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Restaurant, Museum, and Entertainment Guide
Prepared by Bill Paquette
MERLOT History Co-Editor

Attractions | Museums | Restaurants | Shopping

Atlanta History Center
130 W. Paces Ferry Road
(Taxi or car, Buckhead area)

The museum takes you through Atlanta's history from Indian settlements to the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement and the 1996 Olympic Games. Four galleries focus on the Civil War, Atlanta through the decades, a folk art gallery, and a golfing gallery dedicated to Bobby Jones.

The Swan Coach House, a 1929 Georgian mansion turned gallery and lunch spot and the 1845 Tullie Smith Farm plantation home are on the grounds and open for tours. Thirty-three acres of gardens, woodlands, and nature trails are available for walking tours. Be sure to see the back view of the Swam House with its terraces of flowering plants, shrubs, and waterfalls.

845 Peachtree Street, NE
(Midtown, walk, subway, taxi)

Backstreet is Atlanta's hottest dance club. Once the best place for gays to dance, today the crowd is mixed with suburbanites, college preppies, punk rockers, leather daddies, drag queens. Live DJs, music videos, laser shows, and drag queen Charlie Brown's X-rated Cabaret.

Carter Presidential Library and Museum
441 Freedom Pkwy
(Taxi or car)

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is the only one in the southeast. A 30-minute film features the early life and political career of the President Carter. The museum contains an exact replica of the Oval Office. State gifts are on display. Enjoy a stroll in the Japanese Gardens, purchase unique gifts in the gift shop, or enjoy the view of the Atlanta skyline. The Center focuses on human rights and the peace projects of the former President.

CNN Studio Tour
1 CNN Center

The headquarters for CNN, Headline News, CNNSI, and CNN en Espanol. A 45-minute studio tour takes you into the guts of the operation through glass-enclosed overhead walkways, a simulated control room, and the tallest escalator. Along the way, you will observe the newsroom in action, learn the secrets of the teleprompter and listen to a shameless self-promotion from Ted Turner (on television). Reserve a seat in the studio audience for Talk Back Live, weekdays at 3 pm in the atrium. The folks back home may get to see you voicing your opinion on a current hot topic.

Fabulous Fox Theater
660 Peachtree Street, NE
(Midtown, via subway)

This lavish 1920s structure was built as a Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque and features Moorish designs inside and out. Highlights are onion domes, minarets and arches. Every surface is decorated with ornate plasterwork, some of it gilded. Huge ballrooms play host to opulent affairs. The main entrance opens on to a pair of elegant staircases that sweep patrons into the upper balconies. The auditorium is an Arabian courtyard and the ceiling goes from sunrise to sunset and twinkling stars. Mighty Mo is a colossal theater organ with four keyboards, 3,622 pipes, 376 stops, and 42 ranks.

Mamma Mia plays at the Fox September 24 to October 6! Take the tour even if you don't go to the play.

The Georgian Terrace Hotel
659 Peachtree Street
(Midtown, via subway)

The Terrace is an Atlanta gem with architecture of the flatiron style, simple round towers on each corner. A cavernous atrium showers light onto the marble surceases. The Terrace is directly across the street from the Fox Theater. The cast of Gone With the Wind stayed at the Terrace at the Atlanta premiere in 1939.

Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
990 Peachtree Street
(Midtown, via subway)

Bettie Davis coined the phrase The Dump, but Margaret Mitchell called it The Dump. Walk through her apartment No. 1, a cramped one-bedroom and where she wrote her novel, Gone With the Wind. The tour begins with a look at Mitchell's newspaper columns, her apartment with her typewriter on display, and includes a photography exhibit and a collection of Mitchell's personal letters. The Annex houses set pieces and props from the movie, scripts, programs, film footage, and Scarlett's blue dress. This is the only memorial to Mitchell in Atlanta.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District (Sweet Auburn Avenue)
450 Auburn Ave, NE

Auburn Avenue runs through this historic district run by the National Park Service. Auburn Avenue was the heart of black Atlanta before integration. Visit the birth house of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King preached, the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the grave of Dr. King, and the King Museum and Center for Non-Violence. Rows of shot-gun houses line Auburn Avenue.

