2012
As a native of Atlanta, I grew up frequenting the playground at Hammond Park and played in the first softball league at Chastain Park. I have taken tennis lessons at Mason Mill Park, and there’s a brick that bears my name in Centennial Olympic Park. I helped teach my nephew how to swim at the Candler Park pool, and you can frequently find me jogging along the trails of Olmsted Linear Park. People often say that Atlanta is a “city among the trees.” Thank goodness it’s also a city among the parks.
Date taken: September 16, 2012
Floating down the Chattahoochee River in a giant intertube has always been one of the traditional summer activities for Atlantans. But, the river is not just for leisurely trips downstream. If you feel like more active water sports, rent a canoe or kayak, join a stand-up board group, or test your skills with the Atlanta Rowing Club. And, for those Atlantans more inclined to stay on dry land, there’s also plenty to do — take a tour of the Nature Center, plan an afternoon at a park’s picnic tables, grills and playgrounds, join the annual Run the River 5k/10k, or eat at Ray’s on the River or Canoe.
Location: 2012 Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown
Date taken: November 3, 2012
Bring your appetite. Bring an extra hand or two. Bring a water bottle and maybe some cornbread. And, of course, bring a friend. The annual chili cook-off in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta features booth upon booth of chili for tasting. Wander down two streets filled with everyday Atlantans who are eager to serve up their homemade chili (and maybe win a trophy for their efforts) and a third street featuring local restaurants. With a spoon in hand, you can spend an hour or more sampling chili (for veggie options, look for the green balloons). Your sample cup might be filled with pumpkin inspired chili, chili so spicy you’ll need that water bottle and cornbread, curry infused chili, chili served with popcorn (see the Plaza Theatre tent) or good old fashion chili that’s perfect for a fall Saturday in Atlanta. Hungry yet?
Location: Silver Skillet
Date taken: October 28, 2012
You can read about the history of the Silver Skillet on the restaurant’s menu, website or even walls. From the horse prints, good luck charms carried over from the first owner, to the autographed poster from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the stories and praise for the Silver Skillet are numerous. But, if you really want to know what to expect at this 14th street Southern diner, check out the menu. When the menu categories include “Syrupy Things” and “Biscuit Specialities,” you know the meal will satisfy Southern tastebuds. Don’t be discouraged by the line out the door on weekends. It moves fast. This is not your leisurely brunch place. Eat, enjoy and let the next person have your booth.