Visiting Atlanta means embracing both new and old. Constantly evolving due to the influence of new arrivals, including corporate transplants and artists drawn by the city’s reasonable affordability, Atlanta still manages to stay connected to its deep Southern roots and traditions. Enjoying the city like a local means exploring everything from recent additions to long-time mainstays even your grandparents remember.
The name may sound Southern, but the strip of restaurants along Buford Highway in northeast Atlanta is far from it. Locals from all over the city frequent this side of town to feast on a range of Asian cuisine, from Shanghai soup dumplings to beef bulgogi. Get your dim sum fix at Canton House, or indulge in Korean bibimbap at Woo Nam Jeong Stone Bowl House. For a mashup of Louisiana Cajun and Vietnamese, head to Crawfish Shack Seafood to get a taste of everything from crawfish to gator tail.
Krog Street Tunnel
You won’t find Krog Street Tunnel on many tourist maps, but the kaleidoscope of graffiti that covers every inch of the underpass connecting Cabbagetown and Inman Park is more than impressive. Pedestrian walkways on either side allow you to stroll through the huge murals and underground festival ads. The expressive graffiti artwork is perfectly legal here, so you can even add some color and flair to the ever-changing landscape. If you exit on the north end, stop at Krog Street Market for some Southern-fried chicken, a scoop of ice cream, and a pint of ale at Hop City.
More than a mere mall, Plaza Fiesta is a flea market/Mexican mercado in northeast Atlanta that hosts almost 300 vendors in 350,000 square feet of floor space. A super farmers’ market anchors the complex, while bodegas and specialty stores sell everything from cell phone covers and religious statuary to cowboy boots and soccer jerseys. It also houses several large discount stores, a fitness center, a huge indoor playground, and a dozen taquerias in the food court.
Sweet Auburn Curb Market
A destination for locals since its founding in 1924 as the Municipal Market, the updated Sweet Auburn Curb Market in the center of Atlanta features 24 vendors in its open space. Shop for fresh farmers’ market produce, seafood, cuts of meat, and baked goods, or dig into a meal of poke bowls, Jamaican jerk chicken, or traditional Southern plate dishes with a meat and two sides from Metro Deli Soul Food. The market also includes a pharmacy, an independent bookstore, and a learning kitchen with demos and classes to help you hone your bread-baking and cheese-making skills.
Little Five Points
Atlanta’s hub for everything alternative, Little Five Points has attracted crowds of hipsters for decades. Colorful wall murals and signs cover indie storefronts, including The Junkman’s Daughter, the ultimate offbeat curio/antique/vintage store. Other popular thrift and vintage stores include The Clothing Warehouse and Rag-O-Rama. If you’re a vinyl music lover, get lost in the bins at Criminal Records or Wax N Facts. For eats, tackle a Bypass burger at The Vortex and slake your thirst at Porter Beer Bar.
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