The vibrant Capital of the New South, Atlanta has been recognized as the only U.S. city in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 and National Geographic’s Best of the World 2022 for its role in history and culture. World-class restaurants, hotels, attractions, and events help make Atlanta the center for entertainment in the South.
New Hotels + Upcoming Openings
Bellyard Hotel is a boutique hotel located at The Interlock on Atlanta’s buzzy Westside and is chock-full of luxurious amenities, including Japanese soaking tubs. Relax in the art-filled garden courtyard or sip one of 250 spirits at Drawbar, which boasts skyline views from the outdoor terrace. The hotel opened in May 2021.
Epicurean Atlanta is a AAA Four-Diamond luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Midtown Atlanta that pays homage to the area’s culinary evolution with its own insatiable creativity and inspired vision. With 178 guest rooms and 22 suites with tailor-made furnishings and artisan pantries serving up thoughtfully selected offerings, the hotel also boasts a rooftop resort-style pool and climate-controlled cabanas with private butler service. Guests can dine at three distinctive food outlets including Reverence, the hotel’s signature restaurant; Aerial Kitchen & Bar, a rooftop grille on the 9th floor outdoor Sky Terrace; and a lobby bar offering everything from breakfast to bourbon. The 16-story hotel opened on West Peachtree Street in September 2021.
Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta represents the storied history of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. This upscale, stylish boutique hotel’s design was inspired by Georgia’s ancient pottery heritage coupled with the evolution of a modern Buckhead as a premier fashion, business, and entertainment destination. Located along the edge of Lenox Square shopping center and close to Path400, Shops Around Lenox, and Phipps Plaza, guests will enjoy having a bounty of plentiful dining and entertainment options to explore. Check into luxury rooms and suites; indulge in delicious Montreal-inspired dishes made fresh for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Mount Royal, the ground-floor restaurant; and enjoy small plates and craft cocktails at Spaceman, the indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and lounge. The hotel opened in December 2021.
ATLNext, a $6 billion modernization project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will include the development of a new Hilton hotel and travel plaza on the airport’s campus. Construction of the 541-room hotel, the first to be built at Hartsfield-Jackson and attached to the airport, is expected to be completed in 2022.
Centennial Yards is a 50-acre redevelopment project that will include 12 million square feet of mixed-use space, including offices, apartments, hotels, retail shops, and restaurants. Construction began in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024.
Kimpton Wade Hotel is slated to open in the heart of Midtown Atlanta in Summer 2022 in the buzzing Midtown Union neighborhood. The boutique hotel will feature 230 rooms, a chef-driven restaurant and bar, and a second-story bar and lounge. It will be situated at 17th Street and West Peachtree Street.
Passport Springs and Spa is set to open in Fall 2023. It is an immersive hot springs spa that’ll be located along the Ronald Reagan corridor near Atlanta. The largest spa in North America, visitors will be able to soak in pools amid a tropical jungle, float in North America’s largest Dead Sea pool, recline in a Roman courtyard, and sip sake under a pagoda. Through captivating architecture, inspiring landscapes, and state-of-the-art lighting, you’ll experience a social buzz like never before. Each pavilion (themed as Japan, Costa Rica, Rome, Israel) will replicate the architecture, landscaping, sights, sounds and cuisines of its international source destination, as well as the mineral profile of its hot springs.
Georgia World Congress Center announced it is expanding its campus to include a new headquarter hotel, pedestrian mall, and transportation depot. Signia by Hilton Atlanta will be a full-service hotel featuring nearly 1,000 rooms, a chef-driven restaurant and bar, meeting and event spaces, and a ballroom. It is projected to open in January 2024 and will be the first newly-constructed Signia by Hilton in the world. The Andrew Young International Boulevard projects include a pedestrian mall that will connect to the Signia by Hilton hotel and a transportation depot that will improve traffic conditions, both of which will enhance the visitor experience.
New Restaurants + Upcoming Openings
Chattahoochee Food Works, curated by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern and Robert Montwaid, is a new 25,000-square-foot food hall located at The Works in the heart of Atlanta’s Upper Westside. It offers guests more than 30 diverse eateries with an eclectic bar and spacious indoor and outdoor seating. The food hall opened in Spring 2021.
