One of Atlanta’s most notable conventions is back again after a year break, and we are beyond excited to welcome its return. With their return comes an anticipated line-up of guests. For instance, Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom from acclaimed Harry Potter series), Felicia Day (Vi from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Tom Welling (Clark Kent from Smallville) are a few notable names among the guestlist. For the full list of guests expected to appear at DragonCon, click here.
Many book their accommodations for the days prior as well as following the actual convention. As a result, there’s a lot of time to fill during those days, and here are our suggestions for fun activities, delicious foods, and sights to see on your off days.
10 Things to Do and Places to Eat in Downtown Atlanta During DragonCon
1. Time to Escape: the Escape Room Experience
If you want a break from the convention floor, check out the escape room conveniently located inside Peachtree Center. Moreover, there are aerial walkways from the Marriott Marquis Towers, Hyatt Regency, and Hilton Atlanta hotels to the Hub at Peachtree Center (where Time to Escape is located). Time to Escape is a steampunk fan favorite. There are four permanent rooms to choose from, and an additional mobile room that’s open only during DragonCon. Most importantly, select rooms challenge the norm of escape rooms by including character roles, unique abilities, and side quests. To learn more about the themes and stories of each room, click here.
2. Centennial Olympic Park
After a long day of travel, enjoy some sunshine and picnic on green grass at a 22-acre public park located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Centennial Olympic Park was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. With Atlanta’s incredible skyline surrounding the park on all sides, there’s plenty of photo ops with the perfect backdrop.
3. SkyView Atlanta
While you’re nearby the Centennial Olympic Park, you’re bound to notice the big white ferris wheel adjacent to the park. Grab tickets to the SkyView ferris wheel and see the city from whole different angle. Tip: SkyView frequently offers a Groupon package for two tickets along with a small box of chocolates.
4. Joystick Gamebar
Kick back with a few drinks at Joystick Gamebar, a nerdy dive bar with classic arcade games and pinball. The bar’s selection includes unique cocktails, boozy slushies and a variety of local craft beers. Although Joystick’s regular location is a little ways away from the major hotels that host DragonCon, rumor has it they plan to set up a pop-up closer to the convention for 2021.
5. Atlanta Magic Theater
Rated #1 on TripAdvisor, Atlanta Magic Theater is the highest rated show and nightlife entertainment option in Atlanta. The performance invites magic and comedy onto the same stage in a 75-minute show. Peter Morrison, the owner and magician, brings his magic show to Atlanta after performing in the highest-rated show in San Francisco for six years. Showtimes are only on Fridays and Saturdays nights, so be sure to check their website for availability.
6. Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium is home to more aquatic life than any other aquarium in North America. Above all, they offer shows with interactive animal experiences, Behind the Seas tours, and much more. For instance, their newest exhibit shows off an impressive Shark gallery with special excursions such as “Plunge Into an Up-Close Cage Encounter” and “Suit Up With Sharks & Rays”. While many might not be brave enough to be submerged eye-to-eye with a fascinating predator, these controlled experiences may be an enthusiast’s dream. Visit the official Georgia Aquarium website to check availability and times. In past years, the Georgia Aquarium is also known to host after-hours events with exclusive pricing for Con-goers.
7. Red Phone Booth (A 1920’s Prohibition Era Speakeasy)
The Red Phone Booth is a real life speakeasy in the heart of downtown Atlanta. To enter, a secret phone number must be dialed in the iconic London-style phone booth. Once inside, enjoy the smooth atmosphere with some hand-crafted, elegant cocktails. Sit by the fireplace on Italian leather couches with a glass of scotch or enjoy a cigar (yes, smoking is allowed here, and in fact, they even offer a cigar program). Do note that this establishment upholds a dress code, so don your best attire!
8. Saito – Sushi, Steak & Cocktails
Sushi connoisseurs, look no further! Saito brings world-class sushi to Atlanta by one of only a few Master Chefs in the U.S., Chef Saito Saito. Located on Andrew Young International Boulevard, Saito Sushi is within walking distance from the major hotels of DragonCon. The restaurant’s menu features sushi and omakase with fish flown in from Japan. Select cocktails they offer integrate rare Japanese whiskeys and sakes and served over ice pressed from a Taisin ice mold. Check out their menu here.
9. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Originally a Memphis favorite, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened a location in downtown Atlanta in 2015. Get a true taste of the South with crispy, food-coma inducing fried chicken and a side of sweet baked beans. This location is conveniently located within Peachtree Center’s food court, the Hub. Luckily, if you’re staying at one of three major DragonCon hotels, you can use the sky bridges that connect to Peachtree Center for your fried chicken fix.
10. Atlanta Selfie Museum
Need pics for your cosplay account? The Atlanta Selfie Museum has lots of colorful backdrops and unusually quirky visuals that would be perfect to showcase your intricate cosplays. Not to mention, the sets are well-lit with ring lights and complete with dramatic designs. Adding glam to your gram would be an understatement. Visit their website to reserve tickets.