Grab your besties and head to The Empire City of the South.
Story and photos by Niki Jones
We all know that feeling when we just need a change of scenery, when nothing sounds better than packing a bag and getting out of town for the weekend. Sometimes a girls’ trip is just what the doctor ordered to beat the winter blues. Atlanta is an easy and enjoyable—if perhaps unexpected—choice. Check out Austin Woman’s hour-by-hour guide to a 48-hour girls’ getaway in the ATL.
1 p.m.: Ditch work after half a day, grab your best gal friends and head out of town for an adventure. Less than two hours (and maybe a few podcast episodes and a couple cocktails) later, your airplane will touch down in Atlanta, and you and your gal pals will be ready to take in all the city has to offer.
3:15 p.m.: Catch a quick ride-sharing lift to Midtown. (The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is only 12 miles away.)
3:30 p.m.: Check in at the W Hotel Atlanta-Midtown, where you’ll be encouraged to “let the city become your playground” and embrace your special visit with the hotel’s Whatever/Whenever service. The property recently underwent an extensive $12 million renovation. Relax and decompress on the ultracomfortable bed before heading down to the spa. Vacation mode: on!
4:30 p.m.: Make your way down to The Spa and after checking in, bask in the glow of comfort and rejuvenation as you enjoy a glass of Champagne (or two. You deserve it!) and decompress with a luxurious 90-minute massage. Pro tip: Opt for the Go Deep massage.
7 p.m.: Chillax in the lavish surroundings of The W’s Living Room, a chic and welcoming space reminiscent of Atlanta’s infamous estate and garden parties of bygone eras. Indulge in a craft cocktail from the extensive menu of unusual and fascinating drinks, like the Mad Hatter, a shimmering black concoction of Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, lime juice, agave syrup, activated charcoal and the best over-the-top cocktail ingredient for a girls’ getaway: edible glitter!
8 p.m.: Walk off those glittery calories while heading to dinner at nearby Empire State South and relish a delectable multi-course dinner. Truly, you can’t go wrong with any choice from the dinner or cocktail menu. Pro tip: Order the farm egg.
10 p.m.: Explore the lively area and drop in on some of the other local bars and nightlife spots, like Foxtrot Liquor Bar, Lava Lounge and Sutra Lounge, all within walking distance of the hotel.
Midnight: Take advantage of the blackout curtains in your guest room at The W, fall into the comfy bed and recharge with a superb night of sleep.
9 a.m.: Lace up your sneakers, head downstairs and fuel up for the day with some coffee and a homestyle breakfast at Trace, The W’s on-site eatery. Select from the Daily Food Table buffet options or choose from the menu. Pro tip: Embrace the Southern fare and try the shrimp and grits.
10 a.m.: Pop on to the BeltLine, Atlanta’s handy multiuse trail that circles the core of the city. Forty-five minutes at a leisurely pace (half an hour if you’re walking swiftly) will position in the historic Old Fourth Ward.
10:40 a.m.: Check out Ponce City Market, a mixed-use development located in the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building. Spend the next few hours leisurely shopping in the well-curated collection of boutiques, meander along the native-plant-embellished trails and take in local artists’ striking large-scale installations.
1 p.m.: All that shopping and walking sure can make a gal hungry. Luckily, you’ve got lots of food choices to choose from at the spectacular Ponce City Market Food Hall, aka “culinary central for the South.” The Food Hall offers tasty choices for every type of eater, and it would be a challenge to find a cuisine that isn’t represented here. Best yet, the majority of the eateries are local favorites, like Farm to Ladle and Hop’s Chicken. Pro tip: Don’t forget to treat yourself to one of the many delicious craft cocktails served at the Food Hall!
3 p.m.: Stroll back on the trail to The W, where a luxurious hot shower and luxurious surroundings make for the ultimate vacation nap. If you’re feeling too energized for a nap, hoof it a couple blocks to the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southwest, which boasts an impressive permanent collection and ever-revolving exhibitions.
7 p.m.: It’s time for you and your girlfriends to treat yourselves again! Grab in a ride-share lift and make your way to the Buckhead district to splurge on a decadent dinner of seasonal American fare at one of Atlanta’s top restaurants, Atlas. Pro tip: Defer to your server’s knowledgeable food-and-drink suggestions and book your reservation far in advance.
1 p.m.: Saunter over to The W Hotel Atlanta-Buckhead and ride the elevator up to the rooftop bar, Whiskey Blue, order some signature cocktails, take in gorgeous views of the city skyline and dance the night away to some old-school hits as the DJ spins your favorite jams from back in the day.
9 a.m.: You slept in, and good for you! Room service is a must on vacation. Enjoy your breakfast in bed.
10:30 a.m.: Stroll over to Atlanta Botanical Garden and spend a few hours basking in the beauty of arguably one of the town’s best attractions. In addition to rare plants and flowers, the 30-acre property features seasonal exhibitions and installations—and even a conservatory with exotic plants and animals.
2 p.m.: Take your time winding the long way back to The W, meandering along the beautiful pathways in “the city within a forest,” Piedmont Park.
3 p.m.: Ride-share your way back to the airport, pop in your AirPods, toast your gal pals for a weekend getaway well spent, tune out and in no time, you’ll be back home in Austin, refreshed and ready to rock your week!