$1000 Vacation: Atlanta

The first $1000 Vacation I’m bringing you will send you to is Atlanta, Georgia. I like Atlanta because it has a great downtown, an amazing transportation system (The Marta) and it has the added benefit of having a City Pass (see below) to make it affordable.

The Hotel

Inn at the Peachtrees

Image courtesy Inn at the Peachtrees

You’ll stay 4 nights at the Inn at the Peachtrees in downtown Atlanta. Inn at the Peachtrees is a newly renovated Best Western Plus hotel located just blocks from nearly everything downtown. You can take the Marta nearby but you can also easily travel by foot. They offer conveniences like a daily continental hot breakfast buffet and in-room mini-fridge.

For your stay, book a courtyard king bedroom with the automatic 2-night stay promotion (now through November 20). The room rate is $84.15/nt and with taxes your hotel will total $390.44. If you drive into town they do offer parking for an additional $15/day (pricing may vary).

The Fun

Centennial Park Olympic Fountain at night

Photo credit: flickr user Photomatt28

Day 1: Head over to Centennial Olympic Park for the afternoon. This is a 21-acre park that was used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Make sure to check out the Fountain of Rings and the Quilt of Remembrance that focuses on the bombing that took place here. The park offers an audio tour you can listen to for $5 each that you can pick up at the Visitor Center. Stay through the evening and experience the free Holiday in Lights and outdoor ice skating for $18. ($28)

Atlanta City Pass

For the rest of the activities on your trip you’ll want to purchase the Atlanta City Pass. The City Pass is a great way to do multiple activities and save money while doing it. For the activities I’ve listed below you’d save about $5 by using the City Pass but if you do one more activity that one will be completely free. That means saving half off the regular price and any bargain lover should love that. The City Pass also includes show upgrades that will save you money. ($69/each)


Day 2: Use your City Pass and head to CNN Center for a CNN Studio Tour. The price of the tour is included in your City Pass but you can always upgrade it to a VIP tour for $20 more. Get here early (like when you’re downtown on day 1) to pick up a timed entry ticket that will be free thanks to your pass. The tour lasts about an hour and will show you the inner-workings of a news station. No matter what news channel you watch at home there’s a lot to learn from the tour.

The Georgia Aquarium

Photo credit: flickr user tlindenbaum

Day 3: You’ll spend all day at the Georgia Aquarium. Your city pass includes the price of admission, tickets to Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow, and a 20-minute Quick Dip tour. The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest aquarium and features beluga whales.

Day 4: Head up to Midtown on the Marta and visit the High Art Museum. The museum has 11,000 exhibits of art inside and your city pass includes admission and entry to their exhibits including their new exhibit Picasso to Warhol featuring more than 100 works of art created by 14 of the most iconic artists from the 20th century.

Day 5: Stick to downtown and discover the World of Coca-Cola. Coke was invented in Atlanta in 1886 and the city makes sure to hold onto that legacy. Your city pass includes admission, a 4-D theater viewing, and a souvenir Coke bottle. Inside your tour you’ll learn the history of Coca-Cola, “meet” the Coke bear, watch a bottling line, see Coke’s impact on pop culture, watch old commercials, and of course taste plenty of Coke and Coke products.

The Food

Breakfast and lunch are up to you on this trip with a $20 budget each day per person ($200 of your budget). Since your hotel offers continental breakfast feel free to use all $20 on lunch or eat cheap and pocket the difference. I’ve scouted out the city for some dinner ideas. All the prices below are estimates but do include a guess at tax and tip when applicable.

NOM NOM NOM - ESP Chicken Salad Sandwich

Elliott Street Deli and Pub

Rosa’s Pizza: Offering New York style pizza by slice, this is a great place to stop while you visit Centennial Olympic Park. It’s located downtown and is said to have some amazing lasagna. Even better, this place values quality and your wallet. A meal for 2 people should set you back only $15.

Ted’s Montana Grill: Review after review of this place says “Try the bison burger!” and then went on to explain why they are so delicious. My mouth was watering here in Missouri. Come here after a walking tour at CNN and see what all the fuss is about. 2 bison burger platters and drinks will set you back about $50.

Elliott Street Deli and Pub: While this little place can be hard to find, the unique flavor combinations between two pieces of bread made it worthy of including. The owners use fresh ingredients and artisan breads to make bold sandwiches like the Dirty Bird in Blue– smoked turkey topped with swiss, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and bleu cheese. You’ll want to try these sandwiches with their signature baked potato salad, and some drinks for about $30. Since this is a dive bar, consider splurging on a beer and just relax. We suggest trying this spot out after your aquarium visit.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Photo Courtesy Mary Mac's Tea Room

Sausalito West Coast Grill: For this meal, switch it up and budget for a giant lunch and use your spending money for supper instead. Sausalito West Coast Grill is only open 11 AM to 3 PM but the food is worth the tiny window of opportunity. This restaurant is located in Midtown so you’ll want to visit during your trip to the High Art Museum. It’s worth the trip for the California/Mexican/Latin/Argentinian-inspired menu. Unsure of what kind of food that means? You can expect burritos, fish tacos, wraps, pork loins on buns, and plenty more on the menu or one of their many specials. Budget around $30 for whatever dish you choose and some sodas to sip on. Chips and salsa come free.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room: I can’t let you visit Atlanta without one real Southern meal and what better day than after seeing the home of Southern coca cola? While it’s out of the way of Downtown a quick hop on the Marta should get you there. They really pile on the Southern charm here, from a host in a suit, a bread basket filled with cinnamon rolls, to a staff that’s warm and engaging. The menu is a standout too. The fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and fried catfish (noticing a trend?) all seem to get continuously warm reviews. Desserts here are a must so I’ve budgeted for you to split one since you might be too full to eat a whole peach cobbler, peanut butter pie, or banana pudding otherwise. Expect to spend a solid $50 here.

The Total

View $1000 Atlanta Trip Plan in a larger map
Hotel: ………$390.44
Food: ………$375.00
Activities: …..$166.00
TOTAL: …….$931.44

Can you believe how affordable Atlanta is? You could even throw in a trip to the Zoo Atlanta to see their pandas without paying another penny thanks to your City Pass. You easily have some extra spending money to upgrade some meals with appetizers or dessert. How else could you spend your extra cash? Consider buying a souvenir cookbook from Mary Mac’s or buy some of their cinnamon rolls to go. The possibilities are endless but hopefully you see just how affordable Atlanta can really be while still having plenty of fun.

Check back tomorrow to see the next $1000 trip challenge!

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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