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How To Spend a Serene Day in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta mural in the city

The dynamic streets of Atlanta can be overwhelming and hectic, but don't let this define your opinion of the city. There are some beautiful, peaceful places in The Big A ... if you know where to look.

My first time in the capital city of Georgia was in the spring (which is a great time to go) and plans were a bit all over the place as I had a wedding to attend. But during that long weekend, I found some moments of free time in which I explored many of Atlanta's serene locations. In this blog post, I've combined some of them to create a day that you'll remember — not as one of those stressful, busy days but as a relaxing time that rejuvenated you as a tourist.


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a pastry on a plate at a coffee shop

Grab your morning fuel.

Your first action of the day isn't a specific one, but it's important to fuel yourself in the morning if that's what you're used to or something you love doing to start your day. So grab a coffee, a smoothie or just your water (perhaps it's even lemon water). There are plenty of coffee and smoothie shops around the city. You'll be heading to the park next, so prepare accordingly.

Piedmont Park in Atlanta

Take a walk in Piedmont Park.

Piedmont Park is located in the heart of Atlanta and is a popular greenspace for walkers, runners and flocks of feathered friends. It's a gorgeous place to enjoy a slow but movement-centered morning.

The afternoon my husband and I strolled through Piedmont Park, it was lightly sprinkling. There was cloud coverage and the vegetation was still vibrantly green since it was May. Put this all together and it created an almost magical environment.

The fishermen were putting their lines in the ponds. Other couples were out and about, sometimes sitting on the old-fashioned porch swings. We watched a mama duck with her ducklings splash in the water. And we saw the perfect view of the city from a balcony on one side of Lake Clara Meer.

So explore as you walk the trails. (I suggest being out there for at least an hour.) Breathe out any stress and breathe in the good vibes of nature. Center yourself to take on the rest of the day.

a cafe in atlanta georgia

Eat a big brunch/lunch at Café Intermezzo.

Now that you've started your travel day off right with a walk, it's time to reenergize yourself with some scrumptious food. And Café Intermezzo is just the place to finish out your calm morning. (Notice the word "Intermezzo," which means intermission, a pause, a break.)

This café will "take you to Europe" with its aesthetic of sculptures, paintings and a bold color scheme, its classical and jazzy background music and its deliciously prepared and creatively plated food.

There are several of these restaurants around Atlanta, but I suggest the Midtown location as it's in a more sophisticated and chill area. Sit outside where you'll find a single flower on each table and watch the movement in the street or settle at a table inside where more of the action happens. Your choice!

When you go, though, I highly recommend the Avocado Toast, which is a baguette with avocado, roasted tomatoes, onions, burnt chile oil, scrambled eggs and herb cream cheese. I also suggest you order a sweet crepe. There is a variety to choose from, and after trying three different types, I can say that they all were beautifully delicate and their flavors mixed well together.

Remember, take your time. It's okay to slow down, even when dining out.

Swan House, a mansion, in Atlanta

Visit the Atlanta History Center and Swan House.

Now it's time to get those mental gears in motion. Although a history center might seem boring to some, I promise that this tourist spot has history and so much more to offer. In fact, it will take you most of the afternoon to get through it all. (FYI this museum costs $24 for adults. Seniors, students and youth prices are discounted.)

First, yes, it has a variety of indoor history-centered exhibits plus a gift shop and café. I thought the room with displays about Atlanta's past specifically was interesting. But there are other themes like sports, wars, equality, art, etc. I also found it intriguing that they have an online-only exhibit called "Atlanta in 50 Objects".

Second, tickets to the center include an outdoor oasis. If you walk through the doors on the back side of the museum building, you'll find trails, boardwalks and bridges that take you inside magnificent woods, by a cold stream and through educational gardens. These paths' surroundings give you a glimpse into the beauty of Georgia.

a room in Swan House

The trails will also lead you to the two outdoor "exhibits." The Smith Farm is a group of buildings and gardens showcasing Georgia farmland in the 1860s. Some of the structures have been preserved while others are replicas. Visitors are able to walk inside them to get a feel for what life was like during that time. You can also view real animals on this farm, including sheep, goats, turkeys and chickens.

The other outdoor "exhibit" and one of the main attractions at the center for locals and visitors alike is the Swan House. This mansion was built in 1928 and houses many rooms of sophisticated designs and décor. You can tour them yourself or go on a guided tour to learn more about the history of the estate. Additionally, outside you'll find gardens with fountains, walkways and statues. On one side, the mansion truly resembles a small palace in the middle of the woods.

If you're looking to take some standout photos and videos while in Georgia, the outdoor portion of the history center is the perfect spot.

chocolate cake a fancy restaurant

Dress up for dinner and drinks.

Head back to your hotel and clean up a bit for dinner. I suggest you make a reservation at a restaurant (obviously you'd want to do this earlier in the day or week) downtown or somewhere close to the heart of the city. But which restaurant you choose is entirely up to you as I didn't get to try out too many when I visited.

However, if you're looking for dinner plus drinks and don't mind paying its prices, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails has some delicious food. Granted, I didn't get to enjoy the regular dinner menu since I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner, but hopefully, the quality of the food is the same across all of the restaurant's menus.

sculptures in downtown Atlanta

This full-day itinerary for Atlanta, Georgia, is one of tranquility mixed with some sophistication. It offers views of the city but also showcases the natural beauty of the area. It creates restfulness while also giving your body movement. But it's also a long day, so perhaps when you get back to your hotel you'll want to finish the evening with a bath, a book or an early bedtime.



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