Kid-Friendly Restaurants Around Atlanta

15 kid friendly restaurants atlanta

One can only take so many “McLunches” or 24-foot pizza buffets before dining out becomes a listless and unsatisfying experience. If you have kids, or dine with them frequently, then you know what I mean. Guess what? You don’t have to sacrifice any longer! With the help of my boys, I rounded up 15 restaurants where the food is delicious and the whole family is welcome. Better yet, these restaurants are not chains (although a few have multiple locations). They are all Georgia-based, with local owners who believe family-nights out deserve tasty food and a welcoming atmosphere.

Yeah! Burger – When we first ate at Yeah! Burger in Midtown, I had no idea what a great story they told – only that the burger was fabulous, grass-fed, and that there were plenty of gluten-free options for our family. Their commitment to using local ingredients and sustainable practices has made our family “regulars.” I love the Triple B bison burger with a kale salad. Kids can pick burgers, hot dogs, chicken and more with healthy organic sides.

2014-01-16 13.45.52Mary Mac’s Tea Room – Mary Mac’s has been serving “a meat and two sides” Southern style since 1945. The staff serves up genuine Southern hospitality and down-home cooking. Meatloaf, fried chicken, baked fish, and so much more, with over 30 different side choices mean you never have to eat the same thing twice. Grilled cheese, chicken legs, and other Southern staples round out the kids’ menu. Don’t forget to bring home a tin of cinnamon buns for breakfast.

Palookaville – Gourmet corndogs. You heard me! If the taste doesn’t tell you, then the retro toys and circus poster décor give it away: It’s circus food! Palookaville serves up corndogs, hotdogs and pork burgers using creative techniques you won’t find in other places. Try the Corndogolusa or the Midway – Italian sausage with grilled onions, peppers and garlic on French bread. Fries come cheesed, onioned, peppered, poutined, pastramied….or all of the above. While the kids are selecting dessert from the soda fountain (including 1890’s egg cream… mmmmm,) mom and dad can belly up to the bar for an “adult milkshake.”

The Fickle Pickle – Don’t let the charming Victorian house fool you – kids are welcome here. They can even eat free on select weekdays. Come for sandwiches at lunch or burgers I the evening. I’m a sucker for the Reuben, and my boys love the PB&J with oranges. Order your meal at the counter and then head to the patio. The large space with giant trees exudes a picnic atmosphere the kids will enjoy.

Blue Moon PizzaBlue Moon Pizza is about quality pizza, a casual atmosphere and affordable prices. They pride themselves on an excellent dough and fresh ingredients. Aside from the classics, try the Jerk Chicken pizza with cayenne-candied bacon, or the Santa Fe with chicken, spicy ranch, avocado, black beans and red onions. Too tired to eat-in? Try any specialty pizza as “Take-n-Bake,” for cooking at home in the oven or grill. Kids can try pizza or chicken fingers and fries, and the meal comes with a drink and scoop of ice cream.

DakotaBlueDakota BlueThis neighborhood gem is unassuming from the outside. OK, I’ll be honest: It looks a little like a dive bar. But Dakota Blue is exactly the place I want to be on a Friday night with my hubby and the kids, and another family. The kiddos can play in the corner at the toy area, and the adults can unwind with a beer and fish tacos. This is a neighborhood pub that understands “neighborhoods” usually have kids. There is a full kids’ menu, and my boys devoured the burger and fries.

The Varsity – Is it cliche? Maybe. That doesn’t stop it from being delicious and kid-tastic. For 75 years, The Varsity has perfected burgers, hotdogs and fried pies. I always order the same thing: Chili-cheese-slaw dog, rings and an F.O. (that’s Varsity-speak for the Frosted Orange.) You’ll want your fried peach pie with ice cream; there are 16 flavors, all homemade. They might not see your little one over the tall counter, so be sure to tell them you need a cook’s hat. Somehow, these headpieces always made the fries taste better.

