Strolling through downtown Alpharetta, you'll feel transported into a small-town city center. A huge, lush green field is the perfect spot to set up a picnic tucked neatly between Indian-inspired, Botiwalla (24 S. Main St., Alpharetta. botiwalla.com) and Mexican-fusion, Chiringa (34 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 770-802-8940, chiringa.com)— two fast-casual dining spots. And, you can grab cocktails at Shade Street Food + Bar (10 North S. Broad St., Alpharetta. 770-676-5718, shadestreetfood.com).
If you are looking for locally-owned shops, explore local retailers like ElleB Gifts (50 Canton St., Alpharetta. 470-361-2040, ellebgifts.com), which offers gifts that can be monogrammed and personalized, and Korner Soak (2 Milton Ave., Alpharetta. 470-242-5830, facebook.com/kornersoak), known for its bath and beauty products. Several stores line the streets including Come Back Vinyl (1 South Main St., Alpharetta. 678-580-0583, comebackvinyl.com) —an independent record store that buys and sells albums. If you are inspired by vintage treasures, La Bella Maison is a lifestyle store to visit.
For the artistic visitors, Arts Alpharetta offers the Arts Walking Tour. You can discover all of the city's public artworks from local and national artists and learn about the inspiration behind them. Othels Art Gallery showcases contemporary art (11775 Northfall Lane, Alpharetta. 404-965-1278, othelsart.com).
Alpharetta also organizes seasonal events that are fun for the entire family. Alpharetta Farmers Market is located on North and South Broad streets. Shoppers can purchase local handmade goodies and fresh produce from farmers around the area. (8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Through Oct. 26. alpharettafarmersmarket.com).
Avalon (400 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta) —designed by the same developer as Atlantic Station — is an upscale, outdoor mall with high-end shops and restaurants. Avalon opened in 2015 and has brands such as Chanel, Tesla, Apple and Sundance. Shoppers can journey through more than 500,000 square feet of retail space filled with large retail chains like Anthropologie, West Elm and Madewell. Avalon has an outdoor park right in the center of the square with water fountains during warmer months, and the space is transformed into an ice rink in the winter. There's even a concierge service where visitors can call for personal assistance like dry cleaning, grocery delivery and stylists. CRÚ Food & Wine Bar (2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. 678-248-518, cruwinebar.com) has a popular rooftop patio, wine flights and pizza specials. Rumi's Kitchen (7105 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta) serves Persian-inspired cuisine; El Felix (1130 1st St., Alpharetta. 678-248-5239, theelfelix.com), Superica's sister restaurant, provides a Mexican fare; and South City Kitchen (9000 Avalon Way, Alpharetta. 678-722-3602, avalon.southcitykitchen.com) is located near Hotel at Avalon. As for kids, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams serves up many flavors but be prepared to wait in long lines—and give the Almond Butter Brittle a try.
The Hotel at Avalon has a fantastic bar and beautiful decor if you plan to make a weekend trip out of your stay. Avalon also hosts several events, including local artists’ showcases, wellness programs and Avalon Nights Live, which offers live music from local artists in the plaza every Friday night.
Alpharetta’s “Big Creek Greenway”
One of the benefits of a suburban getaway is the vast green space. Big Creek Greenway in Alpharetta offers no shortage of places where you can enjoy an active getaway. You can get your steps in with the city’s 8-mile, multi-use trail along a lush creek watershed. Big Creek Greenway, a paved pathway, offers a scenic place for biking, walking or running.
Where to shop
Alpharetta’s three distinct shopping districts, all located within a 5-mile radius, offer more than 250 stores that combine a mix of popular brands, fashionable boutiques and independent retailers.
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Shoppers can head to the North Point area to visit the more than 115 stores in the North Point Mall or shop at any of the dozens of national retailers in the surrounding area like Von Maur, REI, and Honey & Hazel Boutique. Also, similar to Avalon, Halcyon (6365 Halcyon Way. 678-533-6500, visithalcyon.com) is a new $370 million development that touts a live-work-play environment and features several shops including Lizard Thicket (6655 Town Square, Suite 1290, Alpharetta. 678-694-1220, shoplizardthicket.com), RW Design & Exchange (6325 Halcyon Way, Suite 840, Alpharetta. 770-781-1625, rwdesignandexchange.com) and Totally Running and Walking (6345 Halcyon Way, Suite 820, totallyrunning.com), plus eateries like Gu's Dumplings (6330 Halcyon Way, Alpharetta, 678-691-4844, gusdumplings.com), CT Cantina Taqueria (6220 Town Square. 770-674-7170, cttacos.com) and more.
More for foodies
With more than 200 restaurants in the city, Alpharetta offers several new chef-driven restaurants like Restaurant Holmes (50 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 678-691-8320, restaurantholmes.com), Coalition Food & Beverage (50 Canton St., Alpharetta. 470-839-6725, coalitionfoodandbeverage.com) and Citizen Soul (60 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 678-317-3232, citizensoul.com).
Jekyll Brewing (2855 Marconi Drive, Alpharetta. 844-453-5955, jekyllbrewing.com) is the first brewery located in Alpharetta. Award-winning brewmaster and co-owner, Josh Rachel, curates the lineup of craft beers and brew styles. Guests can see the ins and outs of brewing by attending the Jekyll Brewing beer tour.
Also, there is American Girl Boutique and Bistro, which is more than a store. The bistro serves two-foot-long banana splits and pink lemonade.
For more information about Alpharetta, contact the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau (178 South Main St. Suite 200, Alpharetta. 678-297-2811, awesomealpharetta.com).