When I got to Atlanta I had exactly 5 hours to see what I could. I chose the World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park and the CNN studio. I was staying at the Hyatt Regency on Peachtree Road. It was located close to all the tourist attractions and the airport (about 15-20 mins away).
Travel Tip: If you book in advance you could get a room at the best of hotels in that area for under $150/night. Much to my surprise, I only passed one other person walking from my hotel to the World of Coke. The streets were empty like it was dooms day! I doubt Atlanta is always like that, but during my time there it was quiet and practically deserted.
The tour of the World of Coke took 2 hours to complete, but it was completely worth the time. The entry fee is $15, which includes a guided tour, Coke tasting, and free Coke bottle.
Travel Tip: Combine it with the CNN studio tour combo for $27. The savings is only $3, but stretch your dollars wherever you can. The tour starts with a touching short video defining their tag line “open happiness.” And yes, I was tearing up. This video is exclusive to the Word of Coke, so you can’t find it anywhere else. There’s a surprise waiting to change your mood as soon as you get out of the viewing room. I’m not going to spoil it for you so go check it out yourself!
My favorite part was the Coke tasting of all the products they have around the world. I loved the Fanta Kolita from Costa Rica and Ciel Aquarius from Mexico! If you go there, tell me which one you liked the most in the comments below!
The aquarium is supposed to be great too, so if you have time, check out the aquatic life. It is adjacent to The World of Coke!
The CNN studio is a short walk along the Centennial Park from the World of Coke. It is in the same building as the Omni Hotel. A tour leaves every 10 minutes and is approximately an hour long. If you are on a time crunch, this is important to know!
The tour starts on a long escalator going up 8 floors of the building. The guide takes you through all the different parts of the studio. We even got an opportunity to watch Fredricka Whitfield live! Some tourists also get to watch the HNL show. Take photos while they are taking you around and you’ll notice so many of the employees have displayed their Twitter handles!
Travel Tip: If you want to watch the HNL shoot, go on a weekday. They finish all shoots on Friday. They take a picture of you as a news anchor at the beginning of the tour which is available for purchase at the gift shop. It costs $25 for 3 hard copies of the picture.
If you are looking to grab a quick bite, there is huge food court on the first level of the CNN building. Centennial Park is right outside the studio building. It is a 21 acre park in the middle of the city. The big ferris wheel is visible from there and it is famous for the fountain of Olympic rings. You could enjoy a sunny afternoon just relaxing on the grass. It is really interesting how there are over 50,000 commemorative bricks all over the park.
The big ferris wheel is just outside the park if you would like to view the entire city from a height. They also have a VIP compartment for special occasions, but it costs a lot more. Due to my short time here, I did not have a lot of time to explore different neighborhoods or the dining scene. The eclectic Virgin Highlands and Buckhead neighborhoods are supposed to be really nice to hang out in. However, I was able to get a list of some restaurants recommended by the locals:
- Vortex – Bar Food
- Tamarind – Thai
- Chow Baby – Mangolian
- Cafe Istanbul – Mediterranean
- Shout – Rooftop Bar
Based on my experience, you would not require more than 2 days to cover most of Atlanta. If you have been to Atlanta let me know about your experiences in the comments below!