Chick a Biddy – In connection with Atlanta’s famous Bantam + Biddy, Chick-a-Biddy serves farm-fresh chicken and sides for families at Atlantic Station. There are chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, chicken burgers and more. Personally, I dig the Thai chili and peanut wings with sweet potato fries. Kids can nibble on hefty portions of chicken tenders, chicken sandwich, chicken quesadilla or veggie plate. Each comes with a side and organic juice or milk.

Osteria 832Osteria 832 Pasta and PizzaLocated in the heart of Virginia-Highlands, this neighborhood staple bustles with children during the early dinner hour. Fresh and made-to-order Italian specialties include pastas, parmigianas, pizzas and more. Kids’ options are only $4, which includes a drink. With selections like grilled cheese, spaghetti, or (the much beloved) mac & cheese, you can’t go wrong. Get a Karma card for kids-eat-free opportunities and to help spread the HomeGrown commitment to local neighborhoods.

Verde Taqueria – Hit this place before 7 p.m. and the plethora of strollers out front hints to the family atmosphere. There are salads and quesadillas, but one really comes here for the tacos (and a drink.) Try the pulled pork taco with homemade BBQ sauce or the buffalo shrimp taco with jalapeno ranch. For under $3, kids can try a quesadilla, fish or chicken with tater tots.

Doc Chey’s Noodle House – Doc Chey’s, another HomeGrown Restaurant, serves family-friendly Chinese that is healthy and delicious. Feel good knowing your little one is eating fresh veggies with no MSG. My little man inhaled his stir-fry with a fork in one hand and his kid-friendly chopsticks in the other. Don’t forget your Karma card for kids-eat-free opportunities, but at only $5 a plate for kids’ meals, eating here is always affordable.

AmmazzaEssential Italian imports plus local meat and produce amount to an amazing wood-fired pie in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. There is Margherita and Ammazzare with Italian sausage and three white pizzas, but the Inferno calls my name: spicy sopressata, mozzarella, Calabria peppers and basil. Mmmm. Glitter pizza (yes, I said glitter!) is on the kids’ menu, and while they are waiting, pick up an Etch-A-Sketch from the bucket up front.

Downwind Restaurant and Lounge – Dubbed “Best Kid Friendly Restaurant” in Atlanta by AOL City Guide for six years in a row, Downwind is the perfect place for families. Grab a bite and see the planes fly in and out of DeKalb Peachtree Airport through the large picture windows overlooking the runway. There are hot and cold sandwiches, dinner entrees like blackened chicken or country fried steak, and several Greek specialties.  Friday evening after 7 p.m., the place becomes “adult-only,” but any other time you will find America’s future pilots daydreaming over French fries.

food trucksAtlanta Food Truck Park – Take three acres, which used to be an old hotel site, add about 15 food trucks at any given time, and a series of farm-fresh artisan vendors, and you’ve got an explosion of mouth-watering goodness. Pick BBQ or Mexican, Indian or Irish, and everything in between. The food trucks are serving street grub year-round, but we love to come in summer. Near the free parking area is a greenspace complete with a playground and plenty of picnic room, which matches perfectly with a treat from King of Pops. Come hungry!

Farm Burger –Grass-fed burgers from local farmers using human practices, and it comes through in every bite. The prices are easy to swallow, too, especially for locally raised, hormone-free beef. For lunch, pick a burger, fries and a drink for $8.50 (I fancy the Number 4 with smoked Gouda, sherry-date BBQ, and kale slaw.) Kids meals are $4, which includes a drink, and consist of chicken, grilled cheese, a burger, or mac & cheese. And since you were so good, why not indulge on a milkshake like the salted caramel or pumpkin pie?

lesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s Destination Expert for Trekaroo and founder of 365 Atlanta Family. She is a homeschooling mom to 2 young boys and bonus mom to two teenagers. From her home base of Atlanta, Lesli spends her time life-learning with the kids one road-trip at a time, and sharing her experiences along the way. 

