ATL Layover? Ditch The Airport, Change Your Flight & Get Some Southern Hospitality

Bicycle in front of blue wall with graffiti wings

Travel Itinerary

Rush to the airport. Fly out. Land. Check in. Grab a bite. Watch some Netflix. Tap through your emails. Hit the hay. Wake up. Go to your meetings. Do your work. Rush to the airport. Fly home.

You know what’s sad about that work schedule? There are millions of professionals that travel 3 to 5 times per-year for business, and a large majority of them, when they travel, that’s what their schedule looks like.

Ever heard the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” Yep.

For those of us who are lucky enough to travel regularly for work, once in a while we have to remind ourselves to get out there and actually live. Between the presentations and the decks and the research and the meetings, it’s easy to become preoccupied on the work, on the never-ending task of being successful.

When in all reality, it’s more important to tilt the scales of your work-life balance to favor life.

The true beauty of life is found in the moments when we’re unknowing of the future. Where we journey outside our comfort zone and experience the moments that make us, us.

So, next time you have a 3-hour layover when traveling for work, don’t sit at the airport bar hacking away on your laptop, head out and explore, meet new people, experience new things. Next time you’re flying into a new city on a Friday morning, don’t fly out that same night just to get home. Extend your trip to Sunday, and make the most out of it.

No matter where you travel or when you travel, take care of your business first, and then focus on collecting some life-changing experiences.

How to sum up Atlanta:

Wherever you turn, the food is made with love, the drinks are poured with passion, and the people are crafted to care. If you’re into art, there’s art. If sports are your thing, you’re in luck. Want entertainment? It’s in every little nook-and-cranny of this sweltering paradise. It’s good to know Southern Hospitality is still very much alive and well in Atlanta.

Have 2-4 Hours To Burn? Grab A Quick Bite & Explore The ATL

If your travel plans for Atlanta consist of a long layover, or if you’re being proactive about the possibility of a missed flight, don’t let it get you down. Get out of Hartsfield-Jackson, explore this one-of-a-kind city and live like a local, even if it’s just for a couple hours.

East Atlanta Village

EAV or East Atlanta Village is one of the most walkable, hip, and edgy paradises for any urban explorer. Grab an Uber or a Lyft and get your butt over there to experience a delightful farmers market or a myriad of restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, or street art.

Grab A Quick Bite
Bowl of fresh meat and vegetables

If your taste buds are looking for some excitement, and the words “noodle house” put you in a happy place, then you’ll feel right at home at SoBa. The Pho Tai Chin Yam is out-of-this-world containing eye round steak, well done brisket, and flank steak. And the shrimp spring rolls will definitely bring me back. Once you’ve had your fill, take off down the block for more options.


Now, if you’re in the mood for a little Korean food south of the Mason Dixie line, Gaja in EAV is your one-stop-shop. Most of the dishes are new-and-creative spins on classic Korean cuisine, and the cocktails are the perfect side-pairing. Key winners, and the locals seemed to agree, the pork & beef dumplings, the bibim bap, and the pineapple shrimp. After you’ve had your fix, walk off those fantastic calories by continuing your EAV tour.

Take Some Photos
Bicycle in front of blue wall with graffiti wings

Dive right into the essence of the EAV and capture the emotion of the streets. Ifyou’re a graffiti lover, or any kind of art lover, Atlanta has some of the top exterior decorations in the country. Especially with organizations like Outer Space Project and Living Walls making their way into town. Get your camera ready and lace up some good walking shoes, because a 30-minute stroll around EAV will put you in front of endless museum-worthy masterpieces. Take your videos, selfies, and pics, and share them with us #TakeMoreWithYouATL

Have a brew...or two
Woman pouring beer from a tap
The Midway Pub

If you’re a beer lover, there isn’t any shortage of options in EAV. However, the Midway seems to be a fan favorite, and I can see why. There are tons of craft beers on tap, a spacious outdoor patio, and the food, well, to call it bar-food would be disgraceful. Take a load off, enjoy the company of complete strangers. You’re at a pub, it’s normal in Atlanta to be approached with conversation by anyone. Who knows, you may meet a new friend.


If you’ve had enough of the Midway, and are looking for something a bit more upscale as far as drinks and culinary options go, then make the 5-minute walk over to the Argosy. You can even make pit-stops at SoBa and Gaja on the way. Argosy has outstanding burgers, mouthwatering pizzas, and their selection of cocktails and beers is second-to-none.

Have 4-8 To Burn? Experience Some True Atlanta Vibes

Finished your meeting early and have hours before your flight? Looking for an interesting place to take your clients? Check out these Atlanta gems for some food and experiences you all can appreciate.

