More than a mall: Your guide to Atlantic Station
Opening across the Connector from Midtown Atlanta as one of the city’s premiere live-work-play districts in 2005, Atlantic Station is likely known for the city’s largest movie theater or, for many metro residents and college students, the state of Georgia’s sole IKEA store. But the district’s history goes back much further than you might expect.
Atlanta’s early decades were driven by its position as an industrial and rail hub in the South. The Atlantic Steel Company was founded in 1901 and operated an active steel mill on the grounds of what is now known as Atlantic Station for most of the 20th century. It suffered setbacks and nearly closed in the 1970′s, but remained operational until 1998 when the City and the Environmental Protection Agency worked to redevelop and revitalize the land for a new purpose. The site’s new owners pledged to clean up contamination and create an environmentally friendly residential and retail district. The 17th Street bridge was built to connect the area, and by the mid-2000′s, residents and office workers began to move into the area, which now had its own zip code. With multiple LEED-certified buildings and a dense combination of apartments, shops, and offices, Atlantic Station was an early example of redevelopment that set a template for other multi-use districts throughout metro Atlanta.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Atlantic Station, a free walking tour is provided on their website here.
These days, Atlantic Station is a bustling hub for shoppers, artists, nearby college students, and tech workers. In 2021, Microsoft opened an Atlanta office in the district, and the area’s new owners redeveloped the central plaza to create new dining spaces and an open-air environment. It is accessible via free shuttles from the Arts Center MARTA station and multiple bus routes. For those who drive, two hours of parking is free.
I’m done shopping. What can I do for fun in Atlantic Station?
There’s more than ever to do at Atlantic Station, with several indoor activities perfect as the weather warms up.
Catch the latest summer movie spectacle at Regal Atlantic Station 18. Grab dinner and a movie all on the same block! Home to IMAX screens, a 4D theater, and the latest sound and projection tech, this theater is the best place to see the latest Marvel or “Mission Impossible” movie this summer. And don’t forget to validate your parking after the show for an extra two hours of free parking.
Bowl a strike at Bowlero. Have some spare time? Roll on down to this massive new bowling alley. Bowlero has reserved lanes, black-light bowling, arcade games, and a central bar and lounge space. Go on Wednesdays to get half off all arcade games.
Take a tiny studio tour of Tiny Doors ATL. You’ve probably seen those charming, diminutive, sculpted doors on the Beltline or at major Atlanta landmarks. The work of local artist Karen Anderson Singer has set up a space in Atlantic Station that offers open studio walkthroughs for the public.
If you want to support other local artists, Atlantic Station hosts a Creator’s Market on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. Shop a variety of hand-crafted jewelry, clothes, home goods and snacks from a wide variety of Atlanta-area artisans.
Do a double-take at the Museum of Illusions. Opening on May 19, 2023, the Museum of Illusions is opening its latest mind-bending museum in Atlantic Station. With over 80 illusions and installations — including a tilting room, an upside-down room, and multiple optical illusions — you’ll be able to blow the minds of your friends and followers. Get tickets at moiatlanta.com.
Where are the best places to eat and drink in Atlantic Station?
HobNob Tavern opened a massive new pub in Atlantic Station’s central park which overlooks the complex. Perfect for lunch and dinner, come dine on a bevy of burgers and pub snacks or grab a cocktail and sit on their rooftop patio bar. Test your trivia knowledge and win prizes every Tuesday night.
Location: 245 18th St NW; Website: hobnobatlanta.com; Hours: Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; Dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
Feeling spicy? NaanStop is one of the city’s best bets for fast-casual Indian food. Go beyond chicken tikka masala and get chickpeas, lentils, or turkey in a rice bowl or nestled between their signature naan in a “naan-wich.” Top it off with one of four chutneys and a side of masala fries.
Location: 265 18th St NW #4110; Website: naanstop.com; Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If you need something more filling, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ has all the meat you can want. Order items a la carte or choose from multiple levels of all-you-can-eat sushi, seafood, meat and appetizers. Diners grill their own proteins at their table in a communal dining experience with their friends and family.
Location: 265 18th St NW Ste 4130; Website: gyu-kaku.com; Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday
Wine and dine at Rose Bistro & Champagne Bar. Specializing in French cuisine and an extensive drink menu, this Parisian-style bistro and champagne bar’s patio is bustling during Sunday brunch. Dinner options span the gamut from escargot and mussels to “exotic Southern chicken.” Open late with small bites and drinks for those pregaming a midnight movie screening.
Location: 232 19th St NW #7100; Website: roseatl.com; Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday
For those staying away from animal products, Envegan is a fully vegan restaurant located across from Bowlero. They serve classically diner foods such as fried green tomatoes, fries, and burgers with an environmentally sustainable twist.
Location: 232 19th St NW Suite 7110; Website: envegan.com; Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lastly, indulge your sweet tooth after dinner at long-time Atlantic Station staple Kilwins. From the minute you walk in the door, the sights and smells of this chocolatey confectionary will have you savoring. Grab a chocolate bar, some caramel popcorn, or a scoop of ice cream and enjoy a sugar high on your way home.
Location: 1380 Atlantic Dr NW #14160; Website: kilwins.com; Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday