Why Atlanta Is More Than Just a Stopover Destination

Think Atlanta is just a place to change planes? Well, think again. Atlanta is actually a vibrant city with tons to see, do and eat. Check out our top picks!

Hopper Editors - Oct. 26, 2017

Chances are, if you've flown with Delta or AirTran you've probably changed planes in Atlanta. The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport has been the world’s busiest airport since 1998, but of the almost 100 million people who pass through its terminals each year only a fraction ever venture into the city. But that’s their loss, as Atlanta is home to a thriving artistic community, world-class dining, gorgeous weather, lush parks, distinct and colorful neighbourhoods, highly amenable accommodations and the genteel character of long-romanticized Southern comforts. Fly-bys need only get a taste of Atlanta to see that it’s worth a longer stay, so get on the phone and tell Delta that the next time you have to change planes in Atlanta you’d like to stay for a few days.

Get a multi-faceted view of the American culture through the many pieces at the High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art is making art – and especially high art – much more accessible. With more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, shining a light on such areas of visual culture as photography, American Art, Renaissance and Baroque artists, modern and contemporary art, and much more. In turn, their exhibitions educate on a wide variety of subjects like American history, North American folk practices and design technology. Discover the Civil Rights era with your own eyes at the nation’s most comprehensive collection of civil rights-era photography. Art is everywhere, but especially at the High Museum of Art.

Spend the day at the gigantic Georgia Aquarium

The largest aquarium in the entire world, the Georgia Aquarium appeals to visitors of all ages. Wander in awe through glass tubes under huge looming aquarium tanks filled with dolphins, whales, jelly fish, penguins and more, swimming in over ten million gallons of water. Gifted by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, to the city of Atlanta, this state-of-the-art facility brings the world’s exotic aquatic life to surreal focus, educating guests young and old on aquatic conservation and biodiversity through thrilling and engaging displays and exhibitions.

Shake off the airport anxiety while smoothing fine lines at Exhale Spa at Loews Hotel Atlanta

Specializing in transformative wellness programs and spa therapies, Exhale applies specific and well-honed techniques to detox, de-stress and heal specific parts of the body. Acupuncture and cupping therapy uses east Asian healing methods to treat certain diseases as well as emotional and spiritual imbalances. Power body detox promises to combine thermogenic slimming clay and a muscle stimulation device to detoxify the body as well as tone and shave off a few inches. Their massage therapies, as well, are specifically designed to relieve muscle pain and relieve tension in the muscles.

Spend a night in Southern luxury at the new Mandarin Oriental

For luxury accommodations in the most convenient location in all of Atlanta, the Mandarin Oriental is certainly worth a night or two. A relatively new player on the Atlanta hotel scene, this huge 117-room hotel looks like it was outfitted for the future – lightning-fast wifi, state-of-the-art entertainment systems, televisions in the bathroom and more. But of course, who wants to stare at a TV when one has all of the glowing lights of the sprawling Atlanta skyline before them? The windows are huge, proudly showing off the gorgeous city view. Downstairs, there’s a world class spa and wellness center (don’t miss your weekly yoga session just because you’re away on business), and a sophisticated restaurant and lounge open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Taste upscale Atlanta at the Woodfire Grill

Since opening in 2002, the Woodfire Grill has found itself snugly in the inner circle of Atlanta’s best restaurants. Its farm-to-table philosophy ensures that every ingredient is delivered fresh and seasonally and prepared with panache. Their menu items are unique and zesty, always a twist on some old classic: asian pear-glazed lamb belly made with lacinato kale and smoked oregon blue cheese; gnocchi and wild mushrooms but with braised matsutakes and chanterelles; Hudson Valley foie gras terrine made with gingerbread, port and quince aspic, garnished with egg nog foam and peppermint. For an added treat, try the five course chef’s tasting menu (a local favorite), which presents surprise after surprise alongside signature pairings at the guidance of their talented sommelier. So for an upscale taste of Atlanta and perhaps the best meal one might ever hope to have in the event of an extended layover, check out the Woodfire Grill.

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