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In February we had one day in Atlanta as part of a larger trip. I had been to Atlanta a few times before (including as a teenager for the 1996 Olympics), but had never been as a parent. We decided to stay at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta downtown partly due to a good rate and partly because it was walking distance to the attractions we planned to visit while in Atlanta with our three-year-old. Overall we had a good stay there (full review here), and it turns out the location was directly across the street from where we had dinner the first night at White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails.
Okay, I’ll admit this isn’t probably on most people’s list of fun things to do with kids in Atlanta, but we had fun dining there as a family…and our bellies got stuffed with delicious food.
After a day of travel, I was totally sold on the restaurant’s location across from our hotel (Hyatt Regency Atlanta), and I had read good reviews on sites like Chowhound. Walking distance + good reviews + allows children = family friendly enough in my book. We did have a reservation, but went even earlier since we were pretty hungry. If I am going somewhere nice-ish with my young kid I like to eat as early as possible before it gets too busy. This somewhat lessens the damage if she doesn’t act the way I want, but it also usually ensures you get faster service, which is priceless with a young kid. Long and lingering meals do not mix with most three year olds.
Lucky for us the restaurant was virtually empty when we got there, and the service was very prompt. There was a storm coming in, which was pretty cool to watch from the huge windows. Had we been kid-free, this would be the kind of joint it would be fun to sit at for a while and enjoy some cocktails since it had a really good and relaxed atmosphere.
While I would not hesitate to bring my kid here, I would hesitate to bring anyone on a diet because this is a Southern cooking joint! Expect butter, cream, cheese, and everything that is bad for you, but easy on the taste buds. First up are the cornbread muffins – when eating out with my kid I love places that bring out bread baskets since it gives her something to munch on right away!
I believe that their menu rotates seasonally, so our selections in winter may differ from what is now available. Do note that they did not have a seperate children’s menu, so we just made C a plate from what we ordered.
She seemed pretty happy with it all! I’m including this in our write-up as we had a good experience and they were quite friendly and attentive to our kiddo, but this is certainly not a traditional “kid restaurant”. Judge for yourself whether or not it would be a good match for your family. I know I would go there again for sure!
The next morning we visited a much more traditional family destination, the World of Coca Cola. This was an easy 10 minute walk from the hotel and is located right next to the Georgia Aquarium and right across from the Centennial Olympic Park.
The experience starts with a brief and very interactive guided welcome and tour of some old Coke memorabilia. You then go into an auditorium and watch a short cartoon that held C’s interest with ease.
After that you are on your own to explore whatever and whenever you want around the large facility. Our first top was naturally with the Coca Cola polar bear. C was a little afraid of him at first, but once she warmed up she didn’t want to leave him.
The last portion brings you to the tasting room where you can taste Coke products from around the world. Some of the flavors are really unique and tasty and some are unique in a bad way! I remember having a blast in the tasting room as a kid, and it was still fun as an adult.
We spent a couple hours there, and with an older child could have probably stayed even a bit longer than that. It was really very interesting and fun, and of course they have a huge gift shop where we ended up adopting our own stuffed polar bear. Plan accordingly. 😉
We were limited to a morning of sight-seeing in Atlanta due to needing to get on the road to our final destination, so we didn’t get a chance to go inside the Children’s Museum or Georgia Aquarium on this visit. However, they are literally right next to the World of Coca Cola and Centennial Park. The CNN World Headquarters where you can take a studio tour is also just right down the street from these locations. You could get an Atlanta CityPASS if you planned to visit several of these attractions. You could easily make a whole weekend out of this one area of Atlanta if you so desired. Plenty of kid friendly stuff to do!
Our last order of business before loading up in the rental for a several hour drive to Tennessee was to get all of her energy out via a playground in Centennial Park. This playground wasn’t huge, but it was very well done.
There were children from all over the world speaking many different languages who played with C while we were there – which was pretty cool. I think it is very important on your travels to build in time to let kids just be kids and interact with others on the playground. I love to include her in more adult activities like eating in nice-ish restaurants from time to time, but best of all is getting to watch her just be a kid.
We just put a dent in all the fun stuff to do with kids in Atlanta, but we enjoyed the heck out of what we did have time for. If you are considering visiting Atlanta with your kiddos I would encourage you to do so! You might even get to come home with a life-long stuffed friend named Poley.