 

Easy Hikes Around Atlanta

Sweetwater Creek

Sweetwater Creek

In these short days of winter, if you have cabin fever or the kids are getting restless, fresh air may be just what you need. One of the many perks of living in Georgia is the mild winter temperatures. With a little bundling up you can enjoy the outdoors all year long!

Get started with these hikes around Atlanta. All are easy terrain and 2-miles or less which means you can get outside to shake off the winter blues in under an hour. And don’t forget your four-legged friends. These hikes are dog-friendly too.

 

Murphey Candler Park

Murphey Candler Park

Murphey Candler Park

Murphey Candler Park is located just inside the north side perimeter in Brookhaven. The 2-mile trail that circles Murphey Candler Lake and meanders over the North Fork of Nancy Creek is popular with birders so keep your eyes peeled for bird life. At this in-town oasis of nature, you’ll also be treated to the lake view, streams, bridges, and other wildlife. Watch the sandy banks of the streams for animal tracks that will delight curious hikers of any age. (Cost: Free.)

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek offers a variety of trail difficulties but if you’d like an easy walk with an amazing view of the Manchester Mill ruins and the powerful Sweetwater Creek, give the Red Trail a try. It’s less than a mile to the mill and you’ll be treated to a sublime mix of history and nature. (Cost: $5 parking or free with annual pass.)

Arabia Mountain

Away from the crowds of Stone Mountain, you can still enjoy the stark beauty of granite outcrops. Arabia Mountain has a lot to offer but if you’re new to it, a good place to start is on the Mile Rock Trail. Head out from the visitor center and follow the rock cairns that mark the trail down to Arabia Lake. From there, loop back on the Forest Trail for a 2-mile hike that will make you want to explore more of this gem. (Cost: Free.)

 

Sope Creek

Sope Creek

Sope Creek

Part of the Cochran Shoals unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Sope Creek in Marietta offers a convenient outdoor getaway. The web of trails lets you mix-and-match the difficulty and distance of your hike. The trails around Sibley Pond are ideal if you’re new to hiking or just looking for a quick nature break that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. (Cost: $3 parking fee or free with annual pass.)

Important tips before setting out:

  • Almost any trail can be made easier by setting a pace you’re comfortable with for yourself.
  • There’s a saying in the outdoor community that there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes. Dress accordingly and you can have fun in Georgia all year long.
  • ·Hydration is key on the trail, even for short hikes. It’s easy to underestimate how much you’re sweating in cooler, dryer temperatures so be sure to drink up.

Happy hiking!

ValJoinerVal Joiner is an outdoor and educational travel blogger based in Roswell, GA. The former geologist turned road-schooling mom chronicles her adventures at Val In Real Life. When Val isn’t on the road with her two boys, she can frequently be found honing her Southern Appalachian Naturalist skills in the Great Smoky Mountains.

5 Fun Things at the Road to Tara Museum

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The Road to Tara Museum in downtown historic Jonesboro rewards visitors with behind-the-scenes insight into “Gone With The Wind” author Margaret Mitchell’s life, the real setting and historical events depicted in the fictional story, and the making of the classic film. Here is a small sampling of what you’ll find in the museum.

DSC_02201. On Scarlett’s green velvet drapery gown, there are real chicken feet on the hat.

2. Elvis Presley is included in the mural near the back of the museum.

3. On Scarlett’s burgundy dress, the feathers on the shoulders were dyed to match by a company that works on Las Vegas showgirl costumes.

4. Look up high above the premiere wall at the back of the museum to spot a yellow railing that was in the DeGive’s Grand Opera House before it became the Loew’s Grand Theater.

5. In the wooden doll cabinet, look for the Scarlett doll in the mill gown. Its eyes were produced with the wrong color… we all know Scarlett’s were green.

