Guide to the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Tennis Tournament

BB&T Atlanta Open

Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

The BB&T Atlanta Open kicks off July 30, 2016, at Atlantic Station. Before you go to see some of the top tennis players in the world, here’s what you need to know:

Schedule of Events

To see the full daily schedule for the tournament July 30 – Aug. 7, 2016, click here.

Getting There

Location: Atlantic Station is a mixed-use live/work/play development situated squarely between Atlanta‘s Midtown and Westside neighborhood boundaries along 17th Street.

Public Transportation: By bus, the No. 37 DeFoors Ferry line will get you to Atlantic Station. By rail, the Atlantic Station Free Ride Shuttle is available to transport guests to and from the Arts Center MARTA Station from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Also, the Route 491 Xpress bus runs from Woodstock to Atlantic Station each Monday- Friday.

Self-Parking: Atlantic Station offers abundant deck parking with color-coded parking sections for easy vehicle location. The first two hours of parking are free. Click here to see the full fee schedule. You must pay for parking before returning to your vehicle to exit the parking deck.

Valet Parking: For a fee, there is valet parking available just east of the Target parking deck.

EV Charging: If you’re taking your plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle to the BB&T Atlanta Open, you can charge it at one of Atlantic Station’s numerous charging locations.

Lexus Owners: If you drive your Lexus to the tournament, you’re able to receive complimentary parking in the 20th Street parking lot at the north end of Atlantic Station. Care to valet? Lexus drivers are eligible for reduced $5 valet parking.

Who’s Playing

2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Player Field. Photo courtesy BB&T Atlanta Open, Facebook.

2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Player Field. Photo courtesy BB&T Atlanta Open, Facebook.

1996 Olympic gold medalist Andre Agassi will return to the city to take on Sergi Bruguera in an exhibition rematch of the game that won Agassi the gold. Two-time BB&T Atlanta Open champion and UGA alum John Isner returns to the court as does past BB&T Atlanta Open finalist and Olympian Kevin Anderson. Rising star Taylor Fritz, three-time Davis Cup winner Fernando Verdasco, and U.S. Open and French Open finalist Marcel Granollers are also slated to play.

Stop & See

Lexus will have four of their performance vehicles plus the Fuzzy RX on display. Grab a picture with the Fuzzy RX, which is covered in a tennis ball-like wrap, and share it on social media using #FuzzyRX.

Dining

When you’re at Atlantic Station, be sure to take advantage of their numerous restaurant offerings like meat and seafood restaurant The Pig and the Pearl, local favorite Chick-a-Biddy and fast-casual Atlanta-born Tin Drum Asia Cafe. You can also grab coffee at Land of a Thousand Hills across from Regal Cinemas or Starbucks inside Twelve Atlantic Station.

What to Bring

Don’t forget a small seat cushion, sunscreen (lotion only; aerosol cans are not permitted), a water bottle, a hat and sunglasses. Backpacks, hard coolers, bottles or cans, weapons, pets, signs/banners, and larger electronic devices like iPads are not permitted. Be sure to check the full list of prohibited items before you leave to attend the tournament.

Tickets

Ticket prices vary by seat, date and promotion. To see the full ticket cost breakdown, click here. 

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Plan to Dine Out Often During Georgia Restaurant Week

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Thank the Georgia Restaurant Association and Department of Economic Development for hosting the second annual Georgia Restaurant Week. This food-focused week kicks off July 18 and lasts until the 24th with menu offerings from some of Georgia’s top-rated eateries — many of last year’s favorites and some new kids to the dining scene.

Enjoy the view from the top of the Hilton Atlanta during a meal at Nikolai's Roof

Enjoy the view from the top of the Hilton Atlanta during a meal at Nikolai’s Roof

What makes this week different than others of its kind? For starters, the participating restaurants are from all over the state, giving you the option of trying many of Georgia’s regional cuisines. Because each restaurant offers a sampling of their dinner menu at a low fixed price (some also offer lunch options), you can try more than just restaurant during the week.

Reuben at Muss & Turner's in Smyrna

Reuben at Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna

As you’re making summer vacation plans, Georgia Restaurant Week is a wonderful way to enjoy dinner at a different restaurant in a different city, each night. This year, you have a lot of really diverse restaurants to choose from, including Nikolai’s Roof at the top of the Hilton Atlanta, Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna and Parker’s on Ponce in Decatur. When visiting the Golden Isles, give Tramici Neighborhood Italian on St. Simons Island a try. Wherever you decide to dine, rest assured that you’re supporting Georgia’s restaurants and family farmers who help supply them with fresh Georgia Grown products.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Warren Haynes Celebrate Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring Warren Haynes with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Normally a wolf sighting in Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheater would be reason for a safety advisory; this weekend it’ll be cause for celebratory noodle dancing by Deadheads. On Friday, June 24, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will join forces with a five-piece combo fronted by guitarist Warren Haynes to bring the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration to life. And Haynes will be playing Wolf, the custom-made guitar well-known to the late Garcia’s legion of fans.

Warren Haynes. Photo by Danny Clinch

Warren Haynes. Photo by Danny Clinch

This is the fourth year the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration has hit the road, but its first time in Georgia, which is surprising given the depth of local roots. Featured performer Haynes made his name as a central figure of the 1980s Allman Brothers reboot, then founded Gov’t Mule and solidified himself as a fixture on the jam band circuit. Drummer Jeff Sipe was an Atlanta scene mainstay in the ’80s as well, joining forces with the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton to form the Aquarium Rescue Unit.

