Atlanta Fall Festival Round Up!

Last Friday marked the official beginning of autumn, which means temps are finally bearable, leaves are turning, and my calendar is loaded with fall festivals!  There are tons of opportunities for Atlantans to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather in the coming weeks.  Below are my top 5 picks for fall fun.

“Sunday in the Park” at Historic Oakland Cemetery

Did you know that this year will mark the 32nd anniversary of this festival hosted by the Historic Oakland Foundation?  Yeah, me neither.  The website promises “delicious food from Six Feet Under, The Varsity, Pallookaville and more… a variety of live musical entertainment, an artists market, living history demonstrations, storytellers, Irish dancers and a scavenger hunt.”  Sounds like a good time to me!  Heck, I’ll check it out just to get my corndog fix from Pallokaville.

When: Sunday, October 2nd from noon – 6pm.  Click here for more details.

Candler Park Fall Fest

Candler Park hosts several festivals throughout the year, so they know how to facilitate a good time.  Food, beverages, an artist market, live music, a 5k race, a tour of homes… this two day festival has something for everyone!

When: Saturday, October 15th (noon – 9pm) & Sunday October 16th (noon – 8pm)  Click here for more details.

The Little 5 Points Halloween Festival & Parade

The off-beat energy of L5P makes it the perfect host to the largest Halloween parade in the Southeast.  I attended last year for the first time and had so much fun as a plain clothed spectator.  If you’re having trouble coming up with a Halloween costume idea, you’re sure to find inspiration here!

When: Saturday, October 22nd.  Festivities begin at noon, and the parade begins at 4pm.  Click here for more details.

Taste of Atlanta

There will be over 80 restaurants offering samplings of their menu all at one place, you say?  Yes, please!  I’m stoked to have the opportunity to try so much food for only $25.  I never knew how great these types of events were until I attended Taste of Cheshire Bridge a while back.  Taste of Atlanta will be bigger and better!

When: Saturday, October 22nd (11am – 6pm) & Sunday October 23rd (11am – 6pm)  Click here for more details.

Cabbage Town Chomp and Stomp

I am so bummed that I will miss the uber popular chilli cook-off and festival this year! Hundreds of professionals and amateurs alike offer their take on the deceptively simple meat and bean stew.  Every team boasts a secret ingredient for a distinctive flavor.  Not a chilli enthusiast?  No worries.  There are plenty of other food options and drinks available to enjoy while you take in the live bluegrass bands.

When: Saturday, November 5th  11am – 6pm  Click here for more details.

Honorable mentions include the Decatur Beer Festival, which takes place on October 15h and is always a sold out event.  I did not score tickets this year, but I’ve attended in the past and had a great time.  Also on October 15th, Zoo Atlanta is hosting an event called Jazzoo.  Tickets are a bit steep at $100 per person, but it’s an all inclusive evening of food, cocktails, music (Yacht Rock!) and animals, and the proceeds fund programs for disadvantaged children.  Anyone willing to shell out the dough to attend Jazzoo with me?  Anyone…?

Now it’s your turn!  Which fall events are you looking forward to??

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This Weekend: Inman Park Fest!

April has gone by so quickly that my favorite neighborhood festival has kind of snuck up on me.  The 40th annual Inman Park Fest is taking place this weekend!  I attended last year for the first time and was amazed by the vastness of the event.  I am looking forward to enjoying the beautiful weather forecast for the entire weekend while getting lost in the largest street market in Atlanta, and eating deliciously unhealthy food, of course!  I’m pretty bummed that I won’t be able to make it to the parade on Saturday afternoon, but I plan to make up lost time by hanging out all day on Sunday.  Who’s with me!?

There will be something there for everyone: live music, a notoriously wacky parade, the mammoth street market, food and drink a plenty, a free dance festival held in the historic Trolley Barn, and a tour of homes, just to name a few!  Check out their website here for a full schedule of events and more information.

See y’all there!

Workin’ for the Weekend!

It’s only Tuesday, but I’m already super pumped about all of the fun happenings taking place in Atlanta this weekend!  I don’t have my agenda mapped out yet, but it is always nice to have a ton of  great options.  Here are a few of my top picks for the weekend of April 15 – 17:

Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park

I always enjoy strolling through the artist market, watching the Regional Disc Dog Competition, stuffing my face with festival food and people watching in the park. There are also several stages for music and dance performances!  The festival starts on Friday at noon and ends Sunday evening, so this event will surely make it onto my schedule at some point.

