The Guide To 24 Hours in Atlanta

I received this kind alert this morning.


As rude as Mr. Lane sounds, I deserved it. First off, I publicly called him a coward some 72 hours prior for having a protected Twitter account (like a coward), but secondly because he sent me an email that needed to be responded to by Wednesday and I had not yet answered.

His question: “I’m in ATL for a day, what do I do?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve been presented with this question. Since running off to New Hampshire in 2005, I’ve gotten a number of “I’m in your city, what do I do?” texts and emails. When I’m around, I simply go find them and show them a great time. More often than not, however, I’m elsewhere and I’ve never really known how to answer.

Now I do.

Pay attention, because you will find yourself in this position at some point in your life, especially if you’re a frequently flyer, your line of work involves attending conferences and conventions, or if you’re friends with the Blacks (1 in every 7 is in Atlanta at any given moment {source – The Source}.

24 hour ATL itinerary (Wed 10am-Thurs 10am)

10:00am: Arrive in Atlanta. If you have arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, congrats. If, however you have come here via Greyhound, DON’T LEAVE THE BUS. Just take it to Jacksonville or wherever the next stop is. If, for some reason, you must leave the bus, quickly acquire a human shield, bayonet, and $700,000 in case ransom money is needed.

10:01am: Acquire a car. I don’t care how you get one, just find one. Don’t be the burden that needs someone to escort you around. And don’t try to be cute and ride MARTA, our public transportation system, unless you want 18 of those hours spent on the train.

11:00am: Early lunch. Drive to Ponce de Leon ave and find a place called EATS. Park your car and leave a dollar on your windshield. Go inside. You will see 2 lines, a pasta line and a soul food line. If you even begin to gravitate towards the pasta line, never speak to me again. Go to the good line and order a 4-veggie plate. I know there is jerk chicken there, but trust me on this one. Get greens, macaroni, black-eyed peas, and a sweet potato (everything that is not meat becomes a vegetable, deal with it). Ask for a drink, say thank you, and get out of the way. While you wait on your food, fill your cup up with 3 parts sweet tea and 1 part lemonade. When it’s food time, grab it, pour hot sauce on everything, and have a delicious meal.

12:00pm: Return to your car. The dollar will be gone and your windshield will be cleaned. I know you think you’re awake, but in 5 minutes you will be very tired.

12:05pm: Find hotel, immediately. You can barely see straight. The itis has put its death grip on your soul and if you don’t find a bed soon, you will probably drive into a telephone pole.

12:15pm: Sleep. But not at the hotel. You have hit traffic on 75/85 north headed to your hotel and you aren’t moving for a while. Put the car in park (yes, on the expressway) and take a nap.

1:00pm: Wake up. You still haven’t moved, but you are energized. Get off at the next exit, who needs the hotel anymore. Head to the mall.

1:30pm: Arrive a Lenox Mall. Yes, I know you passed by 7 other malls en route to this mall, but just know you’re at the greatest place on earth.

2:00pm: You found a parking spot, congrats. Now go inside.

2:05pm: Head to the main floor and look for a place called the “Great American Cookie Company”. Buy 3 sugar cookies, eat two now and put one in your pocket. Yes, I know, they are the most delicious things you’ve ever had. Duh.

2:20pm: Walk to the top floor to a store called “Man Alive”, home of all things “urban”. Tell them you were sent by “M. Solomon”. They will search you, then smile, hug you, and then take you to the back room. There, you will find hundreds of XXXL Kurt Warner jerseys. They are not for you, they are for the man they call M. Solomon, for whenever he decides to pick up his order from 1999.

2:40pm: Buy an urban camo Kangol, walk out the store, and never tell anyone about this aspect of your trip. Leave Lenox Mall and never return.

3:00pm: This is, sadly, the calm before the storm that is rush hour. You need to get your car somewhere more relaxed and park it, because in about 30 minutes driving will become a horrific chore until 7pm. Where, you say?

