Visiting Atlanta: A business traveler’s guide to Georgia’s capital city

Home to 71 different streets that bear the name “Peachtree,” Atlanta, Georgia, is a bustling city and premier destination for business travelers. Known for its deep and complex history, diverse culture, and vibrant economy, Atlanta has much to offer business and leisure travelers. Our resident “ATLien” Shemika Britt contributed to this Atlanta city guide.

Atlanta led the list of the most visited domestic cities for business travel in our Cities & Trends 2023 United States edition. It’s home to many Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola. And it’s also the home of North American headquarters for BCD Travel. Atlanta is recognized as the city with the fastest growth in people starting a new business. Georgia’s capital city is a major economic hub with a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, finance, technology, film and entertainment, and logistics and transportation.

Atlanta will be the host city for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2024 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The conference is expected to attract thousands of professionals from the business travel sector, including travel managers, service providers, and industry experts. Will you be at the show?

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)

Located about 10 miles south of downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport, serving approximately 105 million passengers last year. Within the airport, travelers can access multiple lounges, business centers, dining options, and shopping outlets. Atlanta’s public transportation system, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) offers a direct train connection to the airport, making it easily accessible from various parts of the city. The Airport Station recently reopened after a six-week closure for renovations.

Shemika Britt Senior Manager Content Creation

Shemika: Calling ATL the world’s busiest airport isn’t just boasting. We have two terminals and seven concourses. Check out the airport app or website to get a sense of the layout before your first visit. Allow yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. Some say get to ATL two hours before a domestic flight, I’d go with three. Travelers with CLEAR and TSA PreCheck® may get through the lines a little faster. People movers and the plane train will help shuttle you to your gate.

Getting around Atlanta

MARTA is a sustainable way to navigate the city. Trains run through key business districts but you may have to connect to a bus to reach your final destination. A single ride costs $2.50, with options for multi-day passes. Trains and buses run on frequent schedules during peak hours, with slightly reduced frequency late at night and on weekends. Take note of operating hours. Trains run from 4:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. weekends. Buses operate 5 a.m. – 1 a.m. during the week and 5:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. on weekends.

Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Atlanta. And, they’re generally affordable, with rates varying depending on distance and demand.

Planning to rent a car? You can pick one up at the airport and at multiple points around the city. Reserve cars in advance and in line with your corporate travel policy. Rental cars get booked up quickly, especially during peak seasons or major events. Before you hop behind the wheel, take a look at a map and familiarize yourself with Atlanta’s traffic patterns and road regulations. GPS can be incredibly helpful for navigating the city’s sprawling roadways.

Shemika: It may feel like rush hour never ends in Atlanta. But typically it starts before 7 a.m. and lasts until about 9 a.m. Traffic starts to pick up again at 4 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m. (or later). Build time and patience into your commute. You might need it.

There’s a couple of highways you need to know about, if you’re planning to drive. Interstate 285, also known as the Perimeter or Inside the Perimeter (ITP), is a beltway that circles Atlanta. Interstates 75 and 85 are major highways that intersect in the city. We call them the Downtown Connector. I-75 and I-85 form a north-south corridor through the city. I-75 primarily runs from north to south, connecting cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Macon, Georgia, while I-85 runs northeast to southwest, connecting cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montgomery, Alabama.

And yes, we do have 71 variations of Peachtree streets, roads and parkways. So, do yourself a favor and doublecheck all addresses.

Dining, entertainment & culture in Atlanta

When exploring dining and entertainment options in Atlanta, travelers can stay in the city center or venture out for foodie experiences and hotspots. Here are a couple of areas to check out:

The Atlanta Beltline: The 22-mile long Beltline is a transformative urban redevelopment project that has become a hub of activity, culture, and recreation. It has multi-use trails perfect for walking, jogging, biking, or skating. You can rent scooters and e-bikes at nearly every corner. One of the highlights of the BeltLine is its ever-evolving collection of public art. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful murals, sculptures, tiny art and installations created by local and international artists. It is lined with a variety of eateries, cafes, and food stalls offering delicious bites and refreshing drinks.

