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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Help! I'm going to Atlanta!
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02/29/2008 03:58:31 PM · #1
Hello All!

For work I am going to Atlanta for a week to visit Georgia Institute of Technology, to look at some Nanowires.

I have never even been to the States before! I was just wondering if anyone had any tips/tricks or local knowledge for me. I'm not sure if I'll have much time to look around, but suffice to say I'm going to take my camera! Are there any must see areas? I might have a look at the camera shops as well ;) any to look out for?

There is loads of other things as well, like where to eat, is it safe to walk about, how to pay for stuff (signing my card or chip & pin), tipping. Most importantly does beer come in pints!?

Anything would be greatly appreciate, and will definately return the favour should you visit wales! I am somewhat nervous, but really looking forward to the trip.

Cheers
Mark
02/29/2008 04:15:40 PM · #2
Where are you staying? That will help define where you go. Will you have a car? If you're in the Tech area, you're close by quite a lot of things, but I wouldn't suggest wandering around by yourself at night.

There's lots to eat depending on what you want, and you can use your credit card (Visa or MasterCard, maybe American Express or Discover) most anywhere -- but not at The Varsity, which is a must (and just up the street from Tech). Standard tipping at a restaurant is 20%. Yes, you can get a pint of beer if the place has draft (from the tap). Some bars even have Imperial pints. The better bars have full menus just for the beer or brew their own.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' ericwoo probably knows that area better than I do. I tend to avoid Midtown; I have plenty to do in my neck of the woods.

As for camera stores, there's really just Showcase, which is a pain to get to (though there's a really good art house (movies) in the same lot).
02/29/2008 04:30:06 PM · #3
Thanks so much Elemess! I got a 'hampton' hotel right opposite the tech, which seems ideal. I won't have a car, but I've heard the MARTA system is good. I'm not sure how to get from the airport to downtown, but I get in a 1pm and can't check in for a couple of hours anyway, so I'm sure I'll figure something out. My friend was in Boston the other day and a taxi driver swore that you had to tip 50% LOL

I saw Bill Cosby is doing a show next sunday in the Fox Theatre, I might check that out.
02/29/2008 04:45:56 PM · #4
Go see whatever's playing at the Fox. Cosby would be terrific, but the building itself is a marvel, like something that stepped out of time. Take some time to explore it; don't just rush to your seat.
02/29/2008 05:31:45 PM · #5
Hey Mark! When are you getting in and how long are you staying? Downtown is a very neat place and safe for the most part. You will encounter a large homeless population that begs for money to live. Some are polite, some are complete asses. If you give away money, just do it sparsely. There are many good photo ops around your area, and there is lots of good beer all over...even Harp and Strongbow if you must.

I am out is Colorado skiing most of next week, but we do get back in towards the end of the week. Maybe I can get down and do a little guiding one of the days you are here. I'd HIGHLY recommend the Georgia Aquarium, I hear that the World of Coke (Coca-Cola) is very cool as it was all started here in Atlanta. If you like Hockey or have never seen a game, go see the Thrashers play. They are in town on March 5th and 7th. If you are around on the 8th, NASCAR (auto racing) is nearby. Its a big deal here, especially in the south. The only issue is getting there. It is about 20 miles south of where you will be. Bill Cosby would also be very worthwhile. CNN studios are here, though I have never taken the tour.

These should get you started, and I am sure that I will think of more. Shoot me an email and let me know when you'll be around.

E
02/29/2008 05:53:09 PM · #6
Mmmm... Stongbow!

Thanks so much guys! I am looking forward to it more and more now, but I've never done any travelling before so I'm a bit apprehensive naturally.

I saw some pics of the fox theatre and it looks amazing. Thanks for the tips Eric! I'm about till the 9th, I was thinking of hockey or basketball possibly but nascar would be amazing! I'm not sure how much time I'll have free but I'll drop you an email.

Thanks for everything, DPC is a cool place for things like this, a real global community!
Mark
02/29/2008 06:16:01 PM · #7
eric...
It's been a long time since I was in Atlanta and I always had a car. What's the chance of Mark finding reasonable transportation to Stone Mountain?