3:30pm: Piedmont Park. Not only is it sprawling and beautiful, but it is in the middle of the city, and things are actually walkable. This is your time to be an adult and explore without my guidance. Join a pick up game of soccer, frisbee, or football. Watch kids play. Grab a few beers. Walk up to the tennis center, go inside, and say “do you know a guy named Rembert Browne”. If person X is there, you will be welcomed with open arms. If person Y is there, however, you might get several tennis racquets rifled at you. So yeah, that’s your call.

7:00pm: Get your car and drive to the Varsity. Don’t eat anything, but go inside and just listen. The chaos and gibberish that you think you hear is actually an orderly, controlled choir of efficiency. You just aren’t used to it. After 10 minutes, order a Varsity Orange and ask nicely for a hat. Drink some of it and throw it away, I don’t want you to spoil your appetite.

8:00pm: Arrive at Daddy Dz. Walk inside. You will see a table of 6 filled with 5 individuals. Sit in that seat and introduce yourself. They will refer to themselves as “Bradley”, “MT”, “Searles”, “Evan”, and “Michael Walbert, Founder and Business Manager, SMKA Productions”. Experts of all things Atlanta, they will tell you great stories of Atlanta old and new. You will eat the best BBQ you have ever had. You might cry, it’s okay. Daddy Dz is a safe space.

9:00pm: Feeling confident in your ATL knowledge, you will ask “what’s next”. Bradley will put you in time out for talking out of turn.

9:30pm: You will raise your hand. Once you’re called on, you will ask “what’s next?” Walbert will jump up and yell “what took you so long? Let’s MJQ it”

9:35pm: Everyone will leave the BBQ place. Evan will leave in his own car and go home. If there is one place that he doesn’t tolerate, it’s MJQ. You still have no idea what this place is. Perfect.

10:00pm: Arrive at what looks like an old parking garage, one with a line of humans instead of cars waiting to get in. The line moves fast, since the four remaining veterans with you know to get there early on Wednesday nights.

10:10pm: Get inside. Your mind is blown. The music. The characters. The $2 drinks. Yes, this is what heaven would look like, were it in an old parking garage. Make sure you don’t lost, the four gentlemen you are with are sure to run into people they know. Get excited, the amount of fun you’re about to have is enviable.

1:30am: Leave MJQ. It is a school night and Brad had class in the morning. No one has seen Walbert since 11:15pm. Searles and MT are just ready to make the next move. Where, you ask?


2:20am: You ask the question (as if you’re being kidnapped) “where are we?” You’re genuinely shocked to learn this is still Atlanta. Following the lead of the two men in front of you, you DON’T order a waffle and instead focus on that hash brown game and that bacon game. Shocked that you’re eating again, you mentally take a step back and realize that Atlanta might be the greatest place on Earth.

2:55am: You get back in the car, heading to one of the two dude’s homes. Oh yea, Thug Motivation 101 is blasting in the car louder than anything you have ever heard. Life is good.

3:15am: Elated, but exhausted, you pass out on someone’s couch.

7:00am: You wake up feeling horrible. You have a 10am flight and since you didn’t check any bags, you need to be there at 8:45. You wake someone up and they drive you to your car. Hungry (again) you drive to The Unity on MLK across from Westview Cemetery. You notice it is located next to a place called “Best Buy Caskets”. You take a picture. Then you take off your hat and walk in. You’re greeted by the kindest people ever created. You ask them to make you something good. Impressed by you, they hook it up with cheese grits, cheese eggs, and some sausage links between a biscuit. Right before you bite into this beauty, you remember you never went to Chick-fil-a. Then you take a bite and forget Chick-fil-a ever existed. You’ve never had food like this before. Wow.

8:15am: You leave the Unity, pay for your $8 meal with a $20 and tell them to keep the change and that “you are coming back”. They believe you, because everyone comes back.

8:45am: You return your car, get to the airport, and barely make it on your flight.

10:00am: Take off. 24 hours in ATL complete, congrats on doing it right. Your reward, that last sugar cookie still in your pocket.

About Rembert Browne

NYC via ATL ////
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2 Responses to The Guide To 24 Hours in Atlanta

  1. RB says:

    Join us for Alumni/ae Recognition Night at the Varsity game
    January 6, 2012
    Paideia Gym

  2. Pingback: Goal for the day – Linkage « thedraftheadquarters

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