Insiders Guide to Atlanta
Atlanta may be home to Coca-Cola, CNN, and the Braves, but there’s so much more that makes Atlanta a city that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Approximately two hours east of Birmingham, Ala. and just under four hours northwest of Savannah, Ga., Atlanta is a city unlike any other in the South. A mecca for shoppers and foodies, Atlanta is a city that offers both southern charm and big city appeal.
Shopping in Atlanta
Boutiques, malls, vintage shops, high-fashion couture – Atlanta has it all, for all ages and interests. From the high-end stores to the smaller locally-owned boutiques, the shopping options are endless.
One of the most well-known shopping areas of Atlanta is Buckhead, with its high-end stores at Lenox Square Mall. Here you can find just about anything high-fashion: Neiman Marcus, Kenneth Cole, Louis Vuitton, BCBG, Anthropologie, and coming soon, Fendi.
For the love of the Swedish design empire and all things home furnishings, Ikea of Atlanta is located on the Westside. Nearby is also the Atlantic Station shopping center filled with stores and restaurants in an outdoor shopping complex. Another favorite Swedish design empire, H&M is also located in this area.
Dining and Drinking in Atlanta
Just a few blocks from Atlantic Station and Ikea in the Westside is one of Atlanta’s most popular Mexican food establishments – Taqueria del Sol. With three locations in the Atlanta area, this restaurant serves up a mix of Southwestern and Mexican-inspired dishes, with reasonable prices and excellent service. Expect to wait in a line that will flow outside of the restaurant, but the wait is well worth the experience. The cheese enchiladas with red chili sauce is a favorite, as well as the salsa trio with fresh corn tortilla chips.
For an eco-friendly breakfast and lunch experience, try the Radial Cafe on DeKalb Avenue. A member of the Green Restaurant Association, the restaurant goes to great lengths to make sure its food is organic, when possible, and supplies are eco-friendly. The coffee and tea is organic, fair trade, and the food is outstanding.
For breakfast at the Radial Cafe, the biscuits with vegetarian rosemary-fennel gravy is delicious and served up with cage-free, hormone-free eggs and a choice of vegetarian sausage, turkey bacon, pork sausage or bacon. Get a side of the home-style potatoes with olive oil, spices, peppers and onions. For lunch, try the hummus sandwich on grilled rye bread, tomato, sauteed spinach, caramelized onions, and melted cheddar.
For a good burger, an adult atmosphere, and great drinks, try The Vortex Bar & Grill in Midtown Atlanta. The restaurant operates on an age-restricted basis, with the requirement that one must be at least 18 years old to even enter the premises. With a fair collection of risque art inside the walls of the restaurant and bar, no one has to wonder why it’s an adult-only establishment. The snacks and starters, sandwiches, salads, burgers and of course, the drinks, make it worth-while to step inside and experience it for yourself.
With a variety of beers on tap and creative cocktails at The Vortex, you can sit at the bar and enjoy a few drinks or go into the dining room where the photos on the wall and decorations may make you blush, but it’s all a part of the laid-back allure. Try one of the many burgers, cooked to perfection and topped with an endless variety of offerings. For a delicious hot sandwich, try the grilled chicken melt with tomato, bacon and scallion cream cheese spread, served on home-baked focaccia bread.