Atlanta in 24 Hours - Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park – Photo Credit: Tara Settembre/ VIP TravelingMom

While on a quick business trip, traveling without kids to Atlanta, I only had a few hours of free time to see “The Big Peach” and make the most of my trip.

Being a “Windy” (a Gone with the Wind fan) I wanted to take a walk on Peachtree Street where Scarlett lived during the War. Yes, I know she is a fictional character. What I didn’t know is that almost everything is named Peachtree in Atlanta. I was literally on the corner of Peachtree Place and Peachtree Street, dumbfounded on which way to turn. My hotel meanwhile was on Peachtree Center Avenue, next to the Peachtree Center shopping area, LOL, but I digress.

Since I was only free to roam before and after work hours, I couldn’t do the usual tourist stuff like take a tour of the CNN Center, Coca-Cola World, Margaret Mitchell House or the Fox Theater movie palace since tours stop by 5 p.m. *sigh* next time. Nevertheless, I did get to check out some local spots with the advice and recommendations of some VIP locals in the know.

Celebrities in Atlanta

Forget Hollywood, Atlanta has its own celeb scene with quite a few shows filming in the area including Universal Cable Productions

Atlanta in 24 Hours

Actress Katherine LaNasa – Photo Credit: Tara Settembre/ VIP TravelingMom

new original drama series Satisfaction, which airs on USA Network. Along with several other members of the press, I had the chance to visit the show’s set during my trip, where I sought the cast’s advice on their favorite spots while they are here filming in the city.

Actress and mom of two Katherine LaNasa (“The Campaign,” married to Grant Show) who stars as the devious Adriana on series said: “I really like The Botanical Gardens it’s really special.” She also added that there’s so much to do at Piedmont Park, comparing it to Central Park in Manhattan.

As far as fashion goes, LaNasa recommended 310 Rosemont saying that “It’s the cutest little boutique that I’ve been to.”

Where to Eat in Atlanta

The whole cast meanwhile recently ate out together at the acclaimed Bacchanaliathe place for fine dining in Atlanta. The four-course prix-fixe menu changes all the time, so you could continue to come back each visit.

Mary Mac's - 24 Hours in Atlanta

Mary Mac’s – Photo Credit: Tara Settembre/ VIP TravelingMom

After a long day, I wasn’t up for white table cloths and a set menu though, so I opted for Mary Macs Tea House, which has been serving up delicious Southern food since 1945 in Midtown. This restaurant not only serves comfort food, but is itself a comfort with a welcoming staff and cozy living room décor.

I went all in and ordered a starter of fried green tomatoes (my first time ever having them and they were amazing, both sweet and savory) and made-from-scratch  fried chicken with white gravy and a side of fried okra and macaroni and cheese. It was amazing! Although I would skip the mac & cheese next time as it was a bit too congealed for me. Tip: First time visitors, be sure to tell your server you’re new to the restaurant and you’ll be offered a complimentary pot likker (corn bread in chicken broth)!

Another popular dining option is Two Urban Licks, which was recommended to me by two different people, writer Maria at Shakefire.com and my cab driver. The site says it serves “Fiery American Cooking,” but sadly I didn’t get to try it firsthand.

I did get to stroll through Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown where the 1996 Summer Olympics were held and one of the free things to do in Atlanta. Now it’s a community gathering spot sculptures and fountains. I could easily picture my boys running wild there and having a great time.

Dining with Celebrities in Atlanta

Before my flight back home, I was also able to have a scrumptious Southern breakfast with Todd, Julie, Chase & Savannah Chrisley

24 Hours in Atlanta - Srimp and Grits at Rosebud

Shrimp and Grits – Photo Credit: Tara Settembre/ VIP TravelingMom

from the reality TV show Chrisley Knows Best at brunch hot-spot – Rosebud near Virginia-Highland. The restaurant uses local and regional ingredients in their comfort food. Their biscuits to start were fluffy pieces of heaven. I also had their Shrimp and Grits, which was spicy and decadent.

Todd Chrisley, Atlanta socialite, entrepreneur and the patriarch in the show says he is a homebody so not the best to give suggestions on hot spots in the city. However, he did say that he and his family like to go shopping at Phipps Plaza, an upscale shopping mall located in Buckhead. Just looking at the store listing I can see why.

If I didn’t have to catch my flight I would have loved to have stopped after at the nearby Cacao, a darling chocolatier in the heart of Virginia Highlands, which also came highly recommended.

Staying longer than 24 hours in Atlanta? Check out Adventure TravelingMom’s Cool Things to Do in Atlanta.