From big-name shopping to luxurious, family-friendly outdoor spaces to on-point attention to detail everywhere you look, Alpharetta, Georgia wowed us from the moment we arrived. Here’s a look at our getaway to Alpharetta and all the things we loved about the gorgeous, inspired Tech City of the South, set just four hours south of Nashville.
A week ago, all we knew about Alpharetta, Georgia was that its chef-driven restaurants were getting a lot of attention and that big-city Atlanta wasn’t too far away. Now, after a weekend babymoon getaway to Awesome Alpharetta, I can tell you it is all that and more. The 86-acre Avalon community felt like the Disney World of shopping/eating living: everything is beautiful, everything is fancy, everything provokes a “wow.” The restaurants–both in Avalon and in downtown Alpharetta–were unique, bold concepts nowhere near the typical cookie-cutter brands you’d expect to find in a suburban town. And, most of all to this six-months-pregnant woman, Alpharetta was notably the first-ever place Tim and I have visited together on a blog trip and thought, “Hey, here’s a place where we could bring back our kid!” So, hear that, Baby? Family Vacation 2016. Dreaming about it now.
Below are some of the highlights of the food, beauty and accommodations we enjoyed in Alpharetta!
THE FOOD //
South Main Kitchen: The same aesthetic you see on this restaurant’s website carries over into every part of its interior and menu. Step inside to rough wood floors, servers in chambray, an open kitchen and exposed brick walls, alongside a menu of farm-to-table entrees like Springer Mountain chicken atop buckwheat groats and perfectly cooked salmon on a combination of white beans, kale and parsnips. The kale and Brussels sprouts salad/slaw that I had with my sandwich would make anyone love cruciferous vegetables, that’s how good the lemon dijon dressing was.
The El Felix: Long lines of people come to The El Felix for the food, but personally, while Tim and I ate there with Caitlyn from The Alpharetta Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, I could not get over the design choices: essentially, if Anthropologie were a Tex Mex restaurant, this is what it would look like, I kid you not. It’s the latest restaurant from Ford Fry (the same guy behind Atlanta’s The Optimist and JCT Kitchen), and it boasts a menu of nachos, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and more. Thinking I’d keep things light, I got the house salad with chicken fajitas and oooooh boy it was not your mama’s house salad. HUGE. Loaded with avocado. So filling I could only eat half. Also worth mentioning: the bright and tangy guacamole with house-fried chips, oh my!
Caffé Gio: Caitlin didn’t have to twist our arms to visit Caffé Gio, the gelateria/bakery branch of super popular pizza place Antico (ah! next time!). We split the killer pistachio gelato and a slice of cake, and I will never forget how Baby started moving like crazy while I gave him the white sugar (pretty sure his first ever and woah he noticed).
Colletta: Aesthetically, Colletta reminds me of Nashville’s Husk: grand, quality, large scale—only, menu-wise, it’s Italian, with a menu of pizzas, pastas and roasted vegetables and meat. We spent two hours over a leisurely dinner that made us feel like we were in Europe, sharing Cerignola and Margherita pizzas, linguini with peas and mint pesto and a plate of roasted winter vegetables. They surprised us with dessert and the almond-flavored pudding was a definite standout.
Mittie’s Tea Room: Mittie’s has everything you’d expect from a traditional little tea room, from the teapot at your table to the little sandwiches and brunch items on the menu.
THE SITES & SHOPPING //
Top Golf: Traffic getting into the city Friday night kept us from keeping plans to go try Top Golf, but if you’re ever in Alpharetta, check this place with over 3 levels, 100+ bays and a rooftop terrace out!
Avalon: The concierge at Avalon was nice enough to take us on a walking tour of the complex, which in the 70-something-degree weather was a pure treat. Just opened last October, Avalon is not like any other shopping/dining/living center I’ve visited. It’s all about the experience of being at Avalon, so it has plenty of outdoor lounge areas, not your basic lounge areas either, but luxurious ones with adirondack chairs and bocce ball courts and outdoor fireplaces. It also hosts events regularly to draw in the public, like its recent St. Patrick’s Day party or the current Instagram contest to win free movie tickets. This place blew us away. We shopped at favorites like Crate + Barrel, ate at Avalon restaurants like The El Felix and Colletta, strolled by fountains reminiscent of European town squares, spent an hour or so in the sun people-watching and hung out on a swing while a toddler played in the space straight in front of us. In addition to shopping and dining, Avalon has housing, too, not to mention a new Whole Foods where we loaded up on probiotics with a quart of kefir. This is easily a place where you can spend the whole day.
Downtown Alpharetta: Currently in the midst of redevelopment, downtown Alpharetta has both historic buildings and brand-new construction sitting side by side. It’s where we enjoyed dinner at South Main Kitchen and breakfast at Mittie’s, and on nice days it’s a great place to stroll around (or take a historic tour!) and enjoy your surroundings.
North Point Mall: A third hub in Alpharetta is this shopping center, which is notable for, among other things, having an American Girl Store. I will confess to you that while we didn’t make it into the mall proper, we did spend some time at Buy Buy Baby, a baby superstore we don’t have in Nashville, and woah, guys, there is a lot of baby merchandise out there. Hopefully I’ll go back here some day when it’s less terrifying.
Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway: This time of year is the perfect time to take advantage of the 12-foot-wide paved path that runs a little more than eight miles and connects to mountain bike trails.
THE ACCOMMODATIONS //
Hilton Garden Inn Alpharetta: We were blessed to get to stay at this comfortable, quiet, well-decorated hotel, where we enjoyed a large room with a king-sized bed and a separate sitting area with a pull-out bed, not to mention a bathroom with a jetted tub. Extra bonus: this place has a far better continental breakfast than any other hotel where we’ve stayed, and so one morning we both loaded up on huge plates of fresh fruit with made-to-order eggs.
(PS: Another option we’d recommend is to book an AirBNB in the area. If you use this link, you should get $20 off your booking and I’ll get a $20 credit, too.)
Thanks for touring Alpharetta with us through this post! We are so thankful for the opportunity to expand our perspective of the South, see more of Georgia and get away together while we’re still just us two. Also, as a bonus we didn’t even expect, we were both honestly so impressed with this city and genuinely hope and plan to return again soon. We love Alpharetta! Learn more about this place at AwesomeAlpharetta.com and ExperienceAvalon.com.
Our accommodations and most meals were provided for us on this trip, but as always all opinions expressed are our own. Special thanks to The Alpharetta Convention & Visitors’ Bureau and especially to Caitlyn Blizzard, director of communications, for arranging our itinerary and accompanying us for a while Saturday afternoon. That girl makes trip-planning look so easy! And in this trip she gave us one of our best media trips to date, no doubt about that.