Politan Row is an urban food hall that opened at Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta in June 2021. It features 11 independent restaurant concepts, a private event space, a patio bar, and its very own hidden cocktail lounge across a 20,000-square-foot complex. The local food line-up offers variety, fun, and endless exploration.
Lucian Books and Wine, located at Modera Buckhead, opened in Summer 2021 by husband-and-wife team Katie Barringer and Jordan Smelt who have merged their love for books, wine, food, and London at this bookshop and wine bar concept. Lucian specializes in selling books centered around art, design, food, and culture, and carries nearly 250 wines by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass, all carefully curated by Smelt.
After finding quick success with Isan Thai restaurant Tum Pok Pok, Jakkrit Tuanphakdee and Adidsara Weerasin opened Yao Atlanta in August 2021, an elegant, multi-level Thai-Chinese restaurant near Perimeter Center. Yao also serves a small selection of Japanese-inspired dishes, including spicy teriyaki tofu, Ishiyaki wagyu served Thai style, and cha siu pork belly, along with a section of appetizers such as crab wontons, truffle parmesan chips, and prawn taro rolls.
Tre Vele is a new Italian restaurant and market located at City Walk in Sandy Springs. It offers coffee and pastries by morning, sandwiches and pizza at lunch, and handmade pasta in the evenings. Above the dining room, a rooftop terrace features a bar and lounge seating throughout the space complete with fire pits. The restaurant is owned by longtime Atlanta chef Ian Winslade and brothers Ryan and Jonathan Akly. Tre Vele opened in September 2021.
Led by James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson, Mount Royal is an ode to the place where he spent much of his youth, Montréal, Québec. Drawing on French techniques, this steakhouse serves a menu comprised of the finest local harvests from the Southeast and offers an approachable wine list, handcrafted cocktails, and plenty of Southern charm and hospitality. The restaurant is located in the Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta hotel, which opened in December 2021.
Oreatha's at The Point and Serenidad: Chef Deborah VanTrece is one of the South's most recognized culinary personalities, best-selling author, and founder of the VanTrece Hospitality Group. Chef Deborah's award-winning restaurant, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, is one of the top restaurants in the trendy West Midtown Atlanta neighborhood. This spring, Chef VanTrece has partnered with local developer Shea Embry to revitalize the historic Cascade Heights neighborhood in Atlanta with two new restaurants, Oreatha's at The Point and Serenidad. Cascade Heights was the birthplace of luminaries such as the late John Lewis, beloved civil rights leader and former U.S. Congressman; baseball icon Hank Aaron; and Andrew Young, former U.S. Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, and 55th Mayor of Atlanta.
The first restaurant, Oreatha's at The Point, opened in March 2022. Named after Chef VanTrece's mother, Oreatha's at The Point pays tribute to mothers and comfort food dishes from around the world. Simply put, the menu features home-cooked dishes that mothers around the world make for their children.
The second restaurant, Serenidad, is slated to open later this year just steps away from Oreatha's at The Point. Like Twisted Soul, the menu will feature Latin soul food dishes influenced by Chef VanTrece's extensive travels throughout Latin America – and globally – as a flight attendant. The menu will put a creative spin on Latin dishes and pay homage to the people and cultures in Latin American destinations.
Leave of Absence at The Interlock is a Mediterranean resort-style pool, bar, and restaurant that will serve Coastal European fare. It is scheduled to open in Spring 2022.
Famed chef Duane Nutter and restaurateur Reggie Washington will be opening a second location of their Mobile, Alabama restaurant Southern National in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood, which was founded by formerly enslaved people who opened successful businesses in 1865. Southern National is expected to open in Summer 2022.
Illuminarium Atlanta: From exhilarating natural wonders to enriching cultural moments and beyond, Illuminarium delivers a sensory experience like no other by fully immersing you in the world’s most extraordinary experiences. This experiential attraction and immersive event space is located along the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail and was the first of its kind. Situated just south of Ponce City Market, this unique facility offers an outdoor café and nighttime bar experience.
Atlanta Beltline: Atlanta’s influential paved path continues to expand and offer new locations to explore. The Eastside Trail opens extensions through Old Fourth Ward and Reynoldstown. Across town, the 3-mile Westside Trail connects several southwest Atlanta neighborhoods and houses several local food and beverage concepts, including Monday Night Brewing Garage and Wild Heaven Beer.
