24 Hours in Atlanta
Saturday morning we got up at our regular time and headed west down the interstate to Atlanta. I was a little worried about the traffic due to the I-85 bridge collapse but lucky for us it turned out to be a non-issue. We drove straight to Buckhead to check out the Patagonia Atlanta store. It was huge! We were able to try on some things we've had our eyes on through their internet store. I compared a few travel packs (like this Lightweight Travel Tote Pack) we are considering buying for some upcoming trips as well! It's always helpful to see and feel things in person instead of taking a chance on needing to return an online purchase. The store was super organized and their staff was friendly too! I'm sure they'd love for you to pop in and say hi.
After leaving Buckhead we headed over to Ponce City Market. I've heard a lot of really good things about the refurbished building but it exceeded all my expectations! This was the only part of our trip I really had planned out. We're huge fans of Chai Pani in Asheville and when I found out that they had a sister restaurant in Atlanta called Botiwalla, I knew we had to stop by! Sampling Botiwalla's street food in the central food hall was the first item on our PCM agenda. I had a Paneer Tika Roll and Alex had a Lamb Boti Kabab Roll with a mango lassi. Everything was incredibly fresh and flavorful! The lamb was probably the star of the show but the mango lassi was also one of the best I've ever had. You could really taste the cardamom in it.
We walked all around Ponce City Market (a few times, with no order). It was kind of like Chelsea Market in NYC or King Street in Charleston on steroids. We stopped into Anthropologie, Madewell, West Elm, Archer Paper Goods and Candlefish (another Charleston favorite) for lots of decor inspiration. I fell in love with a sofa + ottoman / chaise at West Elm that we definitely need to save up for over the next year or so. While I'm grateful our $75 Urban Outfitters sofa seems to be holding up, it's seen better days and is far from comfortable. We had some time before we needed to check into our hotel so we grabbed a cup of coffee at the Dancing Goats Coffee Bar before heading out. I'm still trying to limit my caffeine intake but coffee is just too good to pass up every now and again. I'm a sucker for a good flavored latte. Being out of town seemed like a good enough excuse to cheat a little. Now that Alex is working for an outdoor retailer, we always like to check out other outdoor stores to see how they are merchandising. We didn't find any ideas for work to take back this time, though.
We checked into our hotel room close to 4 pm. At the recommendation of a friend in Atlanta, we stayed at the Artmore hotel in Midtown because it was close to the Art Center MARTA station that we could use to take to Philips Arena that night. I actually ended up finding a great deal on a loft in the hotel even though I waited until two weekends before to book. Sometimes you find the best deals by waiting because they're just looking to book up! I would highly recommend the Artmore to anyone who wants to stay on Midtown! Our loft was incredible. It reminded me so much of the Lodge Alley Inn in Charleston. Our first floor had a large living room with a TV and kitchen with a fridge, microwave, sink, and coffee maker. Upstairs was our king bed with large closets, a writing desk, and bathroom. Our room had tons of great light thanks to a line of windows facing the hotel's courtyard on the first floor and skylights on an angled roof in the loft. The hotel just had a ton of character and really fit our style. True to the name there was a lot of music themed art in the hotel. Our room had posters with Madonna, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, and Audrey Hepburn. The hallways were lined with pop op posters of everyone from Dolly Parton to James Brown! It's so refreshing to have a little piece of home away from home and the Godfather of Soul did just that for us.
We left just after 5 to catch the MARTA across the street to the CNN center to grab a quick bite before heading into Philips Arena. Dinner was fast food, nothing special, but pro tip: definitely use the CNN center entrance to the arena because there was no line or waiting to have our bags checked and get cleared through security. We took a grand tour of Philips Arena trying to find our section entrance before we figured out how to get upstairs. We were a bit early but didn't have much trouble finding our seats and grabbing some waters before the opening act began. One of the interesting parts of seeing really big bands play is that sometimes they surprise you with their opening acts! We had never heard of Dudu Tassa and the Kuwatis but I was kinda digging it! After the band finished the empty seats started to fill in quickly. Radiohead played over 2 hours filled with 25 old and new songs. See setlist thanks to our friends on Reddit. It's really hard to explain how incredible it was to see a band live that has meant so much to me growing up. Seeing Radiohead in concert isn't something I ever even imagined being able to do during my lifetime so it just exceeded all my hopes and dreams. Right up there with Beyoncé. There are just moments in your life where you feel incredibly lucky. This was one of them. It was magical and I'm still pinching myself that we had this opportunity. What a privilege! They were totally feeding off the crowd and we had not one, but three encores! We made it to the MARTA station before our Breeze cards turned us into pumpkins but not without a little drama. We witnessed a kid stumbling around, completely drained of any color in his face with people yelling for medics to come and me protesting for his friends to help him sit before he hit the floor. Then the escalator next to the stairs we were walking down began to speed up due to the sheer number of people storming it. We packed into our MARTA train to Five Points tighter than anything we experience in NYC but miraculously we made it on the first one out. We were packed so tightly you didn't need to hold onto anything when the train accelerated because there was no space to move. Our second train northbound was much, much better. My biggest tip for traveling and going to large concerts is just to be prepared, stay alert, and take care of your people because other people are not looking out for you. It's not worth risking your life by making unhealthy or unsafe choices just because you're in a hurry or chasing some high!
I can't really imagine anything better than eating a hot, fresh pizza after standing on your feet for a few hours at a show. We passed by a little place called DaVinci's Pizzeria a block away from our hotel and the grub was surprisingly delicious! We shared a small pizza, Coca-Cola, and some Creature Comforts Tropicalia we picked up from the Tap on Ponce before crashing early Sunday morning.
Nothing in Atlanta opens before Noon on Sunday and we were eager to get home to the dogs and save some money so we decided to just get ready and head back home. We shared bagels and lattes at Octane after a walk around the High Museum courtyard before driving back on the interstate. It was a quick 24 hours in Atlanta but we had a lot of fun exploring parts of the city we've never been to before. Next time we go back we want to get on the Beltline! What are your favorite things to do in Atlanta? Let me know in the comments so we can check them out.