With travels limited in 2020, staycations have become increasingly higher in popularity over the past year and a half. My wife and I planned two trips during this time. The first was our honeymoon in Elijay, GA, and the second was our Atlanta staycation.
For me, being a tourist in Atlanta probably looks a lot different than most. A fun fact, I am a rarity as I grew up in Atlanta and have lived here all my life.
Through childhood and young adulthood, I visited The World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park, the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, and the College Football Hall of Fame dozens of times over. Whether it was for a class field trip or as a part of a collegiate night, I spent a lot of time at the top tourist spots in Atlanta.
All those tourist destinations are excellent places to visit. However, I want to show you a different list of fun things to do in the city.
My wife and I took a staycation
My wife, Dallas, and I often discuss fun date spots seen on Tik Tok and Instagram and add them to our "one-day" list. We decided it was time to take our list and go explore our city. We made time to do things we don't normally do.
We set aside four days and took PTO. We created a budget and made a schedule. Then planned our staycation as if it were a regular vacation.
Day 1. Ponce City Market: JJ's Flower Shop, Candlefish, and the famous food hall
On our first day, we spent our time at Ponce City Market. PCM is a multi-use hub for Atlantans to gather for work and play. It's filled with locally owned small businesses, restaurants, and even includes some designer shopping. Located on Ponce De Leon Ave, it's right in the middle of Old Fourth Ward and Midtown. It's a 16-minute walk for Camden Midtown residents and an 8-minute walk for Camden Fourth Ward residents.
The first stop was one of our favorite places in PCM, JJ's Flower Shop. I wanted to surprise Dallas by creating a custom flower bouquet from the flower wall. A friend of ours is the founder and owner, so we love any chance to support them. They host weekly classes on creating various types of floral arrangements. When you visit Atlanta, her shop is a must. They are located next to the right door when you enter the food hall area.
Ponce City Market additionally has a small business called Candlefish. Dallas and I have wanted to do their candle-making class together. When you attend their class, you can make two 9 oz candles. They have a library of over 100 scents. It's a beautiful place to take a photo for Instagram and make new memories. They do allow drinks during the class. They are BYOB, so first, be sure to stop by Torched Top Brewery right next to Camden Midtown. Residents receive a discount.
Candlefish doesn't assign names to the scents, so you don't judge the candle by its name. I love citrus-smelling candles. After browsing and being walked through the different fragrance families, I decided to go with fragrance 12. This candle has grapefruit, orange, and lychee balanced within for my favorite combination. Dallas chose fragrance 17, which comprises carnation, freesia, and amber scents. You can pick up your candles the next day to take home and enjoy.
After the fun of candle-making, we were ready for dinner. I could write a whole blog on the food in the PCM food hall alone. However, I'm just going to mention the places we went to. A little about me, I love a good Cuban sandwich. El Super Pan has the best in Atlanta. Dallas and I both savored their Cuban sandwiches along with sides of rice and beans.
After the filling dinner, we were ready to enjoy laying out by the pool at our apartment community, Camden St. Clair.
Day 2. Puttshack Atlanta
On the second day, we hit up Atlanta's new upscale mini-golf. Yes, you read that correctly. Puttshack is Atlanta's new elevated mini-golf go-to spot. They offer four tech-infused courses with a total of 9 holes each. Naturally, all the courses are a little bit more challenging than the next.
It is great fun for the kids. However, it is challenging enough for adults. Especially after a few of their signature cocktails, like their Spice Pineapple Mezcal Margarita, which I can say is delectable.
The Puttshack menu has a great variety of cuisines. Dallas and I ordered their Georgia Tailpipes, smoked pulled pork, bacon collard greens, & pimento cheese spring rolls. They come with BBQ & sweet peach dipping sauces. The sweet peach sauce is heavenly. We also tried their Pork Bao Buns and the empanadas. Everything was elegantly prepared as if we were a Five Star restaurant.
photos courtesy of Andrew Mixon - shown here: Puttshack's fun mini-golf course, pork bao buns, and Georgia tailpipes
Day 3. Round 1 / Spo-Cha & The Battery Atlanta
On the third day, we went to Round 1 Bowling and Amusement (LINK). They truly are what their motto says, "All the Fun Under One Roof."
Inside the Cumberland Mall location, they also have a place called Spo-Cha, short for Sports Challenge. It's all you can play for whatever time frame you choose. They have everything – batting cages, half-court basketball, a small indoor soccer area, mini golf, mini bowling, an arcade, and much more.
The Round 1 Entertainment portion is like a Dave & Busters-style arcade. They have free games where you can scan your game card and others that you pay for because you can play to earn points and win fun prizes, including a Dyson Vacuum, an electric guitar, and a limited-edition Nintendo Switch.
The remainder of the evening, we went to the Battery Atlanta right next to the Braves stadium, Truist Park. Even if you're not going to the game, game days at the Battery Atlanta are incredible. The atmosphere is out of this world. Everyone is decked out in Braves gear, watching the game on the big screen on the green.
Both are located on Cobb Parkway, less than a 20-minute drive from Camden Paces.
Day 4. Enjoy What Camden Gives You
After all the fun, it's always good to spend the last day of a staycation in recovery mode. The perfect staycation should include plenty of eating, dancing, and staying up too late. What better way to do this than to enjoy your apartment home?
On the fourth day, we rested and enjoyed our apartment's fine amenities. We started the day off at the gym, doing some yoga and stretching in the yoga room.
After that, we chilled by the pool to beat the Georgia summer heat. While at the pool, we made sure to light up the grill for delicious steak, asparagus, and potatoes for lunch. Then for dinner, we did what we always do. We ordered sushi and watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
The Pool at Camden St. Clair