Embrace Atlanta’s Funky Side at These 10 Spots
Nix the mainstream attractions for these free-spirited spots
Life is too short to always follow the status quo, and one city that is the embodiment of that free-spirited mantra is Atlanta. The A has a history of doing things its own way, so cue in all of its funkiest and offbeat moments — from Freaknik bringing an annual dose of debauchery and chaos to the city during the '90s, to decades of Atlanta rappers disrupting gender norms by rocking wigs, dresses, and purses. Decades later, ATLiens still aren’t afraid to dance to the beat of their own drum, so if you’re exhausted with all of the mainstream attractions that everyone is always raving about, here are all of the unconventional experiences waiting for you on Atlanta’s funky side.
Old Fourth Ward
An arts class in which throwing paint is downright encouraged
You know the expression, “Throw it against the wall and see what sticks?” Well, the Splatter Studio encourages you to do just that. Rather than a paint-n-sip that hands you pre-sketched canvases, Splatter brings out your inner artist by suiting you up with a poncho, shoe covers, gloves, and goggles and giving you all the painting materials you need to create your own one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Little Five Points
A pocket-friendly emporium for shoppers with eccentric tastes
Whether you’re visiting the city and looking for a memorable souvenir or a local who’s searching for that “special something” to add to their home, the Junkman’s Daughter has it all. Filled with quirky clothing options, a huge assortment of irreverent stickers, and everything in between, this Little Five Points shopping staple offers a weird, but welcoming shopping experience alongside its bizarre merchandise. As the shop says in its Instagram bio, “you can count on finding the unexpected” at the Junkman’s Daughter.
A not-too creepy hiking trail in Constitution Lakes Park
It only makes sense that Atlanta, which is touted as one of the strangest cities in the Dirty South, would have an outdoor hiking trail that rivals even its most head-turning dive bars. At Constitution Lakes Park, curious Atlantans can find Doll’s Head Trail, a 1.5 mile-loop that fully lives up to its name and features countless severed baby doll heads and other retro toys spread throughout it. Take a walk on the trail and decide for yourself whether the experience is unusually beautiful or in fact as disturbing as it sounds.
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A recurring camping trip featuring performances and art exhibitions from Atlanta’s most creative local artists
Camp’ N Trip is one of the latest additions to Atlanta’s music festival circuit, but unlike other traditional outdoor festivals, Camp’ N Trip is literally held in the woods about an hour north of Downtown. Created and curated by local artist Ras Menelik, the music festival-meets-camping trip is an experience that encourages local creatives to reconnect with nature while checking out art exhibitions and intimate performances by local artists. And in true camping fashion, attendees can go swimming, do yoga, and participate in group hikes.
Five Points - East Point
A DIY collective of artists who use their creativity to do almost everything but bake goods
As a major city that typically doesn’t get the same respect as places like Los Angeles or New York City, Atlanta is used to earning recognition on its own terms, and that creative spirit is still alive and well with the city’s local DIY scene. To witness all of the innovative and ambitious local art that you won’t find in “high culture” institutions, become familiar with The Bakery, a collective of DIY artists who are equally concerned with creating cool things and making the city a great and inclusive place for all Atlantans.
A gorgeous cemetery that’s home to notable Atlanta politicians, entrepreneurs, and war heroes
Oakland Cemetery is not only the final resting place of countless notable Atlantans, it’s also a gorgeous open-air hub for weekend strolls and special events. In addition to the occasional plant sale and pop-up artist market, Oakland Cemetery regularly holds guided tours and seasonal scavenger hunts, so instead of hitting one of the city’s touristy attractions, treat yourself to an unconventional Atlanta history lesson.
Escape from Sleepy Hollow, aka Hopper’s Cabin on Stranger Things
Sure, you’ve probably experienced an escape room before, but have you done one that’s held entirely outdoors? About 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta sits Sleepy Hollow Farm, and while you can add it to your radar as a great place to grab your Christmas Tree later this year, you can also enjoy Escape Woods while you're there. There are plenty of immersive outdoor escape games held on Sleepy Hollow’s 60-acres, and if you’re a Stranger Things fanatic, you have to give Hopper's Cabin a shot because it was actually a filming location used during the second and third seasons of Netflix’s popular sci-fi series.
A grungy pizza spot with the wildest wing flavors in Atlanta
Former Georgia State University students (the author of this piece included) may have been introduced to Jack’s Pizza & Wings through Saturday morning study sessions, but there’s nothing “goody two shoes” about this graffiti-clad Highland Avenue eatery. The pizza and wings at Jack’s are equally solid, but if you’re feeling adventurous, the wing flavors will immediately catch your attention. In addition to classics like hot and lemon pepper, Jack’s also offers strawberry, honey bourbon, sriracha, jerk, and chipotle-flavored baked wings. Unless you have some deep-rooted animosity towards graffiti, you won’t regret stepping into the giant pizza mouth that surrounds the front entrance.
Westview - Old Fourth Ward - Jonesboro
Vegan fast food with A LOT of personality
Don’t worry, we’re definitely not telling you how to go about your personal business. The “One Night Stand” is actually the delicious signature plant-based burger offered at Slutty Vegan, Atlanta’s unstoppable and ever-growing vegan fast food chain. For those who don’t find anything offbeat or unusual about plant-based meals, that’s not what makes Slutty Vegan so ridiculously fun. The second that you enter any of its locations, you are greeted with loud — but friendly — expletives, and once they find out that it’s your first time dining at their fine vegan establishment, the entire restaurant will erupt in raucous celebration due to the fact that you’re about to lose your “virginity.” From its off-the-wall vibe to the raunchy names for its menu offerings, Slutty Vegan is truly a bewildering experience, so brace yourself.
Finally get that tattoo or piercing that you’ve been wanting
As a city renowned for its bevy of strip clubs, some of the most popular nightlife experiences in Atlanta typically involve you spending money on other people, but if you’re more interested in spending money on your body than someone else’s, head over to Iron Palm Tattoos to treat yourself to some eye-catching ink or a cool new piercing. Plus, when all of the other tattoo spots close their doors for the night, Iron Palm keeps going every day (except Sunday) until 3am. Wally, one of the shop’s resident artists, says it best: “Your body is a temple; decorate it.”