• Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown city skyline over Freedom Parkway.

The Atlanta Bucket List: 41 Things You Need to Do Before You Die

You’re gonna die. Not today (hope­ful­ly), but yeah, the Reaper has your name on his buck­et list. And while you should def­i­nite­ly do respon­si­ble things, like write a liv­ing will or what­ev­er, you should also devel­op an ATL buck­et list of your own… or just let us do it for you.

So without further ado, here’re 41 things to do in Atlanta before you die:

1. Shop at Murder Kroger

Buy a bell pep­per at least. Come see how your folks are liv­ing on the real side of one of Atlanta’s weird­est and most his­toric streets. Wear Teflon just in case.

2. Go roller skating at Cascade Fun Center

They shot ATL there! Also, every year they have events that bring all sorts of folks out to slide around on that slick, shiny floor. Word of advice: you might bust your ass try­ing that old reverse-in-motion trick you used to do in mid­dle school, so don’t get too “turnt.”

3. Find and visit the Land Trust

Although it’s pret­ty easy to locate online, part of the fun is acci­den­tal­ly dis­cov­er­ing this com­plete­ly hid­den com­mune near Can­dler Park and Lake Claire. The oth­er part include an emu named Big Lou who lives on the prop­er­ty and the month­ly “drum cir­cle” per­for­mances.

4. Visit MLK’s home

Damn you if you don’t stop by and at least see the porch swing in front of the Auburn Ave house where the great­est Civ­il Rights icon the world has ever known was born. Damn you in the most non­vi­o­lent way pos­si­ble (“darn you”?).

5. Walk the entire BeltLine

They have tours, and you can break it into sec­tions, but why not spend a day going all the way? Or if you’re like us, maybe make a week of it.

6. Eat wings at Dugan’s

They’re some of the city’s best and most con­sis­tent, with sol­id fries and low prices on the pours.

7. See an Alvin Ailey show at The Fox Theatre

You have to pay homage to one of Atlanta’s great­est per­for­mance venues, and to bet­ter way to do that than buy­ing a tick­et to see one of the world’s most famous dance troupes. It’s a great date night, and there’re peo­ple in tights. Also, you know, the cul­ture and thangs.

8. Take the Coca-Cola Tour

Accord­ing to the FDA, we’re all going to die of dia­betes any­way, so you might as well cel­e­brate Atlanta’s thick, syrupy blood by going straight to the heart that feeds the city’s finan­cial arter­ies. For extra fun, ask your tour guide what they do in Rah­way, New Jer­sey.

9. Visit the College Football Hall of Fame

It’s time to walk inside that half-built foot­ball on Mari­et­ta St erect­ed in hon­or of young ath­letes who spent spend their col­lege years earn­ing major ched­dar for “edu­ca­tion­al” insti­tu­tions, and then pray to Joe Namath that your future son or daugh­ter can be the next Cam New­ton.

10. Hang in Southwest Atlanta

You can’t pre­tend to know your ITP if you don’t know what’s in the area (Cas­cade Springs Nature Pre­serve, promi­nent soul food restau­rants, golf cours­es, high schools that pro­duced some of the music industry’s biggest names, etc.) or what SWATS stands for (South­west Atlanta Too Strong). As Dun­geon Fam­i­ly rap­per Cool Breeze once said, “These grounds are holeeeey!” Get out from under your elit­ist nose and go check it out.

11. Eat a Holeman & Finch cheeseburger

It used to be hard to do, unless you got to the bar in time to hear the 10pm bull­horn and order one of only 24 made for the night. But thanks to pop­u­lar demand, they start­ed mak­ing 72 for week­end brunch, and now they’ve added it to the reg­u­lar menu. Give that thing your teeth’s most jagged edges before you croak.

12. Drink beers from every local brewery

This is still actu­al­ly doable since Atlanta’s got a lot more craft beer than it did five years ago, but it isn’t near­ly close to its North­east neigh­bor Asheville in terms of cat­a­log. If you give it the whole sev­en days you might be able to knock out the entire list sim­ply by hit­ting all the Taco Macs in town.

