The Daily Gamecock

Road Trip Towns: Atlanta

<p>Ponce City Market combines food and shopping for a unique experience.&nbsp;</p>
Ponce City Market combines food and shopping for a unique experience. 

From one capital city to the next, Atlanta is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Columbia. While Atlanta has the usual tourist attractions any busy city offers, the best parts of the city are those hidden away from the spotlight. If you only have one day to explore, these tips will help you experience all that is truly Atlanta.

A crisp, sunny Atlanta morning is best spent walking or biking throughout the city on the BeltLine. Currently there are 11 miles of trails open to the public, but the ultimate goal of the project is to have 33 miles of pedestrian paths. The future of the BeltLine is exciting because it encourages exploration of the city by foot. During your walk on the BeltLine, you’ll notice many artistic structures and wall art throughout the trail that add to the artistic culture of Atlanta.

Accessible from the BeltLine, Ponce City Market is a unique destination for food and shopping. Constructed from an old Sears, Roebuck & Co. warehouse, the industrial character of Ponce City Market makes it unlike any other shopping area. For the shoppers, stores worth checking out include Anthropologie, Archer Paper Goods, Madewell and Onward Reserve. Time for lunch? Ponce City Market’s food court has many options from a smoothie at Lucky Lotus to a European style sandwich or salad at Farm to Ladle. Even if shopping or eating doesn’t interest you, Ponce City Market’s history and architecture is worth checking out.

If you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, there’s no need to settle for your usual Starbucks order. Atlanta is full of unique coffeehouses with character and great coffee. Chrome Yellow Trading Co.’s aesthetically pleasing atmosphere creates a perfect location for community with friends. The coffee shop also sells Atlanta hats, shirts and coffee mugs that make for a perfect souvenir.

A trip to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the music scene. One of the most unique venues, the Tabernacle, creates a very intimate atmosphere for music listeners. Opening in 1910, the Tabernacle has rich history and character that is revealed in the interior of the building. From well-known artists to up and coming bands, there is always an event going on that is worth a ticket.

The perfect ending to a day in Atlanta is taking advantage of the gorgeous skyline. SkyView is a modernized ferris wheel located in the heart of the city. The enclosed gondola provides a cozy atmosphere to relax and take in the beauty Atlanta.

The drive to Atlanta is definitely worth it — just make sure to factor in traffic time! There’s no way to deny the busyness of the city, but the best way to experience Atlanta is to make the big city small. Georgia has a true gem as their capital city because there is no other place like Atlanta.