With thousands of visitors expected to flood into Atlanta for the 2020 Final Four, the city promises to be overtaken by basketball frenzy.
For the fans, there are the 75,000 seats in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and viewing parties galore at bars and restaurants all over town. For the rest of us, there is the promise of escape.
If you’re one of those not fired up for so many out-of-town guests, we’ve got you covered. Skip the airport and consider one of the region's many getaways and day trips. Here are seven of our favorites:
338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
About 100 miles north of Atlanta is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi. Add in an 80-foot-high suspension bridge and adjacent 2,700-acre state park, and you can be on a peaceful and, well, gorgeous, hike in less than two hours. Remember to arrive early and get one of 100 permits if you want to hike the gorge floor (not available during water releases).
Explore the downtown area from the trails and gardens of Falls Park on the Reedy River. The trails lead to several West End shops and restaurants, including the whiskey and moonshine stopover Dark Corner Distillery (for adult-only trips). If you're traveling with kids, the Greenville Zoo is just four miles away.
Travel back in time with an antique shopping trip to "the town Sherman refused to burn." Start off with Madison Markets, a 20,000-square-foot trove of unique offerings from more than 75 vendors. Nearby, Unique Treasures of Madison offers more antiques and décor, while Madison's historic Main Street district includes several other shops for art, décor and more.
Ferry the just over the state line to Chattanooga to check out a nationally acclaimed aquarium that's not in the Super Bowl hot zone. The Tennessee Aquarium features the River Journey building for fresh water animals and the Ocean Journey building for salt water, with an IMAX Theater for an additional fee. The city also offers everything from free disc golf lessons to help with learning how to ride a bike.
1 Tranquility Base, Hunstville, Alabama
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is an obvious choice, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to enjoy the Huntsville attraction. Afterwards, check out the Craft Beer Trail. Start by grabbing your trail cards at the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center, then go explore the city's 11 different breweries and taprooms. If you collect all 11 stamps, you'll go home with a free Trail Boss bottle opener!
The little North Georgia mountain town of Dahlonega draws big crowds in the warmer months, when outdoor enthusiasts and urban refugees alike crowd into its shops, golf courses and attractions. That makes winter the perfect time to savor tastings from one of the four wineries just outside of town. Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is offering its appetizer and pizza menus this winter to pair with its gold-medal winning wines.
Known for music in the 1970s, Macon also embraces the video game era of the 1970s and 1980s with its Reboot Retrocade and Bar. In addition to pinball machines and arcade games likes Frogger, Reboot's indoor lawn offers the chance to play corn hole in January. Sports fans can check out the Super Bowl score at the bar if they must, but you'll probably be too busy playing Street Fighter to worry about the game. And you can watch the commercials online later, anyway!
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