Travel

Actually Cool Things To Do in Atlanta During Quarantine

There are still so many options.

Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park | photo.ua/Shutterstock
Centennial Olympic Park | photo.ua/Shutterstock

Atlanta has no shortage of fun things to do. Your idea of a good time may be scoping out the best new restaurants joining our rapidly growing food scene or dragging all of your friends to your favorite cocktail bar, but during these times, we’ve all got to move a little differently. While select businesses are slowly reopening, social distancing has altered the ways in which you can experience the city firsthand, but thanks to a plethora of virtual content and great outdoor activities, there’s still plenty of actually cool things to do. In the words of Jermaine Dupri and every flight attendant landing at Hartsfield-Jackson, welcome to Atlanta.

Take a tour of Atlanta with us

In this episode of Gatekeepers, our go-to ATL expert shows Thrillist what Magic City’s all about. We roll around iconic skating rink Cascade, eat a truly insane amount at Eats, get educated at the Trap Museum, take in the views atop Ponce City Market, finish it all off with a nightcap at Parlor, and more.

Hit up one of Atlanta’s brunch spots

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Are you really in Atlanta if you don't take advantage of one of the incredible brunch spots? There are tons of options, including the Atlanta Breakfast Club delivery pickup, The Spice House, or the all-day-breakfast staple, Flying Biscuit Cafe -- all of which are currently offering delivery and/or takeout. Wherever you go, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed, especially if mimosa kits are involved.

Get lost in a tunnel of cool art

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If perusing art in a digital museum isn’t your forte, try getting some fresh air and looking at it in a tunnel. The Krog Street Tunnel is an underground alternative art museum that was built in 1912 and connects the Inman Park and Cabbagetown neighborhoods. You can spot everything from massive murals to event flyers to random initials with hearts around them as there are barely any unpainted areas visible to the naked eye.

Reach new heights at the High Museum of Art

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Going to an art museum doesn’t have to be boring, especially when the art museum is the High Museum of Art. In response to COVID-19, you can now see exhibits from a variety of art collections, including African, European, American, and modern and contemporary all without getting up from your couch. As part of its Stay Connected initiative, you can hear talks from museum curators, find new DIY activities to try, and tune in to virtual events. Another bright side of being able to virtually visit the HIGH --  you can finally experience the museum on Mondays. 

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Get hoppy with to-go drinks from a local brewery

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While Atlanta hosts a collection of bars in all shapes, sizes, and price points, sometimes -- and probably now more than ever -- you just need to have a beer at a good ol’ brewery. And although COVID-19 regulations won’t allow you to enjoy your drinks there, at least you can grab some to go and down your beer from the comfort of your home. Grab what you need from one of the Transformers-esque named spots like Scofflaw or Orpheus, or classics like Atlanta Brewing Company and rooftop favorite New Realm Brewing.

Stop and smell the flowers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

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From a distance, at least. The Atlanta Botanical Garden will remain closed to the public through May 31, but the plant haven is just a click away with plenty of digital content available for free. The events calendar is normally filled with cool exhibits, classes and interactive activities like getting to feed frogs every weekend, but COVID-19 has caused most of the garden’s events to be postponed or temporarily cancelled. However, there’s still a lot of virtual fun awaiting you on the garden’s website.

See a drive-in movie

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Yes, drive-ins still exist, and we’re glad Starlight is one of them. Most people think drive-ins only show classic throwback movies, but this Southeast Atlanta gem also offers showings of current movies. Adult tickets are $9 and kids are $1. Starlight’s website has several rules and recommendations, such as getting to the lot early to get a good viewing spot and if you have a larger car, you’ll have to park in the back (sorry!). It’s a glorious way for cinephiles to enjoy new movies while continuing to practice social distancing.

Get inspired at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Free
Atlanta has a rich civil rights history, so it makes sense for the city to have such a wide array of museums and parks dedicated to the efforts of prominent civil rights leaders, from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. For the moment, however, those establishments are unfortunately closed. In the meantime, check out the National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ ongoing virtual series, Power to Inspire.

Olympic Centennial Park
Centennial Olympic Park | Bruce Alan Bennett/Shutterstock

See Centennial Olympic Park from a different perspective

Free
With the Tokyo Olympics on hold, this summer has an international sporting event-sized hole to fill, but us Atlantans don’t have to feel too bad because we have a beautiful park that pays homage to the iconic sports event. Sure, during the summer months, Centennial Olympic Park may be overtaken with jumpy kids running through it as water spews from the jets in the ground, but it’s still a sight to see. And it’s even better from a birds eye view atop the Chick-fil-A Hall of Fame. Thanks to EarthCam, you can catch a dazzling glimpse of Centennial, the SkyView ferris wheel, and the downtown skyline -- 24/7. Put the stream on your laptop or television, crack open some windows, and take in the beauty of our city.

Get lost in a tunnel of cool art

Free
If perusing art in a digital museum isn’t your forte, try getting some fresh air and looking at it in a tunnel. The Krog Street Tunnel is an underground alternative art museum that was built in 1912 and connects the Inman Park and Cabbagetown neighborhoods. You can spot everything from massive murals to event flyers to random initials with hearts around them as there are barely any unpainted areas visible to the naked eye.

Shred -- or watch other people shred -- at Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark

Free
What better way to spend a nice afternoon than at an eco-friendly skatepark that Tony Hawk’s foundation helped fund? Historic Fourth Ward’s Skatepark has all the ramps you need to shred at a safe distance, but if you’re as uncoordinated as I am, you may prefer to make the short trek to Historic Fourth Ward Park instead. Named after the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood that surrounds it, this family-friendly park has ample space for picnics and easy access to bike on Gateway Trail. Before you leave the area, make sure you check out the skatepark's recently added mural created by Era honoring Kobe Bryant.

Fill your belly with some of Atlanta’s soul food

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If there’s one thing you have to do while you’re in Atlanta, it’s help yourself to some soul food. The list of restaurants is endless of course, and you could probably spend an entire week alone eating at them all (we won’t judge if you do). Start your soul food journey with takeout or delivery from local staples like Busy Bee Cafe, The Original Big Daddy’s Dish, or K & K Soul Food.

Do social distance yoga at Piedmont Park

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We could all use some meditation and steady breathing in our lives -- especially right now -- and Piedmont Park’s scenery offers a much-needed source of peace. Piedmont Park Conservancy’s free yoga sessions are currently canceled until further notice, but don’t let that stop you. Find some empty space, set up your yoga mat, and do some yoga solo-dolo.

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Kristen Adaway is a travel and local editorial assistant at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @kristenadaway
Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.