SweetWater 420 Fest at Candler Park

The weather should be just right for a little beer drinkin’ this weekend at the SweetWater 420 fest.  There’s a great line up of bands, a cask-ale tasting, artist market and the new Relaps 420 comedy tent set up at Candler Park. It’s a smaller festival than Dogwood, and it attracts a different crowd, so I’ll likely hit up both!

Yacht Rock’s Reagan Rock Prom

My smooth rock idols are putting on the 2nd annual 80’s themed “Reagan Rock” prom at Variety Playhouse in L5P this Saturday, April 16th!  I actually never went to prom… not because I was unpopular (I had a boyfriend), but because I just wasn’t into prom back then.  Now that I’ve reached my late 20’s, I think it would be hilariously fun to get decked out in 80’s fashion and awkwardly slow dance with my sweetheart.

Atlanta Braves Game

The Bravos are taking on the NY Mets at home this weekend, and I honestly need to redeem myself for last Friday’s opening game.  I might have tailgated a little too hard, and didn’t even make it through the entire game. Huge fail!  If only I could score more sweet seats…

Shopping at Fab’rik

This activity may not wait until this weekend!  I LOVE Fab’rik.  Don’t know what Fab’rik is?  I almost don’t want to tell you, but I will anyway.  It’s my favorite. boutique. ever!  And today I purchased a $60 gift certificate for only $25 on livingsocial.com!  I’ve been on a spending diet for the last month to save up for an upcoming vacation, so it’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure to go shopping.  I know I’m going to find the perfect sundress to wear in on my vaca in Cancun!

I know you’re already itching for the weekend, so tell me… what are your plans?  Maybe I’ll see you out at one of the festivals or in line to take pictures at the prom!

Tourist Sunday!

After our trip to NYC, the BF and I realized that there are several tourist hot spots in Atlanta that we had never visited.  Since I work for a company that offers discounted tickets to the Georgia Aquarium and the new World of Coke, we ventured into downtown one Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago for a touristy good time!

Tip #1  I’d offer to any visitor of the Georgia Aquarium, tourist or local, is to arrive with tickets in hand.  Because I’d purchased tickets in advance, we were able to zip by the huge line of folks at the ticket booth and walked right in.

It didn’t take an astronomical amount of time to take in all of the exhibits at the world’s largest aquarium.  We leisurely strolled through, “oooh-ing” and “awww-ing” at the pretty and ugly critters alike, read the educational placards, listened to the employees give their spiels and were finished within an hour and a half.  All in all, a pleasurable experience that I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t checked it out yet.  They have some programs available for hard-core enthusiasts, such as the opportunity to dive in the “Gentle Giants” tank, and overnight sleep-overs.  And don’t forget about the new dolphin exhibit/show that is now open (we missed it by a couple of days).  Check out their website for more information.

A very short walk next door brought us to our next stop, the new World of Coke museum.  All I remembered from my previous visits on school field trips (at the old location) was the seemingly endless variety of Coke products to sample at the end of the tour.  Overall, the museum is pretty much a giant advertisement.  I didn’t learn much, but I was fairly entertained and left with a smile on my face (sugar high!), which I’m pretty sure is their goal.

The tour starts with an animated “documentary” of what a bottle of Coke goes through in a vending machine.  While not at all informative, it did make me LOL.  It was a really cute little film, sure to amuse any age group.

From there, we strolled through the exhibits full of advertisements throughout the years, saw the bottling process, then watched the 4D film about “what makes a Coke a Coke.”  Yes, I said 4D… that means you get to wear the awesome paper 3D glasses and sit in seats that are choreographed to move during the movie.  You also get misted with water as you see water coming at you with the 3D glasses.  This was also not at all informative, but rather an elaborate advertisement that encourages the connection of fond memories to Coke.  Too bad I couldn’t relate… I grew up drinking Big K Cola!

Finally, it was time to head to the sample room.  It seemed smaller than it did in the old museum, but that’s probably because everything seemed much bigger when I was younger.  My adult self couldn’t even attempt to try all of them – the sugar really started to get to me after about 2 dozen samples – but it was fun to watch all the youngins take up the challenge.

My verdict: I would have felt a little ripped off if I’d paid full price for tickets, and I would only recommend this attraction to people who really, really like Coke products.   There are much better attractions to choose from, in my opinion.