13. Take a selfie at Headland & Delowe

If hear­ing Andre 3000’s open­ing bars to “Ele­va­tors (Me & You)” doesn’t make you love East Point, you suck. Go there. Take a pic­ture of your­self at the inter­sec­tion. Leave before you start look­ing like a mark.

14. Have Blondie crush beer cans for you

It’s crazy. It’s weird. It’ll make you feel alive. And like Blondie, it’ll nev­er get old.

15. See a famous rapper at a local restaurant and let it be no big deal

Waka Floc­ka Flame is known to have sit-down busi­ness meet­ings at Whole Foods. As Slick Rick would say, this type of s*it hap­pens every day.

16. Order a personalized shank from The Goat Farm

It’s not just cool that David Stur­gis lives and works from a space sur­round­ed by beau­ti­ful, super-old bricks, which once encap­su­lat­ed a 19th cen­tu­ry fac­to­ry, but he also makes blades, and as a chef whose cre­den­tials include work­ing with some of Georgia’s best culi­nary minds, you know he can make you some­thing that you’ll be for­ev­er afraid to use. The slice is right.

17. Go to Flux Night

It’s once a year, and it’s crazy. There are a lot of light-based art instal­la­tions, plus filthy hip­sters, old weirdos, and actu­al cool peo­ple who are all drink­ing out in the open in Castle­ber­ry Hill until the morning’s wee hours.

18. Hear live blues at Northside Tavern or Blind Willie’s

The air is thick with cig­a­rette smoke, and the crowds aren’t exact­ly the friend­liest to new­com­ers, but that’s what you have to deal with to appre­ci­ate some of the best tell-it-like-it-is music you’ll ever hear in Atlanta.

19. Leave a StoryCorps recording at the Atlanta History Center

Yes, you too could make Steve Inskeep cry in front of the nation on NPR’s Morn­ing Edi­tion.

20. Visit Mr. Peanut’s Oval Office

The Carter Center’s (insert Lil’ Wayne joke) pres­i­den­tial library sits right between Mid­town and the Old 4th Ward. Hit the pres­i­den­tial library to see a repli­ca of the seat of pow­er.

21. Shoot the damn Hooch

No, ATL doesn’t have a place where you can re-enact the trag­ic scene where Tom Han­ks’ canine friend took the bul­let for him. It does how­ev­er have a riv­er run­ning through it, and that riv­er lends itself par­tic­u­lar­ly well to canoes, kayaks, tubes, and river­boats.

22. Support an Atlanta sports team

Every­body loves under­dogs, until they move to Atlanta. Pick one of ours and show uncon­di­tion­al love (on the con­di­tion they start show­ing up on the court/field/diamond).

23. Write your name on Krog Tunnel

It’s not even ille­gal (the com­pa­ny that owns the tun­nel allows it to be tagged), so don’t run from the police, and pay no atten­tion to any hip­ster cura­tors who try check­ing your street-art cre­den­tials.

24. See an emerging indie musical act perform live

There are lots of places to do this: Smith’s Olde Bar, Apache, The Mas­quer­ade, The Star Com­mu­ni­ty Bar, and oth­ers.

25. Be able to rank your five favorite BBQ spots in town on demand

That means you have to try the ATL’s best BBQ at places like Com­mu­ni­ty Q, Fat Matt’s, Bone Lick, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, D.B.A., Grand Cham­pi­on, Dad­dy D’z, and Heir­loom Mar­ket… poor, unlucky you.

26. Swim with whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium

Not only can you gawk at col­or­ful under­wa­ter wildlife (well, not real­ly “wild” any­more, per se), but you can also get in the tank with huge, thank­ful­ly peace­ful, fish (whale sharks, man­ta rays) and get an under­wa­ter-shot DVD of it all.

