12 ways for college students to enjoy downtown Atlanta 


12 ways for college students to enjoy downtown Atlanta 

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Laura Emiko Soltis, Reynoldstown and Hodari-Sadiki James of Marietta enjoy a late breakfast at Ria’s Bluebird.

When your university is located in the center of a major city, there’s no excuse to be bored. 

Atlanta is a hub for unique cafés, restaurants and art galleries for Georgia State University students to explore.

GSU students have the lay of the land —from art culture at nearby galleries to epic music venues just a walk or MARTA ride away.

After saying sayonara to your parents, check out this list of places to explore and things to do around downtown Atlanta.

Places to Caffeinate 

1. A necessary staple for any college student is a good coffee shop. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, caffeinate and bunker down on schoolwork, check out Saxbys Coffee (100 Decatur St. / 404-524-2232). The coffee shop does get a little busy and crowded during the late morning to mid-day hours, but it’s less expensive than competitors and a good place to mingle with other students.   

2.  Ebrik Coffee Room’s (16 Park Place SE/ 404- 330-0119) has left a lasting impression on students. The cozy coffee shop has a wide selection of coffee and local goods from Highland Bakery to try out. There’s plenty of seating and electrical outlets along with free Wifi, so students can set the scene for studying – or attempting to study.

Ebrik Coffee Room in Atlanta is one of the great places to go in the metro area if you’re in the mood for a hot chocolate. DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM David Barnes

3. If you’re a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur then Condesa Coffee’s organic, homemade coffee will be right up your alley (480 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. / 404-524-5054). The shop prides itself on being “passionate about details,”according to its website. The shop also serves craft beers from local breweries, hand-selected wine and cocktails. 

Places to get your grub on

4. The Latin American lunch spot – Buenos Dias Café (30 Decatur St SE/ 404-584-0444) – is within close distance to campus and is a hidden gem. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are served all day. The lunch spot serves coffee and natural juice as well. 

5. Don’t let appearances fool you, Grab N Go (43 Decatur St SE/ 404-681-4810) has a lot of tasty things going on in the inside of its modest metal abode. The restaurant serves up an interesting assortment  —  from greasy spoon options like hotdogs and fries to Vietnamese-inspired subs and Boba tea drinks. 

6. It’s a given that most college students love to brunch, so make sure to check out Ria’s Bluebird (421 Memorial Dr. / 404-521-3737). The brunch and lunch spot serves all the quintessential southern breakfast items ranging from buttermilk pancakes to shrimp and grits. 

7. Located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Sidebar  (79 Poplar St NW/ 404-588-1850), is a popular place for Atlanta nightlife. The back room of the bar features pool tables, air hockey, and ping pong tables. It's the perfect place to celebrate completing finals.  

8. Good music, beer and comfort food are what make Venkman’s (740 Ralph McGill Blvd NE/ 470-225-6165) a bar worth becoming you go-to. If you’re interested in singing your lungs out, the bar offers weekly karaoke nights and free concerts.  

9.  Looking for a place than transforms from chill drink spot to dance club in one night?  The Sound Table, located at 483 Edgewood Ave., has got you covered. The bar attracts some of the best DJ’s in the Atlanta area, and its chic wood architecture make for an ideal backdrop.

Activities to Enjoy

10. Hiking Stone Mountain (1000 Robert E Lee Blvd.) is a rite of passage for most new Atlantans, but it’s also an enjoyable activity to do with a group of friends. Climbing to the top of the historic site is a great way to bond and take a break from your textbooks.  

11. If you love music, check out which artists are making an appearance at The Tabernacle (152 Luckie St NW) in Atlanta. The venue was once home to the Baptist Medical Center, school and church in 1910 and then was transformed to a musical venue in 1996.

12. See the city from a totally different perspective from SkyView Atlanta’s Ferris wheel in Centennial Park (168 Luckie St NW/ 678-949-9023). The Ferris wheel stands around 200 feet and provides a bird’s eye view of downtown. The gondolas are climate-controlled and enclosed, so you can fully enjoy a comfortable ride.

After you've explored all the GSU surroundings, make sure to take the time over the course of your four years to complete Atlanta's ultimate bucket list.

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