Atlanta

How To Spend A Weekend in Atlanta

Thank you Hurricane Patricia, not only did you slam Mexico with crazy fast winds, but you also pushed a whole bunch of rain up to Texas. The good news is that the temperature dropped, the bad news is that we got a ton of rain this weekend, which means that we didn’t do a whole heck of a lot.

I realized that I didn’t upload like any pictures from some of our weekend trips to my personal Facebook page, so while I was uploading some pictures from some of our earlier trips, I realized that it’s officially been one year since our very first trip to Atlanta! In honor of that trip, I thought that I’d do a weekending post about how to spend a weekend in Atlanta!

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

What To Do

Georgia Aquarium

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

The first thing to do during your weekend in Atlanta is to check out the Georgia Aquarium near Centennial Park. The Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the country, and it is filled with lots of things to do and see.

The Georgia Aquarium is split into different sections, so you can start off by checking out the dolphin show, then make your way over to see the penguins and actually pop up into their habitat, and then make your way over to see the whale sharks where they literally swim right over you.

You could easily spend a half a day here, and at $35.95 per person (adult price with an online discount), it’s money well spent in my book.

Coke Museum

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

One of the largest companies in the world, let alone in the United States, has stayed true to their Georgia roots and is headquartered in Atlanta. Coca Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and at the Coke Museum you have the opportunity to learn a little bit about the company.

Not only will you get to learn about the history of Coca-Cola and their roots, but you’ll also learn about Coke’s culture and their marketing strategy, and even get a look inside the secret vault that holds the secret recipe for Coca-Cola. Probably the most exciting part about visiting the Coke Museum is the tasting at the end of the museum. Not only do you get to try some of the traditional flavors, but you also get to try some more unique flavors from around the world.

Coca Cola is such a big part of our culture that a stop at the Coke Museum is definitely worth a stop during your trip to Atlanta, plus tickets are only $16 per person.

Inside CNN Studio Tour

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

CNN is one of the biggest news companies in the world, and its global headquarters are located right in the heart of Atlanta. Not only are there news programs for CNN filmed in Atlanta, but also for HLN and several international CNN stations.

The Inside CNN Studio Tour gives you the opportunity to not only go behind the scenes of some of CNN’s shows on some of their multiple networks, but you also get to view the live News Room where stories are discovered and checked out to see if they can be presented on TV.

If you’re a news buff, then the Inside CNN Studio Tour, for only $16 per person, is a definite must hit during your trip to Atlanta.

SkyView Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

If you’re looking for spectacular views of downtown Atlanta and the surrounding areas, then look no further than SkyView Atlanta.

Before you step onto the large Ferris Wheel make sure to grab a beverage, alcoholic or not, to get yourself ready for the ride. During your ride, the narrator will point out most of the highlights of the downtown area and of the surrounding area, from the Georgia Aquarium to the arena where the Atlanta Falcons play to several of the taller buildings in downtown Atlanta.

I don’t think that you can go wrong with riding SkyView Atlanta either during the day or during the evening. You’ll probably be able to see the sites easier during the day, but I’ve always had a love of seeing the bright lights of cities during the evening. At no price change for an evening ride from the $13.50 per person, the decision about what time to ride is totally up to you!

Where To Stay

Downtown Atlanta

All of the activities listed above are located right around the Centennial Park area of Atlanta, which is right across the street from downtown. If you don’t want to rent a car, then the downtown area of Atlanta is the perfect place to stay during your visit.

During our visit, we stayed at the Doubletree in Downtown Atlanta, and I thought that it was the perfect location. Not only was the Doubletree located right on the edge of downtown closest to Centennial Park, but it also offered great views of the SkyView and the buildings around downtown. Also, because we are gold members with Hilton Honors, we got a free breakfast with our stay.

Where to Eat

Flip Burger

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

When Chef Richard Blais first appeared on Top Chef, everybody fully expected him to win with his innovative flavors and sci-fi cooking techniques, so you can imagine everyone’s surprise when he came in second place. He had the chance to redeem himself a few years later on Top Chef All Stars where he did take the prize at the top.

