Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Downtown Atlanta

March 15, 2017

We invite you to #BeDowntown this St. Patrick's Day to experience great places and spaces to wear green and get festive.

1. Woodruff Park Goes Green

The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District plans to dye the fountains green again this year, making the park extra emerald. Stop by the Reading Room to enjoy the fountains during your lunch break, and take a #StPatsSelfie in front of the green water wall on the north end of the park.

2. Get Lucky at Peachtree Center

This Friday, March 17, wear your best green and head to Peachtree Center for a performance so spectacular you just might pinch yourself. The Drake School of Irish Dance will be performing for employees and visitors at the food court at noon in the spirit of everyone’s favorite Irish holiday. So, take a break from your day job and come enjoy the sounds of Irish dance while grabbing a bite from favorite Peachtree Center lunch spots like Gibney’s Pub and Panbury’s Pie Café.

3. Sips Under the Sea at Georgia Aquarium

It's your lucky day, Georgia Aquarium is celebrating St. Patrick's Day! Join the St. Patrick's themed fun while enjoying music, signature cocktails and delicious small plates. Sips Under the Sea is a unique cocktail party for adults to enjoy Georgia Aquarium after hours with family, friends or a significant other. You'll have the entire Aquarium to yourself while enjoying cocktails, tapas and entertainment… all without kids!

4. Downtown Dining

For dinner, head to Terrace Bistro at the Ellis Hotel, where the St. Patrick's Day dinner menu includes festive fare like corned beef and cabbage and a Reuben served on H&F rye bread. Afterward, ppop into a pub to raise a glass and cheer Slainte. Meehan's Public House will be hosting a lively St. Pat's celebration, complete with drink specials, giveaways, and plenty of Guinness. For a bar that exclusively serves Georgia-brewed beers, try the new Georgia Beer Garden on Edgewood Avenue.

5. Take a Self-Guided Streetcar Pub Crawl

Did you miss the official event on March 11? No worries: you can still ride the Streetcar for a self-guided pub crawl. Use the interactive route map to identify hot spots near each of the twelve stops. This month, we're highlighting the Carnegie at Spring stop, which is a short walk from Meehan's, Juke Joint, Braves Grill and Ted's Montana Grill.

6. Kid-Friendly Ideas

There are plenty of family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday, too. The Children's Museum of Atlanta will host celebratory activities on Friday from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Through March 31, the College Football Hall of Fame will offer $17.99 admission to those who wear green college gear, and the World of Coca-Cola's "Friends and Family Four-Pack" promotion includes four general admission tickets for $40 ($28 savings).


Celebrate Black History Month in Downtown Atlanta

February 9, 2017

Downtown Atlanta is brimming with history, and there are a variety of organizations offering community programming in celebration of Black History Month.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Here you can tour where Dr. King was born, raised, worshiped and died. Free to all, visitors can tour King's birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the exhibitions at the Visitor's Center, and the King Center's grounds, including the Freedom Walkway and Reflecting Pool.

Oakland Cemetery

The African American burial grounds are the resting place of some of Atlanta’s most revered black leaders, including Carrie Steele Logan, William Finch and Maynard Jackson. Though guided tours are currently at capacity, visitors can partake in self-guided tours using the Oakland mobile app or the “African American Voices” cell phone tour. Learn more about the African American grounds restoration project here.

Auburn Avenue Research Library

This newly-renovated community amenity always boasts a robust event calendar, and Black History Month is no exception. Learn about the Forgotten Freedom Fighters of the War of 1812, catch a film screening on black education, engage in a community dialogue about choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey, hear the works of contemporary African American women writers producing horror and genre fiction—all free and open to the public. Be sure to check out the gallery spaces, too, including the “Voices of the World” Gonzalo Borondo exhibit.

APEX Museum

A museum “where every month is Black History Month,” APEX presents history from the African American perspective. They achieve this through three permanent exhibits, “Africa: The Untold Story, “Sweet Auburn Street of Pride” and “The MAAFA (The African Holocaust).” Open five days a week, make a visit to APEX part of your exploration of the historic Sweet Auburn district.

Center for Civil and Human Rights

The Center will offer a full range of community programming this month, appropriate for a range of ages. From a SPARK Saturday (free admission for youth) that explores African American culture through rhythm and movement to a culture and justice poetry night to conversations and panels about African American politics after the Obama administration, it’s sure to be a lively and thought-provoking month of events.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

In February, the Museum’s daily programming will celebrate and explore the contributions of African Americans throughout history via storytelling, arts and crafts, science projects and more. Ride the Atlanta Streetcar to the Museum, show your Streetcar ticket and receive $3 off the price of admission for up to four tickets (offer valid Monday-Friday and expires after March 31).

College Football Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame’s latest exhibit, “Breaking Barriers: A Salute to Black History in College Football” Delivered by UPS, traces the iconic people, moments and plays of African American college football athletes, including the first southern players to travel north. Also on display will be unique artifacts, like a copy of William Henry Lewis’ football instructional guide published in 1896.

Black History Month Parade

Finish out the month on February 25 with an energetic and celebratory event that will begin at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jackson Street at the King Historic Site and will end in Woodruff Park. The parade will be bookended by a festival and ceremony, which will feature speakers, performers, vendors and more.


Arts and Culture in Downtown Atlanta: Galleries and Events

January 11, 2017

Guest Post by Brooke Thompson of WellAtlanta

Atlanta is a diverse city with many different cultures, interests, and events colliding. However, one of the most rapidly rising in popularity is its art scene, especially in Downtown Atlanta, where everything from galleries to large-scale murals can be found. Whether you’re new to Atlanta or have called it home for years, here are a few of the Downtown art galleries, events, and museums you should know about.

