- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Getting a little listless on your MARTA rides?
You're in luck.
Whether you use the rail and bus system daily as a part of your work commute or for your weekend family excursions, these options offer the perfect everyday excursions—for the sports, music or nature lover —without facing Atlanta's dreaded traffic gridlock.
For the family
Here's a fine idea for a field trip with the family. You can show the kids how to ride the rails in Atlanta and end up at The Center for Puppetry Arts near the Arts Center station. It features iconic Jim Henson creations and most any other puppet you could imagine from around the world. While you're there, take in a puppet show or participate in a Create-A-Puppet workshop. Ticket prices vary depending on the event or activity and when it's held, but there are always "family performance" ticket prices that include the puppet building and admission to the event and museum.
Reach the behemoth amusement park by MARTA and you don't have to hassle with parking or fitting your group into one car.
The closest MARTA station to Six Flags Over Georgia is H.E. Holmes on the blue rail line. From there, you'll tap your Breeze card for a free transfer to bus 201, a 12-minute ride to the park entrance. The bus begins running one hour before the park opens and stops one hour after it closes, every 40 minutes. Service runs daily in June and July but returns to weekends only from the second week in August to the end of October.
For the foodie
This is the first of the famed Flying Biscuit Café's. The Southern-inspired menu pretty much speaks for itself, from the shrimp and grits to the oven-fried green tomatoes to "Not Your Mama's Pimiento Cheese."
Make a visit a regular thing or at least check it off the bucket list. MARTA will get you within a 15-minute walk from the Candler Park station on the blue/green rail. And don't forget: Biscuits.
The Buford Highway Farmer's Market is an Atlanta-area gem just a 15-minute walk from the Doraville MARTA station on the gold rail line.
It's lavish —a bounty of fresh international foods with a focus on Korean. Bring a soft-side cooler or backpack on the ride, because you'll probably come home with some exotic produce, organic fruits and vegetables or a top-notch selection from the meat and seafood department. Cooking classes are another option, like a kid-parent sushi class with Chef Sean. You can also just make it a field trip for browsing and people watching. It's that intriguing.
The College Football Hall of Fame is a fun place to take out-of-town friends or just your fellow sports fan friends. It's the kind of thing you sometimes miss because you live in Atlanta. If you take MARTA to the Dome station on the blue/green rail line, you're a 10-minute walk from the hall. Inside its 94,256 square feet, you can't miss the 45-yard indoor football field. Take some time with the young folks, explaining the stories behind the players celebrated at the Hall of Fame.
For the (live) music fan
MARTA to Center Stage, The Loft and Vinyl near the Arts Center station in Midtown
1374 West Peachtree St, Atlanta
Enjoy concerts with no worries about a designated driver. You can reach the one building with three live venues by taking the red/gold rail line to the Arts Center station.
Center Stage Theater is an intimate venue with premier sound and lighting systems. The super-stylish Loft seats 650 and includes four full service bars. Rounding out the scene is the low-key Vinyl, a nice place to take in a live performance or just to stop for a cold beer and some billiards.
For the fresh air aficionado
MARTA to Washington Park
1125 Lena St. NW, Atlanta
Go on, explore your city a little next time you want to stretch your legs. Washington Park is a large historic park you can reach via the Ashby station on the blue and green rail line. It's fresh, from its wooded greenspace to its outdoor exercise equipment and playground. Bring your tennis rackets or plan to walk, walk and walk a bit more. The Lional Hampton spur of the PATH trail runs along the southern edge of the park and the Beltline Westside Trail borders the park on the west.