Georgia Aquarium Expansion: The largest aquarium in the Western hemisphere is even bigger with a redesigned entry and a new gallery featuring sharks. The latest exhibit, Sharks! Predators of the Deep, features 1.2 million gallons of water, offering a new experience for guests and doubles as an event space.
Scent Discovery Exhibit at World of Coca-Cola: This new aromatic experience pairs visitors with a Coca-Cola Ambassador to guess the origin of a variety of scents. Guides educate guests on the anatomy of smell – from reception to perception – to determine which aroma profiles and Coca-Cola beverages may become new favorites.
Located in the heart of Plant Riverside District, the luxurious JW Marriott Savannah is the Hostess City’s new “it” place to stay. Spread across three buildings, there are a total of 419 stunning rooms. Each building offers a unique experience. Reserve a room in the reimagined Power Plant featuring historic architectural details and a life-size, chrome-dipped dinosaur in the vibrant lobby; escape to a romantic atmosphere with iconic views of the Savannah River at the Three Muses building; or indulge in bespoke luxury defined by contemporary maritime details at the Atlantic building, which completed the hotel in Fall 2021.
Find luxury along the Savannah River at Thompson Savannah, a modern hotel located at the junction of the Historic District and the up-and-coming Eastern Wharf District. A stepping stone to experience the city’s best, Thompson Savannah is an urban oasis to relax, revitalize, and rejuvenate. Featuring thoughtful design that combines historic architectural details and contemporary flair, the hotel’s style honors Savannah's vibrant history and celebrates the local community. With 193 guestrooms including 21 suites, the building was intentionally designed to be perpendicular to the river, allowing all rooms to have sweeping, west-facing views of the cityscape or expansive, east-facing views of the Savannah River, coastal islands and Atlantic Ocean. Be immersed in local ingredients as regional classics mix with global flavors at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Fleeting. For a birds-eye view of downtown Savannah, the Savannah River, and Eastern Wharf, check out the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Bar Julian, featuring handcrafted cocktails, Mediterranean-inspired snacks, and wood-fired pizza. Thompson Savannah opened in Summer 2021.
New Restaurants + Upcoming Openings
Ardsley Station, one of Savannah’s newest eateries, specializes in American Southern cuisine and features a variety of menu items, from poutine and mac & cheese to light bites and handcrafted cocktails. Located off the beaten path in the undeniably hip Starland District, the restaurant offers outdoor patio seating and a fun atmosphere for date nights, small gatherings, and special events. Ardsley Station opened in Spring 2021.
If you enjoy sipping your coffee in a gorgeous space, head straight for Franklin's on Liberty Street. This Instagram-worthy spot not only has a delightful cafe beverage menu (including boozy coffee) but also serves up delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch items. The croque-monsieur is one of the most popular items on the menu.
Zunzibar is a hybrid eatery that combines the delicious food menu of Zunzi's with the imaginative drink menu of Treylor Park. Zunzibar is a fusion of two fan-favorite Savannah restaurants in the heart of the historic city. The restaurant opened in Spring 2021.
Common Thread, nestled in Savannah's Victorian District, is the city's newest cornerstone of farm-to-table dining experiences. Opened in January 2021, the restaurant is founded on the commitment to producing, providing and serving only locally-sourced foods.
Andrew Brochu, the founding chef behind one of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants, Roister, has left the Windy City for Savannah, and he will open Brochu’s Family Tradition in Starland District this summer. Expect an informal, coastal-leaning joint focused on quality-minded eats and drinks inspired by crab boils and barbecues Andrew attended growing up.
Chef Kyle Jacovino, who heads up Savannah’s Pizzeria Vittoria is eyeing his second concept. Lucía takes shape as a casual spot dedicated to grinders, which is basically a sub sandwich. Jacovino is known for his excellent pizza dough, so it’s no surprise to hear that he’ll be baking all bread in-house using heritage grains for this new project. Think crusty hearth-baked rolls stuffed with fillings like wood-fired sausage and peppers, eggplant or meatball Parmesan, plus revolving house-made pasta specials such as baked pork sugo cannelloni, and tagliatelle bolognese. The restaurant is expected to debut in Summer 2022.
