Favorite Hometown Spots: ATLANTA

Today we continue our "Favorite Hometown Spots" series, and I've invited my friend Sarah to share her favorite family-friendly ideas (on a budget) for Atlanta. She and I met about 5 years ago, when she was newly married with no kids, and she gawked at me and my brood of (then) four kids. Now, just a handful of years later? She's a busy mom of 4 adorable kiddos. No joke.

Listen up -- her fun ideas make me want to go to Atlanta soon:


Sarah - Atlanta, GA
Hey everyone! I'm Sarah from Ours Forever and I've called Atlanta home for 6 years now. Being a Boulder, CO hippie who was planning to live the rest of her life in Cairo, Egypt, I never imagined I'd end up in the South. And there was only one thing that could get me here. 

Yep, LOVE. My husband was born and raised in Atlanta and so I left the exotic land of Egypt six long years ago for him. It was worth it.

It's taken me quite awhile to get used to southern culture, but one thing I loved right away about Atlanta was all of the things to do! Atlanta is full of tiny of pockets of awesomeness, and each pocket (i.e. neighborhood) has different great things to offer. There isn't one single main downtown area, but there are lots of quirky, different areas to explore.  

These are a few of our family-friendly favorites:

This is one of those classic "must see" things to do in Atlanta. I actually didn't experience it until a couple of months ago, but it was a total blast! 

Come prepared with a picnic dinner and some bubbles/soccer balls/games and hang out until the sun sets and watch the history of Stone Mountain (and something about the Confederacy???) along with a pretty great fireworks show. We kept our kids (ages 5, 5, 3, and 6 months) up LATE for it, but it was worth it! Or, if you're not into staying awake late, just head to the park and hike to the top of the mountain, walk around it, or play on the playground.

I love Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) and this is the place to get it!  They bring you noodles in broth, and give you a tray so you can season it as you wish.  I recommend lots of hoisin (the brown sauce), a bit of the sriracha chili sauce, and a lime.  Sooo good.  Finish it off with a bubble tea smoothie.  

I prefer the Milk Black, but my husband loves the Taro Root and Coconut flavors.

You guys, this is the very best part of Atlanta.  It's an indoor farmers market that is open every day and it will transport you to an entirely different world the moment you walk in.  

It's full of (mostly organic and affordable) fresh fruits and veggies that can usually only be found in exotic lands and you are pretty much guaranteed to hear at least 5 different languages being spoken throughout your shopping trip. There's also an area where you can buy food to eat in the market. I HIGHLY recommend the mango cupcakes. 

Rory, my 3 year old shopping buddy recommends the Apple Chips. :)

This is a tiny airport in Atlanta proper that almost always has planes flying in and out of it. They also have a playground right next to the runway, so you can take the kids there for free and fill your day with playing on the playground and watching planes land and take off. If that's not every kid's dream, I don't know what is!  

King of Pops is a popsicle stand that visits different places thorughout the week. Their popsicles are amazing and though they can be $$$ for just one popsicle, they are totally worth it. My favorite is the chocolate coffee popsicle but I'm sure they're all amazing!

The Old Fourth Ward is a great and diverse area in the center of the city where new growth is mixing with the historic neighborhoods. It's a fun playground with a free splash pad in a charming area of the city! After you're worn out, head to Ponce City Market Dancing Goats for a place to relax and some great coffee.

The thing I love about this site is that it's in the middle of Urban Atlanta. The homes around it haven't changed much and life goes on all around this incredible piece of history.  At the MLK Jr. site, you'll get to tour MLK Jr's boyhood home, a couple of other spots, and take an emotional tour through a museum dedicated to the civil rights movement. It's inspiring to go through the musem and then walk out the door to such a diverse area.

Last year we only made it out for strawberry season, but this year, we picked strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. 

Southern Belle Farm also has picnic tables for you to sit at if you pack lunch and lots of animals to greet. You have to pay for the berries, but we use them to make jars upon jars upon jars of jam, and there are still plenty left for pies and cobblers.  

This restaurant doesn't look like much since it's actually attached to a convenience store, but this is my favorite BBQ of all time! It's a play on southern BBQ and Korean BBQ which, combined, is likely to be the best food you will ever put in your mouth. It's pick-up only, so I recommend you grab some food (Korean BBQ burger with Korean Sweet Potatoes!) and take it down the street to Chattahoochee Coffee (see below!) and eat it by the river.  

Ahh, that sounds like my perfect day.

This is definitely the best kept secret in Atlanta

Located right on the Chattahoochee River, it has the best views in the city.  It's hidden in an apartment complex, but is open to the public. Not only do they have the best view and coffee ever, they're also committed to justice and empowering others.  Seriously, if you do ANYTHING in Atlanta, do this. 

This is a quick, loud, and incredibly yummy Mexican place! You stand in line and order a la carte and then can find tables to sit at. It's fairly affordable and definitely kid friendly.  

I highly recommend the Shrimp Corn Chowder and Queso Dip.  Oh, and the Memphis taco is really good too!

No biggie, they only have the best cupcakes on the face of the earth.  

I'm not kidding.  Drop what you're doing right now and go to Mae's Bakery and eat a Smores Cupcake. You will never be the same again.  

If you're looking for some great places to visit and new experiences, I hope this helps a bit!  Thanks for having me and let me know if you're ever coming to Atlanta! I'm always looking for an excuse to visit some of these places. :)  

***Perhaps it's also worth noting that I also have a super cute husband and baby boy.  My best guess as to why they aren't in any pictures is that my husband takes the pictures while wearing the baby.***

{Note from Jess: Please email me if you'd like to discuss contributing an article to share your favorite "hometown" spots in the metropolitan area near you.


Jamie Butts said...

I'm kind of new here - this is so exciting! I have been to about half of these places/things, but not all. Hooray for more ideas for the ATL! And Jess, if you ever come visit, feel free to bring your crew to my house for the night (or more). That would be fun!!

Drea said...

How cool to have found this post. A friend of mines mother sent me it! I've lived in atl for 2 yrs now. We've been in the city of refuge program for most of that time at first baptist / anywho! Thank u for this!! I have 4 kids and so I always love to learn new spots to go ;) a few more for u - red top mountain in kennasaw or maybe it's ackworth? So awesome to go there and let my boys hike explore and swim it's free too!! And also centennial park in dt atl is a fav too and it's free :)