Jared Van Aalten
Inside the perimeter, Bagel Palace has Atlanta’s most authentic New York-style bagel. A variety of schmears, salty lox, and latkes to die for make it a perfect weekend brunch spot. (If you want the best local bagel and don’t mind a drive, check out BB’s Bagels in Alpharetta.)
The best little dive bar in Atlanta. Imagine Cheers if Norm was a biker punk and Woody a tattooed hipster, then add dancing baphomets and an old-timey brass band playing in the background. It’s noisy, smoky, and everyone’s having a great time. Woo!
Did you know Atlanta has been rated America’s funniest city? Funniest looking! But seriously folks, check out Highwire Comedy. They’re attracting lots of new talent and putting on hilarious shows, like an improvised play based on The Breakfast Club.
If you’re from the northern lands of winter, like me, you’re probably wondering where to get a decent slice around here. O4W Pizza is worthy and just a short trip down the Beltline from Ponce City Market. The Grandma slice is sweet and gooey, and the Jersey Round has the perfect amount of flop.
Inside this little oasis, you can hike trails, sit by a waterfall, or picnic by a creek. You’ll also find the ruins of—you guessed it!—an old mill. Pro tip: Climbing up the ruins is fun, getting down not so much.
With a bar on 1 side and a restaurant on the other, this is 1 of Atlanta’s oldest taverns. I always enjoy their local vegetable plate and my husband’s staple is their “off menu” Texas style chicken tenders. It’s fun to play a game of darts towards the back of the bar and people watch.
Bring a friend or 2 and sip some wine while learning how to create a masterpiece painting. All materials are provided and you don’t need to be a Picasso to walk out with a decent looking piece of art. Before or after, grab some food at Loca Luna next door.
This place is tough to beat. Their flavors change often, but my favorites include Sun Popped Corn and Brown Butter Almond Brittle.
Here’s a fun way to spend a day outside and improve your golf game while enjoying a beer or sangria. It’s forgiving for beginners and great for a group. Think of it as bowling meets a driving range.
My favorite hiking trail in all of Georgia, Blood Mountain is an hour and a half north of the city. This section of the Appalachian trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest affords spectacular views of the surrounding north Georgia mountains. Before hiking the trail, stop by the Mountain Crossings store near its base to encounter AT hikers. You'll know them by their smell.
Good alcohol selection, awesome french fries, and their email signup form in the restaurant is on an iPad running Chimpadeedoo. For a man who mostly eats meat, I actually think their salads are good too.
In Avondale Estates near my house on the east side, this restaurant makes their own corndogs, and they are stinking delicious. Except for the fries, there isn't a single item on the menu that isn't packed full of meat. They have a full bar and soda fountain. Try adding booze to your shake for a "shaketail."
If you pay attention, you'll notice that a lot of Atlanta restaurants use bacon from Pine Street Market. This small butcher shop located on (wait for it) Pine Street in Avondale cures its own bacon, makes it own sausage, and it's all delicious. Their 50/50 ground beef/ground bacon mix is perfect for grilling burgers during the summer.
Rathbun's is a steakhouse down on Krog Street, not far from the MailChimp billboard. They have, unsurprisingly, awesome steaks. (If you're a vegetarian, they have gigantic, delicious veggie sides.) Also? Boozy cocktails.
This inexpensive museum a little ways up I-85 is fun for kids. It's got lots of steam and diesel engines in a couple of large warehouses, and they also offer rides on a diesel.
Accessible from the Beltline, Ah-Ma's offers authentic Taiwanese dishes with great, friendly service. I've had almost every dish available and have yet to find something I disliked.
Here’s a great dessert stop if you’re on Buford Highway and want a milk tea. Parking can get hectic at times as it shares a lot with 2 other popular restaurants, So Kong Dong Tofu House and El Rey Del Taco.
Great Cantonese homestyle cooking. I'm partial to their honey roasted barbecue pork and pan-fried noodles with seafood. The Duluth location stays open til midnight and is great for late-night dinners.
If it wasn't apparent already, I'm a big fan of noodle dishes. When it comes to ramen, Mizumi is 1 of Atlanta’s best spots. And it’s only a 5 minute drive from MailChimp’s Suwanee data center.
This place offers quick service and huge, inexpensive bowls of noodles mixed with amazing broth and various cuts of beef. They also serve some of the best bubble tea smoothies I've ever had.
This thoughtful beer shop is close to my house and next to Revolution Doughnuts. So, basically, it's got everything.
Atlanta's puppetry scene is world class, thanks to the Center for Puppetry Arts. Take the kids to a show and the museum, then come back to see the Jim Henson Collection once the new building is complete in 2015.
Atlanta's premier comedy theatre sometimes needs help with their Bacon Festival, and I'm there to help. Sometimes they need help washing their trash cans, and sure, maybe I can help with that too.
Any time I need a gift, Little Shop is the first place I look. Yes, it's basically the greatest children's book store you can imagine, but they have plenty of books for grown folks, too.
I've never felt comfortable shopping for clothes, yet somehow I kind of want to live inside Sid Mashburn's shop. It feels like a clubhouse, and all of your friends are there, and they can get you just the right belt, even if you're shopping on the day of your wedding (ahem).
The Scribes Program has built a remarkable community of writers. Once a week, professional writers help middle school students craft a story, and the Wren's Nest publishes them all in a beautiful book for the Decatur Book Festival.
If you’re into music or comic books, prepare to spend several hours here. Criminal features their weekly releases on their Instagram feed so you can run on over and buy all the fresh goodness. Round that out with in-store performances and a Comics Book Club, and you've got yourself an Atlanta cornerstone.
For vegetable and/or pickle lovers such as myself, there is a gorgeous vegan taco with yellow rice, black beans, a big ol' slab of green avocado, and pink pickled radishes. If you're feeling adventurous, they have a daily mystery beer. There is also a large outdoor patio which serves many purposes, but most importantly dog- and EAV-people-watching.
A bit outside Atlanta proper, this is a low-effort, high-reward hike. When you reach the summit, you'll be higher than both Stone Mountain and Kennesaw Mountain—but you won't be thinking about that because you'll be too busy having a crush on Nature.