The Road to Tara Museum is open Monday-Friday 8:30 am – 5:30 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Headshot - DanielleDanielle Conroy is the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Clayton County CVB. Georgia born and raised, she loves exploring her home state, finding new restaurants to try (not hard with so many new ones popping up) and sipping on sweet tea. Follow the Road to Tara Museum on Facebook and test your Gone With the Wind knowledge. 

Antiquing in Georgia

The Paris Market in Savannah, Georgia.

We southerners love nostalgia. It’s not that we want to live in the past; we just like to remember the “good ole days.” Most southerners are storytellers in one way or another; historic buildings and antique ephemera give us an opportunity to relish in the past. In Georgia we’re lucky to have so many places that allow us to indulge our reminiscence of the past and it’s wares. Here are just a few of my favorite places for antiquing in the Peach State.

Greensboro Antique Mall – Greensboro, GA

Just a quick jaunt from Atlanta or Athens, Greensboro is a great place to do some shopping. I always hit the Greensboro Antique Mall located in downtown Greensboro. The mall’s building was originally known as The Big Store; with it’s 11,000 square feet it was known as the largest emporium for goods between Atlanta and August. The Big Store’s motto was “offering everything from the cradle to the grave”, a motto that largely still rings true today.

scottsantiquesScott Antique Market- Atlanta, GA

Scott’s Antique Market is the World’s Largest Indoor Antique Show that takes place the second weekend of every month at the Atlanta Exposition Center. Shopping at Scott’s is a pretty serious commitment, with two buildings, rows of vendors, and an outdoor market place, antiquing at Scott’s is an all day adventure. Scott’s is packed with gorgeous furniture, estate jewelry, antique books, textiles, and art; make sure you wear some comfy footwear and be prepared to negotiate! One of my favorite vendors, The Purse Lady, specializes in vintage one-of-a-kind handbags.

Agora- Athens, GA

No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to Agora. Located in the heart of downtown Athens, Agora is the ultimate vintage emporium. Agora is a locally-owned vintage and antique co-op located in wonderful downtown Athens complete with records, funky vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture, and other nic nacs galore! I have a weakness for mid-century modern furniture and have scored several pieces here. Agora now has a sister shop called Agora Vintage, which specializes in high-end vintage fashion and accessories.

VintageBag 1920sAuntie Bellum’s Attic – Milledgeville, GA

Just strolling through Milledgeville is a nostalgic experience. Thankfully, Milledgeville was spared on Sherman’s March to the Sea and much of the historic city center is still in tact. In Milledgeville, you can find me strolling the old streets snapping photos of the old buildings. I usually pop by Auntie Bellum’s Attic in the historic downtown. They have a good variety of items here; they have a great selection of old bottles, post cards and architectural salvage.

The Paris Market- Savannah, GA

Visiting The Paris Market is a total sensory experience and one of the most beautiful shops I’ve ever visited. Not strictly an antique store, the market brings together antiques, art, books, textiles, accessories, and other gifts together in historic downtown Savannah. The best part of shopping at The Paris Market—they have their own café! Before or after shopping, enjoy a cappuccino and macron in their beautiful little boulangerie!

167948_541553330940_3616875_nEmily Laborde is a freelance writer and social media manager hooked on cruising backroads, photographing old houses, and loving all things local. For more check out her blog Em’s on the Road. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

 

Holiday Date Nights in Atlanta

Nutcracker Title

Christmas is not only for children.  It is the perfect excuse for a romantic date night, as well. Whether you long for classic Christmas traditions or seek something a little more contemporary, we have you covered.  Atlanta is the perfect city for savoring the holidays with the one you love.

Fine Arts

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker – What is more romantic than hailing in the holiday season at the Fabulous Fox Theater? This year marks 54 years of Atlanta tradition, and it is the only rendition with a live orchestra and choir.  The return special guest is Drew Thomas from America’s Got Talent, bringing magic and special effects to this cherished performance.

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol – Enjoy this timeless classic performed by Atlanta’s finest actors. Don’t miss this year, it is Chris Kayser’s 20th production, and his final season as Scrooge.  See the Alliance website for the Bantam + Biddy package, which includes an appy, entrée, dinner, and drink before the show.

