An Old Cannon in a Field.

Get spooked with these Atlanta Halloween ghost tours

Make your own frights for less than $25.

Though haunted houses get all the love, there are truly creepy, interesting and macabre experiences throughout Atlanta.  The city has a rich, complex and sometimes dreadful history adding to its air of mystery, all of which you can experience on the cheap for a truly memorable night out. Read on for fun ideas under $25 per person to experience Atlanta’s local lore and history this Halloween.

Mausoleum in the Oakland Cemetery at Sunset.

Oakland Cemetery

Starting on Oct. 1, Oakland Cemetery is hosting a month-long Halloween scavenger hunt called Haunted Hunt. You can explore the 48-acre cemetery with your partner or invite other couples to join for a group experience. The cemetery is known for its haunting stories, including the ghost of a soldier hanging from a tree, the eerie voices of soldiers calling out names during roll call, and a young woman still searching for her lost love.

For up to two hours of spooky fun in Atlanta’s oldest public park, you can purchase a downloadable Haunted Hunt packet for $25.

Ghost tour in Little 5 Points

Join the Little 5 Points Ghost Tour to hear scary stories on a 90-minute walk through historic Inman Park (Atlanta’s first suburb!) and eerie landmarks through October. Search for apparitions of lost souls, including Lady Sintana from House of Ravenwood, 7 Stages theater’s ghosts, Deacon Lunchbox, Gregory Davis, and more.

The tour costs $25 per person. For maximum frights, you can pair the ghost tour with the Little 5 Points Halloween parade in late October.

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Fernbank’s Woodland Spirits

Fernbank’s yearly Halloween exhibit, Woodland Spirits, is unlike any other haunted house experience. It features eerie and supernatural sculptures created by artist Laura Lewis, inspired by the mysterious forests depicted in movies and literature. As you walk along the nature trails of WildWoods and Fernbank Forest, you’ll come across dozens of ghostly figures and animal spirits lurking in the shadows.

Members can enter for free, otherwise $25/person.

The Wren’s Nest

Located in Atlanta’s historic West End, the Wren’s Nest is Atlanta’s oldest house museum and was the home of writer Joel Chandler Harris. Visitors claim to have seen apparitions of two young boys playing on the stairs and in the yard, who are believed to be Harris’ grandchildren, as well as Harris himself and his son throughout the house.

You can visit the house for a tour on Saturdays for $12/person. Every October, the Wren’s Nest offers a ghost-hunting tour with the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research, only available for one night.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park was the site of brutal Civil War battles in the summer of 1864, resulting in the loss of over 5,000 lives. It’s not surprising that the park is believed to be haunted by spirits. 

Visitors can enter the park for $5/vehicle and explore the various dog-friendly hiking trails, making it an ideal location for a spooky day date. Some visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, hearing the sounds of cannons and gunshots, and even smelling the faint scent of blood and gunpowder. Even locals that live near the park have reported seeing the soldiers’ ghosts in their homes.

The Fox Theater Marquee Sign on a Cloudy Day.

Fox Theatre

The Fox Theatre, a cherished landmark in Atlanta, offers special ghost tours during October. These tours provide an opportunity to explore the haunted history of the theater. An experienced guide will lead you from the lobby to the basement and backstage areas, sharing the building’s history and stories of the many ghosts that still roam there. The most famous ghost of the theater is Roosevelt, who worked in the boiler room until he died in 1945. He dislikes being interrupted and may slam doors or turn off the lights.

This ticket is $45/person, but it includes access to the Fox Theatre’s rooftop bar, which is only accessible during performances. Before or after your ghost tour, grab a drink and relax by viewing the Midtown skyline.  

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Spread of Pasta Dishes on a Blue Table.

6 new and opening Atlanta restaurants we’re most excited about

Out of many, many choices, we narrow down the best bars and restaurants to try

Atlanta natives (or longtime residents; I’ll claim y’all) know that autumn in the city is a frenzied time of events, festivals and new places to try. In my few years back in ATL since graduating, I’ve noticed October brings out the fiend in people. The cocktail fiends. The brunch fiends. Fiends searching for the best meal deals possible ITP. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options in Atlanta. 

Among the many restaurant openings, we’ve picked some standout options that will allow you to make the most out of the hottest culinary season of the year. See what we love about these picks, and make sure to plan a visit while there are still tables to be found.

Marcus Bar & Grille: The recently opened favorite offers new additions worth coming back for.

Opened March 2023

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has blessed our TV screens for years on Food Network’s Chopped, but diners now get to experience the magic in person at the James Beard Award Winner’s O4W restaurant Marcus Bar & Grille. After its opening in March, diners fell in love with the retro-joint’s classic soul and comfort food, featuring the perfect mix of surf-and-turf fare. As someone constantly on the hunt for a satisfying burger in the city under $20, their B&G burger featuring double-stacked patties, Swiss cheese and onion strings intrigues me and sits at an attractive $17.