Apex Museum
135 Auburn Ave, NE
(Downtown, walk, subway, taxi)

Apex (African American Panoramic Experience) Museum is dedicated to African-American artists and their history in Atlanta and throughout the world. Visitors can check our the exhibitions of African-American artists, watch colorful videos, walk through the interactive Hall of Achievement, and learn from the knowledgeable tour guides. The museum collection has a magnificent collection of South African art.

May 7 to September 29: Testimony Through Art: An exhibit from the World Court of Women Against War for Peace.

High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree Street
(Midtown, via subway)

Designed by Richard Meier, the High is one of the 10 best works of American architecture for the 1980s. The imposing white structure provides a stark contrast to the sky and everything else around it. Galleries not only interlock but interlook thanks to a ramp system that takes you up and around a central atrium to each level of the museum. The museum houses a growing body of contemporary art, a wonderful decorative arts section, beautiful 19th century landscape paintings, five centuries of European painting and sculpture, African masks and ceremonial figures.

High Museum of Art, Folk Art, and Photography
30 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue, NE

An extension of the High Museum of Art, wooden ramps lead you, Guggenheim-like, from one exhibit level to another. A great small gift shop in the front. The collection is 19th and 20th century photography by Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, Alfred Stieglitz, David Levinthal, and Man Ray and self-taught works from Howard Finsters and Sam Doyles for Folk Art.

Michael C. Carlos Museum
571 S. Kilgo Street
Emory University Campus 404-727-4282
(Taxi or car)

The building is designed by architect Michael Graves. The museum specializes in ancient art, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, sub-Saharan African, and the Ancient Americas. The collection holds 15,000 artifacts spanning 9000 years of history. Jewel-like small galleries hold excerpts from the museum's permanent collections while the multi-chambered main gallery host's temporary exhibits.

March 25-September 30, 2002: The Arts of India and The Himalayas: Recent Acquisitions.

1198 Howell Mill Road
(car or taxi needed)

This urban destination restaurant is the centerpiece of a sleekly rehabilitated factory complex entered via a long entryway past an upscale, hip grocery store. A smart, dark lounge opens onto a dramatic, high ceiling dining room. Shiny, mustard-colored brick frames large factory windows and a long, low-lit bar offers a view of the neat, glassed-in kitchen. American fine dining restaurant blends impeccable cooking techniques with organic and/or small farm produce and carefully selected meats and seafood. Cuisine offers Pennsylvania snails, Hawaiian snapper, hand-poured artisan cheese, smoked trout amuse, a lemon granita intermezzo, or postprandial chocolate truffle laced with lemongrass.

Blue Ridge Grill
1261 W. Paces Ferry Road
(Taxi or car)

The Blue Ridge Grill has one of the most impressive interiors of any Atlanta restaurant. It looks like a luxury lodge in the Adirondacks with woodsy design featuring antique canoes, oriental rugs, wood pillars, and a soaring ceiling of knotty pine. A large portrait over the stone hearth depicts the lord of the manor with one twist-the head of a rodent! Cuisine is hearty southern fare with Pomegranate BBQ Quail with Chipotle Cornbread appetizer, Crawfish, Langoustine, Blue Crab Cakes with hoi sin-ginger vinaigrette, Beignet of jumbo prawns and iron skilled seared mussels-and these are just the appetizers. Main courses are Grilled Apple-stuffed Georgia Trout with crunchy honey pecan sauce, Veal Stuffed with Prosciutto and Gorgonzola with wild mushroom risotto, Five-spiced pork chop sage pumpkin seed pesto, filet mignon with grilled Portobello, potato Stilton cream and fried leeks. Entrees come with two side dishes and sourdough bread.