Gallery 72

If you’re looking for culture but need to pinch pennies, Gallery 72 is a great place to check out local artists for free. This contemporary gallery features everything from paintings to installations from Atlanta-based creators. It even hosts exhibits surrounding topics like Atlanta’s music history as well as social issues like civil rights.

The Mammal Gallery

Only a couple blocks from the Five Points train stop, the Mammal Gallery is a truly unique experience for the socially engaged. A self-proclaimed “safe space for creative minds,” the gallery has opportunities for interactive creative expression like live music and open mic nights, as well as experimental exhibits that keep guests thinking long after their visit.

Castleberry Hill

Prefer to explore your creative side in the fresh air? Downtown’s neighboring Castleberry Hill offers a free art stroll every second Friday of the month. With different galleries and installments on display each month, you can grab some friends and make it an evening of local art and culture, even grabbing dinner at one of the participating restaurants, such as No Mas! Hacienda and Cantina, along the way.

Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery

Eyedrum is Atlanta’s one-stop shop for everything a creative mind could hope for: literary readings, avant-garde film screenings, a community garden, and extraordinary exhibits that push the boundaries of the current art scene, just to name a few! There are even opportunities to build upon your own creativity with unique classes and workshops, such as the Eyedrum Literary Committee’s editing meet-up and the gallery’s filmmaking workshops, that allow you to hone your skills and meet others who share your passion.

Besharat Gallery

This gallery actually has two locations--one in Atlanta and the other in France. It is home to permanent as well as temporary, special exhibits devoted to famous artists and highly skilled individuals from around the world. The European style of the building comes from its French sister and has been around since 1885. If you’re looking to experience a taste of classic European elegance and high-end art, Besharat Gallery is a must-see.

To submit a guest post to the blog, please contact Paige Sullivan at


Connect Downtown: Winning Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown Commuter

November 9, 2016

Connect Downtown is a CAP/ADID initiative that targets young, intown commuters in Downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, encouraging them to pledge to take an alternative commute to work two times a week. The first phase of Connect Downtown focused on Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown residents who commute to Downtown.

Those who took the pledge were given a customized commute map and a ten-trip MARTA pass. For every month participants met their goals, they won a gift card to a local business, like Cabbage Pie. Those who participated in the program for three months were eligible to earn over $100 and be entered to win a $500 flight voucher.

We're pleased to share that the winning Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown commuter is Justin, a Reynoldstown resident who works in Downtown at CallRail, housed in the Equitable Building. 

We sat down with Justin to talk about his commuting habits and his Connect Downtown experience.

What was your commute like before participating in ConnectDowntown, and how has it changed since participating in the program?

I worked in Midtown for a long time, and I’ve worked in Downtown for a year. Before this program, I commuted by MARTA mostly, from Reynoldstown. I don’t really know why I started riding a bike—I just wanted to be outside more. And this was an awesome summer for riding a bike. [Laughs]

I no longer have to buy a monthly MARTA pass, meaning I save money. I keep a pass with a package of rides on hand, and that lasts me a while.

What is your bike commute like?

I take Wylie to Krog to Edgewood—it’s not too bad. What’s helped a lot is the bike parking room in my office building. It holds 25-35 bikes, has a fix-it stand, and the building comes with gym showers. There are also tubes, spares and patches in the room that are “take if you need one,” which is nice. Other people who work in the building use the room, too. There are 10-15 bikes in there on a “busy” day.

Do you ever use your bike for midday trips?

Definitely. Once you start riding a bike, you realize places like Castleberry Hill just aren’t hard to get to. And a bunch of my coworkers like to use Relay to go to lunch at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. It’s just a two-minute ride.

Did your commutes ever involve driving?

I used to work in Town Center and would drive every day. It was frustrating and just the wrong tool for the job, especially in fall/winter with GSU traffic. It would take me a good 35-40 minutes, and honestl,y a train or bike would take the same amount of time, maybe less.

Riding a bike just fun—it’s a better, cheaper way to get around.


Congratulations to Justin, and thank you to all our inaugural Connect Downtown participants. Learn more about the program here.


Perceptions About Downtowns Are Changing

September 20, 2016

More than 700 people from around the country descended on Atlanta from Sept. 7 to Sept. 9 to attend the International Development Association meeting at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. The event harkened back to 1977 – the last time the IDA came to Atlanta. At the time, Dan Sweat, who was heading Central Atlanta Progress, hosted the organization.

Downtowns have changed dramatically in the four decades since the last time the International Downtown Association met in Atlanta.

For instance, the organization’s members were the top executives of downtown groups – and at the time, they were all male. So Atlanta put together a “ladies program” for the spouses. Dan Sweat’s wife – Tally Sweat –helped organize the program.

Today, the association’s members include staff members in addition to top executives and industry consultants – and a large portion of the attendees were women.

Richard Bradley was president of the association in the 1980s. He remembered journalists calling when downtown department stores started closing and asking him whether their downtowns were dying.

Bradley optimistically told them downtowns were changing.

In the 1970s and 1980s, stores and businesses were moving away from central cities as suburbs were booming.

Today, downtowns are rebounding.  More people want to live and work in urban centers – choosing authentic and historic locations rather than cookie-cutter suburbs.

The lingo also has also changed. Now downtown leaders talk about “place making” and creating experiences – a sharp contrast from the previous perception that downtowns were dirty, dangerous and dull.

Richard Bradley’s efforts have come full circle.  He was recently presented with the IDA’s Dan Sweat Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the people presenting the 2016 award was Sweat’s widow – Tally Sweat.

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