One of the first restaurants that he opened up after winning Top Chef was Flip Burger, which is described as a “Burger Boutique”. You can choose from a wide array of burgers, from traditional burgers and cheeseburgers to fried chicken and bison burgers. And don’t forgot about your sides either, which include your usual fries and onion rings, and you’re not so traditional sweet potato fries and tater tots. What will really complete your meal though is one of the shakes, spiked or not spiked, that are frozen with liquid Nitrogen, in true Richard Blais fashion.

Depending on how hungry you are, be expected to spend anywhere from $20-$35 for a two person meal, which includes a burger, sides, and a drink for each person on the high end.

Sundial Restaurant

The Wandering Weekenders- How To Spend A Weekend In Atlanta

If you’re looking for a restaurant that not only offers great views of the city from every angle, but also some great food and drinks, look no further than Sundial Restaurant.

Located on the 72nd Floor of the Westin hotel, Sundial is one of the restaurants that rotates to show you views of the entire downtown area of Atlanta. If you’re going for dinner, I definitely recommend getting a reservation because it is very hard to get a table during dinner time, but if you’re just going for drinks then you’ll probably be able to get a table in the bar area and still be able to enjoy the scenery.

Because of the location of this restaurant and the amazing view, you can expect to drop around $50 per person, without appetizers and drinks, on dinner. All of that being said, you will definitely enjoy a wonderful meal, that includes a fantastic view!

For all of you heading to Atlanta soon, I hope that this little city guide will help you out! If you’ve already been to Atlanta, what else have I missed that would make for the perfect weekend in Atlanta?

Linking up with the amazing Biana at B Loved Boston and Meghan at Champagne & Suburbs for their weekending linkup!

The Wandering Weekenders- Currently

6 Things I Learned While Visiting Atlanta

Happy Monday everyone! I just got back from a wonderful bachelorette weekend in Atlanta celebrating one of my wonderful friends from college! After college she moved to Atlanta and ended up meeting her future husband and I seriously couldn’t be more excited for her! I was also very excited to be headed back to Atlanta because it was our very first weekend trip. In honor of that, I thought that I’d give y’all a little peak of our bachelorette weekend with 6 thing I learned on my trip.

The Wandering Weekenders- 6 Things I Learned While Visiting Atlanta

  1. Atlanta has tons of lightning bugs– The only place in Texas that I’ve ever seen lightning bugs is at my parents place in the hill country. And even then they’re only out for about a month before they disappear. The first night we were in Atlanta I just sat in amazement of all the lightning bugs in Berit’s backyard. They were beautiful and twinkled everywhere! I could have watched them all night.
  2. Mosquitos are just as bad in Atlanta as they are in Houston- Especially with all of the rain we’ve been having in Houston, the mosquitos are getting so big that they could literally almost carry you off! They’re constantly spraying our neighborhood to kill most of them since they can carry West Nile Virus. Well, the first night we were in Atlanta we all had to spray ourselves down because the mosquitos were just as big and vicious there as they are at home!
  3. It’s hard to guess home or country club driving through Buckhead- One of the areas that we explored while we visited Atlanta this time was the Buckhead area (think River Oaks in Houston or Upper East Side in NYC). To avoid some traffic we ended up driving through some neighborhoods and around every turn we were blown away by another beautiful mansion! My friend Stacy and I decided to make it a game and try to guess if it was somebody’s house or a country club and we had a hard time guessing a lot of the time.
  4. Summer nights in Atlanta are perfect- Our first night in Atlanta we spent the evening at Berit’s house just hanging out and getting to know each other. During the afternoon when the sun was out, we all were quite toasty, but once the sun went down, the night couldn’t have been more perfect! It was cool and not super humid, which meant that we got to sit outside and hang out, which can’t always happen at home because it’s always so warm and muggy!
  5. I need to get Berit some more Aggie stuff for her house- One of the things that I loved about this weekend (besides hanging out with friends) was being able to see Berit’s house! It’s such a cute Southern house, and I’m so excited to see how all of her renovation plans turn out! The only “negative” thing I noticed about her house was that there wasn’t nearly enough A&M stuff on the walls to balance out all of the Georgia stuff! I totally know what I’m getting you for a wedding gift Berit!
  6. We need another girls’ trip very soon- After college and a couple of us got married, a group of us decided that we were going to try and meet up once a year to go on an annual girls’ trip. We had such blast in New Orleans in 2012 and Boston in 2013. We skipped a year in 2014, but Chris and I took trips to visit Stacy in Minot and Berit in Atlanta. 2015 has turned into another whirlwind of a year with both Jenny and Berit getting married, so we haven’t had a chance to really plan another trip. Especially after these bachelorette party and wedding weekends, I really start to miss hanging out with everyone on a regular basis like we did in college, and it makes me want to plan another girls trip so I know the next time that we’ll all be together. Looks like we have a Europe trip to plan soon!

