For Day 3 of our road trip, we moved away from Downtown and headed up to Midtown. Realistically we moved about 2 dozen blocks north and public transportation could have easily taken us where we wanted to go. My husband and I just really like walking and we had an activity planned for Day 4 that required our car. So we checked out of Inn at the Peachtrees and moved on to our next location.
For our Midtown hotel we chose the Artmore Hotel. I couldn’t beat the prices or the bang for the buck. The hotel offered valet parking ($18/day with in/out privileges), spacious and modern rooms, a lounge and bar area that locals hang out in, and an outdoor area with heaters, blankets, casual seating, and a fire pit.
When we checked out of our last hotel I called over to the Artmore to see if we could park in their lot early and just walk around town until our room was ready. Not to worry, they had our room ready for us already at 10:30 AM. I was impressed from the get-go. We had winged it with our room, choosing a room type that left our lodging up to the hotel. The worst we could do was a queen bed and the best would be a luxury suite. In the end we ended up with the queen room (probably due to our early arrival) but it faced the courtyard and had plenty of space. Our first night the rain ruined our chance at sitting in the courtyard (we watched Storage Wars instead, a perfectly normal vacation activity) but thankfully the weather was much nicer the second night.
Our entertainment this day was the High Art Museum. (One of the many attractions on the Atlanta City Pass) I was a little hesitant because the museum by itself is a little pricey. I was wooed by the free exhibits, especially the Picasso to Warhol exhibit. Then I discovered a $5 discount if you check into their facebook page which really makes it worth it.
The Picasso to Warhol exhibit features the art of Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse, Chirico, Pollock, Calder, Beardon, Brancusi, Bourgeois, Johns, Leger, Duchamp, Miro, and Warhol. It was an amazing chance at seeing so much art in one gallery. My husband used to study art so he explained a lot of the techniques and history of artists but if you don’t have an art genius handy there is an audio guide available for rent from the museum.
The museum itself offered 4 stories of collections. Natural light poured in through the windows and skylights. There are a number of Georgia artists spread throughout the museum. My favorite part of the museum had to be the marble statues. I was really impressed to see one of the driftwood horses designed by Heather Jansch inside the museum. On my first road trip with my husband we stopped in at Chattanooga where some of her pieces were featured in a special exhibit. It was like coming full circle 7 years later.
The other special exhibit inside the High Art Museum was a feature on The Sculpture of Grainger McKoy. The exhibit featured birds made in some of the most amazing ways. Inside the exhibit were videos explaining the fine technique Grainger McKoy used to make the art. It was shocking seeing how something that looked like real feathers were instead carved over hours and hours.
The museum itself took an entire half day to go through and we still passed by some sections. It’s definitely a must-see attraction in Atlanta and is within walking distance of both the Artmore Hotel and the MARTA station nearby. The Picasso to Warhol exhibit will be around through April so plan your trip accordingly.
We stopped for lunch at Sausalito West Coast Grill. The place was packed at lunchtime with workers from nearby businesses stopping in at it and the other restaurants inside the plaza. There was a bit of a line because all the items are made fresh in front of you. The menu is self-described as Latin, Cali-Mex, and Chilean. My description is delicious. My husband had a steak burrito here with beans and rice and I had chicken tacos with beans, rice, and salad. That and our drinks set us back just $12.
During our vacations my husband and I like to do at least one meal that’s fancier than the rest. Since I was dying for some Southern cuisine I got us reservations for South City Kitchen. Little did I know that it would decide to start pouring rain just before our dinner reservation so we took our car instead of walking and parked in a $5 lot across the street. The rain must have scared a lot of people off because the place was a little light on traffic and those people definitely missed out.
Our server came to our table, dropped off some fresh biscuits and cornbread and told us her recommendations and the specials. On her advice we split the Fried Tennessee Catfish appetizer. The catfish was perfectly done but the real standout was the apple slaw underneath it. I may have taken more than my fair share.
When it came time for dinner my husband went with the pork chops served with a kale salad and spaghetti squash. I’m a bit more daring (and Southern, holla to my Arkansas relatives) so I ordered the shrimp and grits. Just for fun we each ordered a side with our meals, he got the mac & cheese that came in a skillet and I got an order of collard greens because when it comes to Southern food I believe in going big or going home. The shrimp and grits were great, smokey with a bit of ham thrown in. When the grits got a little overwhelming I paired them with the greens and it was heaven.
I was completely stuffed but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from eating dessert. Part of the reason I picked South City Kitchen was their dessert menu. It had pecan pie and other classics but I had eyed the Banana Pudding and wasn’t backing down. The pudding was more of a cream and the cookies were homemade instead of Vanilla Wafers but it was the exact essence of banana pudding that my grandma used to make me. They even got the some crunchy/some mushy cookies part right. My grandma would be proud if she had tried it but I wouldn’t have shared. I even stole more than my fair share back from my husband.
South City Kitchen was a bit pricey but they served classic food in an amazing atmosphere so it was totally worth it. If you’re looking for upscale Southern food in Atlanta, this is the place for you.