This is a very special blog post for me- this week, I have lived in Atlanta for over a year. To celebrate, I am sharing my ultimate Atlanta bucket list, with over 470 things to do, eat, & see!
A little Background:
Before I moved to Atlanta, I had been to Georgia once for a quick weekend. I didn’t even see the city, but I loved the idea of living in a city and being in the south, even if I had never really been before. After I got my job in Atlanta, I decided to go on a total adventure and just go for it. After over four years of constant health issues, a fresh start and doing something big and brand new just felt right. So I took a one way flight the day after graduation, sight unseen. I picked out an apartment over the internet, gave the Uber driver my new address after my flight… and that’s how I saw the city for the first time.
Not seeing the city didn’t stop me from planning all my Atlanta adventures- I updated my Pinterest board with Atlanta restaurants, things to do, and local hot spots. This all culminated into a list of things I wanted to see and do- in the form of my original, handmade Atlanta bucket list, which I kept on my fridge on the side where I saw it each morning as I made my coffee (I love my little inspiration board on my fridge by my coffee, haha!).
Making the ultimate Atlanta bucket list
After sitting down and going through the things I still wanted to do a few weeks ago, I realized that I have so much left that I want to explore and do (and eat!) in Atlanta. Thinking about it all honestly made me overwhelmed- and it gave me the urge to get organized. Having my little original bucket list on my fridge was fun, but it was also practical and a great way to sit down on a Saturday and have options for things to do right in front of me.
I realized that I wanted that same reference guide for “year two and beyond”- I wanted to sit down and instead of looking at Ryan and saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do this weekend?” when we had no plans, I wanted to have the convenience of just going to a list and seeing my options….all of my options.
But frankly, I couldn’t find one anywhere. Most of the ATL bucket lists I did find consisted of the first page of mine, which is a short list of Atlanta touristy things. So I sat down, I started typing everything I had done this year, places friends and coworkers had recommended to me, and started doing deep dives in websites and forums of people discussing their Atlanta hidden gems. And eighteen pages later, I had something that I felt really captured the culture, fun, and food that Atlanta has to offer.
I’m not going to act like my list is flawless- as I mentioned, I’ve only lived here a year, haha. So if you see something that is missing, please reach out in a comment or email– I’m not perfect, and going through a list this size is a massive undertaking that doesn’t come without missing a few things.
I hope you enjoy it- consider it a gift from me, to you- thank you for reading and celebrating my one year anniversary with me!
The Ultimate Atlanta Bucket List
So here it is- download it, share it with your friends, and hang it on your fridge if you want, haha. You will see me go through a lot of the items this coming year on my blog, and some of them I’ve already done and have posts about right here on A Spin of Sugar.
How I organized the list
Because Atlanta has so much to do, this list is 18 pages long….I apologize if it is overwhelming, but my goal was to have an inclusive list. I did my best to keep the pages streamlined, and as neatly categorized as possible.
Here is the breakdown of all eighteen pages:
Touristy things: all the things that are fun to do when people visit, but I would consider a “one time thing” (I’ll never spend another Saturday at the World of Coca Cola, for example).
Atlanta classics: the true, local Atlanta things to do, all ITP.
Food favorites: the best restaurants and places to eat. There are four pages, plus a separate list that groups Atlanta’ s best pizza, wings, BBQ, and ethcnic cuisines together.
Sweet treats: the best places for sweet snacks.
Bar favorites: Most of these bars are listed by category- you’ll find a complete list of all of Atlanta’s breweries, as well as the ones that are OTP. I also separated out the bars with games, clubs, speakeasies, dive bars, and more.
OTP adventures: A general list of fun things to do outside of the city. Some of them are seasonal and further than the city than others, so do your research before going. I separated out a few historic homes, and the “out there” things to do that are a bit more eccentric and might not be for everyone.
Places to stay: Fun hotels, nice resorts, and cute B&B’s that are all on my personal list for weekend getaways.
Looking back on year one and my progress on my OG bucket list
- The Beltline: this is obviously an Atlanta highlight. I ended up walking on the Beltline for my commute and look forward to it every day. The people watching at breweries is one of my favorite things to do after work! Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market are tied in as clear winners here too, of course!
- Swan House and the Margaret Mitchell House: I loved these two historical pieces of Atlanta- I was pleasantly surprised by Swan House and I enjoyed learning about the Margaret Mitchell House, which I walk by all the time.
- Six Flags: this one really surprised me, but I was so impressed with Six Flags! We went for their Christmas in the park at discounted rates and enjoyed no lines and everything all lit up.
- Botanical Gardens: my favorite place to escape the city, in the city.
Other highlights that didn’t make it to the list:
- Local festivals: there are so many events year round that I loved this past year, like Pride!
- Out of the city trips: Marietta, Helen, Ellijay, Gainesville and Lake Lanier…I explored towns outside of the fita lot this past year due to the virus.
- Other neighborhoods- I seriously missed other “less popular” neighborhoods on my list, and I am still guilty of not exploring them more! Little Five Points, Cabbagetown, Ansley Park, Atlantic Station…each one is so unique and has so much culture to offer.
Things left to do:
Almost everything that I have left to do is either something that is a) touristy that I didn’t really want to do that much, haha or b) something I waited to do until Ry was down here full time.
The ones that are first on my list post-quarantine are:
- Speakeasies- Ryan would’ve been very upset if I did these without him!
- The Varsity- an ATL classic (although I’ve heard the food is questionable, haha)
- Fox Theater- we have tickets to see Hamilton, which was rescheduled for the fall
- Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House- this is another “I waited for Ryan” icon I can’t wait to go to
Making a full, updated, list of Atlanta restaurants was a little overwhelming- and I have to be honest and say that I didn’t even really hit half the ones on my short list!
I had zero concept of the neighborhoods in Atlanta and you can see that I did most of the Midtown ones, but missed a lot of others. I also had some trouble picking my favorites to visit as I was down here in ATL by myself and usually let my friends pick the place when going out to eat, haha. I’m excited to take Ry to some of the new ones on my list when we go out to eat again!
Let me know what you think of the list & your favorite Atlanta spots in the comments!
If you liked this post and want to read more about things to do in Atlanta, like my favorite restaurants, bars, and day trips in Georgia, be sure to scroll down (if you’re reading on your phone) or go to the right hand pane (on your computer) to sign up for emails about new posts! Or, follow me on instagram and pinterest to see what I’m up to and see more of my favorite spots in Atlanta!