With Atlanta only two hours away from Birmingham, I grew up going there for lacrosse tournaments, Falcons' games, the Coca-Cola Museum, and, of course, Six Flags Over Georgia. I had no idea our weekend in 'Hotlanta' would be John's first, but I am glad that it was such a great experience.
We arrived to our Airbnb around 7:30 PM on Friday night. Our early evening arrival gave us just enough time to shower and meet my friends for dinner in Midtown at Pasta Da Pulcinella. After splitting a bottle of wine and indulging on the wonderfully fresh and homemade ravioli, we took our waiter's suggestion and headed downtown to check out the Atlanta nightlife.
A strip of bars overflowing with people was our first impression of downtown. After giving up on the line at Joystick, we walked across the street to the Georgia Beer Garden where there was no crowd or cover. The four of us grabbed a round of local beers and enjoyed each other's company while we drank and started looking around for a more lively scene.
Our friend Katie had recently moved to Atlanta and suggested we Uber to the Buckhead bar Big Sky. We wandered around the crowded, two-story bar until we found a table on the outside patio. We laughed and danced the night away until our friend Megan got annoyed with awkward attempts at conversation by the Buckhead boys.
We got a bit of a late start on Saturday, but that didn't stop us from having a jam-packed day. A solid brunch and a couple of breakfast cocktails prepared us for walking The Beltline to Piedmont Park. After we finished our biscuits and cocktails, we went outside to hit the trail.
Our stroll started at The Krog Street Market, but we were still too full to indulge in all of the wonderful food stands. Instead, we shopped around the clothing and knickknack vendors. With a lot more places to see, we didn't hang around for too long.
We leisurely walked along The Beltline stopping to take pictures of the artwork along the way. The walk was lined with sculptures, interactive pieces, and lots of graffiti. After writing messages in the chalk on one exhibit, we walked in to Ponce City Market to cool off and see what it had to offer.
We ended up enjoing a cocktail at The Mercury while we planned out the rest of our afternoon. The rooftop came highly recommended by a bartender for its carnival games and bar, but once we found out it was $10 to get up there, we chose to continue on The Beltline.
We ended our walk at Piedmont Park where we walked past napping patrons, watched dogs play in their very own designated parks, and marveled at a man guiding a large airplane through the sky. After all of our walking, we had built up quite an appetite, so Megan suggested we do the most touristy thing in Atlanta and go get burgers at The Varsity.
We inhaled our delicious burgers and chili dogs while wearing our Varsity paper hats like all of the kids in the place. Once the only thing left on the table was leftover ketchup, we ditched our hats and hopped in an Uber. We took it to the suburb of Marietta to watch an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
It's pretty cool that we were able to see a Braves game at Suntrust Park during its inaugural season. Zeta Tau Alpha was hosting a philanthropy to raise money for breast cancer research, so we were given adorable, pink tomahawks to chop with during the game. The new stadium is a marvel of sports stadiums. There are gourmet food vendors and world-class merchandisers around every turn. Although our general admission tickets didn't technically provide seats, we met our friends in the upper level and took an open seat to watch the game.
The game's lack of excitement left plenty of time for our big group of friends to catch up and have some laughs, until we wandered down to the lower levels to catch a better view. The Braves were down by a few runs going into the sixth inning, but after one homerun and an awesome double RBI, the Braves took the lead! The lights in the stadium dimmed, as the fans broke out their cell phones for a 'lights out' chop.
Before the end of the game, the announcer stated that there was a post-game concert on the field, Entrance to the field had to be purchased, but everyone in our group was given free wristbands due to low attendance. Fitz and The Tantrums play a rocking set, but we hadn't gotten our full feel for dancing, so we walked out of the stadium and into the bars.
A few more of our friends were already at PBR Atlanta, so we headed over there to meet up with them. This massive bar had music for everyone's liking. It ranged from country to 90's punk to throwback rap. We sang along to just about all of it. Everyone else started to crash once the bands stopped, but I wasn't ready for bed just yet.
I drug John and Megan to a late night spot called R. Thomas. Our waiter at Pasta Da Pulcinella had recommended it the night before. He described it as, "a psychedelic restaurant with breakfast food and great quinoa bowls." He also said that he had seen rappers like Ludacris and Lil Yachty there. Although we didn't see anyone famous, we did enjoy the interesting decor with our late night food.
We eventually made it back to our Airbnb and got a couple of hours of sleep before waking up for the main event of our weekend - The PGA Tour Championship. This was mine and John's first PGA event, so we were glad to have Megan, a regular PGA volunteer, there to show us the ropes.
The first tee off was around 11:30 AM. Before the first pairing, we walked around the grounds, played some games, and grabbed 'breakfast' at a BBQ stand. We got to the first hole right after the first group had teed off, but we were just in time to see Ricky Fowler tee up in his typical bright orange attire.
After we watched a few more golfers tee off, we claimed a spot on the 7th green so that we could watch each pair come through. Sitting at 7 allowed us to watch everyone play through, and left us just enough time to get to the 18th hole to claim a spot near the green.
Getting to see players like Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas, and Sergio Garcia was an unbelievable experience. Even though Xander Schauffele won this PGA event, Justin Thomas earned enough points to claim the coveted FedEx Cup. It was an awesome ending to a great weekend, and we we're glad to have been there to see it.
I'm not sure how any other weekend in Atlanta might top this one, but we will be back soon to see what other adventures await us in this hot, southern city.