Culture + Style

Unique Atlanta Activities Beloved by the Locals

Restaurants, landmarks, historical sites — these are the sort of entries you’d expect on a city’s must-see list. A collection of diminutive doors scattered throughout a neighborhood? Not so much.

But if you want to delve into Atlanta’s true personality via its arts scene, Tiny Doors ATL is an excellent place to start your exploration.

The art-installation project — really, they’re tiny doors — can be found throughout the Intown area, so a hunt to find them makes for a pretty thorough tour of the community.

Use this handy map to track them all down, and take in the real Atlanta while you’re at it. Then extend your jaunt by delving into these distinctive experiences.

atlanta activities
Take a little peek at Tiny Doors. (Photo: Karen Anderson)

Hang out in Oakland Cemetery

Walking the grounds of a graveyard might not seem fun, but Grant Park’s historic Oakland Cemetery is an exception. Take in its skyline views, lovely gardens, proximity to popular restaurants and quirky tours and events. Particularly popular are the after-dark Halloween tours during October, as well as the annual Tunes from the Tombs summer music festival.

Cheer on the Atlanta Rollergirls

If you’re looking for non-stop energy, nothing else comes close the city’s all-women roller derby league. Watch teams duke it out at the Yaarab Shrine Center on Ponce de Leon Road, where the ornate onion-domed facade belies the spectacle inside — a fast-paced contact sport on roller skates, played by teams with names like the Apocalypstix and the Toxic Shocks.

Devour international cuisine on Buford Highway

In Atlanta, there’s no Little Italy or Chinatown; there’s Buford Highway, a five-lane thoroughfare northeast of downtown that’s lined with shopping centers and restaurants serving amazing and authentic cuisine from all over the world.

Options abound, but longtime favorites include dim sum at Canton House, tacos at El Rey del Taco, banh mi at Lee’s Bakery and bibimbap at Yet Tuh. And don’t miss the bounty of Latin-American eats and sweets at the Plaza Fiesta shopping center.

Play Skee-Ball at Skyline Park

Ponce City Market was already popular with locals when it was just a food hall. But in 2016, the Old Fourth Ward development upped the fun quotient with a rooftop retro amusement park touting skyline views.

Evoking an old-fashioned carnival, with games such as ring toss, high striker, Skee-Ball and mini-golf, the complex also offers a three-story adult-friendly slide. And cocktails.

Join the BeltLine Lantern Parade

atlanta activities
Stroll the BeltLine Trail. (Photo: Annalise Kaylor)

The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail is a joy to stroll or bike anytime, but it’s particularly fun during the annual Lantern Parade. Each September, the trail glows with an endless stream of illuminated homemade lanterns that bob and sway above the crowd to the beat of marching bands.

Anyone is welcome to join the parade at any point along the route and at no cost, as long as they’re carrying a lantern. In past years, as many as 60,000 people have shown up for this parade of creativity and light.

Traverse Krog Street Tunnel

This railway underpass connecting the quirky Cabbagetown neighborhood with historic Inman Park seems like it’s alive and breathing, thanks to the many graffiti artists who continually repaint it with new works. The result is a chaotic and colorful display of artistic expression that’s unpredictable and ever-changing.

Just listen at Eddie’s Attic and Grocery on Home

Taking in a show at Eddie’s Attic and Grocery on Home, located in Decatur and Grant Park, respectively, is like sitting in your best friend’s living room watching your favorite band.

There’s only one rule: No talking during the performance. That and their cozy atmospheres make live shows at these venues particularly intimate; expect anecdotes and jokes from performers between tunes.

(Tip: Grocery on Home doesn’t sell tickets; to reserve a spot at a show, you must RSVP on its Facebook page, then donate $20 at the show.)