Well, that’s all you’re going find out about our bachelorette weekend! We had an absolute blast celebrating Berit and I can’t wait to be standing next to her in September! 

Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

I seriously can’t believe that we just got back from our very first Companion Pass Weekend Trip!  We had the best time visiting with our friends that live there and exploring and getting to know the city of Atlanta.

Friday

We arrived in Atlanta at around 10:00 that evening, and pretty much just made our way over to our hotel for the rest of the night. We decided to not rent a car during our stay because our hotel was within walking distance of everything that we wanted to do, and I thought that we could hail a cab if we needed to go anywhere that wasn’t within walking distance.

Our hotel that we stayed in was a Double Tree, and it was located right on the edge of downtown Atlanta and right across the street from the Centennial Olympic Park.  Overall, the hotel was a little old, but comfortable enough and clean.  Plus, you couldn’t beat the location. We were within walking distance of the Georgia Aquarium, the Coke Museum, the CNN Headquarters, the Georgia Dome, and Philips Arena.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta
The view from our hotel room balcony.

Saturday

One of my good friends from college moved to Atlanta after graduation, so we were planning on hanging out with her and her fiance for most of the day.  Our plan, was to go to the Georgia Aquarium, the Coke Museum (World of Coca Cola), and then have lunch.  We ate breakfast at the hotel because we had free breakfast coupons (thank you Hilton Honors!) and then we made our way to the Georgia Aquarium to meet up with our friends.  The walk was only about 10-15 minutes long, and probably would have been quicker if a Breast Cancer Awareness walk hadn’t been going on in the Centennial Olympic Park that morning.  It was a little bit crazy going the opposite direction of the thousands of people that were participating in this walk.

Georgia Aquarium

Our first activity of the day was the Georgia Aquarium, and it was fantastic!  It’s actually one of the largest aquariums in the country, and they have done a fantastic job with it.  The aquarium is divided into multiple parts which were the following: Ocean Voyager, River Scout, Cold Water Quest, Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, and Dolphin Tales.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The first stop of the day was at Dolphin Tales which is a free show (you have to pick which time you want to go to the show when you purchase your tickets) that involves a cheesy story line about a sailor from the olden days that sings and is good friends with the dolphins (which, of course, do lots of tricks and flips throughout the entire show).  I’m sure that the songs were a lot more entertaining for a younger crowd, but to us 20-somethings, it was pure cheddar cheese (as I like to say).  The dolphins, though, were amazing!  I could have just watched them the whole time, and could have done without the song and dance numbers!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