What’s to love: The spot features an out-of-this-world happy hour menu featuring $6 craft beer, $7 house wine pours and $8 house cocktails. Additionally, you can now reserve a spot for their brunch service, where you can enjoy classics like chicken and waffles, indulgent French toast and hearty brisket hash. If you come on Sunday, plan to make a day out of it. At “Sunday Supper & Spins,” you can enjoy a family-style meal with music from one of Atlanta’s popular DJs. 

Breaker Breaker: A seafood joint with a beach-inspired atmosphere that feels like taking a vacay.

Opened in August 2023

BeltLine fanatics, now’s your turn. Sitting right on the BeltLine off Wylie Street you’ll find seafood joint Breaker Breaker. The highly Instagram-able restaurant is the latest creation from the consistently delicious minds of Grindhouse Killer Burgers’s Alex Brounstein and Johnny Farrow. 

The menu includes seafood classics with a twist, whether it’s poutine with crab and Cajun gravy or vegan calamari made with hearts of palm and enoki mushrooms. They’re taking care of Atlanta’s herbivores with inclusions like the mushroom chopped cheese sandwich, or the mouthwatering cabbage and crispy rice salad, served with carrot, avocado, orange, mint, cilantro, basil, toasted pumpkin seeds and house vinaigrette. 

What’s to love: Beyond the tasty menu options, this Florida-panhandle-inspired joint will make you feel like you’ve just come from a day at the beach. Within its massive 9,000 square foot facility, you can enjoy an indoor-outdoor bar, a huge patio and plenty of parking, so that families, friends and surfers-at-heart will find their place at Breaker Breaker. 

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Omakase by Yun: Unsurpassed craftsmanship with quality-sourced ingredients.

Opened in September 2023

Chef Jonathan Yun brings an impressive pedigree to his new omakase, with years of training in Japan and New York City. Chef Yun trained under Daisuke Nakazawa, whose eponymous restaurant Sushi Nakazawa in New York City earned a Michelin star with help from Yun himself, according to the Omakase by Yun website. After returning home to his hometown of Atlanta, Yun’s pop-up Chiori gained a devoted following.

The new 18-course omakase experience begins at $185, an excellent deal for a memorable experience provided by a master chef. You can choose to pair with sake and wine for an additional fee, with the menu offering an impressive list of choices in both categories. 

What’s to love: Yun’s devotion to quality shows in his carefully selected ingredients. In fact, diners will be able to see where the fish is sourced. Though the majority of the offerings will be imported from Japan, dishes will arrive from Mexico, Canada and Alaska. With such a thoughtfully considered selection applied to classic training and modern touches, the variables add up to an exciting debut.

Lazy Betty: New location brings a la carte bar offerings and accessible ambience.

Opening Fall 2023

Atlanta’s bougiest foodies are absolutely familiar with Lazy Betty, the tasting menu eatery from owners and chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips. The current menu at their Candler Park spot includes either four or seven courses starting at $110. 

Though the food is phenomenal, a tasting menu is an event — both in terms of time and expense. Considering my favorite meal in Atlanta is the $10 chicken lunch plate at local family chain Mediterranean Grille (not newly opened by any means, but I had to shout them out), my heart and stomach instantly filled with excitement when I read about Hsu and Phillips moving to an expanded Lazy Betty location in Midtown this fall.

What’s to love: In addition to a main dining room, large patio and extended bar with cocktails, mocktails, beer and an extensive wine list, diners will be thrilled with a new addition: An a la carte bar menu. Now, you can create your own tasting menu and sample some of the restaurant’s new offerings at your own pace. All of that, plus a phenomenal patio view — what’s not to love?

YEPPA & Co.: One location to love with another to look forward to.

Buckhead location open now; Junction Krog District location opening in 2024

Buckhead Village Italian spot YEPPA & Co. comes from co-owners Pietro Gianni and Stephen Peterson, the duo behind beloved ATL eateries Forza Storico, Storico Fresco Ristorante, and Storico Vino. These guys have quite the resume, and Yeppa’s menu only ups their culinary expertise. 

Stand-out dishes include the prosciutto crudo pizza focaccia and roman veal bombs, an ambitious dish featuring prosciutto rolled breadcrumb-crusted veal with mozzarella, parmigiano and a sage lemon butter white wine sauce. The upscale bar offers a selection of Italian beers, specialty cocktails (yes, they use real espresso in their espresso martini), and a variety of wines available by the glass or bottle, courtesy of beverage director Jose Pereiro. 

What’s to love: Though the Buckhead location has already become a popular spot to hit, keep your eyes open for the newest location in the Junction Krog District, coming Spring 2024. It will feature a spacious outdoor dining area so that you can see the action of the high-energy crowds walking nearby. 

