Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely been to (or at least heard of) Alpharetta’s Avalon by now—the $600 million, 86-acre live-work-play development opened last October and the city has been abuzz ever since. To see what all the fuss was about, I carved out an entire Saturday to spend at the sustainably-designed, 2.4 million-square-foot mixed-use mecca. And let me tell you—it was delicious. Take a look:
8 a.m. Breakfast at Bantam + Biddy
Unlike so many outdoor shopping areas that are littered with mediocre chains, Avalon is home to dozens of locally-owned restaurants. Start at Atlanta’s favorite poultry project: Bantam + Biddy, where fried chicken makes an appearance in many breakfast items, like the Fried Chicken & Cheddar Waffle topped with Steen’s Cane Syrup, honey butter and homemade vanilla bean apple sauce. For something on the lighter side, try the Protein Scramble, made with three farm eggs, roast chicken, cheddar or goat cheese, scallions and fresh fruit.
9:30 a.m. Core Fusion Barre at Exhale
To counteract all of the calories planned for the day, head to Exhale, the second Georgia location of the award-winning, mind-body boutique studio, where fat-blasting classes are offered alongside chic fitness apparel and gifts (there’s locker rooms and showers, too!). Try the Core Fusion Barre class, Exhale’s signature full body, ballet-inspired workout focused on isolated exercises, alignment, flexibility and posture.
11 a.m. Drybar
Look your best at the restaurants scheduled for the day by popping into Drybar, a sleek hair salon where blowouts are offered alongside chick flicks and complimentary beverages, like champagne. Their tagline says it best: “No cuts. No color. Just blowouts, for only $40.”
12 p.m. Lunch at Bocado Burger
It used to be that if you wanted one of Atlanta’s best burgers, you’d have to fight traffic on the Westside—but now Bocado has opened a second location in Avalon almost exclusively devoted to America’s favorite sandwich. Though I’m partial to the classic burger stack—melty American cheese cocoons two thin, charred patties made from a trio of house-ground meat (chuck, brisket and short rib)—you can also build your own burger (choose a beef, turkey or veggie patty) and choose from Southern-inspired toppings like pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and Alabama white BBQ sauce.
To burn off some of those delicious burger calories from lunch, get in some casual cardio by walking around the dozens of shops calling Avalon home. With your next dinner party in mind, hit up Crate & Barrel for some pretty serving platters, Anthropologie for vintage-inspired glassware and West Elm for gorgeous table linens. Make a stop into Paper Source for some fun place cards and party favors before perusing Whole Foods for recipe inspiration.
5 p.m. Wine flight at Cru
Whether you prefer relaxing on a sunny patio or people watching on the rooftop deck overlooking The Plaza, Cru is the perfect spot to kick off happy hour. We recommend trying one of the many wine flights offered at this wine bar—there’s more than 350 wines to choose from, and a flight (which comes with three tastes in different categories) will help you make a dent in that list. I’m partial to the Rose flight, but summer is also a perfect time for any of their six white wine flights.
6:30 p.m. Dinner at Colletta
If you’re looking for a special evening, The Indigo Road restaurant group has you covered—Oak Steakhouse and Colletta are both located in Avalon, though after a day of heavy eating, Colletta, a modern Italian restaurant specializes in fresh, light and local fare, sounds like the perfect finish. Go for the scallop crudo to start, a dish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious, and share a few pastas with your tablemates—we can’t get enough of the black pepper tagliatelle carbonara, which is spiked with crispy pork, chives, a creamy egg yolk and pecorino romano cheese. The spit-roasted bone-in pork chop is a clear summer standout, served with tomato and peach panzanella salad and housemade ricotta salata.
8 p.m. Movie at Regal Cinema
Date night isn’t complete without a movie, and this new theater not only plays the latest Blockbusters in the country’s first 12-screen, premium VIP theater, they’re also equipped with a full-service kitchen and bar to make your experience all the more delicious.