After crossing off attractions from your list, find hidden gems in Atlanta to explore.
Underground Atlanta has endured its ups and downs, its glory days and struggles. Today its reputation lies somewhere in the middle, but usually a disappointment to tourists.
Though Underground does offer retail options and a food court, it's main appeal is as a historical spot in Atlanta. Underground Atlanta was once a train depot during the Civil War and was eventually built over when the city went through reconstrucdtion in the 20's.
If you decide to go, explore during the day, leave your cash at the hotel and go in a group.
Distinguished as the World's Largest Drive-In Restaurant, The Varsity has been serving up burgers, fries, dogs, onion rings and more since 1928. This place is huge, and you can opt to go through the drive-through or order inside from their friendly staff.
The Varsity does have decent fast-food, it's an inexpensive spot to eat with a great view of the city, and it's fun. But tourists arrive expecting a completely unique and profound eating experience. In reality, it's just a big fast-food restaurant in the middle of the city.
Most locals will tell you the best part of the tour is learning about Coke products from around the world and getting a taste to your heart's content at the end of the tour. However, at $16 adults, $14 Seniors, and $12 kids ages 3 to 12, it's an expensive visit to get a look at the history of Coke, their advertising and merchandise.
If you just like nostalgia museums and are intrigued by Coke, then go. But if you're planning to hit up the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo or other major attractions, pick up an Atlanta's City Passto save on admission at Coke and around the city.
Hard Rock Atlanta seemed to have its heyday in the 90's and drew locals and tourists alike to its downtown location. And if you're a Hard Rock aficionado who likes to collect shirts from all their cities, then hit up the Atlanta location.
Otherwise, skip it. Atlanta boasts renown and celebrity chefs, fine dining, Southern infused dishes and has more restaurants then you'll ever be able to eat through even if you live here. You might as well try one of the best restaurants in the city, and at a price you can afford, then opt for the Quesadillas at Hard Rock.
By mall standards, Lenox delivers on variety and amenities like valet and up-front parking. It's also home to the Christmas tree lighting on Thanksgiving night and the traditional Pink Pig ride.
But Lenox is similar to any big mall and houses similar retailers you'll find throughout most major cities. Its food court could also use an update. Instead, consider hitting the boutiques in Virginia Highland or stroll through the outdoor, mixed-use complex at Atlantic Station.
At $2.50 each way, MARTA is currently the most expensive public transit fare in the city. But for years locals have complained MARTA trains don't really go anywhere. For example, MARTA trains do not run to Turner Stadium and requires a free shuttle transfer.
MARTA is a good option for Atlanta travelers who don't want to rent a car and are going from the airport to downtown hotels near the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, CNN Center, Imagine It! Children's Museum and Centennial Olympic Park.
But if you're planning to explore outside of the downtown Atlanta area, or are making more than a few stops directly accessible off the train, don't bother. You're looking at lengthy bus transfers to get to your destination and dealing with changing timetables.
It's also advisable not to take MARTA at night or alone.