So, fellow fiends, now’s your time to explore these excellent additions. Grab a friend, dog or even a book and take yourself out for a much-deserved drink or dinner this fall. 

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Various Gifts Wrapped with Ribbon.

Where locals shop in Atlanta for distinct, quality gifts

Your complete guide to holiday shopping in Atlanta.

Everyone loves a gift that feels personal — but finding one is another matter altogether. Now is the best time to start thinking about all the people on your holiday list, and Atlanta offers plenty of year-round shopping destinations to get you started. Check out some of our favorite local places to peruse so you can give the best of the city and avoid last-minute panic shopping.   

Jewelry and accessories

Located inside Ponce City Market, The Village Retail boasts a large collection of Black-owned products, including beloved and emerging Atlanta brands. Shop men’s and women’s fashions with stylish offerings from head-to-toe, from handmade wooden watches to handbags to bucket hats and more. Visit the Edgewood Retail District for another one-stop shop, the beehive, home to a wide variety of products from local designers and artists, who offer new products consistently. 

If you’re more into baubles, check out Fossil & Hide, which features bold, distinct pieces that the shop describes as “wearable art.” Independent design shop Young Blood offers a curated selection of on-trend jewelry alongside chic accessories that will collect compliments with every wear. 

Clothes

You don’t have to break the bank to find distinctive clothing for every personality and interest. Atlanta’s secondhand shopping is unparalleled, especially in Little 5 Points. Check out Little 5 Points Vintage and Drugstore Atlanta, where you can find vintage shirts, sports memorabilia, pre-loved workwear, coffee table books and impressive posters for one-of-a-kind decorating. Woman-owned Catalogue features affordable hand-picked vintage women’s clothing and trendy pieces for fashionistas who appreciate a throwback garment with a modern edge.

If you’ve got time to peruse a larger selection, attend the Atlanta Streetwear Market in the Atlanta Expo Center on Nov. 19, where you’ll find dozens of booths featuring Atlanta designers and streetwear tastemakers. 

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ATL Experiences

Sometimes, the best gift is making a memory. Fortunately, Atlanta is full of dynamic attractions that you can visit time and time again. For visitors, friends with kids or newbies to the city, we suggest CityPass, which packages must-see attractions in Atlanta including The Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and options like The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the College Football Hall of Fame

You can also gift access to the city’s most popular cultural institutions. Purchase a one-year membership to The Atlanta Botanical Garden, which includes access to colorful seasonal exhibitions and special events, or purchase a pass to of Atlanta’s many arts venues, like the Fox Theatre

Music and Art 

The vinyl craze continues, and picking the perfect record for a loved one is a timeless gift that holds special value. JB’s Record Lounge in the West End offers new releases in addition to hard-to-find gems that are categorized by genre. You can also find numerous stores with niche offerings in Little 5 Points. Try Wax‘n’Facts, known for its reasonably priced vinyls, cassettes and CDs, Moods Music, which specializes in atmospheric “acid, Afro-Cuban, jazzy, house, rare grooves” vinyls or classic Criminal Records, which features comic books and music magazines in addition to new and used music.

For art lovers, look no further than the ABV Agency + Gallery, which offers an online gift shop where you’ll find artwork from over 500 creatives. The affordable prints are limited in quantity and often sell out quickly, so order early. (And often.) Homegrown Decatur features prints and wall art from artists hailing from the Southeast, but you’ll also find locally made gifts if you can’t find your perfect print. 

Self-Care

The Green Flamingo, located in Virginia Highlands is a plant shop and apothecary stocked full of candles, body oils and perfumes, made from natural botanicals. They also have workshops, where you can make your own terrariums for a fun, experiential gift.  

If you know someone who needs dedicated pampering, opt for a spa gift card for extra relaxation. Specializing in “farm-to-your-skin” treatments using high-quality, organic ingredients, iwi fresh offers massages and facials using specially made products, and sells a line to pick up for home. Or try Natural Body Spa & Shop, which has gained a devoted following over its 30+ years in business, making “best of” lists for decades. 

Spirits

Why gift a bottle of wine, when you can give an experience? Pick up tickets to Atlanta’s City Winery intimate musical performances or purchase a monthly subscription that ships award-winning wines right to your door.

Visit the mixed-use destination Lee + White in the West End where you’ll find restaurants, retailers and numerous breweries. Pick up a hand-selected combination of beers from Hops City, gift a case of brews from Best End Brewery, enjoy to-go beer and merch at Wild Heaven Beer, or visit the ever-growing list of brewers in person to find your favorite. If beer isn’t your thing, find an aged bottle of craft whiskey from the ASW Distillery

If you’re still not sure where to start for holiday shopping, head out and explore the city. You won’t have to go far to find something unique that your loved ones won’t find elsewhere. 

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