Having lived in Atlanta for four years during college, I was already familiar with the main attractions when I landed in the city last Thursday: the Georgia Aquarium (highly recommend for every first-timer), the Atlanta Zoo, Fernbank Museum, Fox Theater and the High Museum. But on a recent visit back, I spent the entire time in Decatur, the Atlanta suburb directly east of downtown, visiting with old friends and hitting my favorite local establishments. For those of you who who will be passing through Atlanta, I highly recommend a visit to this cool little area.
One of the main attractions is the food. For breakfast, one place is a must. The Flying Biscuit is a local chain, but of course, the original location is best, and it's on McLendon Ave. along the border of Decatur and Edgewood. Everything on the menu is to die for, but my favorites are the oatmeal and peach compote pancakes, the turkey pot-roast hash, the creamy-dreamy grits and, of course, the biscuits. After a big breakfast, it's nice to wander along McLendon in the shade, browsing the handmade jewelry and knick-knacks. Now is a lovely time of year in Atlanta, with the narcissus and daffodil in bloom.
To me, no trip to Atlanta is complete until I take a stroll through downtown Decatur. There are dining options galore here, at restaurants like Sushi Avenue, Leon’s, Café Alsace and Parker’s on Ponce. If you're in the market for a little clothes shopping, try Boogaloo’s, Collage and Squash Blossom, and if it's art or home decor you seek, then Wild Oats & Billy Goats, Sycamore Place and Blue Moon are the places to hit. For books and music, head to Little Shop of Stories and Opus Music. With most of these shops owned locally, there a real feeling of community here.
There's culture here, too, with Java Monkey’s live performances every night and new concerts or festivals happening every month in the square. One of my fondest college memories from college is walking from campus to downtown and being greeted by a saxophone player, as well as a community gardener taking his hens for a walk on their harness leashes. What a town.