Woman Strolling Through an Art Gallery

Just 7 interesting facts that show ATL has always been a cultural juggernaut

The South has always had something to say.

Atlanta was recently ranked the most creative city in the U.S., which is no surprise to those who have immersed themselves in the music festivals, art galleries, and creative spaces that dot the city. Yet for all of Atlanta’s recent recognition, there have always been creative firsts and momentous arts moments in the city, spanning decades and genres. We look at a few fun facts that reflect just a portion of the deep arts foundation that helped make Atlanta the cultural juggernaut it is today.

Atlanta had its own Woodstock moments.

On July Fourth weekend in 1969, just two months before Woodstock, the Atlanta International Pop Festival brought iconic performers like Led Zeppelin, Sweetwater, The Staple Singers, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, and more. Unlike the breakdowns that occurred at Woodstock, the event went off without a hitch. According to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s headline from the event was “Music Fans Stay Orderly Despite Heat, Wine, Drugs.” The following year, the event returned, and Jimi Hendrix even played a version of his iconic “The Star-Spangled Banner” while fireworks illuminated the performance. 

Large Crowd of People Passionately Singing Along at an Outdoor Music Festival

Atlanta is more punk than you might think. 

While Atlanta is perhaps best known for southern rock and hip-hop, other genres have always percolated in the creative scene, though not always to the same fanfare. Sure, the Sex Pistols played their first U.S. show right here in Atlanta in 1978, which is a notable first but hardly the only one. Other local groups — including RuPaul’s entry into the entertainment world via an early ‘80s Atlanta-based punk band — helped shape the cultural scene. Clubs like 688 Spring Street Club ignited a love for the punk spirit, which is carried through with popular Atlanta originals like The Coathangers and The Black Lips. 

Atlanta’s worked hard to earn rap respect.

NPR recently hailed Atlanta as “the center of the rap universe,” but the city wasn’t always given due respect. After all, Andre 3000 of the homegrown duo Outkast first introduced the world to the famous words, “The South’s got something to say” at the 1995 Source Awards, in the midst of the East Coast/West Coast battles when middle America was largely ignored. According to NPR, “In retrospect, the moment is a clear turning point, for the South and for Atlanta in particular … “ 

The Atlanta visual arts scene is led by young people.

Like most big cities, Atlanta boasts a formidable slate of art museums, from clusters of up-and-coming galleries to independent artists-in-residency to long-running institutions like the High Museum of Art. What makes the city different? The High director told ArtNet that over half of the museum’s visitors are under 35, and nearly three-quarters are under 55. The younger generation is helping to reenergize and modernize visual arts experiences throughout the city.

Atlanta doesn’t just create big movies — it puts up big numbers.

Due to a wide array of production infrastructure and film-friendly tax incentives in Georgia, it’s a cost-effective city for large-scale TV and film productions, and many of the most famous, like “Stranger Things” and numerous Marvel movies, are well known to citizens. Less known is the massive scope of the industry. In fact, in 2022 alone, 412 productions were shot in Georgia, bringing approximately $4.4 billion into the region. 

Spike Lee’s start has roots in Atlanta.

Speaking of big things in the movie world, Spike Lee made his first film, “Last Hustle in Brooklyn,” while at Morehouse College, where it was screened at the Atlanta Film Festival. It won a prize of $25. The win encouraged Lee to pursue a career as a filmmaker, and he has since won an Oscar and multiple prestigious awards. How’s that for inspiration to make it big in the city of Atlanta?

One of the hippest art scenes has roots in Prohibition.

Underground Atlanta — originally used for materials storage during the Civil War, reconstruction became a series of speakeasies and juke joints during Prohibition, an entertainment district in the ’60s, a shopping mall from the ‘80s through the 2000s, and is now being reimagined as an indie arts center, showing that Atlanta will always find creative uses for all of its spaces.

A room full of people dancing beneath disco balls.

These Dallas New Year’s Eve hotel bundles help you party more and plan less

Raise a glass to 2024.

As we approach the end of 2023, it’s time to start planning for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration in Dallas. Luckily, plenty of hotel packages are available to suit every taste and preference. Whether you’re in the mood for a swanky soirée, an elegant evening, or a disco party, numerous events promise a night of indulgence, dancing, and unforgettable moments.

W Dallas – Victory: For those who want to be in the center of the action

2440 Victory Park Ln, Dallas, TX 75219

Bid farewell to 2023 in style. This chic event (cocktail or black-tie attire is encouraged) promises an unforgettable night of revelry in the heart of Dallas. Enjoy a five-hour pre-paid bar selection for general admission (with VIP upgrades available) and three top-rated Dallas DJs to keep the dance floor alive with a mix of hip-hop, EDM, and Top 40 tunes. 

The hotel’s second floor will be transformed into a lively party space featuring multiple rooms with themed experiences, and head to the Great Ballroom before midnight, where hundreds of expected attendees will gather for the big countdown. For a premium experience, consider a VIP table package, including top-notch seating, champagne, premium alcohol, mixers, and a personal cocktail server. Tickets range from $119 – $2,395. Click here for more information on the party and room prices.

Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh: For fine dining to start off the new year

2927 Maple Avenue Dallas, TX 75201

This one’s for the foodies. Diners can enjoy a four-course menu curated by executive chef Esayas Estifanos at Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh. You’ll also receive a bottle of house sparkling wine to toast the arrival of 2024, plus special party favors to commemorate the night. Extend the night on the dance floor with DJ JosefK, who will be spinning until 1 a.m. There’s complimentary valet available (plus gratuity), but you can always consider booking a room to avoid driving altogether. Event tickets range from $200-$300. Click here to book.

