Couple looking out at Atlanta skyline

Atlanta is the perfect city escape. (Photo: Marriott International)

Weekend Getaways

Spend a Musical Weekend in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia’s music scene is world-class — local, regional, national and international stars grace the stages of the many venues located around the city. But the live acts are only the beginning.

Vintage enthusiasts will bookmark the Little Five Points neighborhood, comedy fans will dedicate an entire night to the clubs in Midtown and families will love the many museums in the Downtown area.

But even more memorable than its many activities and nationally acclaimed restaurants are the people: Every chef, shop owner and venue manager has a story, and you’re likely to hear bits and pieces of it.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Shop for Vintage Treasures

Start your weekend getaway experience with a trip to Little Five Points. The once-commercial spot, located just a few miles east of Downtown, is now a thriving alternative neighborhood.

Start the journey by walking straight down Moreland Avenue, which is home to its fair share of vintage shops, including Rag-O-Rama (located just off the main drag), Junkman’s Daughter and the Clothing Warehouse, which sits a few feet away. Don’t forget to browse the vintage vinyl at Criminal Records, which sits directly next to Rag-O-Rama.

After shopping, grab a little caffeine boost at Aurora Coffee, which claims to be the city’s first specialty coffee shop. The store has been brewing beans since 1992 and also serves up sweet treats like homemade apple cinnamon hand pies, muffins, cheddar jalapeño biscuits and more, so you can fill your belly and your soul with something delightful.

couple sitting outside Porter Beer Bar
Stop for happy hour at Porter Beer Bar. (Photo: Marriott International)

If a larger meal is what you’re after, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. The Vortex Bar & Grill is known for their burgers (and kitschy atmosphere), the Porter Beer Bar has more than 800 brews to choose from (and a solid food menu) and Zesto is the sort of nostalgic drive-in you’ve probably only seen in movies.

After dinner, catch some live music at the Star Community Bar, a venue that was once a bank. And don’t miss the shrine to Elvis in a hidden vault.

Saturday: Dive Into Some Art and Live Music

Atlanta has long been a musical mecca. Make sure to honor that history with a trip to East Atlanta Village. Located just south of Little Five Points, it’s another quaint but lively neighborhood filled with local gems.

Here, visitors can spend the day walking up and down the streets to view the gorgeous outdoor murals that are part of the Living Walls Project, which oversees more than 100 public art projects throughout the city. In between the art, shop for tasty local snacks at the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, which is open every weekday in the evening hours.

Pho with meat and garnishes in a bowl
End the day on a delicious note. (Photo: Getty Images)

When hunger hits, check out So Ba for Vietnamese dishes, Octopus Bar for — you guessed it — seafood or Argosy for patio seating. Once the sun sets, take in a show. The best places to do that are spots like the Earl, which showcases regional and up-and-coming indie acts.

There’s also 529, a bar and music venue down the road that highlights Atlanta’s best rock and metal talents for a headbanging good time. Finish off the night with a little dancing at the Basement, which offers the city’s best dance beats all night long.

Sunday: Soak in the Culture Downtown

No visit to Atlanta would be complete without spending at least a little bit of time in Downtown. The neighborhood is brimming with cultural venues that are well worth an entire day on their own. However, if you want to hit a few stops in one go, it’s entirely possible: Everything is within walking distance.

kids looking at aquarium tank in Atlanta
The kids will love the aquarium. (Photo: Getty Images)

Start the day with a visit to see the aquatic life in the Georgia Aquarium. There, you can explore the “mysteries of the deep” and spot a few rare hammerhead sharks, more tropical fish than you can count and even dive into the water yourself for a swim with the aquarium’s whale shark (don’t worry, it doesn’t bite).

Next, head over to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, which is home to works by more than 200 influential artists. The best part? Admission to the center is always free. Get lost in the pieces for as long as you’d like or participate in a gallery chat to learn even more about the spectacular works.

Finally, end your day by learning about the rich history of your favorite soda at the World of Coca-Cola.

Seriously, there’s so much to learn about this iconic carbonated beverage: Check out exhibits on its history, see the vault that houses its secret formula and even head to the “Taste It!” area, which gives guests the chance to taste up to 10 different Coke varieties on top, including a few discontinued favorites. (Hello, Tab!)

Wrap up your long weekend in Atlanta with a dinner you’ll circle, highlight and draw little hearts around in your planner: Bacchanalia. This fine-dining mainstay has been on people’s minds for two decades, so you know you’re ending your weekend on a high note. Just make your reservation far in advance.

Grab a nightcap (and a game of shuffleboard, if that’s your thing) at Ormsby’s or the nearby Holiday Bar.