Finally, no visit to downtown would be complete without a stop at Der Biergarten, the German restaurant that opened last year.  I’ve been there twice now, and my only gripe is that the service has been less than great on both occasions.  But the food and beer are delish!  Both visits have been on chilly afternoons, so I’m looking forward to returning on a warmer day to hang out on their deck with a liter of brew.  Have you discovered this place yet?  I recommend that you do, and be sure to use the scoutmob deal to score half off!

All in all, pretending to be tourists proved to be quite fun for the afternoon!  The fact that all of the activities were discounted made it all the better.  My parting tip for all your tourists: check the weather forecast before heading to Atlanta!  March and April are somewhat wildcard months in terms of weather, and you don’t want to be stuck in a strapless sundress on a breezy, sunless day.  🙂

A Day in the Life…

I’m an advocate of taking a day off from time to time, a “mental health day” if you will, so I took a random Friday off of work a couple of weeks ago to pamper myself and explore a few spots in Atlanta that I’d never visited.  Even though the mercury had taken a slight dip and the sun also decided to take a day off, it turned out to be just the kind of day I needed.

First stop of the day: the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

I’d driven by this place hundreds of times while a student at GSU, and it is definitely a spot a native to this town should be familiar with.  While perusing their website for information on the return of Urban Picnic, a gathering of food-trucks hosted outside of the market twice a month (I’m so looking forward to finally checking it out later this month!), I learned a few interesting facts about SACM .  For instance, when the market was started in 1918,  it was the geographical center of the city and was the urbanite’s connection to the freshest produce.  And in 1924, the market was upgraded from a tent operation to the current fireproof building with funds raised by the Women’s Club of Atlanta.  Pretty neat history, huh?

I normally do my  shopping at the Dekalb Farmers Market (love that place), but I only need a few things that week, so I decided to shop a little closer to home.  I entered through a cute little coffee shop, Cafe Campesino, where I enjoyed a beautiful latte and hummingbird bran muffin that was still warm from being baked fresh.  Yum!

I found what I needed at the produce stands inside the market, but I think I’ll stick to the Dekalb Farmers Market for my major shopping trips.  I am looking forward to returning for lunch at Grindhouse Burgers, one of the restaurants located in the market, and attending Urban Picnic, of course.

I had a few minutes to kill before heading to a pilates class, so I took a walk through the historic Oakland cemetery.  My guy happens to live right across the street from it, and yet this is another place that I’d never visited before.  A cemetery isn’t the first place I’d normally pick to take an afternoon stroll, but this one is rather pretty and I found it to be a tranquil spot in the middle of the city.

Aptly named Six Feet Under is a great restaurant located across the street from the Oakland cemetery, and is where I ended up taking my brother to dinner before the Hawks game later that evening.

After the pilates class, I headed back to Grant Park for a hair appointment at Lux Salon.  I’d never been to this salon before and was persuaded to try it with a scoutmob deal (half off = only $50 for highlights!) and I’ve gotta say that I was impressed with this salon.  My stylist came up with a custom plan for my gradual transition to lighter locks and I took notice of the friendly team work between the different stylists.  I had plenty of time to just sit and relax while someone played with my hair.  Then my stylist changed my life forever… she curled my hair — with a flatiron!  I didn’t even know my hair could do that!

By the time I finished with my hair appointment it was time for a few activities I’ve actually done before in Atlanta: dinner at Six Feet Under (pictured above) and a Hawks game.   I never go to a game at Philips arena without first enjoying a big-ass beer at CNN center.  32 oz of New Castle goodness for only $6!  Not bad compared to what the arena charges ($9 for a 24 oz Guinness… sheesh!)

Notice the curled tresses!

The Hawks put up a good fight, making for an enjoyable game to watch even though we lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 111 – 104.

My day concluded with dancing at Noni’s, a fantastic little deli-by-day that turns into a bar/dance club at night in Old Fourth Ward.  Another first for this Atlanta Native, but surely not the last.  I absolutely loved the DJ’s mix of old-school hip-hop, current pop, and 80’s rock, and the unpretentious atmosphere.  Go on a Friday or Saturday night, but be aware that the party doesn’t get going until after midnight.

A pretty eventful yet relaxing day, all in all.  What do you do to recharge on days off?  Sleep in?  Catch up with super productivity?  I think I’ll make it a habit to try new things around Atlanta on future “mental-health” days, and I highly recommend that you get out an explore as well.  🙂