Shemika: If I had a couple of hours to wander along the BeltLine, I’d rent a scooter and make my way to TWO urban licks for the salmon chips. Then head over to the James Room for a cool experience. At first glance, it appears to be a quaint café. A host will lead you through a set of mysterious doors and into a moody, soulful speakeasy serving craft cocktails and the absolute best music playlist. End your Beltline visit with a stroll at sunset and watch the city skyline glow.

Decatur: Explore the charming suburb of Decatur, known for its eclectic dining scene. Stroll along the streets of Decatur Square to find a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering everything from Southern comfort food to international cuisine. Don’t miss out on local favorites like Kimball House for oysters or Brick Store Pub for craft beer enthusiasts.

Midtown: Midtown Atlanta is home to a mix of residences, hotels, upscale dining establishments, trendy eateries, and lively entertainment venues. Indulge in culinary delights at establishments like Empire State South for modern Southern cuisine or The Vortex Bar & Grill for legendary burgers and quirky ambiance. Politan Row, a food hall in Midtown Atlanta’s Colony Square, features 12 food options under one roof. Dine inside the common area in the upscale food court or outside in the green space.

Alpharetta: Venture to Alpharetta, a suburb north of Atlanta, for a taste of suburban charm and culinary delights. Explore the Avalon, a mixed-use development offering a plethora of dining options ranging from farm-to-table restaurants to gourmet food halls. Don’t miss Jekyll Brewing or Butcher & Brew for craft beer and artisanal bites.

Buford Highway: From authentic Korean BBQ and Vietnamese pho to Latin American street food and Chinese dim sum, Buford Highway offers a culinary journey around the world. Be sure to explore Plaza Fiesta for a vibrant Latin American shopping and dining experience.

Shemika: My absolute favorite place to eat is Surin of Thailand in the quirky Virginia-Highland neighborhood, just minutes from the heart of the city. It’s tiny and the décor is kind of unremarkable, but hear me out. Golden walls and tealights everywhere make it a vibe. I’ve never have a bad meal there. If you’re into craft drinks, ask for the Ladies Man. It’s not on the menu, but it’s amazing. After dinner, you can walk a few blocks in either direction to window shop at boutiques or people watch at any of the multiple nearby bars.

When it comes to entertainment, Atlanta boasts several iconic venues and attractions:

Fox Theatre: Immerse yourself in the rich history and grandeur of the Fox Theatre, a historic landmark and performing arts venue in Midtown Atlanta. Catch a Broadway show, concert, or classic film screening in this opulent Moorish-style theater.

Roxy: Experience live music and entertainment at The Roxy, a popular concert venue located at The Battery Atlanta near Truist Park. Whether you’re into rock, pop, or country music, The Roxy offers a dynamic lineup of performances in an intimate setting.

Truist Park: Catch a baseball game at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, and indulge in a culinary adventure at The Battery. Explore a diverse selection of dining options, including upscale restaurants, casual eateries, and sports bars, all within walking distance of the ballpark.

Shemika: For lessons and a deeper appreciation into the city’s culture, plan time at the Atlanta History Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History (there are dinosaurs!), Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, Michael C. Carlos Museum, or the High Museum of Art.

Co-Working in Atlanta

When you need a break from the hotel room or office, Atlanta offers several excellent coworking spaces and cafes:

  • WeWork (Colony Square): Located in Midtown, offering a vibrant environment with all necessary amenities.
  • Spaces (Midtown East): A stylish coworking space with flexible options and a collaborative atmosphere.
  • Roam (Buckhead): Known for its professional setting and convenient location near upscale dining and shopping.
  • Chattahoochee Coffee Company: For a more relaxed atmosphere, this coffee shop provides a scenic view of the Chattahoochee River and a quiet spot to work.

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