After enjoying the lovely confines of the Atlanta airport probably no less than a dozen times in my life, I finally got to actually enjoy the city this past weekend. Sidney and I went on a short and sweet trip where we had the opportunity to watch a couple Braves games and partake in some other fun Atlanta activities.
On Saturday morning at 6 a.m. sharp we departed from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta. The six hour drive seemed about half that length and by noon we were pulling into downtown Atlanta. We checked into the Best Western Peachtree hotel and then started our exploration of the city. We looked around at some of the downtown tourist attractions and it was busy. A massive Jehovas Witness convention was taking place in Atlanta and many of those folks and their children were living up the city life. With lines much too long for some of the things we wanted to see we just strolled through Centennial Park, walked inside the CNN Center, and relaxed at the bar of an upscale seafood restaurant.
By that time we needed to start making our way to Turner Field. We utilized the city’s transportation system, the Marta, to take us to the hub of the station. From there we boarded a free shuttle that dropped us off right at the stadium. There is nothing in life I like more than walking into a Major League Baseball stadium for the first time. I was like a kid in a candy shop as we walked around Turner Field. We hung out in the center field restaurant/bar for a little bit and then we went over to the visiting team’s bullpen area and watched from that vantage point for a little bit. With the 4:10 p.m. first pitch approaching between the Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, Sid and I went to our seats just past the first base line. Only a few rows up, we had spectacular seats.
We had an absolute blast watching the game. Although the Braves spotted the Diamondbacks a 3-0 first inning lead the home team buckled down and defeated Arizona 10-4. Although the seats were amazing, Sidney could have done with a little less sun. It was true, we were at the mercy of the strong Atlanta rays for pretty much the whole game. I lost a lot of liquid in the form of sweat by sitting in my seat but it never really bothered me too much because I was having such a good time. After the game we took public transportation back to the hotel and took much needed showers.
We marked our lone night in Atlanta by walking to the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel. It was there that we took an elevator 73 stories up to a viewing center/bar area. Once on top we enjoyed gorgeous night views of the city. Sidney and I pointed out various buildings and landmarks. After hanging out in the rotating lounge area (it makes one complete full rotation every hour) we navigated the elevator back down to ground level.
The next morning I ate way too much of our hotel’s yummy hot breakfast. We then checked out and went back to the CNN Center where we purchased tickets to take the actual tour. At 9:40 a.m. we reported to a security checkpoint where we walked through a metal detector, rode up a huge escalator, and then started a tour of the world’s largest news organization. After the CNN tour we purchased some Braves gear at the team store in the CNN Center and then we walked across the street to the World of Coca-Cola where we took the tour there. Once we had tasted our fair share of Coke products we got back on the Marta and went to Turner Field for the 1:30 series finale between the Braves and Diamondbacks. I purchased a couple tickets from a scalper and we went back inside the stadium.
While I splurged for Saturday’s tickets, it was cheap seat mania for Sunday’s game. We sat in the upper deck although we were right behind home plate. Sidney and I had a very chill time just relaxing, eating ice cream, and watching baseball. We took the game in from high up and enjoyed all the in-game entertainment. However, we must had done something wrong as Atlanta’s nine game winning streak came to an end as the Diamondbacks defeated the Braves, 3-1. After the game we took the Marta back to the hub station and walked to our vehicle at the hotel and departed Atlanta. Just 42 hours after setting out on our adventure we arrived back in Myrtle Beach at midnight.
A little more info about Turner Field, CNN, and Coca-Cola…
Turner Field – As I sat in Turner Field I kept thinking how cool it was that I was in the stadium that housed the Summer Olympics. With that said, the place is completely converted to a baseball facility so it is difficult to picture it as a multipurpose Olympic complex. What will really jump out to you about Turner Field is the video board. It is HUGE, by far the largest I have seen at a MLB park. Although not high def, it was entertaining to watch. Every seat in the park is great and getting in and out of the stadium is a breeze. As for the fan experience the Braves are obsessed with the Tomahawk Chop. Turner Field will cue the chant over and over and over again…but it was fun. The seventh inning stretch song is “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The team has a stadium host that runs promotions involving fans from a designated spot in the ballpark which leaves a little to be desired. Overall Turner Field is a wonderful ballpark. I am glad I got to see it before the team leaves for a new facility in 2017.
CNN Tour – As a news junkie who has a fascination with live television, I knew from the start that I wanted to do the CNN tour. A 55 minute guided walking tour we got to see the inner workings of both CNN and HLN. We saw a model control room, studios, newsroom floor, weather forecasting technology, and much more. Throughout the tour we passed large photos of major personalities such as Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and Robin Meade. The highlight of the tour came when we got to see CNN anchor Victor Blackwell finish up a segment. When he finished he waved to us (we were standing behind glass) and then he actually came around to where we were at and said hi! It was pretty sweet. Sidney and I got a really cool picture sitting behind the CNN anchor desk.
Coca-Cola Tour – Although more of a Pepsi fan myself, I still love Coca-Cola history. During this tour we saw some really cool Coke memorabilia and mementos. We also saw very interesting displays and exhibits including how Coke is bottled. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the absolute coolest part was the soda tasting session at the conclusion of the tour. Upon exiting you get to enter an area with seven stations where you can drink soft drinks until your heart explodes. The seven stations represent the seven continents and at each station there are several sodas that represent the various countries of that particular continent. You are free to take generous sized cups and fill it with the different sodas. I tried everything from watermelon pop to discontinued Coke products to a blueberry selection. After you passed the continent stations you could enter a section where they had about ten different taps just serving classic Coca-Cola. On your way out they even give you a glass bottle of Coke that was bottled on site. The Coke tour was AWESOME and I highly recommend that anyone who visits Atlanta takes time to do it.
What a great weekend it was in Atlanta. Sidney and I crammed a lot in and really enjoyed the city. I love exploring the South and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. In fact, I am already planning my next trip. Don’t Blink.