27. Buy a pair of shoes at Walter’s

Seri­ous sneak­er­heads say the best kicks in the city are sold from this Decatur St shop for fash­ion­able feet.

28. Drink rare beers at Brick Store Pub or The Porter

They’re both world-renowned and inter­na­tion­al­ly respect­ed. The fact that they’re in plain sight if you hit Lit­tle Five Points or Decatur Square makes it that much eas­i­er to insult your Mil­wau­kee friends by telling them about some strange suds you’ve slurped down that they’ll nev­er taste nor appre­ci­ate.

29. Perform heavy metal karaoke at Metalsome

Five days a week, just beneath Dark Horse Tav­ern, you can head­bang and belt out one of more than 200 songs, orga­nized in gen­res rang­ing from punk to glam met­al, with a live house band back­ing you up.

30. Walk through the Atlanta Botanical Garden like Rich Homie Quan

There’s some­thing about those Geor­gia Plumes and Hoyas (the flow­ers cur­rent­ly in bloom, not those wilt­ing col­lege foot­ball teams) that’ll make you wan­na click your feet togeth­er from the sheer joy of being in the mid­dle of some of Atlanta’s most awe­some flo­ra.

31. Accept or reject a free poem in Little Five Points

If you walk near Euclid and More­land, even­tu­al­ly you’ll be propo­si­tioned. Who knows if it’s actu­al­ly good or not — you’ve got­ta find that dude and at least say no just to be count­ed in the cen­sus.

32. Eat a King of Pops popsicle

You’ll catch the cart all over the city, from fes­ti­vals to ran­dom side­walks in Inman Park. Hav­ing one when it’s hot out­side is worth any traf­fic you’ll encounter get­ting to it.

33. Attend a day party in the summer

Right around Memo­r­i­al Day, many of your favorite restau­rants and bars turn over the doors to pro­mot­ers, who bring in DJs who play clas­sic jams for shiny, tip­sy peo­ple wear­ing their best and breezi­est britch­es and blous­es.

34. Shoot a photo of ATL’s skyline from Freedom Parkway

It’s the shot from The Walk­ing Dead, and it’s said to be one of the best sky­line views in the city.

35. Finish the Peachtree Road Race

That first word is impor­tant.

36. Spend a night where Clark Gable once slept

Get Rhett-y to show just how lit­tle of a damn you give by reserv­ing a room on the ninth floor of The Geor­gian Ter­race, which famous­ly host­ed the Gone with the Wind star back in the 1930s.

37. Tour CNN Center

Those Turn­er lay­offs made it pret­ty obvi­ous that tomor­row isn’t promised for the icon­ic news channel’s head­quar­ters. See it while you’re both still around.

38. Buy vinyl from Criminal Records

Those guys behind the counter know their tunes. That helps when you have thou­sands and thou­sands of 12-inch 33 ⅓, 45, and 78-RPM wax songs and albums. Lose your­self in the music.

39. Attend Art, Beats + Lyrics annual art show/concert

Artist Dube­ly­oo and pro­mot­er Jabari Gra­ham, who was the first to bring Drake and Kendrick Lamar to Atlanta (and put on a bril­liant Good­ie Mob reunion a few years ago), throw a free show (with free drinks!) every year, show­cas­ing the best local artists (C. Flux Sing, Shawn Knight, Fabi­an Williams, Fahamu Pecou, Eric Nine, etc.) and amaz­ing per­for­mances that have includ­ed DJ Quik, Scar­face, Ted­dy Riley, Dig­i­tal Under­ground, Mas­ter P, and more.

40. Crawl Virginia Highland

Do it on a Sat­ur­day; you’re not going to make to work the next day.

41. Run through the water fountain rings at Centennial Park

Return to your child­hood for a few soaked sec­onds.


January 27th, 2017|Comments Off on The Atlanta Bucket List: 41 Things You Need to Do Before You Die

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


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