Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Most convenient Atlanta Hotels for walking to sites- safety question (

schlegal1 May 29th, 2013 06:05 AM

Most convenient Atlanta Hotels for walking to sites- safety question
My husband is taking five employees to Atlanta for a business convention. During that time they also like to sightsee.

My mom visited Atlanta last year and commented that she didn't feel very safe walking around by herself. By contrast, she visited Chicago and felt totally comfortable. (I add this just so you know it wasn't just the "big city" that was the issue for my mom).

Her comments made my husband question whether it will be a good idea to walk around with his employees-- college-age women who are not necessarily savvy travelers and may have never been to a big city.

Can you Fodorites give me your thoughts?

The preference would be to book a downtown hotel and walk to attractions like World of Coke and the aquarium. The women will likely also want to go out at night.

They will have a vehicle if it would be preferable to stay in , say, Buckhead and drive into town for tourism.

My husband feels responsible for keeping these women safe so while I have no doubt Atlanta is fine for the average Fodorite to walk around, this seems a little different.

happytrailstoyou May 29th, 2013 08:00 AM

Downtown Atlanta is not a pleasant place for strolling. A few years ago we stayed at the Hampton Inn, which at the time was badly in need of a remodel and staff upgrades.
Walking around in the day time I didn't feel unsafe, but I didn't feel comfortable either.

The highlight of our stay was a tour of the CNN studios, which was interesting and informative.


schlegal1 May 29th, 2013 10:22 AM

Well you basically echoed my mom's sentiments. Thanks for the input.

nytraveler May 29th, 2013 10:30 AM

Chicago is a city in the true sense of the word - there are lots of businesses and lots of people on the street in the center.

The center of Atlanta (based on several trips there fro conventions) looks like a scene from an end of the earth movie. Lots of tall office buildings, but deserted streets and the street level doesn't have row after row of stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. Everyone seem to drive everywhere - not a pedestrian friendly city.

dwdvagamundo May 29th, 2013 11:08 AM

nytraveler--you're right, ATL is not pedestrian friendly, but neither is it the end of the earth.

I live in the ATL, go downtown a lot--including at night--with my wife and with other friends, and feel perfectly safe. Also, I don't think staying in Buckhead and taking the train or driving downtown will improve safety--the walk from the nearest MARTA station to World of Coke is at least as long as that from a Peachtree Street hotel. And the parking decks or lots are dicey in any city.

So, I'd book a Peachtree Street downtown hotel if the attractions you want to see are downtown. The walk from Peachtree Street to World of Coke and the Aquarium is O.K. and fairly short. It's also high volume so you should have a lot of company on your walks. Just don't stay out too late--advice I'd give for someone visiting Chicago as well as Atlanta.

FWIW, maybe it's what you get used to. My thought about Atlanta is that it's a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit here.

starrs May 29th, 2013 12:09 PM

The biggest difference between Atlanta and Chicago (and a lot of other cities) is that downtown in not a residential area. There are some condos downtown but not many. People are downtown for conventions, ball games and to tour sites. It's fine during the day but at night there are no locals around to make it a pedestrian friendly downtown (as happens in other cities). You aren't "unsafe" necessarily, just in an almost deserted downtown.

A better option would be Midtown. There are lots of hotel choices, all of them are near a MARTA station and you can zip down to the sites you want to see in the downtown area very easily. The BIG difference is that Midtown is now residential and the mile on Peachtree will be (once the recession is over) our version of the Magnificent Mile. Right now it's still a very good place to spend the night and be at night. LOTS of very good restaurants in the area. Piedmont Park, our beautiful version of a central park, the Botanical Garden and the High Museum of Art are some of the things to see and do. There are three MARTA stations and you can easily get to downtown or Buckhead or Decatur or wherever you want to go.

Perhaps the best hotel option would be the W hotel - or the Loews if the budget allows. I like the W's location - a block from the park and restaurants surrounding it. The bar is fabulous, one of Rande Gerber's signature bars (Cindy Crawford's husband).
Whiskey Blue -
The W website -
More rooftop bars -

We can give you suggestions for great restaurants in the area.

