ATL Closeup | Actor Daniel Newman

‘The Walking Dead’ actor Daniel Newman explains why Atlanta is the perfect place for work and play

Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” an AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend — from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat.

Daniel Newman has had this acting thing down for a while. At 11, he broke onto movie sets around Georgia pretending to be an extra. Now at 38, he doesn’t have to sneak around.

Within the last decade, the actor and musician has landed roles in several award-winning television series filmed in his Atlanta hometown, including “Vampire Diaries,” “The Game,” and “The Walking Dead” — one of his all-time favorite experiences.

“Nothing else was like ‘Walking Dead,’” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “To do that and have these millions of die-hard fans around the world has been super crazy.”

But the star, who’s also modeled for fashion brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Louis Vutton, isn’t just recognized for his on-camera work. He’s also admired for his activism. 

Newman, who is bisexual, has collaborated with GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and Lost-n-Found Youth, which are all LGBTQ advocacy organizations. He’s also joined Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s LGBTQ advisory board, where he works on initiatives that promote equality. 

“Each one of us has a responsibility to invest and build our community,” he said. “It’s ironic that I spent my whole childhood trying to get out of here and thinking the rest of the world had so much more to offer ... but Atlanta has become such an amazing place to be.”

When the Midtown resident isn’t supporting important causes or auditioning for roles, he is carving out time to hit up his favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find him on any given weekend in Atlanta. 

Finger-licking good meal

Newman is convinced he’s obsessed with pizza, and anytime he needs a fix, he heads to Argosy in East Atlanta.

The eatery has a ton of menu options, from the roasted chicken to the lamb gnocchi. But the entertainer faithfully orders the Marge Wood-Fired Pie, which is topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and roasted tomatoes, every time he goes. 

Antico (Intown) Sapori Di Napoli (DeKalb) Varuni Napoli (Intown) Labella's Pizzeria (Cobb) O4W Pizza (Gwinnett) Varasano's Pizzeria (North Fulton) Savage Pizza (Intown) Fritti (Intown) Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria (Intown) Double Zero (Intown) Double Zero (DeKalb) Argosy (Intown) Colletta (North Fulton)

He discovered the restaurant years ago when his sister lived just a few blocks away. Although she no longer lives in the neighborhood, Newman always find a reason to drop in.  

“It’s one of the spots I really love,” he gushed. “You have great music. You have amazing ambiance. It’s just a gorgeous place.”

His top dining pick:

Argosy, 470 Flat Shoals Ave SE, Atlanta. 404-577-0407,

Shop-til-you-drop spot

You likely won’t catch Newman browsing through the clothing racks in malls around town. 

“I hate shopping. I really don’t like it,” he admitted. 

But when he does need to buy new clothes, he makes it happen at Walmart, where he can pick up a variety of items all at once. 

“It’s so easy. I can just grab everything. I can get underwear and a cool jacket and some almond milk at the same time,” he laughed. 

His top shopping pick:

Walmart, 1801 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta. 404-352-5252,

Social Hour

Midtown is Newman’s go-to area for a night out, so you might see him and his buddies partying and dining at Ten Atlanta or Blake’s On The Park.

Sometimes he’ll even venture off  to Buckhead to socialize at Johnny’s Hideaway.

“I’ve honestly gone out to clubs all over the world, but I’ve never been to anywhere like that before,” he said. “My friends always kept raving about it, but I didn’t understand why they liked it so much until I went.”

During his first visit, he saw a bunch of older men dancing to hits from the 50’s, but as the night progressed, he said a younger crowd joined in.  

“All of a sudden, black, white, young and old people were out dancing to all kinds of music having the greatest time all together. It was one of the coolest things ever to see all scenes completely combine,” he said.

The best night spots in Atlanta Johnny's Hideaway Staplehouse Two World Hero at Empire State South The Toronto at Sound Table Music Room Magic City the Local

His top party picks:

Ten Atlanta, 990 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-347-3360,

Blake’s On The Park, 227 10th St NE, Atlanta. 404-892-5786,

Johnny’s Hideaway, 3771 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta. 404-233-8026,

The wind down

When it’s time for peace and quiet, Newman loves a quick getaway to Helen or Savannah. It’s also easy for him to find solace at a few locations closer to home like Lake Lanier and Stone Mountain Park.

“I go up, and I’m completely off the grid,” he said.

He’s typically not relaxing alone though. He brings his two pitbulls, Mr. Bear and Rocko, along for the ride. 

“We love going hiking and to the lakes,” he said. “I try to go every weekend or whenever I have a day off.”

His top relax destination:

Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690,

Hidden gem

If you want to brush up on your dance moves, Newman said there’s no better studio to go than Dance 411 in East Atlanta.

It offers ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and zumba classes for people of all ages, and some of its instructors have appeared on award shows and programs like “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Got Talent.” 

“It’s so fun. That’s definitely a spot to see all the big hip-hop and pop dancers,” he said. 

Newman takes new classes often to help keep him in tip-top condition and up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry.

“Anything you’d be embarrassed to do, I had to do,” he said. “I like to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and try different things.”

If you go:

Dance 411, 475 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta. 404-622-4110,

» RELATED: Where to go for hip-hop fitness around metro Atlanta

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