We're just a few weeks away from one of the most highly-anticipated progressive conferences of the year and we're so excited to be headed down South to the front lines of social change. Considering our team is obsessed with weekend trips to the ATL, we thought we'd share some favorite local spots to eat, drink, party, and enjoy the sights while visiting for Netroots 2017.
Check out the list below and make sure to read the travel tips at the end!
Ebenezer Baptist Church & The King Center
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change is a must-visit site for the thousands of progressive activists descending on Atlanta. Part museum, part-living institute, visit the King Center for a history lesson on where we've come from, and strategize on where we're going. Fun fact: it houses largest repository of information on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement in the world. Next door, stop by the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King served as pastor.
The CNN Center
Welcome to the home of Donald Trump's least favorite cable TV station. Not #FakeNews: the CNN Center, which houses CNN's primary broadcasting studios, is definitely worth a quick visit, and the tour is actually a fun experience!
The Georgia Aquarium
For some reason, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta's downtown is the only place in the world where you can see whale sharks in captivity. Animal rights activists and biologists have debated whether its humane to keep such giant fish in tanks, but with its international reknown and proximity to the conference venue, we thought we'd let you decide. Read more about the ethical debate around Atlanta's whale sharks.
The Carter Center & Presidential Library
Former President Jimmy Carter's Center & Presidential Library is located near downtown Atlanta, and definitely worth a visit. The museum, curated and maintained by the National Archives, provides a solid tour and history lesson of Carter's presidency, and encourages visitors to engage in his ongoing human rights work today.
More to see & do:
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
Y'all have to stop by this Southern staple that's served up some of the best Fried Chicken in Atlanta for several decades. It's cheap, good, spicy, greasy, and just what you're looking for if you want the true southern culinary experience. Plus, it's close to Netroots. If you're willing to travel a little farther, the Busy Bee Cafe is even better.
The Flying Biscuit
The Flying Biscuit has become an Atlanta institution where fresh, brunch-focused comfort food is served up in a cozy environment. Get there early - they have a notoriously long wait (they serve through over 5,000 biscuits every week!). The nearest location to Netroots is about a 20 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride away in Midtown.
We know this is a local's guide, but lets face it - any restaurant list in Atlanta would be incomplete without including this super touristy mess of a restaurant. The nearly 100 year-old Varsity claims it's the "world's largest drive-in restaurant", and serves up fast food go-tos like chili dogs and cheeseburgers. Go for the experience, not necessarily the nutrition.
Ponce City Market
This new, hipster development located on the Atlanta beltline between Midtown and Little Five Points has something for literally everyone. The Food Hall, built to resemble Chelsea Market in Manhattan, has over a dozen solid restaurant options to choose from in a fun, modern environment.
More to eat:
- Mellow Mushroom (Downtown)
- Henry's (Midtown)
- Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria (Olympic Park/Downtown)
- Sweet Auburn Curb Market (Downtown)
- Joes on Juniper (Midtown)
- Waffle House (Everywhere)
- Umi (Buckhead)
Blake's on the Park
Located in the heart of Atlanta's Midtown "Gayborhood" (check out the newly installed rainbow crosswalks) this classic LGBTQ haunt is popular with the locals, and likely packed for dancing, drinks, and drag shows all weekend long. Our Director of Public Relations swears it's the best gay bar south of the Mason-Dixon line. Seriously, go to Blake's.
Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium
We partially selected this funky bar because of it's fascinating name, but our friends say it's a must-visit site for drinks and cool vibes.
Cool off from the oppressive Georgia sun with a frozen margarita at this Tex Mex restaurant and bar. If you're coming from anywhere outside the south, you'll consider the drink specials a steal for the price.
This slightly crazy bar in the uber hip Little Five Points neighborhood emphasizes beer and whiskey with a side of burgers, in a statedly "non-conformist" atmosphere.
More to drink:
- Joystick Game Bar (Near Downtown)
- Blind Willies (Little Five Points)
- Bulldogs (Downtown)
- Der Biergarten (Downtown/Olympic Park)
- Manuel's Tavern (Poncey-Highland)
- Barcelona Wine Bar (Inman Park)
Condesa Coffee boasts sophistication through its dapperly dressed baristas and rotating selection of impressive coffee preparation methods (choose from Chemex, Aeropress, siphon, etc.). The location is walking distance from the Hyatt Regency, and they serve cocktails all day long.
This local chain has caught on like wildfire and now boasts nearly a dozen locations across Georgia and Alabama. The closest location to Netroots, however, is a long stroll or short ride away in Midtown.
Folks living in Atlanta have a love/hate relationship with MARTA, the local metro authority. Fortunately, if you're staying in the Downtown or Midtown areas, MARTA is great to quickly get to otherwise only car-accesible parts of town, including to and from the Airport.
Mainstream ride-sharing apps like Lyft, Uber, and others are available in Atlanta and widely used for quick trips around downtown. Be careful for rush hour traffic though - the city is an intersection of several major highways, and hour-long traffic jams are all too frequent.
We can't wait to see all of the progressive activists descend onto Atlanta for this year's Netroots - see you there!