Atlanta skyline at Piedmont Park (Photo: Envato)
If you're planning a kosher vacation in Atlanta, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Atlanta, a city synonymous with warm Southern hospitality, thrilling sports teams, and the world-famous Coca-Cola, is full of pleasant surprises. As I delved into research for this post, I was captivated by its rich history, diverse attractions, and the plethora of activities it offers. It's a treasure trove of experiences, making it a perfect spot for a kosher vacation. With several Chabad houses, vibrant synagogues, and a variety of kosher restaurants, it caters to the kosher traveler.
The city enjoys a mild climate, boasting an average annual temperature of 61 degrees. July sizzles at an average of 89 degrees, ideal for those who love the warmth, while January cools down to a crisp average low of 34 degrees. This comfortable climate means you can enjoy Atlanta's outdoor life for most of the year. Imagine teeing off on one of the 100 golf courses, playing a match on numerous tennis courts, or exploring miles of scenic hiking and biking trails.
But that's not all. Atlanta is dotted with parks, museums, and family-oriented attractions that promise fun for everyone. For those specifically looking for a kosher vacation in Atlanta, the city offers a variety of options that cater to dietary needs. Now, let's delve deeper into what makes Atlanta a welcoming destination for kosher travelers.
Kosher Food & Jewish Life in Atlanta
Atlanta's Jewish community is a dynamic part of the city, now numbering over 100,000, with the majority residing in the metropolitan area. The city is home to numerous Chabad houses and Orthodox synagogues, catering to both Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions. For those concerned about an eruv, Atlanta has more than one. It's a good idea to check with local synagogues or reach out to Chabad to ensure your area is covered. The community is also served by a couple of mikvehs, welcoming both residents and visitors.
Finding kosher products in Atlanta is as easy as in most American cities. There are supermarkets like Kroger and Publix featuring kosher counters offering fresh meat, fish, and baked goods. For a more specialized shopping experience, there's also a dedicated kosher supermarket. Dining out is a breeze with an array of kosher restaurants to choose from. Atlanta even boasts kosher versions of some popular chains, including Ali’s Cookies, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Cinnaholic, and Krispy Kreme. Just remember to look for certification from the Atlanta Kashruth Commission (AKC). Most of the kosher restaurants are located in the Toco Hills neighborhood in the city and the nearby Sandy Springs and Dunwoody neighborhoods in the suburbs. Check out our guide to kosher and Jewish life in Atlanta when planning your vacation.
Now that you're set with places to eat and daven, let's explore the exciting activities and attractions Atlanta has to offer.
World of Coca Cola (Photo by Dr. Vallabh Kulkarni on Unsplash)
Sightseeing & Attractions in Atlanta
One of the highlights of our Atlanta travel guide is this curated list of things to do in Atlanta, ensuring you experience the city's best offerings.
- World of Coca Cola: A museum showcasing the history of The Coca-Cola Company, featuring the secret formula, 1,200 never-before-displayed artifacts, and a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process. The “Taste It!” exhibit has flavors from around the world but the AKC recommends only drinking North American beverages, as they are OU certified (except for Passover).
- Georgia Aquarium: An entertaining and educational experience with over 60 exhibits featuring a variety of animals and habitats, promoting a new appreciation for the world’s aquatic biodiversity
- SkyView Atlanta: A giant Ferris wheel offering breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Atlanta and the surrounding area.
- Atlanta History Center: A history museum and research center featuring exhibits on the Civil War, Southern folk art, and the Swan House. There are acres of gardens and you can take a run on the basketball hardwood from the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Park: A historic site dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born in Atlanta. Visit his boyhood home which is located in the park.
- High Museum of Art: A leading art museum with a diverse collection, including 19th and 20th-century American art, European paintings, and contemporary art.
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights: A museum dedicated to the achievements of the civil rights movement and the broader worldwide human rights movement.
- The College Football Hall of Fame: An immersive experience featuring a three-story helmet wall, interactive exhibits, and a Hall of Fame rotunda personalized to your favorite team, making it a must-see for college football fans.
