A foolproof guide to showing anyone the best of Atlanta

Published On 07/26/2013 Published On 07/26/2013

It can happen to anyone: a sibling, grandparent, or old college buddy breezes into town and totally wrecks your weekend Law & Order marathon plans. But don't worry, we've assembled a foolproof visitor's guide that'll make it easy to entertain pretty much anyone (even Jerry Orbach... if he were, you know, alive) who wants to see the best of the ATL.
THE GUEST: YOUR SISTER AND HER THREE-YEAR-OLD KID Unless you want your bachelor pad turned into a toy landfill, or your DVR filled with soap opera episodes, you'd better find ways to keep mom and her child occupied. Take 'em to

Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW; Downtown; 404.659.5437 A museum dedicated to building the youthful mind… with food and games.

Snarky Snarky

Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker Street NW; Downtown; 404.581.4000
Kids love aquariums. Take them to the world's largest aquarium.

Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Dr; Atlantic Station; 404.733.1221
Face painting for the kid. Shopping for mom. And 130 taps at Yard House for you. Perfect.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta, 3500 Peachtree Rd; Buckhead; 404.848.9252
Intricate ATL monuments made out of building blocks, a big box of LEGOs to jump into... forget the kid, this place is awesome!

West Egg Cafe, 1100 Howell Mill Rd NW; Home Park; 404.872.3973
Kids are picky and want crazy stuff all the time. Is all-day breakfast at West Midtown brunchery West Egg crazy enough for ya?

Your grandparents typically visit to make sure you're still breathing and/or take subtle shots at your lifestyle and career choices. Keep them occupied with these thought-provoking activities and they won't even have a chance to bring up the girlfriend that dumped you ages ago, or that you don't even have a savings acco... wait, you don't have a savings account?

Mary Mac's Tea Room, 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE; Midtown; 404.876.1800
Mary Mac's sets the standard for Southern cuisine that doesn't involve Paula Deen. Give 'em a taste of what the South is really all about.

CNN Center, 190 Marietta St NW; Downtown; 404.827.2300
They watch Anderson Cooper's magically quaffed hair on TV every day. Take them to where the magic happens at CNN's world headquarters.

High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St NE; Midtown; 404.733.4444
Give them a dose of culture (that... um, doesn't involve yelling BINGO!) at the leading art museum in the Southeast.

World of Coca-Cola, 121 Baker St NW; Midtown; 404.676.5151
Open happiness and history at this Willy Wonka-esque tribute to the Southern elixir.

The King Center, 449 Auburn Ave NE; O4W; 404.526.8900
A living memorial to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. also highlights Gandhi and a collection of speeches your folks probably saw live(!).

Your college buddy swore off all liquor after "the incident" you're not allowed to talk about to anyone. Ever. So try these adult entertainment options that don't require adult beverages.

Atlanta BeltLine, 86 Pryor St SE; 404.477.3003
Lazily walk this trail while posting pics of some cool graffiti and vistas of the ATL to your Instagram.

Velocity Motorsports, 20 Duck Thurmond Rd; Dawsonville; 678.235.4737
No matter how Fast & Furious things get, remember: you're not Vin Diesel, and your boy's not Johnny Tran... no matter how badly you want to hit him.

Cheetah Lounge, 887 Spring St NW; Midtown; 404.892.3037
No ATL trip is complete without seeing the local "talent", so take him to this high-class Midtown strippery.

Game-X, 275 Baker St; Downtown; 404.525.0728
The board games of your youth are in digital format at Downtown adult arcade Game-X.

Kevin Rathbun Steak, 154 Krog St NE; O4W; 404.524.5600
Treat your friend to the best steak in his entire f*$#ing life. Seriously, it's pretty good.

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1. Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Downtown)

Atlanta's only children's museum features exhibits, educational information and games, arts & crafts, and more for kid's to have fun while learning.

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2. Georgia Aquarium 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Downtown)

As the world's largest aquarium, you bet you're going to see all sorts of aquatic biodiversity when you visit the Georgia Aquarium, which aims to educate on said biodiversity, as well as on the conservation of all aquatic animals and environments.

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3. Atlantic Station 1380 Atlantic Dr, Atlanta, GA 30363 (Atlantic Station)

This outdoor mall's got everything you could ever want: shopping, dining, drinking, outdoor movies, theater, and more all conveniently located.

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4. LEGOLAND Discovery Center 3500 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30326 (Buckhead)

Whether you're reliving your childhood or visiting with your family, check out LEGOland's 4D cinema, factory, Miniland, and other great attractions.

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5. West Egg Cafe 1100 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Home Park)

WEC's serving breakfast all day long but you can also fill up on their salad, sammie & burger eats for lunch, or comfort food dinner options like mac 'n cheese, chicken & waffles, and the "PB&J" burger.

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6. Mary Mac's Tea Room 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

At Mary Mac's Tea Room, patrons can enjoy a taste of authentic Southern cooking and hospitality. This means heaping plates of staples like fried chicken, braised ox tails, and grilled liver and onions, as well as a number of specialty drinks like the Mint Julep and Georgia Peach. The place is over 70 years old and was officially named “Atlanta’s Dining Room” by the City of Atlanta. Read any online traveler’s guides and you’ll be convinced that there’s no way to visit Atlanta without eating here. There are pencils and paper sheets on your table for you to write your own order, a tradition of MM’s that dates wayyy back (pre-Bieber).

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7. CNN Center 190 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

Take the 55min tour of CNN's global headquarters studio where lots of fun, newsy things happen!

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8. High Museum of Art 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 (Midtown)

Located in Midtown's arts district, the High houses over 13,000 works of contemporary and classic art, primarily from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.

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9. World of Coca-Cola 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Downtown)

You may know that Coca-Cola is the world's most well-known beverage brand, or that its secret recipe is 125 years old. You probably DON'T know that there's more to it than just delicious refreshing taste on a hot day. So much to know, in fact, that the World of Coca-Cola was finished in 2007 to school you on the brands history, and show off more than 1,200 Coke-related artifacts.

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10. The King Center 449 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

TKC was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King to educate on and promulgate the legacy of MLK Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement. Today, it's the largest repository of the associated primary sources & aims to strengthen and continue his efforts towards the Movement.

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11. Atlanta BeltLine 86 Pryor St SE, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Old 4th Ward)

The ATL BeltLine's made up of parks, a 22mi looped trail running through the city, and 1,200 acres of greenspace that connects various neighborhoods, as well as grows the public transportation system and brings the community together.

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12. Velocity Motorsports 20 Duck Thurmond Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534 (Alpharetta)

You can pretend to own one of those sweet rides from Cribs for a day or a weekend, thanks to Velocity Motorsports, who offer you the chance to pilot international super cars at 120mph around a Formula One-designed course.

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13. Cheetah Lounge 887 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

An upscale & sophisticated gentleman's club in Midtown, that's also got an award-winning chef cooking up steaks, seafood, and other eats at the attached Alluvia.

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14. Game-X 275 Baker St, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Downtown)

This 12000sqft space's tricked out like a cocktail-filled barcade Game-X. And on the off chance that you were the kind of kid who played sports and stuff... maybe just go here and wedgie people trying to feel like a kid again?

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15. Kevin Rathbun Steak 154 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Old 4th Ward)

Get into the Iron Chef contestant’s flagship spot for beef that is treated right and order up a steak cooked “blue,” which is the rarer-than-rare version that is right for every real carnivore. And for the steak-eater looking for a little more than a mac 'n cheese side, this modernized steak house cooks up a variety of cuisines ranging from American to Mediterranean, and Italian.



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