Atlanta has its fair share of tourist attractions, and there’s no better time than summer to explore your hometown city (or to make a roadtrip to the South). If, however, like many Atlanta activity goers, you’ve already been to the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center and the High Museum of Art fifteen times each, you may be wondering if there’s anything left.
For those who appreciate the arts, you’ll be surprised (and thrilled) to know that there’s a whole other side to Atlanta— a secret art scene that few take the time to discover. Step away from the tourists, and that statue you’ve already seen a dozen times. We’ve comprised a list of Atlanta’s best kept artistic secrets that don’t disappoint. Move over, High— you’re not the only kid on the block anymore.
1. The Goat Farm Arts Center
Complete with actual goats, The Goat Farm Arts Center is without a doubt one of the most underrated venues in Atlanta. The space, which is located in West Midtown and was once an industrial cotton mill, provides a modern combination of art, theatre, science, visual design and technology. The center is a massive 12 acres and has both indoor and outdoor areas. Creative Loafing Magazine calls it Atlanta’s best performing venue. Whether you’re catching a contemporary music concert, film screening or a delicious dinner lab, you’ll definitely be glad you came. Not to mention, the area’s recently become a hotspot for filming big-time movies, such as The Hunger Games’ sequel “Catching Fire.”
2. Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
Located directly across the street, this museum’s really giving the High a run for its money. With a focus on exploring how design impacts our everyday lives, their current exhibit, “Design for Social Impact,” displays how artists, engineers, students and designers and architects are constructing designs with the intention of helping solve problems the 21st century faces, such as poverty. Or, you could attend one of their Thursday night “Drink in Design” for a beverage-induced tour. If you have children, their field trips, day camps and more are well worth considering.
3. Jackson Fine Art
Jackson Fine Art is located in a quaint, white stone house in Buckhead, just north of Atlanta. The gallery focuses on building photography collections for collectors and curators, but anyone is welcome to come view their often-changing exhibits. They specialize in 20th century and contemporary photography and have works of over 85 artists. If you’ll be around in June, you can check out the colorful, Islamic-inspired works of world-renowned Lalla Essaydi. If you’ll be around in July, however, you’ll definitely want to visit the recently-discovered street photography of the mysterious genius Vivian Maier.
4. The Krog Street Tunnel
Called “Atlanta’s living bulletin board,” this street tunnel by the famous Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward is known for its crazy colorful and talented wall graffiti, taking “urban art” to a whole new level. Most graffiti has been made by local artists, and displays everything from Bob Marley to Robert Mitchum. This is one place you may want to steer clear of at night, however.
5. The King Plow Arts Center
Adding to Atlanta’s vibe of renovated history, the King Plow Arts Center was formally an actual plow factory. This renovated building in West Midtown is now a space for commercial, visual and performing arts, complete with art galleries, cool restaurants and more. Be sure to check out Terminal West, the modernly-designed concert venue on the campus, for up-close and intimate musical performances from bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Pinback, and of Montreal.