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College Park: Best things to do in one of the hip-hop capitals of the South

Few neighborhoods in Atlanta boast the level of hip-hop street credit as College Park − save for East Point and East Atlanta.

Starting in the 1980s and with increasing frequency throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Atlanta's southwest city center at College Park gave the world some of the most familiar names in the rap game like Ludacris, 2Chainz, Jermaine Dupri, Rich the Kid, Pastor Troy, Kap G: all from College Park.

Though the city is known for its contributions to music and entertainment, College Park is about more than rap music. It's also home to several notable business headquarters -- most notably parts of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

College Park's city center is part of the College Park Historic District. The historic district consists of 606 acres of designated historic land, containing more than 850 historic homes and other buildings, constructed in historic southern styles like the Queen Anne, 20th Century Revival and Craftsman bungalow. The city boasts plenty of hidden gems to explore in the way of food and beverage, art and culture. Here's what you never knew you needed to know about College Park (outside of the great eats at the airport):

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Best spots for coffee

The Atalanta, spinach, tomato, green onion and bell pepper omelet, served with hash browns and pita bread. ((Becky Stein) Photography) (Becky Stein)

Kafenio, 3387 Main St., College Park. 470-823-4929. www.kafenio3387.com

Kafenio is less of a coffee shop, and more of a Greek restaurant that opens at 7:30 in the morning. That might not sound like a great idea to you until you try the breakfast. Hummus on a bagel? Amazing. Breakfast biscuit sandwich with egg and feta? Confirmed delicious. Scrambled tofu? Yes, please. Coffee? Bold and vibrant.

Best spots for lunch

Tropical Cuisine, 4899 Old National Highway, College Park. 404-767-7421. www.tropicalcuisineatlanta.com

For the best oxtails is College Park, try Tropical Cuisine. This no-frills establishment isn't the fastest or the fanciest. But they have goat roti, conch fritters, curried goat, collards and cabbage that will all keep you coming back, and homemade ginger beer that feels straight out of the Indies.

DRIP, 601 N Central Ave., Hapeville. 404-228-4240. www.dripatlanta.com

Just a short drive from College Park, DRIP is the best and nearest proper coffee shop for residents and visitors to College Park. Beyond traditional coffee fair and free Wi-Fi, the restaurant offers delicious breakfast and lunch options (try the breakfast sandwich), assorted teas and other drinks, and desserts (the cake balls, though). The space is open and contemporary.

Taqueria Don Sige, 1720 Vesta Ave., College Park. 404-762-8084.

One of the favorite hole-in-the-wall gems in College Park, Taqueria Don Sige is tucked away in its location beside a Mexican grocery store. But don't let its easily overlooked location dissuade you from seeking it out: Taqueria Don Sige is as authentic as any Mexican restaurant around. From steak tacos served on corn tortillas to beef tongue, tripe and cheek; Don Sige has fare for both the basic and the hardened fans of authentic Mexican food.

Best spots for dinner

Bole Special Kitfo brings beef tartare seasoned with a chili spice blend called mitmita. The meat is served with house-made ayib (an Ethiopian cheese similar to cottage cheese) and collard greens. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Bole, 1650 Virginia Ave., College Park. 470-419-2960. www.boleatlanta.com

Established in 2010, Bole is one of those restaurants with a hard-to-fake authentic quirky dive vibe. It's a family-owned and operated Ethiopian joint situated in a strip mall, where the combination plates, samosas, the cultural experience and the people shine as standouts in the College Park landscape from the moment you walk through the door.

Big Daddy's Dish, 5595 Old National Highway, Atlanta. 404-762-3984. www.bigdaddysdish.com

The original Big Daddy's is located on Old National Highway. It is one of those places that is classic College Park, yet somehow fits right in fine with its 4.3 stars on Zagat. It's soul food, straight up, made from scratch with fair, cafeteria-style service and prices and the best mac 'n' cheese in town.

Must-see mural

Artist Yoyo Ferrero completed the first mural as part of the #LiftCollegePark initiative. (via Yoyo Ferrerro/For the AJC)

Yoyo Ferrero's mural on the corner of Harvard Avenue and Main Street, College Park.

Thanks to the #LiftCollegePark initiative, the city is starting to beautify areas downtown and around the city with the help of in-town muralists. The first completed project, a building on Harvard Avenue, was completed by artist Yoyo Ferrero. During all three phases of community beautification and painting, the process will be a community event where the public can visit and see the murals created and interact with the artists.

Best way to spend the weekend

Catching a show at Wolf Creek.

Enthusiastic fans get into the sounds of Goodie Mob at the Funk Fest at Wolf Creek Amphitheater on Friday. ((Akili-Casundria Ramsess)/Special to the AJC) (Akili-Casundria Ramsess)

Wolf Creek Amphitheatre, 3025 Merk Road SW, College Park. 404-443-5000. http://www.wolfcreekamphitheater.com

Wolf Creek Amphitheatre is a county-owned venue operated by Live Nation entertainment. From May until September it runs in full form, like a Chastain Amphitheatre south. You can bring your own food and drinks, there are table seating options to enjoy wine and a show with friends, and the events calendar stays busy until fall. Upcoming events include An Evening Under the Stars Blues Festival, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

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