Buckhead Diner
3037 Piedmont Road
(Car or taxi)

Sheathed in gleaming stainless steel, crowned with growing neon, Art Moderne light fixtures infuse the mahogany accents with a rosy glow. Polished marble graces both the floor and the surface of the long bar. No reservations, usually a 30-minute wait. Popular food is Southern fried chicken with blackberries, fluffy biscuit, thin beans and white gravy or char-grilled salmon with cheese grits, perfectly cooked asparagus and pickled red onions, veal meatloaf with wild mushroom gravy or homemade potato chips with Maytag Blue Cheese. I love the white chocolate banana cream pie but the towering wedge of chocolate cake is great, too.

City Grill
50 Hurt Plaza

Originally the Federal Reserve Bank for the southeast, built in 1912, the dining room has the feeling of opulence and grandeur often found in old established clubs in New York and Europe. Enjoy the walk beneath the renovated rotunda and ascend the marble staircase to one of Atlanta's most elegant restaurants. Given the 4 Diamond Award every year since 1992 rated the best wine list in Atlanta (fellow Merlotians note this), one of the top 500 restaurants in the United States, and the Zagat's Award of Distinction. I have enjoyed each item on the menu, which specializes in new American cuisine.

17 Andrew Young International Blvd.

Dailey's is a two-story turn of the century warehouse with original brick walls, brass, greenery, and beautiful antique carousel horses. The bar is downstairs, the restaurant upstairs and features American fare and live jazz entertainment nightly. Enjoy the stroll along the dessert bar. The portions are large so save plenty of room. All menu items are excellent.

75 Upper Alabama Street, SW
(Downtown) 229 Peachtree Street, NE

A great place for lunch with creative and delicious burgers and wonderful desserts. A great place to enjoy a meal with friends in an upscale but reasonably priced atmosphere.

Ritz-Carlton Atlanta (Dining Room)
181 Peachtree Street, NE

Located in a 25-story high-rise in downtown Atlanta where a stroll through the lobby displays valuable oil paintings, ornate chandeliers and Persian rugs. The dining room is expensive but elegant and worth the cost. Don't forget the pleasure of high tea at 4 p.m. each day.

Aunt Pittypat's Porch
25 International Blvd.

A popular favorite with tourists wanting to experience the cuisine of the old South. There are better places to eat.

The Varsity
61 North Avenue
(Midtown, use subway)

The Varsity is a combination of Joe College and the old soda fountain and is an Atlanta Landmark. The stainless steel counter is longer than a football field and includes carhop service. Favorites are chili cheese steak, crispy batter-fried onion rings, slaw dogs, and my favorite, chili cheese dogs. Be sure to try the frosted orange drink and a fried apple pie. It's greasy fun food.

Lenox Square Mall
3393 Peachtree Street, NE
Intersection of Lexox Road and Peachtree Street
(The subway stops here)

One of Atlanta's upscale malls with Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and Rich's department stores. The Gap, Ann Taylor, Nine West, Anthropologie, Betsey Johnson, Cartier, Coach, FAO Schwarz, Sephora, and Versace Jeans Coutoure are found at Lennox, too. Lenox Square includes French restaurants, sushi bars, and much more.

Phipps Plaza
Intersection of Lenox Road and Peachtree Street
Across the road from Lenox Square Mall
(Use the subway)

Department stores are Sak's Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and La Parisenne. This is Atlanta's most elegant mall with mahogany walls, grand and graceful staircases, and one of a kind stores not found elsewhere in Atlanta. Skippy Musket is one of Atlanta's most unique jewelry stores. Tiffany is there, too.

Underground Atlanta
50 Upper Alabama Street
(Downtown, subway stop)

The site of Atlanta's original downtown, the terminus of its first railroad, the fieriest of its Civil War flames, and the heart of its Victorian recovery, Underground Atlanta is both an historic site and a shopping mecca. Enjoy the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia State Capitol building, Turner Field, Philips Arena, and the Centennial Olympic Park are short walks.

These are suggestions based on my visits to Atlanta and as a former resident of the city. The Atlanta newspapers offer a weekend supplement in Saturday's newspaper for more possibilities or check with the hotel. Enjoy!!

Bill Paquette

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Last Modified : 2003/08/20