- Little Five Points: An eclectic neighborhood known for its alternative culture, vintage clothing stores, and vibrant music and arts scene.
- Atlanta’s Street Art: Krog Street Tunnel, the city’s unofficial home to street art, and Cabbagetown are covered with amazing street art.
Stone Mountain Park (Photo by Koushalya Karthikeyan on Unsplash)
Parks & Outdoor Activities in Atlanta
For those who love the outdoors, here are some top things to do in Atlanta's green spaces.
- The Atlanta BeltLine: A 22-mile loop around the city, offering a variety of activities such as walking, cycling, and exploring public art installations. It comprises multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and several parks, connecting people to neighborhoods, dining, and various places throughout the city.
- Centennial Olympic Park: A 22-acre park in downtown Atlanta, featuring the iconic Fountain of Rings, lush gardens, and various landmarks, making it a great spot for a leisurely day in nature.
- Piedmont Park: A 200-acre green space in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, offering a wide range of activities such as biking, jogging, and playing in playgrounds. The park also hosts popular annual festivals and events.
- Atlanta Botanical Gardens: An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, with 30 acres of lush, colorful gardens, making it a perfect place to explore and appreciate nature's beauty.
- Stone Mountain Park: Home to the world's largest piece of exposed granite, the park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, golf, and the popular laser show. Don't miss the Summit Skyride cable car that takes visitors to the top of Stone Mountain and experience the stunning views. This and other attractions in the park are open seasonally so check their website.
- Zoo Atlanta: A zoological park housing over 1,000 animals from around the world, including giant pandas, making it an ideal destination for families and animal lovers.
- Six Flags Over Georgia: A popular amusement park featuring a wide array of thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, and entertainment for all ages.
- Ponce City Market: A historic building turned into a vibrant community hub, offering various shops, and outdoor spaces for leisure and relaxation.
Ray Charles - Georgia On My Mind (Official Video - YouTube)
Interesting Tidbits About Atlanta You Might Not Know
- Peachtree Galore: Georgia's known for peaches, right? But did you know Atlanta has 71 streets with some form of “Peachtree” in their names? That's a lot of peaches!
- A Musical Homage: “Georgia on My Mind,” the soulful tune made famous by Ray Charles in 1960, became Georgia's official state song in 1979. It's a perfect fit since Ray Charles was born in Georgia. The song itself is a remake of the original from 1930.
- World's Busiest Airport: Since 1998, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta has been the world’s busiest airport every single year. This might be partly because Atlanta is the global headquarters of Delta Airlines.
- A City in a Forest: Atlanta isn't just an urban hub; it's known as the “City in a Forest.” Why? Because it's one of America's most forested major cities, with nearly 50% of the area covered in trees.
- Bank of America Plaza: One of Atlanta's most iconic landmarks is the Bank of America Plaza. Not only is it one of the tallest buildings in the U.S., but it's also the tallest building in Georgia and the tallest in any U.S. state capital. Though it's not open to the public, its impressive stature is a sight to behold.
Skyview Atlanta in Centennial Park (Photo by Koushalya Karthikeyan on Unsplash)
Wrapping Up Your Atlanta Adventure
And there you have it – a whirlwind tour of Atlanta, a city that's so much more than just peaches and Coca-Cola. From its rich Jewish life and kosher-friendly spots to the endless array of attractions, Atlanta is a city that truly caters to everyone. Whether you're soaking in the history at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Park, marveling at the aquatic wonders at the Georgia Aquarium, or just chilling in one of the many lush parks, there's never a dull moment here.
Remember, this city's not just about what you see; it's about what you feel. The warmth of the Southern hospitality, the buzz of the busy streets, and the tranquility of its green spaces create a unique vibe that's hard to find anywhere else. And for those keeping kosher, Atlanta’s got you covered with its diverse range of dining options and Jewish facilities.
So, as you plan your visit to this dynamic Southern jewel, remember that Atlanta is more than just a stop on the map; it's a place where memories are made. We hope this guide helps you uncover these stories and create your own unforgettable Atlanta adventure.
And be sure to check out Passover programs taking place in Atlanta this year.