Packing for Atlanta: What to Put in the Suitcase, What to Leave Out

Travel Tips — By gianninasmith on July 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

When packing up and heading to Atlanta, there are several important things to take note of. First of all, there is a reason the city is nicknamed “Hotlanta”—both the weather and the nightlife is sizzling in this Southern metropolis.  During the day plan for high temperatures and at night be ready to enjoy the evening out on the town. Here are a few tips on what to throw in your suitcase before heading to the Peach State’s capital.

Necessary items

Don’t underestimate the power of sun block. It will come in handy throughout your visit, whether you’re at the top of Stone Mountain or sleeping in the grass at Piedmont Park. Running or walking shoes are another important necessity. You’ll want to be comfortable when going from one activity to the next and there are some great hiking spots close to the city, including Sweetwater Creek State Park. Also, if you are a runner, the frequent joggers you’ll see throughout town will no doubt inspire you to lace up your shoes. A couple of other clutch items to throw in that suitcase are a picnic blanket and Frisbee for an afternoon in the park and Atlanta Braves hat so you can fit right in with the locals (if you don’t own one you can buy one on arrival).

Totally unnecessary items:

No matter what Atlanta may be known for, including the place Margaret Mitchell penned the famous novel “Gone with the Wind,” there is not need to bring a copy of the well-known piece of literature with you on your trip. Between a visit to the Margaret Mitchell House and a visit to her grave at Oakland Cemetery, you’ll get your fill. Another totally unnecessary item to fold up and place in your luggage is a New York Yankees T-shirt or hat. In fact, don’t wear any other baseball team’s paraphernalia if you can resist. Atlanta is the “Home of the Braves” and you probably don’t want to be reminded of that everywhere you go. Southern hospitality only goes so far and the same goes for college football apparel. Pick your team wisely if your going to represent your alma mater and be prepared to get a couple jabs while walking down the street.

Things you might not think to pack…but come in pretty handy:

While in Atlanta, it is important to take advantage of the great culinary options the city has to offer. The restaurant landscape is constantly changing so a restaurant guide like Zagat will come in handy as you explore various neighborhoods and seek out the best spots to dine. A copy of Atlanta Magazine will also serve as a great source of information during your visit. This publication is a sort of Bible for locals and has a wide variety of information on the city.

Just like every city, along with its positive attributes, Atlanta has its negatives, but if you are prepared they shouldn’t hinder your visit. Keep some eye drops in your purse to battle days of high pollen or when the smog is particularly vicious.  A GPS could also be a lifesaver, helping you navigate the more than 70 streets in Atlanta with a variant of “Peachtree” in their name, which makes it hard for even the locals to get around. Atlanta is known for its horrible traffic, so depending on how you are planning on getting around, a MARTA metro pass, quarters for metered parking or iPod to keep you entertained during rush hour are also items to consider stashing in your travel bag. Other then that, don’t forget to carry some business cards with you during your trip, because you never know whom your going to meet during a visit to this bustling Southern town.

[Photos courtesy of malias, javajoba, David Berkowitz, Clinton Steeds]


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