After, the dolphin show, we made our way the Cold Water Quest.  The penguins were included in this exhibit, and that was the main thing that the hubby was excited to see!  The Aquarium actually had a tunnel that you can crawl through that empties into a space that you can pop your head up so that you’re actually looking into the penguin exhibit.  It was pretty cool to see them that close and from all angles.  There was a little guy that was sleeping right by our little pop up and he was so cute!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta
He really wanted to adopt one of the penguins.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Ocean Voyager was next on our list, and this might have been my favorite exhibit!  This is the exhibit with the two whale sharks that I think the Georgia Aquarium is known for.  When you first enter the exhibit you have the option to view from normal windows in the tank, but further along in the exhibit, you step onto a moving walkway that takes you under a tunnel that has water on both sides and above you.  It was so amazing to see the whale sharks, manta rays, sting rays, huge groupers, and the countless other fish swim over us.  I could have stayed on that moving walkway all day!  The last stop in the exhibit was a room that had a floor to ceiling glass wall that showed the exhibit.  While we were watching the fish from this room, a guy actually used some of the divers in the exhibit to propose to his girlfriend, and it was very cute!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Georgia Explorer exhibit was closed, so we finished our time at the Aquarium in the Tropical Diver and River Scout Exhibits. Both were great exhibits, just like the previous ones, and I think that our favorites were probably the otters.  We could have watched them for hours.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Our last stop at the Aquarium was at the gift shop, of course.  The hubby and I always get a coffee mug (typically the Starbucks mugs), a magnet, and a Christmas ornament (if we travel together) from the places that we go on vacation.  Our fridge is quite literally covered with magnets from places that we visit, as is our Christmas tree (I think that we actually need a second tree this year), and I love being able to look at both of them and reminisce about the fun places that we got to visit.  I also love having a coffee mug from different places so when I’m having my morning cup, I can “travel” back to where we’ve been.

World of Coca-Cola

Right across the park was our next stop of the day, the World of Coca-Cola, AKA the Coke Museum.  Coca-Cola was actually created and founded in Atlanta, and being the coke drinking family that we are, we knew that we needed to visit here.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

When we first walked into the museum, we were taken into a room with a bunch of C0ke memorabilia that ranged from the 1800’s to present day, including many items from different countries.   After hearing a brief history of Coke, we went into a theater room that showed a short film about “happiness” or basically the joyous moments throughout life that make people want to drink a Coke (because when something important in life happens, everybody drinks a coke right).  Well, talk about a tearjerker!  I had to basically will myself to not cry while we’re sitting in the theater!  Normally, I’m not that sappy of a person, but they showed clips of a soldier sending love back to his family, and then he ended up at the sporting event that they went to and everybody was just so happy to see him!  Stuff like that gets me everytime!

After, I pulled myself back together, we made our way out of the theater to the rest of the museum.  There are multiple exhibits, which include viewing the vault with the secret formula which also shows the history of the company, a pop culture area that shows different advertisements that Coke used to use, a full fledged bottling area that is actually still operational, and of course the tasting area where you can try different Coke products from all over the world.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

My favorite exhibit was the pop culture area because I love that sort of thing, but I think that most people end up really loving the tasting area.  Last year when we went to Disney World, I completely passed on doing this at Epcot because I’m really not that adventurous when it comes to trying new drinks (and because everybody that I talked to said that those products really aren’t that great.).  I did end up trying one from every continent, and I didn’t like one of them!  Although it was pretty interesting to see what’s popular in certain areas.  I definitely recommend trying Beverly from Europe, it’s definitely interesting!  At the end, you can finally try the real/normal Coke products, and you even get a glass bottle coke, which of course was delicious!  I swear, after being completely submerged in Coke products, I was ready to actually drink one!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Flip Burger

After drinking as many Coke products and Cokes as we could handle, we were pretty much starving and ready for lunch!  Any of y’all that know me, know that I’m literally OBSESSED with practically anything that comes on Bravo.  My favorite shows are all of the Housewives shows, (except Atlanta, which is ironic since that’s where we were) and Top Chef.  When I was researching places to eat in Atlanta, I stumbled upon an article that stated that Richard Blais had a burger boutique in Altanta that was named Flip Burger, and I knew that we had to eat there.  I was so happy that our friends were dying to try it as well!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Of course, we all got burgers to eat!  The hubby tried the Trio which was 3 sliders that included the Fried Chicken burger, which was probably my favorite, while I had the Classic with cheese.  We also split the Fry Side Sample, which included fries, sweet potato tots, and onion rings, because the burgers didn’t come with anything on the side.  Everything was absolutely to die for!  My burger was cooked to perfection, and the fry side came with multiple dipping sauces which were wonderful!  The hubby also got the adult version of the Krispy Kreme Milkshake that had some flavored vodka in it, and it tasted exactly like a Krispy Kreme donut! And, in true Richard Blais style, it came out steaming from the liquid Nitrogen that they used to freeze the milkshake!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