I visited there once. I thought it was a pretty cool spot.
02/29/2008 06:43:09 PM · #8
Mark,

From the Airport you can take the MARTA train right into Midtown. You would get off at either the North Avenue or Midtown stops. It should be fairly short walk from there. Go to the MARTA website. You can check out the stops there.

As for restaurants, there is one at 14th and Peachtree St. (not West Peachtree St.) that I highly recommend. It is called TAP. It's a Gastropub and they have Innis & Gunn. Aside from Guiness, it is the best beer I have had. It is on the other side of Interstate 75 from GA Tech but not too far of a walk.

In the off chance you meet people and have transportation, you should try Aquaknox. Great seafood flown in fresh daily. It's in Buckhead about 4 miles north on Peachtree in the new Terminus Building.

Have a great time! We are relocating to Atlanta this summer. I can't wait.
03/01/2008 05:05:34 AM · #9
cheers ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' wmprkg! That was the main bit that worried me! As I am usually a worrier I have printed out numerous copies of my boarding passes and travel information and scattered them all about my self and luggage. My missus suggested I do a 'prison break' and tattoo (well...write!) it all over my body!

I'll let you know how i get on!

Cheers
Mark
03/01/2008 07:03:09 AM · #10
You should be fine, and have a great time! I'm a frequent traveler to Atlanta but generally I'm outside the perimeter; one thing you should keep in mind is that there are a million streets with Peachtree in the name so keep a map on hand and make sure you know which one you are on. :)

I'll chime in and agree that the Fox Theater is pretty awesome, and so is the World of Coke exhibit. If you can get there, Stone Mountain is also worth the excursion time.

We don't use the chip-and-pin system here for credit cards; you'll need to sign the back of your credit cards before you come and then sign a slip for your credit card purchases while you are here. For ATM/debit cards you'll only need your PIN.

Tipping is expected in bars/restaurants and also taxicabs. For food and drink, 15-20% is about right and for cabbies you'll want to go with more like 10% or a couple of bucks depending on how much the ride was.

Yes, the beer comes in pints. A good microbrew brand that you might try is called "Sweetwater" but there are many others at these places.

As far as getting from the airport to the hotel, most hotels have an airport shuttle that may or may not have a small charge. The shuttle is generally cheaper than a cab and your hotel can give you additional information on that. Also, you can ask the hotel for something called "early check-in courtesy" which means they'll try to get your room ready a bit early if they can and let you get in there an hour or two before the official scheduled check-in time at no extra charge.

This is a good website to find things to do.

Have fun!

--L2

03/01/2008 07:41:40 AM · #11
Thanks L2, that website is great! I missed it when I was looking for info. I just went to my local book shop and found a pop-up map of atlanta!

I really appreciate all your help.
03/01/2008 01:06:37 PM · #12
Looks like you are staying at the Hampton Inn on North Avenue? If so, you'd want to take the Marta train to the North Avenue stop (it only goes one way from the airport and it is the same line the North Ave stop is on). When you get off the train go right since there are exits a block apart at either end of the platform. Once you come out at street level, hang a right on North Avenue and your hotel is a few blocks up.

To Eat:
I highly recommend the Spotted Dog. It is a smallish pub in a building from the near the turn of the century. They have pretty good food and a nice outside terrace if the weather is mild. It is quite easy to find. It is located between the AT&T tower (has the logo on it) and the Bank of America building (the larger pointy topped one two blocks away) on North avenue. Is is within a block of the Fox Theater (which is on the same block as the AT&T tower) but will likely be packed before any show at the Fox. Go early if going there before a show.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' elemess is right that the Varsity should be visited. The food is greasy and horrible, but it is truly a landmark. :-) Take some Tums when you go and be sure and get an "F.O."

There is also a micro-brewery that is perhaps a 10 minute walk (but through a very safe area) called Gordon Biersch. the food is good (try the garlic fries) and the beer is better.

