I must confess Atlanta wasn't on my bucket list of cities to visit. But when I got an opportunity to go to Augusta, GA for a practice round of The Masters golf tournament via Atlanta, I thought why not.
I have often said, "I can find interesting things to see and do in any city!"
18,000 Step Program
Everyone I asked about what to see and do in Atlanta said, "You will need a car." As everyday tourist, we loved a challenge.
Brenda and I spent 14 days in Atlanta's City Centre and found lots to see and do either on foot (averaging 18,000 steps a day, highest was 27,000+) or using the MARTA train (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Association).
We found great vintage, antique and thriftshops along Chamblee's Antique Row and a great craft brewery HopStix. Living across the street from Piedmont Park (Atlanta's equivalent to NYC's Central Park) was a delight. While Atlanta's City Centre doesn't have any streets with contiguous retail and restaurants we did find some hidden gems.
We loved the buzz at Ponce City Market a repurposed Sears Roebuck Co. store and distribution centre. It made me rethink, "Why Calgary's Eau Claire Market didn't work? Would it work today?
Atlantic Station a reclaimed steel factory on the other side of the interstate highway from Midtown was also enlightening. Its grid of mid-rise brick condos with street retail and restaurants mimicking an early 20th century warehouse district was a very pedestrian friendly. It has many of the elements of Calgary's University District and West District. It made me wonder, "if East Village shouldn't of had more midrise buildings with street retail to create a more human scale?"
Beltline was bustling
I was gobsmacked by the number of people strolling Atlanta's Beltline a reclaimed railway line that has become a multi-use trail modelled after NYC's High Line without all the fancy furnishing and finishings. I bet there were 50,000+ people of all ages strolling the promenade on the 10km stretch that I experienced on a warm Saturday afternoon.
I was surprised they allowed cyclists (probably about 5% of the users) to use the concrete pathway when it was so busy. I can't believe how aggressive and inconsiderate many of the cyclists were. Brenda headed home early as it was too unpleasant for her liking.
After spending 14 days in Atlanta's City Centre, I am pleased to say the city was more fun, funky and quirky (FFQ) than I could have hoped for.
Check out this FFQing photo essay and let me know what you think. FYI. I have saved the best for last....
As you can imagine Atlanta has been very fruitful when it comes to ideas for blogs. Over the next month you can expect blogs comparing Calgary's City Centre to Atlanta's, a piece on Ponce City Market, Atlantic Station, Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery and the Beltline Trail.
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