Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2010

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FAM REPORT#2 AFFORDABLE ATLANTA BY MICHAEL BENNETT Watching our wallets in down eco- nomic times is just a fact of life. As we cycle through the worst economy since the Great Depression, consumers are cutting back on their discretionary spending. Unfortunately for us, that includes vacations and weekend get- aways. But vacations need not be expen- sive. The city of Atlanta has numer- ous options for the cash-strapped traveler that is both fun and inexpen- sive. I spent three days in Atlanta and I don’t think I spent more than $20 on any venue and many of the places I visited were free. Here is a little taste of how I spent my time in one of my favorite cities. My first stop was Turner Field to take in a baseball game. As a sports junkie, I was right at home. Over 30 percent of the seats are under $20 per game with 4,000 tickets priced at $6. As a baseball historian of sorts, the tour of the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame capped off a great evening. The following morning I had break- fast atWest Egg Café. West Egg is an independent coffeehouse and sand- wich shop with easy access from Midtown, Georgia Tech, Atlantic Station,Buckhead andDowntown. My omelet, endless cups of coffee and of course free wireless Internet access made me feel right at home. West Egg is located at the intersection of 14th Street and HowellMill Road. Following breakfast was the 55- minute Inside CNN Studio Tour. This behind the scenes look included watching a live broadcast with anchor Heidi Collins. We got to see the tech- nology and have a few laughs in front of a “green screen.” Tours are avail- able from9amto 5pmand leave every 30 Photo Credits: Atlanta CVB 10 minutes. Prices are $13 or less depending on age group. Following the CNN tour we stopped by the National Patriot Museum located across from the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park. This museum is a tribute to all of our first responders and military with some great photo ops. Check out the fully restored World War II jeep. There’s tributes to everyone from the Tuskegee Airmen to Rosie the Riveter. The museum fea- tures a memorable journey through the tragedy of September 11. Next up was a picnic lunch in Centennial Olympic Park during Music at Noon. With kids playing in the fountains nearby, we were treated to some great live R & B music. Those of us visiting the city weren’t alone, as many workers from the nearby office buildings seemed to enjoy the park’s relaxing atmosphere during their lunch break. After lunch it was time for a behind the scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium. This was one of my favorite tours as we were able to see how the aquarium operated and the special care taken of the most majestic of underwa- ter creatures. A new dolphin exhibit is slated to open in late 2010. A short ride away was Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s a beautiful 30- acres of outdoor displays and features the Fuqua Orchid Center and Conservatory. For you meeting and event planners this is a great place to host an indoor or outdoor event. Go to One ofAtlanta’s best dinner spots is Peasant Bistro. Its cosmopolitan feel overlooks Centennial Olympic Park and theAtlanta skyline. Themenu fea- tures traditional bistro favorites with French andMediterranean influences. If you’ve never taken a SegwayTour you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a great way to view the city without walking. We toured everything from the Martin Luther King National Historic Site to the Georgia State Capital and UndergroundAtlanta. In closing here’s a short, but not all- inclusive list ofwhat you can see and do in Atlanta for free – Atlantic Station, CastleberryHill,FederalReserve Bank and Monetary Museum, Educational Freedom, International Civil Rights Hall of Fame,The GovernorsMansion, and the SweetAuburnDistrict. There’s more so just go and have a good time. Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2010:

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