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Atlantahotlanta heats up

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Piedmont Park, Diane Macdonald

Photo by Diane Macdonald

Famous as the home of the world’s busiest airport, Braves baseball, Falcons football, CNN and Coca-Cola, Atlanta is a big city (population 6 million in the metro area) that manages to retain the trappings of a small town. Don’t be surprised when strangers say hello, and know that “y’all” is considered an acceptable plural pronoun in almost any situation. With neighborhoods that sport their own personalities (edgy, traditional, posh, hipster), there really is something for everyone. It’s easy to see why this thriving metropolis is desirable enough to be one of America’s fastest-growing cities.

On Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s version of Main Street, the new Buckhead Atlanta complex elevates the city’s luxury shopping experience. Take home an iconic Hermès scarf or chic Italian cashmere from Brunello Cucinelli, or just window shop for a retail high without the sticker shock. For a local treasure, head just north to Gregg Irby Fine Art for a piece from an emerging Southern artist, available in sizes small enough to fit in your carryon bag.

The city of Decatur’s quaint downtown is worth the short drive east on Ponce de Leon Avenue. Beer aficionados will find their mecca at Brick Store Pub thanks to the inch-thick menu and bartenders with near-encyclopedic knowledge of suds from around the world. For an after-brew snack, grab a Tea Bird sandwich—chicken, ghost pepper Jack cheese and sweet tea mayo—at Victory Sandwich Bar.

A testament to the city’s constant revitalization, Krog Street Market is a restored 1920s warehouse in historic Inman Park full of restaurants and market stalls. Have an impromptu progressive meal, stopping for whatever strikes your fancy: maybe kimchi pork belly at Craft Izakaya, duck au poivre at The Luminary and just-made sweets at Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate.

To commune with nature in full view of Atlanta’s skyline, stroll, bike or blade the BeltLine, the 22-mile transit greenway lined with native plants, built from the original tracks that gave the city one of its early names, Terminus. Refuel with a creamy café breve at The Dancing Goats Coffee Bar at Ponce City Market before heading on your way.

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