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  Terry's humble guide to Atlanta


Music, especially rock and roll

Atlanta's Bridges

Architecture, good and bad

Retail, good and bad

Neat places

Neat places

Great Drives | Great Places | Hangouts

- Great Drives:

  • Peachtree Street north from Downtown to Lenox Square Mall.  You can start at the Mall and head south for a different experience.  I prefer to start at Five-points.  This is the most prestigious street in Atlanta.  It's a nice drive. I lose interest beyond Lenox Mall.  Turn around drive it south from Lenox Square too.  When driving north there is a wonderful view of the mid-town skyscraper as you approach 10th Street.  (9 block northe of the Fox Theater)  When you first see the Federal Reserve bank, get ready.  All of the midtown buildings come into view.  Now, I don't like all of those buildings but they really look good as a group.  See "Architecture."
  • Ponce De Leon from the Fox Theater on Peachtree Street to Decatur.  From mid-town Atlanta through the Ponce "sleaze corridor," past old residences of Druid Hills area lined by Fredrick Law Olmstead parks, to the old Dekalb courthouse in Decatur, this drive has everything.
  • Auburn Avenue from Peachtree to Inman Park.  This passes through the Martin Luther King historic site and leads to Inman Park.  Historic, interesting, and charming.
  • Northside Drive from Paces Ferry to I-285.  This is the in-town neighborhood of the Atlanta gentry.  You'll wind though a neighborhood of mansions, some beautiful.  Every side street leads to more.  The drive would be great without the houses:  You'll navigate rolling, forested hills as you make your way to the Chattahoochee River.
  • Buford Highway from Lenox/Cheshire Bridge Road to as far as you want to go.  Don't make this drive for beauty or peace and quiet.  The road itself a boring, straight six lane burger-row.  It is interesting because it has become the commercial district for immigrants.  You can find anything and everything of Buford Highway.
  • Moreland Avenue from Ponce De Leon south to I-285.  No beauty here.  It's a cramped four-lane most of the way.  Down-scale neighborhoods on the come-back, Little Five Points, East Atlanta, Atlanta's only drive-in theater, trucking warehouses, and a dump at I-285 to top it all off.  Work gets done on this street.
  • Bankhead Highway from I-285 to downtown.  Take this drive through historically black, west Atlanta.  Neither a beauty nor a showplace, it's a very interesting drive.  The panorama of downtown from the west is rarely seen by white folks.
  • Freedom Parkway from the Carter Center to downtown.  Neighborhood preservationists fought this road for decades.  Oh, but the view as you approach town is spectacular.

- Great places

  • Parkway Drive Bridge over Freedom Parkway is often crowded with photographers.  The absolute best ground level view of Atlanta. Drive west from the Carter Center to experience the view from your car.
  • Fifth Street Bridge as it crosses the I-75/85 Downtown Connector.  After cruising around Georgia Tech for a while, exit the campus to the east via 5th street and pause on the bridge over the expressway.  Make sure to do it at night.  On your right is the downtown skyline.  Directly ahead is the Biltmore.  To the left the midtown skyline including the IBM building.  It all seems so delightfully balanced and sophisticated.
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium - Upper west stands at Georgia Tech.  Go to the top row for a panoramic view of downtown and midtown Atlanta set off by the beautiful green of the football field.  You may need a season's ticket.
  • Piedmont Park - is a few blocks east of Peachtree in Midtown.  It's Atlanta's biggest park  This is another Fredrick Law Olmstead park that really works.  It attracts a lot of people.  There is wonderful view of Midtown from the ball fields.
  • Dekalb Peachtree Airport is a small airport for private, corporate and small commercial flying.  It's between Peachtree and Buford Highway on Claremont Road.  There is a nice place for plane watching and for soaking in the wide-open spaces.
  • Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza are shopping malls alright, but these aren't your typical suburban malls.  They sit cattycornered across Peachtree Street and have been competing for years.  They are palaces for ordinary folks.
  • Oakland Cemetary at 248 Oakland Avenue opened in 1850.  It is six acres of peace just east of Downtown.
  • Stone Mountain about 8 miles east of I-285.  It is huge, climb to the top if you can, take the cable car if you can't.  A few folks are offended by the gigantic sculpture of confederate heros.  Don't be; as large as it is, it's like a postage stamp on a tennis court.

- Hangouts

I'm not sure "hangouts" is the right word.  I'm talking about human scaled neighborhood centers where folks shop, eat, and people-watch.

  • Downtown Decatur is east of Atlanta, just head west on Ponce De Leon.  It has an old courthouse, a square, businesses, shops, and restaurants.  Most buildings are human scale and it's a happening place when the business folks go to lunch.  It sure beats working in an office park.
  • Virginia - Highlands and Poncey - Highlands are just east of Midtown in one of Atlanta older neighborhoods.  It's a string of businesses, shops, restaurants, bars, music venues and, in general trendy places and people.  It's a nice place to walk and hang out.  Manuals Tavern anchors the south end and Doc Chey's Noodle House anchors the north end about two miles away.  Yuppie, student, and family friendly.
  • Little 5 Points is due east of downtown.  It's the bohemian, hippy, "arrogantly shabby" neighborhood center.  Hear great music, get tattooed, eat cheap at good restaurants, visit funky shops, get panhandled, see blue hair.  You won't feel as safe here but its a funky place at the confluence of several very interesting neighborhoods.  The only truly unfortunate thing about LFP is that it is split by the four-lane Moreland Avenue.  I thinks it's hard for a place like this to  thrive on a four-lane road.
  • East Atlanta Village  Go south from Little 5 Points, cross I-20, take an immediate left on Flat Shoals, and then an immediate right and you are there.  This is the newest urban pioneer spot and not without some controversy.  The shopping area is in the midst of a varied and very interesting neighborhood in transition.  The shopping area is very pedestrian friendly with wide sidewalks and is still on the make.  With music, food, bars, shops, it's a little more arty and less bohemian than Little 5 Points.   It's a little off the beaten path.
  • Oakview Road at East Lake Drive is in the Oakhurst neighborhood southeast of downtown Decatur.  You'd never know it's there; its not on the way to anywhere.  It's a rebounding neighborhood center with shops, and restaurants.  It's quite charming with a lot of potential and most folks don't know it's there.
  •  Buckhead nightlife begins on the east side of the intersection of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry north of Downtown.  It is a wild singles hangout every night.  The neighbors don't particularly like it but there it is.  There is a lot more to Buckhead than the singles scene but a midnight, this place rocks.
  • Emory Village is a tiny college town at the southwest corner of Emory University.  Here are some before the fire and after the fire pictures.  In the 70's a fire leveled a theater, half of the old architecture, and more than half of the charm.  The part destroyed by fire is ugly and it's a shame. Parking is such a problem that the ugly half may never improve.  But there's some good places to eat and drink coffee.  Everybody's Pizza at the corner anchors the place.
(last updated on
November 10, 2001)