Layovers. They’re hours of your life that you’ll never get back, and whether or not you’ll be forced to endure one on any given trip is at the discretion of the unfeeling airline gods – and completely beyond your control.
But take heart. Armed with a little knowledge, you can salvage these stolen hours and fill them with activities that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to experience.
Here’s how you can transform your lemony Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL) layover hours into sweet lemonade.
At The Atlanta Airport
Have at least 30 minutes to spare? Wandering around ATL can be a rewarding experience of its own.
One Flew South Restaurant
While “high-end dining” and “airport” may seem like an oxymoron — or at least four words that might feel a bit awkward living together in the same sentence – One Flew South is on a mission to change your your notion of what airport dining can offer. Apparently, the establishment didn’t get the memo about the abysmally low bar it had to clear in order to claim its place among airport restaurant greats. Nope. It went all out. Premium quality sushi and locally sourced ingredients are the main features, and the luxurious ambiance will fool you into feeling like you’ve traveled to a destination . . . instead of like you’re just halfway there.
Are we there already? Dine at One Flew South and feel like you’ve arrived.
Atlanta Airport Art
Gorgeous Stone Sculpture from Zimbabwe
Atlanta Airport Dog Park
Traveling with a pooch in tow? Or maybe just really, really missing yours? Or maybe you’re a dog-less person, but finding yourself in need of a little four-legged entertainment? Why not wander over to ATL’s dog park – located outside the domestic terminal – for some canine therapy.
Shopping at Kiehls and MAC
A time-honored tradition, retail therapy can be counted on for a much needed burst of dopamine – and maybe even a useful item or two. In need of makeup? Kiehls and MAC in international have got your back. Did crying kids on the first leg of your flight remind you that you’re in need of noise-cancelling headphones? Head to the nearest Best Buy (they’re scattered all around the airport).
Alone time at Minute Suites
Sometimes, a little space to yourself/yourselves – to sleep, to read or to work – is just what the doctor ordered. Especially in a crowded airport. Minute Suites, the first service of its kind in the US, is the perfect place to leave the world behind for the 15-minute increment of your choosing. It features DIRECTV, a computer with Internet and airport flight-tracking access, a daybed with pillows and fresh blankets, noise-masking insulation and even an audio system that plays relaxing noises.
Your own private Atlanta
Atlanta Airport Smoking Lounge
Remember when airplanes had smoking sections? (If so, you’re definitely Gen X or older, you once owned a collection of 8-tracks with songs that faded out and in, and you know what “Be kind. Rewind.” means.) If you still haven’t kicked the habit, ATL is one of just a handful of US airports that understand your needs, offering a smoking lounge in each terminal. (From the author’s own recollection of their once-upon-a-time habit, any time spent smoking is time well spent, and an hour of smoking and reading = paradise on Earth.) (Note: Stay Alfred does not endorse smoking. The scientists say it’s bad for you. We believe them.) :) Smoking? Inside? What sort of mad time machine is this?
If your layover is a little longer, take a ride on the Red/Gold Line MARTA (for a couple bucks each way and located by the baggage claim area). If you don’t feel like hauling your carry-on luggage along or the ride, consider spending a few dollars to store it at Wrap-a-Bag. You’ll be hitting city-center stops like Buckhead (Jamaican, anyone?) Five Points (Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site) and Arts Center (The High Museum of Art), Downtown (Georgia Aquarium) and more in about 20 minutes, and there’s no shortage of things to do and restaurants in Atlanta to experience.
Mingling with the locals at the Georgia Aquarium – Not visiting Atlanta? Mingle via webcam!
Stay a few days
Have a little extra time in your schedule? Atlanta’s a great place to explore, and we’ve got the perfect place to stay if plan in advance (no same-day booking, please). Unlike typical downtown Atlanta hotels, each upscale Atlanta Stay Alfred travel apartment puts you right in the heart of a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. You get a full kitchen, living room, and great amenities. And, unlike a typical Atlanta vacation rental, you won’t find other people’s stuff lurking in closets. Make Stay Alfred “your place in the city” next time you decide to visit Atlanta.