The best places for a date in Atlanta

The ultimate couples’ guide to the city

Atlanta-based journalist Beca Grimm writes on culture and lifestyle for Rolling Stone, GQ and Glamour.



Atlanta is positively brimming with couples-friendly activities: whether it’s seeing a classical ballet; getting messy at a cookery class; or racing your other half in a Porsche. Here are some of the best suggestions for dates with a difference – all within easy reach of Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta. Within the hotel, meanwhile, make the most of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta and ‘New South’ fine dining courtesy of The Café and Bar.  

Go green

Whether you’re on a first date or trying to carve out some quality time with your partner, the lush Atlanta Botanical Gardens is the ideal setting to walk and talk. Don't worry if the weather isn't on your side: the gardens’ Orchid Display House is among the gardens’ indoor attractions, as is Longleaf restaurant: helmed by local chef Jason Paolini, in a contemporary glass structure with sweeping views of the gardens.

Dance off

Treat yourself – and someone else – to a performance of Don Quixote by the Atlanta Ballet, at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. One of the premiere American dance companies, Atlanta Ballet’s lavish staging of the production has been called “an altogether enchanting piece of dance theater” by critics. You can see it as part of the Valentine’s Enchantment package from Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta – which also includes the indulgent extras of an in-room American breakfast, a rose petal turndown service and bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne.

Need for speed

Want to see what your date is made of? Split a 90-minute spin behind the wheel at the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta. Hit the race track to test drive the model of your choice, accompanied by a Porsche drive coach to help guide you along the way. Whether or not you’re seriously considering purchasing a Porsche, it’s definitely a more exhilarating way to get to know someone rather than dinner and a movie.

Drink up

The next time you offer to take someone for a drink, go one step further and make it a tasting tour of the atmospheric Wild Heaven Beer’s brewery. It’s located in Decatur, Georgia, which is around a 30-minute drive from Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta. Nod and smile as you learn about beer’s fermentation process, then get down to the serious business of sampling the product. For the name alone, you can't beat the brand’s light and refreshing Emergency Drinking Beer.

Take to the skies

Impress your date with a private helicopter tour. Atlanta Helicopter Tours offers 45-minute-long trips. Hover over iconic Atlanta landmarks such as the glittering Ferris wheel at Centennial Olympic Park, CNN’s bustling headquarters, serene Piedmont Park and more. Assuming you have a head for heights, you can even enjoy a glass of wine as you fly.

Cook up a storm

See if your date can cut it in the kitchen, with a cooking class at elegant Italian restaurant Bellina Alimentari. The small, hands-on classes include plenty of one-on-one expert instruction, from pizza slinging to pasta making.  

Photos: Alamy, Charlie McMullers

Immerse yourself in Atlanta

Blending contemporary style with classic luxury, Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta is a five-star hotel with irresistible Southern charm. With beautiful rooms, a superb restaurant and an elegant spa, it offers the perfect base from which to explore the city.