Another option would be to stay at the 12 in Atlantic Station. Very nice hotel and the shopping/restaurant/entertainment complex is right outside the door. There's a shuttle to the MARTA station (over the 75/85 Downtown Connector expressways) and you can zip down to downtown.
My favorite restaurant there is Strip, which is one of a local restaurant group. Great food, from sushi to steaks and everything in between.
It's sister restaurant, Shout, is at Colony Square where the W is.

If they do choose to stay downtown, my favorites are the newer Hilton Garden Inn or the Embassy Suites. The Omni hotel would be a good choice too. They are next to the aquarium and the World of Coke. I think they would feel comfortable walking around those few blocks at night in downtown.

Downtown today from downtown of five years ago is different.
If you are looking for an equivalent of Chicago downtown, you are looking for the pedestrian busy (especially at night) Midtown.

charsuzan May 29th, 2013 12:14 PM

Is there a specific hotel where the convention is being held? The area where the convention is would be a consideration.

schlegal1 May 29th, 2013 12:51 PM

The convention hotel is a bit out of town and the location currently escapes me but considered staying there but wanted to look at other choices.

Thanks for all the additional info.

They have decided to stay in Midtown and I will pass along all the suggestions. They don't need restaurant recs (thanks, though)--part of the trip's fun is also about helping the women become good travelers (just as a life skill) so they will be researching all the activities and places to eat themselves. They love doing that.

starrs May 29th, 2013 01:01 PM

Okay...but just ONE suggestion -

Campagnolo in Midtown. It's relatively new and they may not read a lot about it. It was the sister restaurant to my favorite in Atlanta and I just learned the Peasant Bistro closed. Friends LOVE this one in Midtown and I hope to eat there soon.

lizaresmith May 29th, 2013 11:46 PM

Atlanta is not a bad city, i also have been there and i didnt realize such things there. no doubt when you plan to visit a city first time you feel some fear but this is not like this

happytrailstoyou May 30th, 2013 05:57 AM

"Fear" and "end of the earth" isn't the problem.

It is fun to walk around some cities--New York, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Seattle for instance.

Others (including Atlanta) not to much.


Brian_in_Charlotte May 30th, 2013 08:47 AM

Midtown is a good choice. They're still likely to run across homeless men asking for handouts and may be targeted if they look like visitors, but they'll be fine if they politely decline and move on. They should not get drawn into a conversation by these guys.

nytraveler May 30th, 2013 11:14 AM

Sorry -

NYC doesn't have parking "decks". and the garages are manned and perfectly safe.

Not that one is DRIVING - one is walking or taking the subway or bus - with hundreds and thousands of other people - depending on exact street and time of night ( all are busy all day).

starrs May 30th, 2013 01:04 PM

"It is fun to walk around some cities"

Atlanta (the downtown) was not a residential city.
Buckhead is car-centric.

In the last few years, Midtown has become the walkable part of Atlanta. I find the Midtown area fun to walk around. Most of my friends find it fun to walk around. Give it a try some day.

traveler2005 May 30th, 2013 01:45 PM

A few years ago, we stayed in Atlanta and went to a ballgame. We took a shuttle from the underground to the game. Big mistake. The walk back to the hotel afterwards made us feel very uncomfortable. There were quite a few people around, but they were the type that made us feel uncomfortable. It was a FAST stroll back to the hotel.

I haven't had that happen in other major cities - or minor ones either for that matter.

starrs May 30th, 2013 02:12 PM

Underground hasn't been "good" in years.
The ballparks were built in not-so-good neighborhoods.
Downtown doesn't have many people - other than convention people - walking around at night.

I really don't think Atlanta is unique in that. There are several cities in which I wouldn't walk back to the hotel after a ballgame. I doubt anyone recommended you do that on a travel board.

nytraveler May 30th, 2013 02:31 PM

Thanks you - no I have seen more than enough of Atlanta at conventions. It is not an atmosphere that I enjoy - compared to NYC or other cities build around pedestrians.

starrs May 30th, 2013 02:45 PM

Try Midtown

Comparing NYC is like comparing the Jersey Shore to St Simons or Sea Island

I love NYC but its ridiculous to think Atlanta is anything like NYC

happytrailstoyou May 30th, 2013 04:11 PM

I prefer the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Is that o.k.?

Put your dukes up. Let's have a fight.

starrs May 30th, 2013 04:12 PM

I like both

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:06 AM.