10 places in Atlanta to get schooled Southern-style


Without a doubt, Atlanta is one of the most delightful cities the South has to offer. If you're planning to visit, don't be shy; jump right in to learning about the Southern culture. Start by practicing rolling "Ya'll" off your tongue, and make sure your voice is as honeyed as that sweet tea you're going to be drinking out of a mason jar as you get yourself revved up for the adventure.

Start off with some history.

1. Visit the Margaret Mitchell House
Nothing screams the South more than Margaret Mitchell's beloved classic, Gone with the Wind. The feisty Margaret Mitchell was flamboyant and rebellious. After a stint as a reporter for The Atlanta Journal in the 1920s, she became bored and spent 10 years writing the famed Pulitzer-Prize winning novel. Step back in time while you wander the halls of the three-story, Tudor Revival home.

2. Check out some Confederate heroes at Stone Mountain
The carving on the face of Stone Mountain depicts the three Confederate figures of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis. The idea came from a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The art was initiated around 1916 and not completed until 1972.

3. Atlanta Cyclorama Painting at the Atlanta History Center

Atlanta CycloramaDavid Goldman/AP

The Cyclorama and Civil War museum in Grant Park closed in June of 2015. Atlanta Cyclorama's huge oil painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta, fought July 22, 1864, is moving to a new 23,000-square foot building at Atlanta History Center in Buckhead. The bulk of funding for the project is coming from private donors.

Satiate your taste buds with some Southern style food classics.

4. Try grits, glorious grits at Home Grown.
With grits you basically have breakfast grits and then you've got your fancy dinner grits, which usually come sticky with cheese along with shrimp or lobster. Get breakfast all day complete with breakfast grits at Home Grown on Memorial Drive. Then move on to Shrimp and Grits for dinner at Thumbs up Diner on 573 Edgewood.

5. Have a breakfast of biscuits and gravy at the Flying Biscuit.
The great thing about this restaurant is no matter where you are in Atlanta: Southside, Northside, Midtown or Buckhead, you're going to get yourself a biscuit. With 11 locations in the greater Atlanta area, you can be sure to get your gravy craving satiated.

6. Indulge in an amazing banana pudding at Mary Mac's Tea Room.

Banana pudding dessert on glass cupmsheldrake

Indulge not only your sweet tooth, but quench your thirst for authenticity at the 70-year old Mary Mac's Tearoom. You can choose from other Southern classic desserts such as peach cobbler or pecan pie, but you really should order the down south favorite dessert of banana pudding.

7. Drink sweet tea at Busy Bee Cafe.
Mosey on into the Busy Bee Cafe and order a sumptuous and sweet tea. If you don't share the affection for sweetness to the level of most Southerners, just go ahead and order a half and half. It's kind of like ordering mild at the taco stand, but it's okay, we won't laugh.

8. Have a fancy dinner at the historical Pittypat's Porch.
If you want the experience of sophisticated Southern fare from cocktail hour straight through dessert, don't neglect the iconic Pittypat's Porch, which opened in 1960. Start the night out with a mint julep, and then move on to their famous fried chicken with 'taters n gravy.

Don't forget about Southern rock.

9. Southern Blues at Blind Willie's
This nearly 30-year old Atlanta institution prides itself on hosting roots-based blues artists. It's easy to find; just look for the neon Alligator rocking a guitar. The small, smoky bar fills up quickly, so get there early and munch on some jambalaya or catfish before the music begins.

10. Day trip to the Allman Brothers museum in Macon

Travel Trip Allman MuseumDorie Turner/Associated Press

Lovers of classic Southern rock will want to pay homage to The Allman Brothers Band. Take the short 1.5-hour drive to Macon to the Big House and learn all about the history of these well-loved rockers.

By now, you should be talking with a drawl and knowledgeable about all the best Southern catchphrases. Atlanta is more than a city, it's a culture and you have been schooled.



Meeka Anne is revisiting her childhood stomping grounds in Atlanta where she grew up. She writes for several lifestyle magazines and has authored two books.