We spent 2 nights in Atlanta in mid-May. Nicknamed “Hotlanta” and home to the 1996 Olympics, the city is the capital of Georgia and the most populous city in the state with 430,000+ people (and over 5 million in the metro area).
Our girls were delighted to ride the elevator to one of the top floors in the North Tower of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. A 4-star TripAdvisor hotel, the Omni is located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta and rates in May run around $135/night. The location couldn’t be more perfect for a family wanting to take in the sights of the area.
Our room featured 2 double beds, a work desk, a mini fridge, and a spectacular view of Centennial Olympic Park and the city lights below us. We all loved spending time at the expansive window, watching the ebb and flow below us. Upon check-in, each of our children received a keepsake backpack with a few small mementos. Scrumptious chocolate chip cookies and milk on ice were also delivered on the first night of check-in – a wonderful amenity of the Omni Sensational Kids Program.
After our little ones drifted off to sleep at night, Tim would head down to the lobby to work on pending business deadlines – a happening place where guests mingled with appetizers and drinks until well into the night. Free WiFi is available to all Omni Select Guest members.
Parking is valet-only at a rate of $30 per day so be sure to plan that extra amount into your vacation budget. Prime Meridian Restaurant is on-site and offers a breakfast menu, including a full buffet for $24.95 – made-to-order omelets, bacon, sausage, cereals, fruits, and ridiculously delicious cream cheese pastries.
On our first morning, we walked to Georgia Aquarium, the World’s Largest Aquarium – home to 120,000 sea animals in 10 million gallons of water. The highlight of our day was watching the AT&T Dolphin Show. The aquatic musical features singing, strobe lights, an adventure story, and a wondrous display of dolphin tricks. Ticket prices range from $24-$30 per person; children 2 and under are free.
Although neither Tim or I are soda-drinkers, the World of Coca-Cola provided an interesting glimpse into the brand’s past and its impact on our culture. As part of the self-guided tour, you can sample more than 60 different flavors from around the world and leave with a keepsake bottle at the end. Since the exhibits are more reading-focused and less hands-on, this is probably a better pick for families with older children (ages 6+).
Centennial Olympic Park (free!), right outside the hotel’s front doors, could also easily provide a day’s worth of entertainment for young children. There are 2 shaded playgrounds on-site – clean with soft surfaces. The Fountain of Rings is also a super way for little ones to cool off and get some exercise in the hotter months. If you enjoy running or walking on vacation, the park offers plentiful paths amidst elegantly manicured grass and mature trees.
While in the area, take a 13-minute drive to Osteria 832 for dinner. The intimate neighborhood joint features fresh pasta dishes, fun patio seating with twinkling lights, and a very cool “local” vibe. Our girls (ages 6, 4, and 1) agreed it was one of the best restaurants of our 3-week road trip. The Kid’s Menu features 7 different options – all for $4 (that price includes a drink). My vegetarian Spaghetti Pomodoro was magnifico and the girls licked their plates clean (Spaghetti with Butter & Cheese and Spaghetti Pomodoro). We recommend arriving early (at 5pm or so) if you have young children to avoid crowds.
On our next visit to the area, I’d be interested to take the CNN Studio Tour, to take a walk through the Chick-Fil-A headquarters, and/or to visit the boyhood home of Martin Luther King Jr.
Have you ever been to Atlanta with kids? What travel recommendations would you add?
* Special thanks to the Atlanta CVB and Osteria 832 for providing complimentary accommodations and attraction passes.