Bill Kaelin

Bill Kaelin: Loving downtown living

I was recently homeless. My bedroom was being remodeled and my entire home was full of dust and workers covered in dust. At the same time, the air-conditioning was broken at my boyfriend’s home and we only had a mattress on the floor to sleep on, since we sold everything while preparing to finally move in together.

We were in a strange transition between homes, and on top of it all, I was having one of my busiest weeks ever. I couldn’t focus, and being hot while sitting on a floor trying to work was making me boil with frustration. I was so stressed out that I had to move out. Fortunately, I was able to move right into The Westin Peachtree Plaza. Flying solo without my boyfriend for a few days, I settled into my gorgeous room on the 50th floor, which has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the skyscrapers of Downtown. The view was stunning, and it immediately made me start humming the words to the 1964 Petula Clark song, “Downtown:”

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown.
When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown.”

I lived inside a bubblegum pop song for a few days and was loving being a resident of our city center.

Downtown Atlanta gets a bad rap. For years, all that seemed to exist in the heart of our city was crime and Underground Atlanta, but so much of that has changed due to the massive growth of Georgia State University, the development around Centennial Olympic Park and the brand-new Atlanta Streetcar.

Thanks to $5 UberX rides, it is now easier than ever to come to Downtown and enjoy amazing arts, music and dining, and there is no better place to start your adventure than at the Peachtree Plaza, home to the iconic Sun Dial restaurant and lounge. Hands down, there is no better 360-degree view of the city than on the 73rd floor. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride on the rotating floor that allows you to see everything from Stone Mountain to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You are completely surrounded by Atlanta’s gorgeous and unique skyline. The Sun Dial is the perfect spot to have a cocktail, watch the sunset or grab dinner before seeing Madonna at Phillips Arena or dancing your butt off to Disclosure at the super-cool Tabernacle.

This summer, my client the W Atlanta Downtown is hosting a wide variety of public events every weekend at Wetbar, its stunning penthouse pool bar. The Saturday event, appropriately called PLAY, encourages locals to experience urban life under the sun, and will feature a community Crosley record player with a slew of new and vintage vinyl records for guests to listen to at their leisure while lounging poolside. Beachball bingo and giant Jenga will also be on hand, with chances to win bar tabs, spa services at Bliss and even overnight stays at the hotel, so you can see how cool downtown Atlanta has become.

Finally, if food is what you’re looking for, the Sweet Auburn Market has a little bit of everything. This unique Downtown curbside shopping center has been around since 1924, long before the trendy times of Krog or Ponce City Markets. It is super cool, and houses locally owned vendors like the original Grindhouse Burger, Bell Street Burritos, the Sweet Auburn Bakery, and insane butchers like the Porky Pig, where you can buy everything from hooves to hormone-free chickens and Georgia grown produce. I am embarrassed to admit I had never visited Sweet Auburn Municipal Market until my recent stay Downtown, but I fell in love with it and stopped by every day.

Downtown is quickly becoming one of my favorite Atlanta destinations. The announcement of the recent purchase of Underground has only made the excitement and buzz grow, so now is really the time you should go visit.

“Things will be great when you’re Downtown.
Don’t wait a minute more, Downtown!
Everything is waiting for you.”