Date taken: July 13, 2013
Location: Dick Lane Velodrome
It’s a hidden gem tucked away in East Point. The Dick Lane Velodrome features the second steepest concrete track in the country (36 degrees). The velodrome, built in 1974, offers classes and training opportunities for kids and adults. And, on a few select Saturdays during the year the pro series comes to the track. For just $5 spectators are treated to an evening of diverse (and creative) races — and are encouraged to bang on the boards to cheer on the racers. There’s the traditional scratch race, with a mass start and set number of laps. There’s the unknown distance race, which is just what it sounds like — riders don’t know how long the race will be and wait for the bell to signal the final lap. In the Keirin, cyclists follow the draft of a motorcycle, and in the miss and out race, the last rider on every lap is eliminated. But the crowd favorite could be the Madison, where teammates grab hands and sling each other forward.
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: The Georgia Aquarium
Date taken: December 17, 2012
The Georgia Aquarium is the one place in Atlanta (and the Southeast) where you can touch a stingray, sea star, sea urchin or sea anemone. The aquarium remains a top destination for tourists and Atlantans, so I recommend getting there when the doors open to beat the crowds. You’ll get an up close look at otters, whales, jellyfish and those adorable clown fish. Stare awhile at the giant walls of fish. Crawl through a tunnel to see the penguins. Watch dolphins propel themselves through the air. Take a family photo on the moving walkway. And, don’t forget the giant gift shop on your way out — stuffed sea animals are pretty cute, too.
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.
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: Tribute Lofts
Date taken: November 11, 2012
When Hugh Malkin moved back to his hometown of Atlanta in 2010, his job with Philips had him working with the Atlanta BeltLine, figuring out how to light its trails and rails. Soon, Hugh started noticing all sorts of events popping up along the BeltLine – events that were spreading simply by word of mouth. Nicknamed “Huge” and the social coordinator among his friends since high school, Hugh saw an opportunity and contacted his long-time friend Adam Wilson.
“Hugh had gotten back in town and was interested in creating some sort of social event site for Atlanta,” said Adam. “He messaged me to see if I knew someone that he could talk to about building a website. I said, ‘You can talk to me.’ We went out for a drink, saw the Social Network and decided to start something. ”
Hugh and Adam have known each other since childhood – their families hung out together and the two Roswell natives became good friends when they were self-described “band nerds” at Roswell High School. With Hugh’s passion for Atlanta events, places and happenings and Adam’s knowledge of software, the two Georgia Tech grads created HUGEcity.us in January 2012 to help connect people with events in Atlanta.
The site, which utilizes Facebook’s public events to create calendar listings, has become one of the most popular places to find out what is happening in Atlanta and in cities around the world. Thousands of people are logging onto the site each day. Atlanta, where HUGE city started, is the only city (for now) with its own e-mail – events hand-picked by Hugh.
“This city has so much to offer, and most people don’t know about it,” said Hugh, who was born in Houston but moved to Atlanta as a child. “Atlanta might not have the best of anything, but we have a little of everything. HUGE city provides people with the opportunity to find out about events, celebrate where they live and share their experiences.”
Next up for HUGE city – creating a mobile app. Adam, a third generation Atlantan, works full-time for HUGE city and is focused on getting the app up and going sometime early next year.
“Imagine sitting at Dark Horse Tavern in the Virginia-Highlands and wanting to find out about events nearby. How do you find out? Facebook has all the events, but no discovery mechanism,” said Hugh. “An app will allow people to pull up all that information up on their phones easily. With all that is happening with technology, it’s exciting – the connections that are being made. Exciting things are happening to connect people.”