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What to see/do in Atlanta, Tennessee, Kentucky aside from visiting Maker's Mark?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I received a letter from Maker's Mark inviting me to come pick up a bottle from my ambassador's barrel at the distillery. So for the hell of it, I booked a week trip to Atlanta in April with the idea to swing up through Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville/Lexington, Knoxville, and back down to Atlanta.

I've never been to this part of the country so I'd appreciate any suggestions. Not looking to do anything super touristy but I'm not opposed to must-sees. I'd never have a visiting friend take a shuttle tour around Hollywood but I would take them on a hike up to the top of the sign, that kinda thing.

The only ideas I've had so far have been to visit a few distilleries in KY, check out some live country, and maybe see a few historical sites.

As a foodie, I'd definitely appreciate restaurant tips.

post #2 of 45
The MLK museum in Atlanta is worthwhile visiting.

For breakfast ask around to find local places that serve real country style fried ham & eggs with grits and eggs w/ sausage/biscuits/gravy. Amazing how many working people eat that every day in the smaller towns.

Off the beaten path be prepared for the waitresses to call you "Hun". "Doll", "Sugar" "Sir" smile.gif
post #3 of 45
Atlanta: World of Coke, The Varsity
post #4 of 45
Whodini, you'll have to give a little more direction for Atlanta... there's a ton of historical stuff all centered around the MLK center.

The aquarium is pretty cool, I'll be going there tomorrow maybe to see my brother who is in town, and it is next to World of Coke. definitely the Varisty.

If you want to go kinda far off the beaten path, check out Kennesaw Mountain and some of the other civil war cites outside and in Atlanta... there's a ton but they can be a ways away.

One that's really cool and near my house is Cyclorama. You can do it in about an hour and walk around Grant Park, where it is located. GCP is really nice I walk around it most days after work. Certainly no Central Park but a nice area with neat old houses all around.

Restaurants... again, you're going to need to be more specific. Mary Mac's is an institution but last time I was there (years ago, admittedly) it was a little underwhelming. The Collonade is an out of the way place but has some great southern food, best in the city I'd say. You can get chicken fried chicken, tomato aspic, iceberg wedge, all the old stuff. The clientele is old middle class southerners and really boring gay guys. Pretty cool place. Silver Skillet is the place to go for your old southern coffee shop/breakfast/lunch counter thing. There's Harold's near the federal penitentiary which has great bbq, including a pig ear sandwich and other more traditional fare. I've heard good things about Pitty Pat's Porch (which has been operational for ever, AFAIK) but I've never been and is downtown so might be close to you, there is, or was a Scoutmob for it recently. I could give plenty of other recommendations but some guidance on cuisine, price, where you will be, transport available will be critical. Don't expect to use too much

I think your best bet for what you described would be Grant Park walk around including Cyclorama and the zoo, if that's your thing. Its a neat old neighborhood, one of the few places in Atlanta with real character and charm. There are a couple neat restaurants in the area too. Ria's Bluebird is a couple blocks away, great breakfasts there. Six Feet Under everyone seems to lvoe but its mainly fried seafood with some twists. Augustine's is a cool gastropub I spend too much time at... There is Grant Central Pizza right next to the park which is decent, won't blow you away but its solid, another pub right across from GCP... Ziba's is on the other side of the park from those and I like it, not sure if its open for lunch or whathave you.

You can also go to a Hawks game and see more Kobe jerseys for sale than Hawks ones... it really is pathetic.
post #5 of 45
Oh, and if you want a real Atlanta experience, check out Northside Tavern....
post #6 of 45
Why did I think you were from the south for some reason? confused.gif

Louisville: two places to hit are the Louisville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby). As far as food, there's a hotel called "The Brown." You have to have their signature sandwich, the Hot Brown. Stay there or at this really nice art deco place, The Sealbach, a few blocks away.

Tenn: go to the Smokey Mountains. So eff'ing beautiful. There are loops you can drive and the scenery will blow your mind.

That's all I've got for that area as I'm not well travelled there.
post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Wow, really great tips.

Might have thought I was Southern because I visit family in Louisiana about any chance I get.

If you have any more soul food recs aside from Collonade, I'm all ears. I wouldn't mind seeing a few battlefields, either, so are there any specific ones come to mind that wouldn't be too far out of the city or are on the way up to TN? Kenneshaw looks ideal. Cyclorama looks good, Varsity sounds great.

Is World of Coke really worth checking out? I remember when they had a mini version of it in Vegas about 15 years back but all I remember from it was the row of self-serve machines with all the flavors.

Edina, I haven't been to a Lakers game this year so that sounds perfect.

Pio, have you been to Lexington? Just wondering if it's worth checking out. I'd seen the Hot Brown on tv before so it's definitely on the list.
post #8 of 45
Ill respond when I get back to my pc
post #9 of 45
World of Coke is fun but can be a bit of a crowded mess. You would really enjoy it if you were taking a young niece or nephew. But if you do go, be there before it opens in the morning.

I really like driving through the small towns in the states you mentioned. Just stopping for gas and asking for directions out in the sticks can be quite an adventure. Or stumbling on a little BBQ joint with their local version of a pulled pork sandwich. Stopping in at junk and antique shops is fun too.

Once you get outside of Atlanta you will be seeing a part of the US that very few West and East Coast people ever seem to visit. I love that area. The scenery is beautiful. The people have a wonderful sense of hospitality and a different perspective than found in the major urban centers. It is a good reminder of how varied we are as Americans.

I'm sure you will have an enjoyable experience.
post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 
I plan on doing the off-path stuff in Kentucky since it'll be part of visiting a few distilleries. I personally love that kind of thing.
post #11 of 45
Originally Posted by whodini View Post

World of Coke really worth checking out?

I would say no, unless you're into wasting time. It's basically a corny 3D short movie/ad about coke, followed by a sleep inducing walk through of the coke museum, ending with the excitement of being able to sample coke products from around the world, which isn't very exciting at all. Unless you have little ones, avoid.
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Sounds exactly how it was like in Vegas. But that's fine, though. More time to hit the strip clubs edina will list for me.
post #13 of 45
Kentucky in April = Keeneland. It would be foolish of you to not go. And afterwards go to Jonathan at Gratz Park for dinner and make sure to order the Sea Scallop Hot Brown, their iteration of The Brown's Hot Brown (see Piob's post).
post #14 of 45
I visited World of Coke once as a guest of the company so we got in before it opened. As soon as it was open to the public I remember how sticky the bottom of my shoes became from kids spilling little sample cups everywhere.
post #15 of 45
Not been to Lexington. I used to fly into and out of Louisville. There's also some dinner boats that go up and down the...Ohio River? Used to be a corporate junket so I don't know if there's just plain old dinner tours.
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