What To Do In Atlanta This Summer

by Anna Parsons

Let's get one thing straight: Atlanta is pretty sweltering in the summer, so the "Hotlanta" nickname is not unearned. But still, there's something magical about the city in the warmer months. True locals know that there's an art to thriving in Atlanta in the summertime: lots of sunscreen, cold beverages, and sweet, sweet, air conditioning. We wear our sweat like a badge of honor, but when the heat breaks and a thunderstorm rolls through, we have permission to stop everything we're doing and enjoy the gentle breeze.

To help you get a respite from the heat, Bustle has partnered with Crocs to put together a summer guide to the 404 (and the 678). No matter what time of the year it is, Atlanta has sweet tea, leafy trees, friendly strangers, and culture to spare.

Best Outdoor Dining

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall

Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is like Wes Anderson stayed up all night fashioning the perfect Pinterest board. Right off the Beltline, it's a favorite lunch spot for locals biking the trails. Featuring an array of camping-inspired grub like trail mix and "vittles," this joint offers some of the best people-watching in the city.

Victory Sandwich Bar

Victory Sandwich Bar is the unofficial counterpart to Ladybird. Sporting a backyard complete with ping-pong and picnic tables and serving up tiny sandwiches alongside slushees, this is a great location to check out a cult movie screening outdoors while sipping a drink.

Best Outdoor Performance Venues

Serenbe Playhouse

Serenbe Playhouse is situated 30 minutes outside of the city, in an upscale area of the surrounding suburbs. It features truly magical outdoor sets, from a labyrinth to a secret garden. For a 2011 performance of the Ugly Duckling, the playhouse even put a stage in the water.

The Masquerade

The Masquerade is a beloved indoor/outdoor music venue in the heart of Atlanta that is situated in a former excelsior mill. If you're in the mood for rock, alternative, rockabilly, and more, this four-stage venue is the perfect spot. It's been rumored that it may soon be converted to high-rise apartments, so visit this local favorite while it's still rocking.

Best Place To Have Fun By Foot

Arabia Mountain

Just based on looks alone, Arabia Mountain is comparable to a casual trip to outer space. The seemingly barren granite terrain is actually teeming with endangered plant species, and it's located only 30 minutes from the Atlanta city limits by car. When you're tired of walking, you can enjoy the bicycle trails scattered throughout the park.

Best Outdoor Nightlife

The Book House Pub

The Book House Pub is an outdoor bar with intimate seating. Boasting a variety of drinks that span from craft beer to lavender-thyme-infused cocktails, the small layout still allows picnic table seating and room to stand with your friends. As a bonus, the bar also serves a delicious variety of food, including the only funnel cake you'll find outside of a fairground.

Best Outdoor Festivals

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

Your Dekalb Farmers Market, which is held each Saturday, is like the Disneyland of farmers markets. Nothing beats a leisurely stroll through its outdoor booths and tents of full of locally grown foodstuffs. A few must-try vendors are EAV, Peachtree, Grant Park, and Freedom Parkway. And The Good Food Truck’s watermelon snow cone is a local favorite on hot summer days.

Atlanta Street Food Festival

Food trucks have overtaken our culinary culture in the past few years with the charm of kitchens on wheels being able to produce delectable meals, often with clever themes. Don't have time to chase your favorite around the city? Check out the Atlanta Street Food Festival on July 11th to get your choice of all the city's food trucks at once. From tacos to lobster, you'll find just the right nosh to satisfy your cravings.

Best Place To Cool Off

Centennial Olympic Park

Crocs style featured above: ColorBlock Wedge in black/black, $54.99

The Centennial Olympic Park features a giant outdoor fountain crafted in the shape of the Olympic rings in honor of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. This festive fountain is for children and adults alike, so grab your bathing suit (or go crazy! wear your clothes!) and enjoy some relief from the Georgia heat.

Best View

The Varsity

The Varsity, a restaurant best known for its greasy-spoon menu and funny hats, has one of the best views of the entire city. The nation's oldest drive-through restaurant, it attracts tourists and locals alike. So drive up the parking deck, pretend that it's the 1950s, and enjoy the modern Atlanta skyline.

This post is sponsored by Crocs.