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It’s commonly understood that the best way to explore a new place is to go straight to the locals. Each week in the Urbanist, we take that wisdom one step further by seeking out not just locals but local experts — those who are especially well versed in their cities’ newest and most noteworthy scenes — to give us insider recommendations. This week, we asked director and entrepreneur Brandon Thaxton, owner of Acting Up and 2 Reel Virtual Studios, for his picks in Georgia’s capital city.
“There’s no city like Atlanta. The mixture of cultures, embracing of food, partying, festivals — there’s just so much to do. I love to drive from the south side of Atlanta, where you see the footprints of OutKast, Ludacris, Killer Mike, into the city, where you can see Coca-Cola, CNN, the Georgia Aquarium — these are all symbols of Atlanta. It’s also a very embracing city, and the people will embrace you not only with their arms but also with food and culture. Make sure you visit all the neighborhoods, like Little Five Points, which is a melting pot for the creatives with some of the best indie stores and niche shopping. Go visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the High Museum of Art and check out some shows at the historic Fox Theatre, Alliance Theatre, or 7 Stages.”
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“Ruby Falls (1720 South Scenic Hwy., Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a fun place to go. It’s an hour and a half drive. Ruby Falls is definitely a tourist attraction — it’s one of the tallest and deepest underground waterfalls you can see in the United States — but it’s beautiful. There are a few different tours you can do, but they all start with an elevator ride down into the Lookout Mountain caves. Then you’re able to hike to the falls. You’ll see rock formations and all these stalactites hanging from the ceiling. It almost feels like you’re at Universal Studios.”