Author’s Note: This article, a review of sorts of Atlanta, concludes my travel adventures encompassing nearly the entire month of February 2020. See links below for the rest of the stories.
Also known as Atlanta – in the state of Georgia. USA. I am not sure where the term originates or if the local vernacular includes Hotlanta because I think it comes from the world of dirt bikes and Supercross, which by the way I’ll be attending on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the Atlanta Falcons play. And, if last year is any indicator, more fans will turn out for Round 9 of the 2020 Supercross season than for Falcons home games.
My first visit to Atlanta came a year ago thanks to my wife’s annual work conference. When she goes to faraway places and I can swing it, I try to tag-along and introduce myself. Last year Atlanta served me the best fried chicken I have ever tasted and my plans this week include at least one stop at Pittypat’s Porch which has an amazing friend catfish and an even better drink called the Ankle Breaker. Legend has it General Jackson broke his ankle after consuming six of them. I tried recreating it at home to limited success so try, try again with the real deal to see if I can perfect it at home.
Atlanta like all major cities has a picturesque landscape. Visiting as many major downtown cities as I can has sort of filled up my bucket list. From here we head to Nashville before returning for Supercross then heading home. Last year we toured Chattanooga, TN.
For this year’s Atlanta trip, we took the red eye from Portland, OR and landed a very slick four hours later. We’re talking a major cross country trip in four hours. Thankfully, we were one of the lucky few to not have a middle seat partner. Considering our recent 10 hour ventures this flight should have been a cakewalk but at times felt longer than the spacious international bound airplanes. Tickets were purchased before my experience flying from Amsterdam to Rwanda three weeks ago, a flight that reinforced a past episode that red eye’s don’t suit me well. You can read all about it by clicking on the link.
Therefore, I popped two Benadryl just as I did taking that other red eye from Rwanda back to Amsterdam which helped me sleep on that flight, but not as much as hoped. The Benadryl didn’t work all that well from the comparatively short flight from Portland either as I could not get comfortable nor drowsy enough to nod off completely. I did sleep a little but probably no more than two hours. The ride was quite bumpy (damn you turbulence!) most of the flight but I did not get sick and I type this a mere few hours after landing.
Things to do in Atlanta
Atlanta gets you to many places in the south, just a few hours in either direction, including Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida. Like any downtown, Atlanta also has plenty of tourist spots and places of interest depending on your druthers. Year round considerations:
- Georgia Aquarium
- World of Coca-Cola
- Delta Flight Museum
- Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
- College Football Hall of Fame
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
You can hit the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in one day because they neighbor each other. The places I have visited in Atlanta:
The downtown has one of the best aquariums in the United States with the main attraction being the whale sharks. I went last year and the entry fee is well worth gazing at these monstrously beautiful animals. Watching them float on by mesmerizes you more than anything you’ll see at a zoo.
I took a behind the scenes tour which gets you “backstage” so to speak to see things general admission doesn’t offer. I lucked out – it was a small group and felt more personal.
World of Coca-Cola
Downtown Atlanta also hosts World of Coca-Cola. I love Coke and though my Super Big Gulp a day habit ended long ago I still think it’s one of the best drinks on earth. And if you visit World of Coca-Cola the tour includes what amounts to a six minute long commercial called “Moments of Happiness” that highlights various scenes of life to the Imagine Dragons’ song “On Top of the World.”
By the time it ends, you fully understand that not only is Coke the world’s best beverage, but if you don’t have it in your life, well then, you don’t have a life. The commercial is what it is – 100 percent pure sweetened propaganda – and I highly commend whoever put it together. It’s that great and a big reason we returned to the World of Coca-Cola with just hours of sleep on our first day in Atlanta. Just so we can see the commercial! Military family reunions get me every time…
Your day ends with as many samples of soft drinks from around the world that you can stomach.
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame didn’t do much for me. I like football but I didn’t start paying attention to college football all that much until later in life and still I rarely watch it. Regardless, I got a little bored and some of the interactive stuff was a bit silly.
Unfortunately, this Atlanta trip I run solo. Last year, a friend of mine who I used to work with accompanied his girlfriend, who was attending the same conference as my wife. I too once worked at this company which is where I met my friend. He no longer works for the company and neither do I, but his girlfriend took another position and does not get to attend the conference this year. Waaaay to much information I am sure. My apologies.
Point being, I have to figure out things on my own this year. I was going to attend the Blue Oyster Cult concert but I waited too long and the show sold out. I may catch the Atlanta Hawks game on Wednesday. While in Nashville, we plan to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry.
At any rate, I’m flying somewhat blind writing this “Visiting Atlanta” article. It’s not like visiting Florence! And, I’m working my day job from the hotel. Therefore, I still have to put in my usual work hours while trying to soak in the sights and experience all that Atlanta offers.
Walking around downtown alone might prove hazardous as several people said I should be OK during the day but advised me to stay in the hotel at night. It’s not that bad as I have learned and weekend nights hop pretty good so you can feel a little safety in numbers even if you don’t count the numbers as friends or even acquaintances. Expect requests for handouts. Just be smart about where you go and how far you stray from your hotel and the hotbeds of activity.
I have absolutely experienced friendly people here but nearly an equal number make me feel unwelcome. My wife expressed a similar sentiment.
Too bad, Atlanta has a lot to offer but I can’t see returning here for a third visit.