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Want to really see Atlanta? Get out of the airport and forget what you think you know

Patti Nickell, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Travel News

They refer to the food here as "campfire cuisine" and you can maximize the campfire experience by grabbing one of the outdoor lawn chairs overlooking the Trail. Camping has never been more fun.

Things are a bit more formal at Kevin Rathbun Steak, recognized by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of the best steakhouses in America. By all means, have one of the six prime cuts of beef, but there are other items on the menu that should not be missed.

As an appetizer, try the Sonoma Jack Cheese-Pecan Fritters with red pepper jelly, and for dessert, you'll have a hard time choosing between the Warm Georgia Peach Crisp and the Banana Pudding Baked Alaska.

If you like music with your dinner, head to Venkman's in the Old Fourth Ward. Jazz, Bluegrass and rock are on the menu along with dishes such as chicken and green onion dumplings and mussels with burnt lemon and rosemary.

For funkier feasting, head to Victory Sandwich Bar (Anthony Bourdain did) for a VLT and a Bourbon Slushee, or to King of Pops, where the flavor calendar rotates monthly. The chocolate sea salt is the best seller, but if you really want to go crazy, opt for the pineapple habanero popsicle.

All too often, Atlanta is dismissed as a soulless, sprawling megalopolis – an artistic desert lacking in charm. A city of concrete canyons and a corporate mindset. After my last visit, I discovered nothing could be further from the just need to know where to look.


Where to Stay: Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown. While not on the East Side, this boutique property is conveniently located in the city's Arts District, just across the street from the famous Fox Theater and next door to the venerable Georgian Terrace Hotel where the cast of Gone With the Wind stayed during filming.


Hotel Indigo is a melange of vibrant crayon-box colors in both the guest rooms and public areas, which are also papered with posters from Broadway shows. The bar is a hip gathering spot for guests and locals alike, and the pet-friendly property even has a resident pooch, Indie.


(Patti Nickell is a Lexington-based travel and food writer. Reach her at

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