Non-touristy places to take tourists in Atlanta

If you are playing welcome-wagon, it’s time to step up your game. We all love the classic Atlanta tourist stops, but they grow old ... fast. This year, treat your guests to sites in the city that appeal to locals and visitors alike. Be careful though, you might be playing host again next year.

Take a Fox Theatre Tour. Wind your way through an important landmark in Atlanta history during a Fox Theatre Tour. The 60-minute circuit visits 10 locations within the building and dozens of special mementos including Mighty Mo’, the largest working Moller theatre organ in the world and the original furniture of the Men’s Lounge, chosen by the wife of movie-mogul William Fox.

Lunch at Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Sweet Auburn Curb Market sits on the site of one of the worst city fires since Sherman came to town, but it is now rebuilt and thriving.  First established in 1918, it is Atlanta’s oldest market. After hunting and browsing, relax with some lunch. If you purchase at least $5 in merchandise, ask the vendor to validate your parking. The first hour is free.

Mingle with Mother Nature at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve. Towering trees draped with moss and a small waterfall highlight this two-mile hike. The spring waters here are said to have healing effects; it was once bottled and sold.  Don’t miss the small spring house at the beginning of the hike– evidence of times passed.

Drink the sangria at Sister Louisa’s Church. OK, it’s not really a church. Sister Louisa’s is a cozy neighborhood bar with a mean sangria and $4 PBR Tall Boys. Head up the narrow stairwell to lounge on the sofas or catch a game of pingpong. The folk art will either have you in stitches or offend you. Regardless, it’s sure to capture your attention.

Hunt for scenes from Living Walls Atlanta. The masterful murals seen springing up around the city over the past few years are part of a program called Living Walls Atlanta. The mission: Educate and change the perspective about communities via street art. The website offers a map of all the Walls exhibits in the city, perfect for a drive-by or bike-by tour.

View Atlanta’s skyline by night and day. On a clear spring day, head to the Jackson Street Bridge for the view of Atlanta’s skyline made famous in The Walking Dead. After you capture a selfie here, make plans to meet up again in the evening atop Glenn Hotel’s rooftop SkyLounge for the best nighttime view of our great southern city.

See the sights along the Beltline Art Tour. Each fall, the Atlanta Beltline showcases phenomenal works of art from local artists, but you don’t have to be here in the autumn to enjoy the spoils. Several dozen murals and sculptures make up the Continuing Exhibition along the Beltline, available for the community to enjoy year-round. See the website for photos and locations. Don't forget to stop for a bite to eat before or after the tour; there are plenty of great places to dine along the Beltline. 

Dine at a Ford Fry restaurant. Ford Fry opened JCT Kitchen + Bar in 2007, and has been dazzling Atlanta ever since. With seven restaurants under his belt, he rains classy comfort food on patrons, and every bite tastes like a delivery from heaven. His two newest restaurants offer options for those ITP, at Superica in Krog Street Market, and OTP, at The El Felix in Avalon.

Explore the ancients at Michael C. Carlos Museum. The Carlos Museum is a premier ancient arts museum best known for its Egyptian collection, including the oldest mummy in the Americas. You’ll see 10 additional mummies and nine intricately crafted coffins, among other funerary artifacts. Visit Sundays at 2 p.m. for a free docent-led tour. General audio tours and a Bible audio tour are available for a nominal fee.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.