A few times each year, throngs of revelers descend on the bars of Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, and Midtown. Perhaps they'll be in costume, perhaps wearing festive holiday colors. Either way, it's likely they're guests of Atlanta Bar Tours. The company organizes its neighborhood jaunts around the pageantry of national holidays or tailgating opportunities. Each crawl visits at least six pubs and restaurants, many of which prepare drinks in keeping with the theme—whether celebrating Oktoberfest or Steve's doctoral thesis on rum. During the crawl, each establishment features food specials and, more often than not, scores the event with live music.
Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.
The 3,600-second Discovery Flight sits you side by side with one of the school's certified flight instructors in a Robinson R22 helicopter. After a brief ground school that covers the basics, you'll strap into the cockpit of this reliable, safe little bird and cover essential preflight principles such as breathing and not making eye contact for more than three seconds. Listen to the purr of the engine that's won the R22 major-speed and distance-performance records, while your steady hands maintain hovering level. From there you'll try a short flight around the area, with the instructor offering helpful guidance along the way.
Ghost Tours of Atlanta's paranormally connected storytellers introduce locals to the city's haunted history during nightly walking tours and two-hour ghostly galas. While meandering the streets of downtown Atlanta, tour guides recount tales of haunted schools, theaters, and passed-on residents still roaming the streets and stealing sheets. Walkers convene at 8:30 p.m. outside of the Ellis hotel before embarking on moonlit journeys in the chilly wakes of lingering specters.
With a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Great City Race challenges city dwellers' problem-solving skills and knowledge of their hometown in a race that's both mentally and physically challenging. Crowds of colorfully dressed teams gather on the date of the race armed with a digital camera or cell phone to document each task that they perform. Using nothing but their feet, public transportation, and knowledge of the city, teams must solve 11 out of 12 clues and return to the starting line. The teams with the best times are rewarded for their efforts with prizes, and all participants go home with a T-shirt and swag bag to stow excess confidence.
Aboard their luxury buses, vans, or motor coaches, the guides at Atlanta Sightseeing Bus Tours immerse locals and visitors alike in the rich history, culture, and architecture of the Greater Atlanta area. As tours trundle past sites including the Atlanta White House, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and the Margaret Mitchell House, tour guides passionate about the region and its myriad anecdotes relay interesting tidbits about historic locales such as the Fox Theatre and Centennial Olympic Park, the site of the three-legged race finals at the 1996 Olympics. During the five-hour voyage, passengers can take pictures, stretch their legs at hand-picked stops, and take in sweeping views of the Atlanta skyline and Appalachian Mountains from 825 feet up in the Skyride swiss cable car at Stone Mountain.