Looking to fill a Saturday? Hop on MARTA, get off at the Georgia Dome and you will find yourself in Downtown–a busy urban nabe in the heart of Atlanta. Downtown is home to Phillips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center, the Georgia Dome, the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola–wow! With all this, it’s easy to see why Downtown’s a super-popular spot for tourists and Atlanta residents alike.
Downtown for Students!
I’m a student at Georgia State and lived on campus for two years. Almost everything you need in walking distance, police escorts, tasty food, and fun events with fun people.
For students I’d say food is a big deal when living downtown. With all of the studying and freshly out of their parents’ nest, good delivery options are key. Some good restaurants I’d suggest are Buns ‘N’ Shakes, Lucky Buddha, and Papa John’s. For sit-down restaurants, my personal favorites are The Vortex, Savage Pizza, and Ru-San’s.
There are greats places to find entertainment as well. In short driving distance and roommate carpool trips there is live music at 529 (21+), Wonderroot (all ages), the Gravity Bar, the Masquerade, the Drunken Unicorn, and the Star Community bar — not to mention some possible DIY spaces. More fun places include Dad’s Garage Improve Theatre, Rag-O-Rama, Criminal Records and Home Grown. Campuses also often host student-based events and discounts. Comedy nights, live music from famous artists, and discounts at Six Flags and the aquarium (which happens to be the world’s largest).
The number one thing I love about Downtown Atlanta is the diversity. Downtown ATLisn’t the drug-hustling-kidnapping-rape-and-murder infested nabe your parents have told you about. Yes, that is an unfortunate side of Atlanta that we, as proud residents, need to come together to fight against these issues along with police brutality, homelessness, racist society, and more financial support for students. In Downtown you see everything from upper to lower-class, hipsters, students, the suffering yet sometimes inspirational homeless, models, actors, musicians, athletes, geniuses, and the list goes on. You’re likely to find someone you have plenty in common with here. As long as you’re smart and safe, you can enjoy a life here.What’s awesome
Community, art, music, dance, sports, food, and diversity.What’s not so awesome
Poverty and prejudiced.
A very convenient nabe!
Although all of these hotels charge rates out the wooza, it is a very convenient place in the city of Atlanta. Just minutes from the airport and in the center of downtown, this nabe provides accomodations for every taste. The hotels range in brand from the Hilton to the Westin, and they all offer shuttles to some of the most sought after locations in Atlanta. There is public transportation with walking distance of every hotel, and the food and shopping are spectacular!What’s awesome
Its so concentratedWhat’s not so awesome
Crowds and traffic almost always!
Out of Town Visitors?
Downtown is filled with plenty of things that you visit on two occasions: when you move to Georgia, and when you have family in town. The World of Coke, CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park are fun to visit, once or twice. But, come on. There is only so many times the history of Coca Cola is interesting (although the tasting room never seems to get old). If it’s hot you can run through the fountains in Centennial, and if it’s cold you can ice skate. Downtown is also a great place to see/silently make fun of segway tours. Or you can take one, if you’re into wearing a helmet and looking like a douche for an hour or two.
A couple exceptions to the tourist only rule is Phillips arena and The Georgia Dome. Phillips used to be home to the Thrashers (damn you, Vancouver) but there is always a concert or some sort of huge event there.
In keeping with Atlanta’s theme, parking sucks. There is little to no free parking.What’s awesome
stuff to keep your grandparents busy on their visitWhat’s not so awesome
probably only go when grandparents visit
Don’t Judge a Nabe by its Cover
I go to school at Georgia State University, and before the Atlanta Thrashers were sold, I went to tons of games. I was probably downtown more than I was at home this past school year.
There are a lot of homeless, mainly in Woodruff Park near the campus. A lot tend to have mental problems, and some can make it really awkward and uncomfortable when you’re walking solo, even in daylight surrounded by tons of other students. I had one man decide to touch my arm while I was waiting to cross a street. GSU Police are marvelous though, and within minutes of me informing one officer, he was escorted off the campus.
Georgia State takes up real estate all over the area, so sometimes one must cross Peachtree Street for class. That’s perfectly fine, as nearby Broad Street has the best lunch options, from pizza to Vietnamese.
Peachtree Center is not a bad option either, although it’s a bit of a walk and at a wrong time you will encounter tons of office dwellers.
Another main part of downtown is the Centennial Olympic Park area, home to Philips Arena, CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke and more. It’s a nice walk from the Peachtree Center MARTA station, and there’s plenty to eat over here too. Catching a game or a concert at Philips? You have to be sure to get a $6 32 oz draft beer in the CNN Center food court – make it a local Sweetwater 420!
Of course, that isn’t the only touristy area. I can’t forget Atlanta Underground as much as I would like to. If you’re taking MARTA to a Braves game, you have the unfortunate opportunity to have to walk through here to the shuttle. Run to those buses.
Lastly, our state’s lovely Capitol building is located downtown. There are plenty of other local government buildings, so if you see helicopter action nearby, figure it’s just another bomb threat.
For the most part, I feel safe here, but it takes a bit to scare me. There are almost always conferences going on, but still the main area around Peachtree tends to die at night. There’s still some stuff to do, but a lot of the good food options are lunch only.What’s awesome
Broad Street, Georgia StateWhat’s not so awesome
sketchy people, Underground Atlanta