Little Five Points

Little five points is one of Atlanta’s most hip and trendy neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a treasure trove of vintage clothing shops, vinyl stores, dive bars, and burger joints, then Little Five Points is the place to be.

Hit the town
People hanging out in dimly lit club
Porter Beer Bar

When I think of Porter Beer Bar, the first two words that come to mind are inventive and funky. With a vast beer selection and a mouthwatering selection of weekly specials, even the biggest foodie and beer snob will feel at home. I know because I felt right at home.

Wrecking Bar BrewPub

Just a 6-minute walk down the street from Porter Beer Bar sits Wrecking Bar. Something so close, and yet so far away in concept and design. This 20th Century Victorian-style home was transformed into a craft brew-house and cocktail lounge. Wrecking Bar has an extensive beer list and food menu, and they truly offer something for everyone, and any palate.

Inman Park

Inman Park has quickly become one of the hippest neighborhoods not only in Atlanta, but in all of America. That’s right Silverlake and Bushwick, this city is gaining on you. There’s certainly no shortage of brunch spots, cafes, and wine bars mixed in amongst the forested houses and the trolley filled streets.

Dive into the local cuisine
Man grilling food in front of onlookers
Krog Street Market

This refurbished factory transformed into a culinary paradise is one of my favorite food marts in any city across America. If you’re looking for a sea of eclectic food stalls and artisan bakeries, this is the perfect spot to kill a few hours on a layover. Once you’ve had your fill, please make your way over to some of the other attractions in Inman Park.

Class-up your day or night with some cocktails
People at restaurant bar with well lit shelves of bottles
Ticonderoga Club

After you’ve spent enough time exploring and restaurant hopping, make a quick leap over to the Ticonderoga Club, one of Inman Park’s most popular taverns that’s in close proximity to Krog Street Market. You’ll find an endless selection of high-quality craft drinks and succulent seafood, not that you’d need to eat anymore after pursuing Krog market.

Get your yoga on
Man and woman doing yoga in a studio

If you’re looking for some rest and relaxation after your eating and drinking, make your way over Cabbagetown for a little yoga. Don’t know where to go? Trust me, you can’t walk through Cabbagetown without spotting a great Yoga studio. Take your pick, be adventurous.

Thinking About Extending Your Atlanta Trip A Day Or More?

Explore Atlanta Like A Local

Like most sprawling cities, they take time to get to know and explore. And Atlanta is definitely one of those. However, if you have ample time to burn before your next travel date, here are some essential experiences that Atlanta has to offer.

Visit some breweries
Tray of various samples of beer
New Realm

If you’re looking for an average brewery tour, New Realm is anything but. This place is a local Atlanta favorite that has an endless selection of flavorful beers, high-quality burgers, and a massive outdoor patio for those Georgia summer nights or days. Pace yourself, the beverages go down easy.


When you think of Atlanta, SweetWater is definitely up there as far as local beer houses goes. This place is a boisterous and full of action, especially with an indoor and outdoor microbrewery. Take a load off, set up a brewery tour, or check out the taproom for some live music.

Go on a long hike
Park bench along a pathway in a grove of green trees
Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is nearly 30-acres of botanical bliss located in the heart of Atlanta. If you have a few hours to burn before your next travel date, I suggest you pin this location and make this trek a reality. The gardens are nothing short of spectacular, so much so that Architectural Digest named it one of the “8 Most Beautifully Designed Gardens In America.”

See a show
Cheering people facing a stage at concert with light show

If you’re looking for one of the best and most intimate music venues that Atlanta has to offer, the Tabernacle should be at the top of your list. You’ll find a consistent mix of popular acts that cater to any music genre or taste. If you have a night to burn in Atlanta and you’re on a mission to get your boogie on, the Tabernacle is the

The Vortex

If you’re trying to catch some live music, but you want something that’s a bit more low-key than the Tabernacle, you have to make your way over to the Vortex. It’s located right in the heart of the Five Points, so even if you’re not loving the tunes, you have countless nightlife options within walking distance. place to be.

ATL Pro-tip
Close-up of a fresh piece of fruit being given from one person to another at a market

If you’re in ATL on a Thursday and have a layover or a few hours to burn, check out the Farmers Market across from the Midway. Fresh food, fresh vibes. Thank us later.

Enjoy Your Travels To Atlanta

All of us at Speck Travel hope this article has been helpful in your mission to make the most out of your business travels to Atlanta. So, next time you find yourself in ATL, or any city, get out there, make more memories, and take more with you…

If you have any favorite spots in Atlanta that we should be writing about, let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

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