The Only Checklist You'll Need for a Real ATL Summer
Summer in Atlanta is very much like a grocery store. You go in with good intentions and something of a plan to get what you need out of it, but you end up settling for beer and ice cream, which is actually fine by us. Seriously, it’s included below, along with a couple dozen other extremely ATL things you’ve gotta do while the sun’s still shining hot and bright in our fair town. Bookmark this list along with the calendar of events you can’t miss in ATL this summer, and come back whenever you need a little extra guidance.
Fatten yourself at a food or beer festival
See outdoor movies for free
It's really possible in more places than you might think. And although we love Starlight (which is still very amazing, FYI), but if you can save money, why not?
Hear live music next to Piedmont Park
Every Sunday through October 1 see live bands like Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Blair Crimmins & the Hookers, The Whiskey Gentry, and more at Park Tavern.
Ingest something sweet, cold, and boozy
King of Pops serves popsicle cocktails at Ponce City Market. You deserve it; it’s hot outside.
See the firecrackers on the 4th
Centennial Olympic Park will have a big show, just like Lenox Mall, Stone Mountain, Six Flags, and everybody in your neighborhood.
Do some serious rooftop or patio drinking
Vibe to jazz at the Coca-Cola family house
Callanwolde has Jazz on the Lawn every two weeks in summer through August 11, plus there’s free parking, a cash bar, and they'll let you bring your blanket or lawn chair.
Visit the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium
NFL preseason starts August 26 with the Falcons playing Arizona, Alabama plays Florida State to open college football season, and of course Atlanta United also calls our new retractable-roofed sports megaplex home.
Crash someone’s boat on Lake Lanier
Not literally. Like in the way a group of UGA grads might already be three sheets windy and willing to welcome strangers aboard their fancy boats. I promise someone will let you float with them if you bring a six-pack offering.
Drink a sessionable local craft beer or cider
Monday Night Brewing, Wild Heaven, Arches, Orpheus, Three Taverns, Urban Tree Cidery, Treehorn Cider... Sheesh! We’re swimming in sours, saisons, shandies, and such these days. Drink plenty -- that’s what the low alcohol content is for anyway.
Take in Georgia wine country
The first thing you should know: They pour heavily. So ride up to Dahlonega or any of those North Georgia towns where grapes grow, get a Solo cup and start swishing and sampling until you feel classy.
Eat at one of the newest ATL restaurants
There’s one born every minute in the capital of the South. We love to eat new things. Just ask somebody and you’ll find a new restaurant probably within a mile of where you are.
Go somewhere without your car
There are options, and you’ll need them in case the highway collapses again. MARTA is always smarta, the walkable Atlanta BeltLine puts you a few paces from lots of bars, there’s a huge cycling community always peddling around somewhere (try the Velodrome in East Point), and if you’re really crazy you can even ride the Atlanta Streetcar to say you did it.
Get fitted for some fresh Southern apparel
Grab a custom shirt at Alton Lane or Commonwealth Proper (they also give you free bourbon and beer), buy some shorts at Onward Reserve, go extra fancy at Miller Brothers, or have Sid Mashburn, ATL’s king of style, hook you up with a whole wardrobe and a dope turntable for your vinyl record collection.
Take a Y’allywood tour
ALL the movies are shot in ATL now. Atlanta Movie Tours will show you sites where The Walking Dead is filmed, along with famous scenes from a gang of other films (Captain America: Civil War, Stranger Things, The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, The Fast and the Furious, etc.).
Eat somewhere on Ponce that is not Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market is great! But Eats was here first, and it’s cheap as hell, and you’ll feel good knowing you’re supporting places that are facing rising rents due to the higher cost of doing business on Ponce these days. 8ARM is also amazing and affordable. And hey! You can always cross the street if the PCM call is too strong! Or just, you know... hit The Clermont Lounge. Don’t eat there though.
See a match at Station Soccer
There was never a soccer field at a public train station until Atlanta did it this year. Go to Five Points MARTA station and check it out.
Find DJ Kemit and dance
ATL has awesome DJs, but Kemit rules the nightlife. Whether he’s at Music Room, randomly at MJQ, holding down The Sound Table or anywhere else with a booth and dance floor, just open your ears and listen for some jammin’ dance music -- you’ll find him.
Fly far, far away
One of the best reasons to be in Atlanta is that you can get the hell out of town anytime by plane and be almost wherever you want quickly. Before your flight, stop by Ludacris’ restaurant Chicken + Beer on Concourse D; they’ve got a solid selection of local craft brews, delicious fried bird, solid shrimp and grits, and a crazy strong mint julep.
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