Location: Wall Crawler Rock Club
Date taken: October 6, 2013
Intimidated by giant rock climbing walls? Don’t know where to put your hands and feet amid all the colorful holds? You like the sound of the word “belay” but have no idea what it means? Follow the smell of cookies baking (yes, there is a cookie factory just across the train tracks) to the Wall Crawler Rock Club on Dekalb Avenue, and you’ll find a intimate and laid back climbing gym. The walls are tall, but the learning curve feels a little smaller here. Of course, this is by no means a beginners only spot — there’s a crew of neighborhood regulars who call Wall Crawlers their home gym. Stop by, and you might become one of them.
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.