Plant Riverside District is a former power plant that has been transformed into a vibrant entertainment destination on the Savannah Riverfront, offering luxury hotel stays at the new JW Marriott, rooftop lounges like Electric Moon and Myrtle & Rose, live concerts at District Live, riverside restaurants, and high-end shops. Plant Riverside District opened in Summer 2020.
Savannah Underground combines live theatre with a ghost tour in a black box-style performance space. The perfect blend of theatrical entertainment and spooky storytelling, Savannah Underground is unlike any other attraction in the city. The entrance can be tricky to find, tucked away on West Boundary Street beneath the I-16 flyover, but once guests arrive, they will be immersed in the three creepy, true tales that play out around them in a 360-degree set.
The highly-anticipated Enmarket Arena is a 9,500-seat-capacity sports and events venue that is located a mile west of Savannah’s Historic District. Attendees to the arena can catch big-name performances and concerts like Bon Jovi, Pit Bull, Andrea Bocelli, and more. For sports fans, catch a Savannah Ghost Pirates hockey game during their winter season. Opened to the public in February 2022, Enmarket Arena is the first milestone in a larger development plan for Savannah's west side.
Originally located on the south end of the island, the Tybee Island Marine Science Center has been reimagined into a 5,000-square-foot facility that overlooks the beach on the island’s north side. The center shares a parking lot with the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum, creating an educational space on the island. Inside, the building features touch tanks, floating classrooms, life-size replicas of sea turtles, information kiosks, and more. Also located inside is the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, an interactive display where visitors can learn more about Georgia's unique underwater park. Outside, there is an amphitheater, underground level with classrooms, and direct beach access. This state-of-the-art facility opened in May 2021.
Sea Wolf Tybee is truly a one-of-a-kind place. The weekly menus rotate with religious regularity and are full of fresh oysters, vegan creations, gourmet hot dogs, and inventive cocktails. Don't leave Tybee Island without stopping by this eclectic, coastal hangout! Sea Wolf Tybee opened in late 2020.
The Chattahoochee River in Columbus is a popular whitewater rafting and kayaking destination, as it is the world’s longest urban whitewater course. The city was selected to host the World Cup Kayaking competition in October 2022 and the World Championship in June 2023.
City Mills is Columbus’ first luxury boutique hotel, which opened its first building in September 2021 just steps away from the Chattahoochee River. Original brick walls. Hand-crafted metalworks. Preserved artifacts. Decorative local works of art. Every square inch of City Mills reflects its unique history and integrated collaboration between historians, designers, architects, and artisans who brought a vision to life. The hotel’s second building of rooms is set to open in Summer 2022, and its restaurant, Millhouse Kitchen + Bar, is slated to open in Fall 2022.
MidCity Yards is a new destination in Columbus where friends, family and neighbors come together to have fun and wind down. In addition to the already-opened Fetch Dog Park, a BBQ restaurant and brewery & tasting room are set to open this year.
990 Broad Street in downtown Augusta will be home to a two-in-one concept with Pho-Ramen’L and Tacocat. The two restaurants will be located in the same building, sharing one kitchen. Pho-Ramen’L, which opened in February 2022, features an Asian-inspired menu with a Southern flare. Tacocat is scheduled to open later this year as a street taco concept with live music, games, and lounge areas with a funky 80’s bright neon vibe.
Over the past two years, the Fifth Street bridge has been evolving from a vehicle conduit to a pedestrian esplanade as part of an $11 million project. The bridge is expected to reopen in Spring 2022 as a new way for residents and visitors to experience the Savannah River, along with its features including a history walk, bike paths, device charging benches, a modern playground with sensory panels, and more.
Augusta’s historic landmark hotel, the Partridge Inn, reopened in early 2022 after undergoing major renovations.
The city’s new and only wine bar, Taste Wine Room, opened in March 2022.
Destination Augusta has created a Trip Builder allowing guests to create and plan their own individual itineraries in this eclectic city.
Thomasville: Tvelo Brewing Company is set to open in Summer 2022 as the first craft brewery in the city. It will be located in a historic building in the heart of downtown.
White Oak Pastures in Bluffton has renovated more homes as rental properties, all oozing Southern charm. Nearby, the White Oak Pastures farm focuses on Radically Traditional Farming and operates a vertically integrated, zero-waste model. Every day, they butcher meat from animals raised in a regenerative manner using humane animal management practices.
