Start the season’s celebrations in style in the capital of Georgia this month. Delight at the illuminated Botanical Garden, find retail heaven in the luxury new shops, and experience American football like a local
In November, Atlanta takes on an electric energy, spurred on by the brightly coloured leaves, twinkling lights and an uptick in the volume of cultural and community events on offer. The crisp, cooler weather makes it the ideal time to take part in the city’s charms, in and out of doors.
The new Hermès store in Buckhead
Shopping in Georgia’s biggest city has received an upgrade with the just-opened Buckhead Atlanta. The glittering dining and shopping complex covers more than eight acres and is spread over six city blocks right on Peachtree Road. Designed to bring a new level of luxury to the American South, with retailers such as Brunello Cucinelli, Canali, Helmut Lang, Hermès, Jonathan Adler and Moncler, the beautifully landscaped space is ideal for walking and collecting stylish treasures. A day of high-end shopping calls for a hearty meal, and the development’s array of on-site restaurants like Le Bilboquet and The Southern Gentleman offer culinary interest around every corner. Just need a caffeine jolt to power your retail therapy? Tuck into Corso Coffee’s first location outside of Times Square for a macchiato and a bombolone (mini Italian doughnut).
Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna show
To add some entertainment to your Atlanta visit, take in a performance of Cirque du Soleil, known the world over for high-flying acrobatic stunts, vibrant costumes and enchanting music. Presented under an oversized striped tent outside Atlantic Station, the group’s Amaluna (until 30 November) is the fanciful story of an enchanted island of goddesses where the seasons are controlled by lunar cycles. Alternatively, for a taste of the intense excitement and competitive spirit of American football, watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the Cleveland Browns (23 November) or the Arizona Cardinals (30 November). ‘Rise up’ for the home team with local fans at the Georgia Dome, and be sure to wear the Falcons’ signature colours of red, black and white.
A Spa Suite for two at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta
The city’s energy can be a harbinger of holiday stress to come, and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta has a timely cure. Its newly introduced spa treatment, Inner Strength, is a massage with a special essential oil blend crafted by internationally known Aromatherapy Associates. Frankincense, clary sage, rose, cardamom and rosemary promote clarity, focus and balance, and the Spa’s expert therapists pay special attention to key reflex points. It’s a heavenly way to unwind and recharge.
The Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
When you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit, plan a visit to Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 4th annual Garden Lights Holiday Nights (15 November to 3 January 2015). It transforms much of the garden’s 30 acres to a shimmering winter wonderland of lights. The whole family can indulge in hot cocoa while roasting marshmallows around open fire pits and marvelling at one of the most popular exhibits, ‘Orchestral Orbs’, in which a topiary light show is choreographed to favourite holiday tunes.
Jennifer Bradley Franklin is an Atlanta-based journalist, covering travel, food, celebrities and fashion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @JennBFranklin