Bill Kaelin

Bill Kaelin: Rediscovering downtown ATL

It’s no secret that many Atlantans have stayed far away from downtown unless they had the unfortunate luck to serve on jury duty, but thanks to my friends purchasing a gorgeous new home in the historical Healey building overlooking Woodruff Park, I’ve been hanging out a lot in our city’s center and quite frankly, I have fallen in love.

I have spent more time in the past few weeks downtown than in my own Midtown neighborhood due to a series of events, meetings and social gatherings. Our city takes on an entire new look and feel when you break out of your comfort zone and explore everything downtown has to offer. All it takes is a short $5 ride with Lyft and it can really seem like you are “getting away,” making it the perfect destination for your next affordable staycation in your own back yard.

Planning a long weekend away in Atlanta is quite simple if you’re a music lover. All you have to do is keep an eye on all the upcoming shows at The Tabernacle or Philips Arena to create your own adventure around your favorite touring artist. Last month alone I saw Beyoncé dance her butt off and Santigold shine all in the heart of our city. During the month of May, Centennial Olympic Park will host both The Shaky Knees and Shaky Beats festivals with hoards of electronic and alternative bands helping to make #DTATL a blast.

The W Atlanta Downtown is the perfect place to book a room for your home away from home. The hotel is offering special rates all summer long for locals to get away without leaving town and has lots of cool stuff happening every weekend at their rooftop pool and bar.

Every Saturday, W Atlanta Downtown is encouraging guests to put down their phones and play by the pool with special bingo games with giveaways including bar tabs, massages at their on-site spa Bliss and even complimentary overnight stays. The art of chilling out is what Sundays are all about when local Atlanta luxury yoga studio Exhale hosts a special water yoga event every week called H20m, where guests participate in a special yoga class overlooking the skyline of Downtown Atlanta. Thanks to Handpicked Atlanta—an app powered by Scoutmob—you can buy a pool pass for the entire weekend.

And you can always add a little history to all the hot downtown summer days in your future by visiting the beautiful and inspiring National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Sometimes all it takes to recharge is a change of scenery. Whether you go downtown for the afternoon or an overnight stay in one of the many 5-star hotels, now is the perfect time to reengage with your hometown and proudly post all of your Instagram pics as a temporary tourist: #WeLoveATL