The troupe is making 10 stops this year, including other iconic outdoor venues like Tanglewood and Denver’s Red Rocks. (Watch a clip of their 2013 Red Rocks show.) Like other regional orchestras, the ASO will be playing from sheet music as they have only a day-of-show rehearsal to build rapport with the traveling crew. You’d think this might impede the improvisational free-flow essential to this genre of music, but Haynes assures they’ve built “windows of opportunity” into the structure to allow the quintet (which includes two female vocalists, one of them longtime Garcia sidewoman Jacklyn LaBranch) to do their thing.

The set includes Grateful Dead classics like “Shakedown Street” and “China Cat Sunflower.” In past years they’ve also tackled “Terrapin Station;” I can’t confirm it’s in this year’s plans, but its recorded arrangement seems ready made for the ASO treatment.

Speaking of which, just one night earlier, the ASO’s free program in Piedmont Park will range from Rossini to John Williams to James Brown. And the symphony joins forces (pun intended) with John Williams at the end of the summer to perform “Star Wars and More” at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, including selections from “Hook” and “Harry Potter.”

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.

AthFest: Dozens of Bands, With Or Without Wristbands

The 20th annual AthFest begins on Friday, June 24 with a nice piece of symmetry. Atlanta fixture and onetime Athens resident Kevn Kinney — best known as the leader of Drivin’ N Cryin’ — played the music and arts festival’s maiden voyage. This year, Kinney will reprise his role when he opens the proceedings Friday at 5 p.m.

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

An event that began as a device to bring foot traffic to downtown Athens during the student-deprived summer months has blossomed into one of the keystones of Georgia’s summer festival calendar. “It’s almost like a football game weekend,” says AthFest board member and booking chair Troy Aubrey. “You see the mass exodus of students around May, but a lot of the kids come back for this.” The free family-friendly fun and frolic draws roughly 10,000 for each of its three days.

AthFest’s musical offerings span two stages (three counting the KidsFest stage) situated a block and a half apart, the larger one directly in front of the iconic 40 Watt Club. Given the town’s well-deserved national reputation as a musical hotbed, it’s no surprise the big dawg’s share of acts are Athens-connected, including two of this year’s headliners: indie darlings Kishi Bashi (Sunday) and the two-drummer “more organic and folkie” Family and Friends (Friday). Meanwhile, Saturday boasts the one-two punch of Atlanta hip hop legends Arrested Development and Jessup-born Americana heavyweight and current Athens resident Randall Bramblett.

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

After the free music, AthFest also coordinates the late-night Club Crawl, for which a $30 wristband buys you access to multiple venues and sets over two nights by edgier bands like Athens’ current  high-fliers Mothers and perennial faves Elf Power, and Atlanta’s raucous Coathangers and the Black Lips. “I’ve got kids now. I’m not going out every night anymore, but this is a great way to get a crash course and see what’s really happening,” says Aubrey. “Take the kids to mom and dad’s house and get a wristband!” That wristband also scores you a discount for LaughFest, the 18-and-over comedy event at the Georgia Theatre the preceding Wednesday, as well as other related happenings.

AthFest offers lots of family-friendly fun. Photo by Porter McLeod.

AthFest offers lots of family-friendly fun. Photo by Porter McLeod.

In line with Athens’ grassroots spirit, AthFest also took a unique path to philanthropy. Once it began turning a profit, organizers looked for a way to channel the proceeds for community good. Enter AthFest Educates, the nonprofit created specifically to sustain music and arts education in Clarke County. So, by enjoying the current generation of Athens’ finest, you’ll also be paving the road for the next one.

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.

Outdoor Adventures for the Summer Solstice

Celebrate the long days of summer solstice with challenging adventures and relaxing evenings.

Summer Solstice Trail Races – June 20

Mo Flow Mountain Bike Trail at Allatoona Creek Park. Photo by Candy Cook

Mo Flow Mountain Bike Trail at Allatoona Creek Park. Photo by Candy Cook

Blaze the trails of Allatoona Creek Mountain Bike Park for the 7th annual Summer Solstice Races. With a picturesque mix of open meadow and shaded forest, the fast flowing trails of Allatoona Creek offer an exciting day of mountain biking and trail running. The races include a 3-hour mountain bike race, as well as 5k and 10k trail running races. Presented by Cobb County P.A.R.K.S and SORBA West Georgia, proceeds go toward park maintenance and improvement. Registration is now open!

Full Moon Lake Paddle or Suspension Bridge Hike – June 19 & 20

Tallulah Gorge. Photo by Candy Cook.

Tallulah Gorge. Photo by Candy Cook.

Play the day away at Tallulah Gorge State Park, and then enjoy a relaxing evening paddling the lake or hiking across the suspension bridge. Illuminated by the light of the full moon, this is truly a unique and exciting way to explore one of Georgia’s natural wonders in a different light. Register in advance to paddle the lake or hike the suspension bridge.

Stone Mountain Park

SkyHike at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

SkyHike at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

The longest days of the year offer more time to experience the endless adventures at Stone Mountain Park. Hop aboard the Scenic Railroad for a trip around the mountain, splash the day away at Geyser Towers, and explore this natural wonder hiking the park’s nature trails. The day comes to a close with the awe-inspiring Lasershow Spectacular!

candycookCandy Cook is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.