Newell Lodge and Resort in Folkston exemplifies Southern hospitality. Ideal for holidays with family or friends, guests can enjoy the slower pace of life and unique, lush beauty that surrounds its private, spacious accommodations. Each of the rustic holiday cabins is nestled beneath the canopy of a 300-year-old living oak tree grove, one of the oldest in the Southeastern U.S. Enjoy an expansive front porch view, plenty of space for outdoor activities, and opportunities to relax and have fun. Awake each morning refreshed and ready to enjoy the best experiences and flavors the Okefenokee region has to offer.
Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2022. Visit the park to enjoy boat tours on beautifully-preserved waterways, explore wilderness walkways, discover Pioneer Island, and see native animals in their own habitat.
Background context: Nearby, Okefenokee Swamp is North America’s largest blackwater swamp and is a significant part of the USA’s heritage. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. Most of the swamp is protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness. Home to reflective waters mirroring the overhanging beauty, visit to explore a vast wilderness of islands, lakes, jungles, forest, and prairies. This pristine 680-square-mile wilderness is an ecological wonder. The main entrance to the National Wildlife Refuge is located near Folkston, Georgia, approximately one hour from Jacksonville, Florida.
Opened in 2021, ATH|BNB: The Rushmore is a boutique, renovated home located near downtown Athens. This innovative new lifestyle and accommodation concept welcomes guests to a modern bed and breakfast unlike any other with the comforts of home, but the added luxuries of your favorite hotel.
The International Cherry Blossom Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2022. Each March, the town becomes a cotton candy-pink paradise as 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom, earning Macon its title as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. Developed around the basic principles of “love, beauty, and international friendship,” the festival has become one of the Top 20 Events in the Southern U.S., Top 50 Events in the U.S., and Top 100 Events in North America.
The brand-new Hotel Forty Five, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is downtown Macon’s first full-service boutique hotel inspired by the city’s rich history and culture. The 94-room historic hotel is located on a unique 45-degree angle that is the result of Cotton Street's diagonal trajectory through Macon, an urban design ahead of its time that made transportation of cotton barges to and from the river possible. Hotel Forty Five is home to Loom, a signature chef-driven restaurant; Hightales Rooftop Bar, a sixth-floor lounge; and Reckon Coffee & Wine Bar.
2022 marks the island’s 75th anniversary as a Georgia State Park and will see a series of celebrations hosted throughout the year to represents its history. Visitors can enjoy vintage drive-in movies, fireworks shows, a Beach Village block party, plus special, commemorative programming and tours at Mosaic Museum.
The award-winning Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary November 4-6, 2022. Shrimp & grits is an iconic Southern dish that is especially delicious when prepared with locally-caught Georgia shrimp. During the festival, attendees can celebrate the beloved dish by sampling myriad variations from renowned chefs. The highlight of the event is the Shrimp & Grits Cookoff, where top chefs from restaurants across the state battle for the title of “Georgia's Best Shrimp & Grits.” Live music and numerous art vendors make this an especially entertaining affair in one of Georgia’s most naturally beautiful locations.
2022 is the 35th year since the grand re-opening of the Jekyll Island Club Resort. During the Gilded Age, it was an exclusive hunting club for families such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, Vanderbilts, Pulitzers, and Bakers. Now, it is a treasured historic landmark that is recognized as one of the top luxury resort hotels in the world.
The island’s newest lodging property, the Courtyard & Residence Inn dual-brand hotel, features 89 Courtyard by Marriott rooms and 120 Residence Inn by Marriott rooms. The two Marriott brands combined on one property provide guests with options to meet both business and leisure needs. The beachfront hotel features the island’s largest heated, fresh-water pool, including a hot tub and a splash pad for children. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar called Shore, Bistro restaurant offering Starbucks coffee and a fast-casual breakfast experience, fitness center, spa, and 2,600-square-feet of event space with sweeping ocean views.
Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach was recognized on Tripadvisor’s “Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.” list for 2022.
Georgia is the South reinvented. Redefining what it means to be Southern through the places, perspectives, and people that make it so unique, Georgia stands out for how it lives up to expectations – and how it defines them. There is so much more to Georgia than just its peaches. From mountains to beaches and big cities to small towns, Georgia’s diverse landscapes, thriving arts and culture, and unique experiences offer something for every traveler. The adventure of a lifetime awaits, so get Ready. Set. Georgia!