How to Make the Most of The ATL
Okay, you’ve procured your seats for the Big Game. But you don’t know much about the host city of Atlanta, other than it was where they once filmed The Walking Dead. Not to worry. StubHub has done the homework for you.
Let’s start with the hard truth: while it was the fictional setting for Baby Driver, which centers on a getaway specialist who speeds through its downtown streets in a souped-up Subaru, Atlanta often ranks toward the top when it comes to traffic-clogged cities.
“If you calculate the average commute times, Los Angeles is always No. 1. Nobody comes close,” mused a Lyft driver named Tony during a recent afternoon ride to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “But quite often, Atlanta is No. 2 or 3.”
Fortunately, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority — more commonly known as MARTA, the city-wide rail and bus system — makes it easy to get around town. There’s even a stop next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium — GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station. Whether you’re looking to explore the upscale boutiques and eateries of Buckhead or enjoy some happy-hour suds at the sprawling Ponce City Market, located in a refurbished Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, MARTA makes it easy to get there.
If you’re looking to increase the step-count on your Fitbit, the BeltLine is another great way to discover the city. Built atop a former railway corridor, this greenspace initiative is, in effect, a linear arboretum and urban farm that boasts the largest street art exhibition in the South. The BeltLine will eventually connect 45 neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails.
Around Mercedes-Benz Stadium
If you prefer not to stray too far from the 71,000-seat, Gehry-esque Mercedes-Benz Stadium itself, there’s an array of offerings all within a 10-minute walk of the venue. Visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN’s headquarters; check out the hi-tech/interactive College Football Hall of Fame; see a show at the Atlanta Magic Theater (located inside Embassy Suites at Centennial Olympic Park); or sample treats at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. There’s the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, too; a hub for on-hands exploration and discovery.
Looking for something a bit more unconventional? Head over to the anything-but- bland Blandtown neighborhood and try your hand at Bad Axe Throwing. Yes, you can work off your aggressions with help from the “world’s biggest urban axe throwing club.” Tour those Walking Dead filming locations courtesy of Atlanta Movie Tours. Take in some off-the-cuff improv at the non-profit Dad’s Garage Theatre in the historic Old Fourth Ward. Or spend an afternoon in hipster-edgy Little Five Points (think coffee shops, murals, skateboarders and record stores).
Spend an afternoon exploring the shops of Westside Provisions, the one time meatpacking district now anchored by two of Atlanta’s top Zagat-rated restaurants — Bacchanalia and the Quinones Room. Or head over to Atlantic Station, where the 12-time Grammy Award-winning Foo Fighters will be headlining DIRECTV Super Saturday Night (Feb. 2) in a custom-built, three-tiered, 72,000-square-foot venue. (Tickets available at StubHub.)
CityPASS offers deep discounts on many of Atlanta’s top attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, Center for Civil and Human Rights, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and more.
As you can see, Atlanta — the ninth largest metropolitan area in the US with a population of 5.8 million — is hardly a sleepy southern outpost. Rather, it’s a culture center chock-full of sports, music, arts and cuisine. Yes, it’s football that brought you here, but you’ll leave having experienced so much more.