SkyView Atlanta

Once we were finished with lunch, we were ready to go into a food coma, so our friends dropped us back at our hotel where we had a quick nap and watched a little college football.  We had a very late lunch, so after we had finished napping it was already evening.  Atlanta has a very big Ferris Wheel that’s called SkyView Atlanta, that I really wanted to ride in the evening because I love to see cities all lit up at night.  Lucky for us, SkyView was just around the corner from our hotel, and we arrived at around 7:00 in the evening.  There was already a line, and it gets longer as it gets later during the evening (everytime we went around on SkyView the line was longer than the last time), so I highly recommend getting there when it’s just starting to get dark outside.

We really enjoyed our ride on SkyView a lot.  They don’t stuff multiple groups together into one cart like they do on the High Roller in Las Vegas, and they have one of the CNN anchors narrating the ride for you so you know what you’re looking at.  The ride was actually pretty long as well.  I think that we went around a total of 3 times, and 2 of the times were continuous (so you weren’t stopping every few minutes for loading and unloading).  Overall, SkyView was really relaxing, and worth the money in my opinion.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Sundial Restaurant

Now that you all know that I’m a sucker for seeing cities all lit up during the night, the place that we chose for drinks that night shouldn’t come as a shock.  The Westin in downtown Atlanta has a restaurant and bar/lounge on the 72nd floor of the hotel called Sundial.  Sundial is one of those restaurants that has a moving floor so that guests can have a full view of the Atlanta skyline during dinner.  We were still pretty full from lunch, so we opted to just have a couple of drinks at the bar and maybe get a snack a little bit later.  Word of Warning, we saw a couple of people that didn’t have reservations for dinner try to get a table in the restaurant, and they were told that the restaurant was completely booked.  Therefore, I highly recommend having a reservation if you would like to eat here.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

There was a dedicated elevator that takes you to the restaurant.  So after riding all the way to the 72nd floor, we managed to find the one empty table in the bar that was on the moving walkway and immediately took it.  This is definitely a pretty popular place, so I would recommend getting here early if you would like a table that moves (which is, of course, the whole reason for visiting this restaurant).  The hubby and I both ended having a cocktail and a glass of wine, and then later split a cheese tray for a snack/dinner.  Overall, we both really enjoyed Sundial.  It was a nice relaxing way to spend the evening, and of course, we both loved seeing the different views of ATL.

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

Sunday

The only thing that we had planned for Sunday was the CNN Studio Tour, so we took our time getting ready on Sunday morning. We had breakfast at our hotel again before walking across the street to the Centennial Olympic Park to the CNN Studio for the tour.

CNN Studio Tour

Even though we don’t watch CNN, we both really enjoyed going on the CNN Studio Tour.  The tour gives you a behind the scene look at all of the different aspects of a news production.  They showed us how the cameras work with the teleprompters, the green screen, the news rooms for multiple shows (because HLN, CNN, and several International CNN stations are all housed there), a couple of studios, and also a control room.  I think that it’s easy to forget how much work goes into a news production.  After the tour, we didn’t really have time for anything else, so we grabbed a quick lunch before heading back to the hotel to head to the hotel. We both really enjoyed Atlanta, and would love to go back, especially since we missed out on going to the Gone With The Wind museum!

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

The Wandering Weekenders- Weekend Wanderings- Atlanta

I hope that you enjoyed reading about our whirlwind weekend!  Are there any other sights in Atlanta that we missed?