Welcome to Atlanta where the players play.
Since 1998 this has been home for me, and while Miami and South Florida will always be close to my heart, Atlanta has been a great place for my family and I. Many careers have been made, many parties have been thrown and millions of people have moved here over the decades.
This weekend is a wild one as Dragon-Con and college football fans embark on downtown. It makes for a fascinating mix of cultures, costumes and get ups, but can make for a logistical nightmare as hotels, Air BNB and travel in and around the city.
Best Pieces of Advice for the Weekend
Leave Early …traffic in Atlanta is always terrible. Our rush hour last from 5am-11am and noon-8pm most days. The weekend will have random times where you are stuck on one of our many horribly constructed highways. Waze app in your friend, use it.
There are 7057 street names that have Peach or Tree or Peachtree in them, try not to get confused.
There are many roads that change name while you are on them. Don’t worry if you are on Jimmy Carter and suddenly while going straight you’re on Mountain Industrial. It makes no sense, but it is all over the place.
If someone walks up to you and says he will watch your car, just give him a few bucks and keep it moving.
Parking ain’t cheap. Be prepared to pay $30 and up for game parking. There are parking lots all over the place by Mercedes Benz Stadium, just make sure you take your valuables out of the car, and pin your parking on your phone as it’s easy to get lost.
Our train system Marta really isn’t convenient. You can get to the stadium via Marta, but if you’ve never traveled on it, it’s probably best to just drive.
Downtown has 238 one way streets, again the Waze app will keep you from turning the wrong way and having that oh crap moment.
People are friendly here, so expect random strangers to speak. They are not trying to fight or start crap, so unlike other parts of the country Atlantans will say hello, or what’s up and mean nothing by it.
The SEC thing is weird here. You will see random Georgia or Auburn or Tennessee fans suddenly become Alabama fans on Saturday. It makes zero sense but trying to argue logic with these folks is a feeble proposition.
Don’t call Atlanta “Hotlanta” …as no one uses that term, ever. The A, the ATL or just Atlanta are acceptable.
The airport takes forever, plan accordingly.
Best Things to Do
Visit Centennial Olympic Park because all of the tourist attractions are right here. The park was originally used for the 96 Olympics.
The Battery where the Braves play is a great spend an evening hanging out type of spot. Bars, restaurants etc only about 10 miles north of downtown. The Atlanta Canes are throwing a party there Friday night.
Speaking of parties @allcanes is throwing one Friday as well from 530pm at Buckhead Saloon. If you were at the one in Orlando 2 years ago, you know what to expect. $20 at the door will get you in.
Atlantic Station has movie theaters, ice skating rinks, cafes and other and only a few blocks from MBS.
Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke are 2 really cool attractions in the heart of downtown. The Aquarium is one of the coolest indoor aquariums in the world. The World of Coke gives a great historical tour and taste of Coke from around the world. Spend your Friday going through both of these.
If you’re into the adult clubs, Atlanta is on par with Miami and Tamp as far as “talent” goes. Magic City, PinUps, Strokers, Oasis and others have plenty to offer if you’re into that sort of thing.
Find a BBQ spot….any BBQ spot and it will be good.
There are a bunch of “Cajun seafood” spots around town. Juicy Crab, Capt Loui etc are all tasty so bring your appetite and $$$.
Spondovits is a legendary seafood spot right by the airport. Give it a try if you have time, just don’t take pictures with celebrities.
The Waffle House is a delicacy and should be treated as such. If Friday goes sideways for you, make sure you get up early and start your morning with a good breakfast.
The Varsity is an Atlanta staple, and one is not far from the stadium. If you’re into hot dogs, give one a try.
Tailgating will be much like Miami during the old Orange Bowl days. Lots are spread out along Northside Dr, and each kind of has its own vibe. Miami fans have something in Lot B and my radio station 680 the Fan has one as well. You can get free tickets at 680thefan.com and that one has food and drinks and entertainment on site.
Mercedes Benz Stadium is the best stadium in the US. Yes I’m biased having worked for the Falcons for 9 seasons, but Arthur Blank put together a state of the art venue with affordable food options and unbelievable views and a world class halo board. There is not a bad seat in the house, and Saturday the roof will be open so dress appropriately. Stadium is also cashless so have your credit cards with you.
Last but not least….Uber or Lyft. Cops will be eager and waiting for holiday drivers to make mistakes. Do not get caught and end up staying here longer than you want to.
Let’s Go Canes