Overnight Escapes

BarnsleyBarnsley Gardens Resort – The luxurious Barnsley Resort offers its Light Up The Holidays package during the month of December, starting at $259 per night.  The 1800’s manor house and gardens are adorned with over one million lights.  Enjoy wreath making classes, a “Gingerbread Workshop” (hosted by the famed Fairy Godmother – yes they have an actual Fairy Godmother on Staff,) and classes on crafting the perfect holiday cocktail. The promotion includes cottage accommodations, a keepsake ornament, and resort credit for use at the spa, restaurants, gift shop, or resort activities such as clay shooting or horseback riding.

Chateau Elan Winery and Resort – Spoil your loved one with the Saison Festive Package, starting at $149 per night.  This includes accommodations at the Inn, a bottle of Chateau Elan wine delivered to your room, and a breakfast buffet for two. Feeling especially naughty? Upgrade to the Spaliday Package, which includes a spa suite and credit.  Enjoy brunch with Santa, carolers making merry, cooking classes, live music, and more.

Live Music

Vince Gill and Amy Grant photoChristmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill featuring the ASO –Music superstars Amy Grant and Vince Gill perform their beloved holiday show with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in their 68th season.  In this two-hour program at Fox Theatre, this husband-and-wife team celebrates the season with traditional Christmas classics, festive contemporary melodies, and a sprinkling of their biggest hits.

The Yacht Rock Revue Holiday Special – Imagine holiday tunes from Hall & Oats, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, or other ‘70s light-rock stars. More than a cover band, Yacht Rock Revue blurs the lines between tribute, original act, and comedy performance.  Having played with Weezer, Skynard, Nine Inch Nails, and many more, this band has won a series of accolades including “Best Overall Music Act in Atlanta” by Creative Loafing.

Performances

AgethasAgatha’s A Taste of Mystery – If dinner and a play just aren’t enough to impress, how about a little murder to spice things up? Agetha’s comedic murder mystery theater sets the stage for a “killer” date night.  Watch The Nut Croaker Ballet: Murder on Your Toes as it unfolds in the dining room around you, between servings of a five-course meal. Audience participation is encouraged but not required.

Santaland Diaries – Horizon Theatre’s Santaland Diaries, originally written by David Sedaris (think NPR,) embodies sarcasm, satire, and adult-only Christmas humor.  An unemployed Crumpet finds seasonal work as a Macy’s Department Store elf. It is in the setting that you hear his “anything goes” observations about his job, his co-workers, and the holiday festivities around him.  Careful where you sit; he might poke fun at you, too.

Get Active

Atlantic StationIce Skating at Atlantic Station – New this year to Atlantic Station is a 10,000 sq ft ice skating wonderland.  The rink takes over District Street, surrounded by the shops and restaurants in the area.  After taking a few rounds on the rink (please stay long enough to admire the 400 ton Zamboni do her job) head to Meehan’s Public House for dinner and drinks. Be sure to plan your stay during one of the Snow Shows; dates and times are on the website. Other rinks in the city include the Southwest Rink at Park Tavern (adult-only skate begins at 8:30 on weekends) and Centennial Olympic Park.

Snow Mountain – Looking for an opportunity to “break the ice” with someone new? Snow Mountain is the place to do it! Take a spin on Avalanche Alley, a 400-foot tubing hill, and then cozy up for s’mores at Snow Fire Point. A Combo Pass will get you two-hours of tubing plus all the attractions of Stone Mountain Christmas including the Singalong Train, Summit Skyride, and the Snow Angel snowfall and fireworks.

lesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s Destination Expert for Trekaroo and founder of 365 Atlanta Family. She is a homeschooling mom to 2 young boys and bonus mom to two teenagers. From her home base of Atlanta, Lesli spends her time life-learning with the kids one road-trip at a time, and sharing her experiences along the way.