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Atlanta for Romantics
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Atlanta is a wonderful place to go. As a large city, it offers a multitude of world-class accommodations, cultural events and sights, yet it’s diverse and quirky enough to allow for a truly unique experience. What you and your partner choose to do depends, of course, on who you are as a couple, what you most enjoy together, and what your ideal date would be. Atlanta is a delightful setting for your romantic experience, whether you opt for cozy and intimate, lavish and luxurious, or simple and inexpensive.
The first decision you need to make is where to stay, and for most, it boils down to two options: midtown or Buckhead. Midtown’s advantage is that you’ll be in the heart of the city, and as a result, you’re more likely to experience what it has to offer. For the ultimate in luxury and service, The Four Seasons (75 Fourteenth St.) is unbeatable, and it’s situated near Woodruff Arts Center and not far from Piedmont Park. The High Museum of Art (which is included in Atlanta CityPASS), is also close to Piedmont Park and Woodruff Arts Center.
A less expensive but quite charming lodging option is the Georgian Terrace Hotel (659 Peachtree St.), located across the street from the Fox Theatre, while the Artmore Hotel (1302 West Peachtree St.), a boutique hotel with a playful and edgy atmosphere, features a courtyard with lounge seating and a fire pit.
Buckhead, a ritzy neighborhood north of the city, offers extravagant hotels, world-class restaurants and upscale shopping centers, but is not quite as convenient to the city’s main attractions – plan to drive a little to your midtown or downtown destinations. If you choose to stay in Buckhead, then luxury is the way to go: the St. Regis (88 West Paces Ferry Rd.), the Ritz-Carlton (3434 Peachtree Rd. N.E.) and – my personal favorite – the Mandarin Oriental (3376 Peachtree Rd.) are all top-notch, and all offer couples packages that will infuse your experience with that extra element of romance.
If you’re looking for something a little simpler, cozier or less expensive, consider staying at a bed and breakfast in the city; really, it doesn’t get any more Southern or charming than that. Notable among the many options are the King-Keith House (889 Edgewood Avenue N.E.) and Sugar Magnolia (804 Edgewood Ave.), mansions in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood that both date back to the 1890s. These B&Bs offer what many of the modern midtown hotels have – luxurious accommodations, convenience to city attractions, wonderful service – with a few additional features: a sense of living history, a deeper level of personal attention, and a genuine experience of Southern charm.
Perhaps even more so than where you decide to stay, where you decide to eat is a highly individualized choice. Whatever your preferences as a couple, Atlanta has fantastic restaurants and all the diversity of cuisine you could wish for. That said, keep in mind that it’s the capital of “New South” fare, and if haute cuisine versions of fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread and cobbler tempt your palate, then consider Rathbun’s (Inman Park - just 2 blocks from Sugar Magnolia) or Empire State South (999 Peachtree St.) in midtown, or Canoe (4199 Paces Ferry Rd NW), Restaurant Eugene (2277 Peachtree Rd NE) and Aria (490 East Paces Ferry Rd. NE) in Buckhead. If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, the Italian restaurant La Tavola (992 Virginia Avenue) and the intimate Babette’s Café (573 N Highland Ave.) offer romantic settings and reasonable prices.
Does your idea of romance include getting your culture on? Even if the answer is “no,” you might want to give it a try here, since cultural events in Atlanta are both top-notch and very accessible. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which usually performs at Atlanta Symphony Hall, is a world-renowned orchestra that features both classical and modern pieces. You may be pleasantly surprised by reasonable ticket prices and unfussy dress code. Cobb Energy Centre, a modern and beautiful venue about a 10-minute drive north of the city, is the home of the Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Ballet, which are both excellent. I recently saw the ballet perform “Romeo and Juliet,” and it was absolutely breathtaking – doesn’t get much more romantic than that, either!
Atlanta is also home to a number of excellent performance troupes. Enjoy a Broadway show at the Fabulous Fox Theater, a romantic comedy at the quirky and engaging Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, or a leave-you-in-stitches murder mystery at Agatha’s Mystery Dinner Theater, all Atlanta attractions worth visiting.
Finally, consider taking a romantic stroll … through a cemetery. Oakland Cemetery is one of Atlanta’s hidden treasures, a lovely intersection of history, architecture, sculpture, and fields of flowers. Another romantic outdoorsy is to picnic in Piedmont Park, where on any sunny, temperate day, you’ll find everyone out on the grass and soaking up the sunshine.
- Plan accordingly for the weather. June, July and August can be miserably hot, so if your plan is to spend the day in the park, perhaps consider a “plan B” in case temps are too brutal.
- If you’re taking in a show, check websites like Groupon or LivingSocial for better ticket prices.
- If you’re flying in, strongly consider renting a car. Yes, Atlanta’s public transportation system (MARTA) exists, but it doesn’t provide service to the areas in which many of the city’s fantastic restaurants and nightspots are located. And if the train is running late, or your fellow passengers are unpleasant, you might find your romantic date taking a turn for the worse.