While I was writing the Visit Atlanta for $1000 post, I started wishing I was the one taking that trip. When work schedules aligned and my husband and I decided to take a vacation Atlanta was quickly our first choice. I took the trip plan I had made and made it fit our schedule and interests while still sticking to a budget.
Before our vacation could even start we went on a 10-hour drive from St. Louis to Atlanta. It was rough but we did it. When we got into town we checked into our hotel and had dinner before passing out.
Like in my $1000 Atlanta post, I stayed in the Inn at the Peachtrees hotel. It was located downtown just blocks from everything in the downtown area. Inn at the Peachtrees had affordable rooms and parking with in/out privileges for $15/day. Our rooms were spacious, the hotel offered continental breakfast, complimentary wireless internet, and there was a pretty courtyard between all the rooms.
For day 1 we made out way to Zoo Atlanta. It was a nice cool day and the animals were happy to be outside. The reason I wanted to visit the zoo was the pandas. I love pandas so I was excited to hear Zoo Atlanta had some. Even better, there was a baby panda just over a year old.
I was surprised to see just how many baby animals the zoo had. There were baby flamingos, a giraffe, a waterbuck, and even tigers. Just this weekend a baby orangutan celebrated his first birthday. We spent just shy of 2 hours exploring the zoo. If you have kids I’d say you should budget 3 hours inside. If you’re interested in visiting the zoo, use the City Pass or print a coupon for it. Parking here is free and the neighborhood was just bustling with a farmers market and people walking and jogging. This was in a beautiful part of town.
For the afternoon we decided to see a different side of Atlanta. We’re from St. Louis so football isn’t a way of life here. I’ve only been to one Rams game and surprise, they didn’t win. When we were looking for something to do on Sunday we saw the Atlanta Falcons had a game so we figured why not see a team try for a win? I bought us tickets on Stubhub and they arrived with plenty of time to spare before we left town.
Even hours before the game we could sense this town was different. People filled up parking lots to do some early tailgating and an entire field in front of the stadium was covered in floats and people and even a drum line.
Inside the stadium it was very full and we soon learned the stand cheers and “Rise Up!” motto being shouted around us. We enjoyed the drum lines, the mascots’ crazy antics, and even Atlanta beating the Titans. We wore the colors red and black so we wouldn’t stand out and everyone treated us like we were right at home.
Even before Day 1 started we had our first meal in Atlanta. After our 10 hour drive we got settled into our hotel room and then walked a block for a late dinner at Max Lager’s. Max Lager’s is a wood-fired grill and brewery. My husband and I each got a glass of their gold brewed beer to go with our meals. I had fish and chips, he had a bison burger and we both came away happy.
On Day 1 we did a quick detour for lunch to Jimmy John’s. Nothing fancy, we just needed food between the zoo and the game. Can’t go too wrong there and if you stay at Inn at the Peachtrees you’ll be just a block away.
For dinner we had opted to eat after the game, not realizing that most restaurants downtown will either be packed after the game or closed on Sunday. Whoops! In my defense I just didn’t realize that so many commercial breaks would make our game last longer than 3 hours. On our way back to the hotel we stopped inside a Jalapeno Charlie’s. Nothing too fancy but they brought us our steak burritos and tacos right away which was perfect since we were starving. Both hit the spot and the strawberry margarita I had really packed a punch.
Check out the rest of my Atlanta trip photos on flickr and stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of Day 2 where I visit the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. You can also find Day 3’s recap here.