Spring offers the chance to explore Atlanta in all its glory. Ablaze with azaleas, dogwoods, and magnolias, Atlanta blooms, especially along the Beltline, 22 miles of former railway corridor around the core of the city being developed into a multi-use trail.

 Lights, Camera, Atlanta

The South’s answer to Hollywood, Atlanta has served as the backdrop for many notable movies and TV shows.  Atlanta Movie Tours (atlantamovietours.com) will take you “on location” with The Blind Side or Driving Miss Daisy.  There are also specialty tours such as “The Big Zombie Tour” for Walking Dead fans or “The Victory Tour” if you can’t get enough of Katniss and The Hunger Games.

Warehouse Wonder

The city’s newest hot spot is the former site of a Sears store, a 2.1-million-square-foot building on Ponce de Leon Avenue on the East Side (a bridge connects it to the Beltline). Called Ponce City Market, it has transformed the largest brick structure in the South into a center for shopping, dining, working, and living. Stop at the Food Hall for lunch and you’ll find more than a dozen restaurants including five from James Beard Award-winning chefs: Sean Brock (tacos at Minero); Linton Hopkins (Hop’s Chicken and H&F Burger); Anne Quatrano (W.H. Stiles Fish Camp); Jonathan Waxman (handmade pastas at Brezza Cucina); and Hugh Acheson (gourmet coffee at Spiller Park Coffee).  The shopping runs the gamut from Rejuvenation (period-authentic lighting and hardware) to The Frye Company (boots) and Goorin Brothers (hats).

Artful Eating

For fine dining in a museum setting, try Atlas in Buckhead, which has artwork on display. The two-dozen pieces from the Lewis collection include a Picasso and a Van Gogh. The frequently changing menu offers a rich palette of seasonal ingredients.

Beltline Brunch

Locals love their brunch almost as much as they love porch dining.  For an offbeat combination of the two, head to Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall.  Located on the Beltline’s Eastside Trail, the campfire-and-lodge-themed restaurant spoons out comfort food like a Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit and Bacon Studded Pancakes.

Blooming Botanicals

A fan of flower power?  Don’t miss the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden, which includes the Fuqua Orchid Center, home to the largest collection of species orchids in the U.S.  Beginning April 30, acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly will return for an exhibition of his popular glass artwork.

For more attractions and activities in spring or any time of year, check out Atlanta.net. Header photo courtesy of Atltanta Convention and Visitors Bureau

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