Atlanta is the shopping mecca of the Southeast -- period. Visitors might say they come to Atlanta to steep themselves in southern history, take in a play or two, or contemplate the masterpieces in a museum, but what they really want to do is trot on over to Buckhead for a little retail therapy.
It's not just that there's a lot of shopping here, but the fact that it's so varied. There are chic boutiques that can hold their own with the best of Los Angeles or New York, flea markets bursting at the seams with antiques and collectibles, giant department stores, and interesting little browsable areas such as Virginia-Highland. And even if you don't want to buy anything, it's great fun to wander around the shopping areas, checking out the locals and taking the pulse of the city.
Atlanta is home to several permanent flea markets selling everything from custom furniture to antique toys, but the most exciting markets are those that set up shop once a month. The lineup of dealers -- from all parts of the country -- is ever-changing, so no matter how often you go, you'll always see something new and fresh.
If you're in search of real finds, shop on the first day as soon as the market opens -- that's when local dealers swoop in to snatch up the best merchandise. Serious bargaining often takes place in the closing hours of the last day, when many dealers are anxious to avoid lugging their wares home with them. Be sure to keep your admission ticket; it's good for the whole weekend.
In addition to the independent bookstores in Atlanta, the nationwide chains of Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Doubleday are all represented locally. The main Barnes & Noble, 2900 Peachtree Rd. (tel. 404/261-7747; MARTA: Lenox), can be found in Buckhead, just a few minutes south of Lenox Square. The main Borders, 3637 Peachtree Rd. (tel. 404/237-0707; MARTA: Lenox), is also in Buckhead, 3 blocks north of Lenox Square.
Cool Coca-Cola Facts
The world's most popular soft drink, Coca-Cola, was invented in Atlanta. Here's just how much the world loves it:
- If all the Coca-Cola ever produced were to erupt from "Old Faithful" at its normal rate of 15,000 gallons per hour, the geyser would flow continually from A.D. 307 to the present.
- If all the Coca-Cola ever produced were in 8-ounce bottles laid end-to-end, they would reach to the moon and back 1,057 times. That's one round-trip per day for 2 years, 10 months, and 23 days.
Fresh Market Fare
If your idea of fun is watching other people cook for you, stop in at the Morningside Farmers' Market on a Saturday morning. Each week at 9:30am, one of the city's top chefs gives a free cooking demonstration, and the lucky audience gets to sample the results. Afterward, browse the market, a small but beautiful array of organic, locally grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. There are also handmade soaps, beeswax candles, primitive furniture, beaded jewelry, and other assorted artisanal items. The market, at 1393 N. Highland Ave., is open on Saturdays in late April through December from 8 to 11:30am. Call tel. 404/313-5784 for details.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.