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Champagne and glasses on a table near a window with fireworks in the distance

The Statler Dallas: If you want to see and be seen

1914 Commerce Street Dallas, TX 75201

The NYE Masquerade Ball event at The Statler in downtown Dallas is an evening fit for royalty — and often sells out, so book while you can. 

For those seeking the ultimate experience, there’s a three-course dinner option with two seating times available (6 p.m. and 8 p.m.) Start your meal with crispy panko-crusted green tomatoes, then choose between pan-seared halibut or coffee-crusted prime rib. Finish with a German chocolate cake filled with coconut and pecans, then wash it down with select beer or premium wine, which is included.

After the feast, don your finest masquerade mask, enjoy an open bar (with premium drinks from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.), and test your luck at the onsite casino. You can also dance to a mix of Top 40 and hip-hop mashups in the ballroom with other partygoers. Book a stay in the high-rise hotel to extend the fun. Tickets range from $150 – $7,500. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Virgin Hotels Dallas: For stylish partygoers looking to dance

1445 Turtle Creek Boulevard Dallas, TX 75207

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dallas by going back a few decades at the Virgin’s Disco Heaven party filled with glitz, glamor, and groovy beats. Enjoy a three-hour open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight, featuring champagne, premium spirits, specialty cocktails, and unlimited food-station access.

The entire fourth floor will come alive with two parties and two different DJ sets by Disko Cowboy and Sparkle City Disco. Capture memorable moments with photo ops and take in the breathtaking views of the Dallas skyline as fireworks light up the night. Reserved tables are available in three different spaces on the fourth floor.

If you don’t feel like driving, there are special offers on stays with perks, including admission to the party and a complimentary bottle of bubbly delivered to your room. Plus, you can take advantage of the “Recovery Brunch” on Jan. 1, offered at the Commons Club. Tickets range from $200 to $6,000. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Hotel ZaZa: If brunch is critical to your post-party plans

2332 Leonard Street Dallas, TX 75201

Longtime Dallas favorite Hotel Zaza is ready to party with “decadent activations, heightened experiences, and spectacular entertainment,” according to the site. Enjoy wine, beer, and cocktails from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and hors d’oeuvres stations available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. At midnight, raise your glass for the champagne toast. For those seeking an extra level of luxury, bottle service will be available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. As part of Zaza’s special NYE room packages, you can enjoy the party and wake up for a special New Year’s Day brunch for two with mimosas and classic breakfast and lunch fare. Tickets cost $135 – $1,000. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Two Women at a New Year's Celebration

5 ways to have an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Atlanta

Enjoy a glamorous evening of reflection and fun without the hassle of planning.

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2023. After a year of hustle and bustle, you deserve a fabulous, stress-free New Year’s Eve. Leave the coordinating to someone else. Opt for a night of ease with New Year’s Eve bundles that offer an immersive experience of entertainment, dining, and festive activities. Whether it was a year to forget or one for the books, you can go out in style and welcome 2024 with these five inclusive New Year’s Eve celebration packages.

Couple Celebrating New Year's Together

Around the World Gala at Chateau Elan

100 Rue Charlemagne Braselton, GA 30517

Count down to midnight at the premium winery and resort Chateau Elan, where you can enjoy a decadent sendoff to 2023 at the Around the World Gala. The event includes a cocktail hour, five dinner stations with culinary options from all over the world (with wine pairings included), live performances, a midnight champagne toast, and more. You can opt for the Gala package alone or include an overnight stay at the Inn at Chateau Elan. Dress to impress in cocktail attire and make this night one you won’t soon forget. Learn more here

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VIP Carnival Masquerade Ball at the OMNI Hotel

100 CNN Center, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303

Vibe out and dance like no one’s watching at this one-of-a-kind Masquerade Ball. There will be plenty of music, including a live Latin band and Atlanta’s DJ EU and Friends spinning Top-40 hits from around the world. The package offers South American-inspired food stations, an open bar (plus a champagne toast), and more. The VIP package includes an overnight stay at the hotel (with valet parking for one car), so you can skip the drive home after a long night of dancing, dining, and drinking. While the event is formal, don’t forget your carnival-themed masks. Learn more here

Skate the Sky at Ponce City Market’s The Roof

675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Atlanta, GA 30308

For those who prefer a more laid-back celebration, enjoy ice skating and a private Igloo on the rooftop winter wonderland at The Roof. This package is an ideal option for families and small groups, with private igloos that seat up to six guests, plus an assortment of shareable food, and a dedicated server. It also comes with 50 minutes of skating time, free games, and rides at Skyline Park — and plenty of photo ops to remember the magical night forever. Learn more here.

Take a ride under the sea at the Georgia Aquarium

225 Baker ST NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Get exclusive after-hour access to an Atlanta staple for an adults-only evening of live music, cocktails, holiday treats, and gallery exploration. Come adorned in formal or cocktail attire and see the Aquarium in a new light. Guests can choose between a general admission package that includes four drink tickets and access to the main gallery, or a VIP upgrade offering additional drinks, catering stations, admission to the VIP lounge, and a midnight countdown party. No matter the package you choose, your contribution will go to a worthy cause, as all proceeds from the night are donated to the Aquarium’s research and conservation efforts. Learn more here

People in Costumes Enjoying a New Year's Eve Party

The ‘80s MTV Experience at Park Tavern 

500 10th St NE (Corner of 10th and Monroe) Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Attention all dancers: This one’s for you. Enjoy two floors of music with live DJs and Electric Avenue playing your favorite hits from the ‘80s. The open bar will serve premium drink options, and you can grab a bite from several buffets that include vegetarian options, a carving station, and numerous southern favorites. In addition to the champagne toast, you get a Krispy Kreme doughnut at midnight for a sweet start to 2024. Round up 20 or more friends to get a group discount on tickets. Learn more here

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