Atlanta, also known as ‘The A’, ‘ATL’ or ‘Hotlanta’.
This urban and vibrant city is home to a lot of churches, a lot of restaurants and a lot of entertainment. However, Atlanta is not your typical urban city plastered with high-rises and traffic, but also features multiple parks and outdoor festivals.
Thanks to the great southern weather, Atlanta is worth a visit the whole year round with an average high of 89°F (32°C) in July and an average low of 52°F (11°C) in January.
As a tourism and family-friendly city with multiple things to do and see, it is the perfect destination for a weekend trip. After exploring Atlanta for the last 6 weeks, I now feel ready to share my travel tips with you.
Here is my solo female travelers guide to Atlanta!
To my surprise and advantage, Atlanta has a pretty reliable public transport system called MARTA, which comprises trains and buses throughout the metro Atlanta area. Trains and buses run on a regular schedule every 10-20 minutes and ticket prices start from as little as $2.50 per ride.
While I certainly appreciate and prefer public transport, the MARTA trains only cover the Perimeter of the city. Which means that a lot of locations are still easier accessible by car. Therefore, I suggest either renting a car or downloading a ridesharing app such as UBER when planning a visit to Atlanta.
As most major US cities Atlanta offers a variety of accommodation types, from budget motels to 5-star hotels. The city is also home to multiple Airbnb listings, with a bedroom or apartment for every type of traveler.
Unfortunately for us budget travelers, you won’t find a lot of hostels in Atlanta. As an alternative I highly recommend Couchsurfing. Atlanta has a very engaged and fun CS community that is always happy to welcome travelers.
Best areas to stay in, are Downtown Atlanta if you are here for business or work. Midtown Atlanta for families and young adults. And the Atlanta airport area if you are only in the city for a quick layover.
All I can say is Collard Greens!!! No, seriously. Ever since I’ve been to Atlanta I have discovered my love for southern food. Mostly known for soul food and barbecue, Atlanta cuisine serves, among other things, fried chicken, cornbread, and collard greens.
Popular dishes to try while in the city are the chili hot dogs at The Varsity, the largest drive-thru restaurant in Atlanta. Mary Mac’s fried chicken at The Busy Bee Cafe, which is rumored to have the best fried chicken in the south (so they say) and a burger at Holeman & Finch if you want to call yourself a real Atlantean.
What to See
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
As the heart of the south, Atlanta is the birth city of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site comprises Dr. King’s birth home, The Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Freedom Hall and a visitor center. The site showcases different exhibitions and movies on the Civil Rights Movement.
If you want to benefit from everything the Site offers, I suggest going in the morning. Since the site is for free, tickets to MLK’s birth home are usually gone by noon.
The Georgia Aquarium
Truly the biggest Aquarium I have ever been to, the Georgia Aquarium is definitely worth a visit. In 10 million gallons of water, it houses aquatic animals from all over the world, such as dolphins, penguins and whale sharks.
Some of the highlights are their animal encounters and shows which you can reserve online. The Georgia Aquarium is situated in Downtown Atlanta. Therefore, it is easily accessible by car as well as public transport (MARTA).
While the Georgia Aquarium is a little pricey ($30 and up), the attraction offers multiple options to save a few dollars. For example an early bird rate before 11 am and free admission on birthdays.
Hands down my favorite place in Atlanta is Piedmont Park. For someone who enjoys a walk through a beautiful green space, laying in the sun or an occasional jog in the park, it is perfect.
Situated right in the heart of the city, Piedmont Park allows residents as well as visitors to flee from the hustle and bustle of the city and recharge. The park also hosts major food and music festivals every year which are worth checking out.
The Atlanta BeltLine
I just can’t get enough of the Atlanta BeltLine! Why? Because I pay $15 a month for my relay bikes and really want to get my money worth. But also, because it is fun. At the BeltLine, you will find contemporary street art that makes for great Instagram posts and cozy alternative restaurants and cafes.
Ponce City Market
The marketplace at Ponce City Market is best described as an artisan food hall. On the ground floor, the market offers local flavors of the south, with a wide range of specialty restaurants and bars.
The outdoor space is home to décor and clothing stores for bohemian lovers and art enthusiasts. You can easily spend a whole afternoon roaming around the Ponce City Market, just be prepared to spend quite a few $$.
No matter if you are visiting for a weekend or planning a vacation in the South. Atlanta is definitely worth a visit.