To see/shoot:

The GA aquarium is nice as is the Coke museum (right next to the aquarium) and there are some pretty spots in Centennial Olympic Park right next to the museum and aquarium. There are some really pretty fountains there that are unfortunately shut down due to the drought we've been under.

You should go up in the Westin Peachtree at night. It is the large round building just south of Tech. It has a glass elevator that hangs on the outside of the building. It is probably 40 or more floors tall. They have an observation deck at the top, inside over a nice restautrant. If memory serves, they charge a few bucks to go up but the panorama view on a clear night is worth it.

I know is sounds odd, but Oakland Cemetery is a beautiful place to shoot. It dates back to 1850 and the architecture is beautiful. Not somewhere I'd go at night, by the way, but it is fine during the day. I'd consider getting a cab since it is probably a mile and a half from where you are staying.

Atlantic Station is less than a mile north and is a neat place for a little nightlife. They have everything from trendy bars to nice restaurants and a fair bit of shopping. It is made to look more like a small town square area, though. This is more in the "to do" category than the "to shoot".

Stone Mountain is nice, but it is not near where you are staying. You could get there by car in about 30 minutes. I would suggest you rent a car for the day if you plan on doing so. Cabs here are quite expensive and rental cars are cheap. If you decide to get a car let me know and I'll shoot you a list of other places worth going if you have wheels.

For camera stores, Showcase is a nice store with a very knowlegable staff. They carry everything from point-and-shoots to professional video and high-end camera gear and pro lighting. If you are looking for something there is a good chance they will have it. I'd link it here, but their web site is horrible. (disclaimer: I teach at their school)

There is a really cool little shop north-east of the city (30-45 minutes by car) called the Photo Barn that has an amazing selection of gear. It is buried in an industrial park well off the beaten path, but a very cool shop just the same. If you did end up getting a car even for a day it is worth the trip if you are looking to make any purchases while here.

As for safety of the area, pretty much anywhere is safe during the day. At night, the areas directly north and directly east of where you are are quite safe. Don't go west on foot at night. I would echo ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' ericwoo's assesment of the homeless situation. By law they aren't supposed to address you, but they certainly do. Many have very inventive stories about how they are out of their medication (and will show you an empty inhaler or the like) and just need a little help. Most are harmless, but a few can be a little aggressive. I've found that dialing your cellphone and putting it to your ear gets rid of 99% of them since they don't want any hassle with the cops. I NEVER give them money, but have often bought them food.

Let me know when you find if you'll have any time. Work often has me down in that area and I'd be happy to buy you a beer if the timing works out. Always interested in meeting other DPC'ers.

Cheers,
Greg

Message edited by author 2008-03-01 13:18:08.
03/01/2008 02:06:44 PM · #13
Good_ham you are a legend! I have printed your post out! I really appreciate your time putting that together, will definately let you know if I have any free time - I'm not too sure what to expect it might be hectic. I am always up for a beer, I owe you one!
03/14/2008 03:32:52 PM · #14
Hello!
I am back and had a great time in Atlanta. I have never been to the states before, and it was a real experience. I am sorry I didnt get a chance to meet anyone oever there, it was pretty hectic! But I did get a chance to wander around the city, and all your help came in really handy, Sweetwater beer is pretty good!

I even managed to take a few photos!
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657910.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657910.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657917.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657917.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657925.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657925.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657913.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657913.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657915.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657915.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I went to the Varsity and had a chilli dog and a milkshake - it was like trying to suck a lump of cheese through a straw, I loved it!
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657916.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657916.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I didnt manage to go to the donut shop, as it was full to capacity...
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657914.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657914.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I went for a long walk one day and found (I think) 'the little five points' which was fantastic, really colourful!
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657918.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657918.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657920.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657920.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657922.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657922.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657924.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657924.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657926.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/10000-14999/13879/120/657926.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Anyways, I enjoyed my trip and found all the info you gave invaluable. It made things so much easier and took away some of the panic! Also you were right about the homeless, more often than not they were quite friendly, but on one occasion I had to make a run for it!

Cheers
Mark

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