I moved to Atlanta 9 years ago and fell in love with the traditions that make the south what it is, and also the energy and culture that has come into the metro area and made it a mixing pot of old, new, and international.
Atlanta and its suburbs are a new and unexpected hub for all things wellness and food. The local initiatives that have been put into place, along with all the parks, trails, and waterways make staying healthy both fun and easy. Here are some of the best places to pursue health and wellness in Metro Atlanta.
HOW I MOVE
I take it outside.
Piedmont Park [piedmontpark.org] , which is Atlanta’s largest park, is host to dozens of boot camps, running groups and recreational sports clubs. I personally like to get out there for a long walk, take in the beautiful scenery and fresh air, and take my dog, Jade to the dog park to meet up with her pup pals. Because Atlanta is host to a booming filming industry, you may even find yourself as an extra in the next box office hit!
I take it to Stone Mountain [stonemountainpark.com] when I want to get a good HIIT workout in. With a pretty steep incline, as well as a mile long climb, it’s a great way to get outdoors and get your sweat on.
HOW I EAT
It may come as a surprise to some, but Atlanta has a huge food scene. For locals and tourist alike there are hundreds of restaurants and many incorporate sustainable practices and fresh and local produce.
Ardens Garden [ardensgarden.com] is an Atlanta-based family-owned juice company founded in 1995. They have several stores in the local area, and there juices and smoothies are all-natural delicious. Stop in and try my favorite, the Spinach Slam.
Souper Jenny [souperjennyatl.com] is a collection of neighborhood cafes that serve soups and sandwiches made from ingredients that are locally sourced and amazing. Their menu changes daily and they have a lot of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan offerings!
Anticos [littleitalia.com] is a local favorite that serves Italian-style pizza using fresh ingredients. They make their dough in-house, and you can watch the pizzas being made in the brick ovens that they use. They have a cult-like following and most nights have a line out the door, so don’t try to go too late, as they only stay open as long as they have dough.
I also cook….a lot. Cooking helps to calm me and is a great stress reliever. I use fresh and local ingredients as much as possible, so I trek over to Decatur to the Dekalb Farmers Market [dekalbfarmersmarket.com] to stock my fridge every week. It is a huge international market that carries food goods from all over the world. I can buy my ingredients in bulk and they have a lot of affordable organic options. I love their coffee and fresh ground nut butters (you can watch them do it)!
HOW I PLAY
The Beltline [beltline.org] is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta. It’s host to many activities throughout the year. On any given weekend there is a festival or event happening.
Skyline Park [skylineparkatlanta.com] is modeled after an old-timey carnival. It’s perched high on the top of the Ponce City Market. It is family-friendly and has games like derby race, skee-ball and ring toss. There is also putt-putt golf.
HOW I RESTORE
Phoenix and Dragon [phoenixanddragon.com] From the moment you enter it’s like you are in another world. It is a book and gift store and one of the largest stores specializing in metaphysical products in the south. It’s the best place to buy crystals and candles or get a tarot card reading. The energy in this store is so calm and amazing. I love it. Say hi to the cats that live there!
On Tuesdays in the summer & fall, local popsicle company King of Pops hosts Yoga in the Park [http://beltline.org/event/yoga/] at Old Fourth Ward Skate Park. It’s a great meetup for friends and it helps calm and center me for the rest of the week. Did I mention it’s free!?