Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sunday Funday: Atlanta Style

Hey all! So, you guys know I love to travel. I kind of get a little stir-crazy if I'm in my beloved Bham for over a month without traveling anywhere at all. That's why it's a great idea to plan fun little trips here and there. Lucky for me Atlanta, Georgia is a short dive away with so much to do! However, this wasn't just any regular trip we were on. This was a 24 hour adventure to see the one and only Beyoncé on her newly created "Formation Tour". Yes, we were going to be seeing Queen Bey live (insert bee and lemonade emoji's here).  The trip would be super short but still memorable and most of all, fun!

The concert was on a Sunday so we left out around 10am for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the ATL. Since it wasn't a weekday we were lucky and there wasn't a ton of traffic. Well known fact: Atlanta has some bad traffic so keep that in mind when planning a trip. Weekends are always the better option if you have a choice. We arrived in the afternoon ready to explore, keep your eye out for cool art, sculptures, everything while you are in the city!

Since I knew the concert was later that night, I went ahead and booked us a hotel room at the Omni Atlanta, this is a great hotel since it is within walking distance to the Georgia Dome, Phillips Arena, Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, World of Coke, restaurants, etc. Basically you are right in the middle of downtown.  We were starving so after an uneventful check-in that was quick and easy, we went to Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria, umm it was delicious. Sangria and pizza? How can you go wrong? Trick question. You can't.


After lunch we burned calories by walking over to the Georgia Aquarium . If you have never been, it is a must-do! There are so many exhibits, sea life, creatures, penguins, yes, penguins! Beluga whales, sea otters, and even the all new Sea Lion show and area dedicated to one of the cutest sea species out there! You can scroll through my pics below just to see a little of what they have to offer, it's fun of course for kids but also interesting for every age. I feel like you really get your money's worth here and it's a must-do if you are spending the day in Atlanta!


Our next stop was the College Football Hall of Fame which was a short walk over from the aquarium and right next to our hotel. A little secret, if you go within an hour of closing (5pm or 6pm depending on the time of year, check the day of to make sure!) you get the special "twilight discount" which you may have to rush a bit through the hall of fame but it is definitely do-able! You are given a pass after you pay and enter where you then register on the data base and you choose your favorite team. This way the pass electronically notes which stops highlight your team and you can even run the pass across info kiosks along the way to learn history, facts and trivia. It's really cool and a definite must if you are a college football fan!

We went back to the room to freshen up and a quick nap, I recommend a hotel room even if you don't plan on staying the whole night. I booked a good rate via Expedia and it was so worth it. Not only did we not have to pay a cab/uber fee to get to the concert venue, we didn't have to wait in bumper to bumper traffic, high parking deck fees (that take forever to get out of after the concert) and we got to chill out in our room after the concert until the surrounding area cleared instead of just sitting in traffic. Plus, we had this guy in the lobby. The hotel was selling Lemonade!

This was my second concert at the Georgia Dome, the first being last October at Taylor Swift's 1989 tour. The venue is awesome but it is big! It's very easy to get confused and there are several entrances, I advise taking pics so you can remember key areas or landmarks to help you find your way out. If you are driving this is a must so you can find your car or meeting at a specific location.

One thing that was really helpful about this tour is they sold official merchandise outside before you even entered the venue (look for the Formation tour merchandise busses!). Let's face it, everyone wants a t-shirt and the lines are often wrapped around so this really helped alleviate some of the crowding. They also had several booths inside but it is not uncommon to wait 30-40 or possibly longer to get a shirt. My tip? Get there early and go ahead and get what you want! The longer you wait the more crowded the merchandise area will be and the selection and sizing also dwindles down.
Beyoncé's album Lemonade had been out for maybe a week, so everyone was super pumped to see her live! Atlanta was her third stop of the tour and excitement was all around, waiting to see what she would or wouldn't say about Jay-Z, Becky with the good hair, etc. (spoiler alert: she said nothing about either but thanked the crowd numerous times for supporting her and her career throughout the years.).  After the opening act of DJ Khalid with help from his friends Rick Ross, TI, and Ludacris among others, it was time for the show to begin!

As soon as Beyoncé lifted her hat on stage to the beats of her hit single "Formation", you see why she is the icon and entertainer that sells out tours and sets music records. I've been a Beyoncé fan since my early middle school days singing Destiny's Child at pool parties to working out to her Dangerously in Love album and seeing her announce her pregnancy live on the MTV Video Music Awards (Love on Top is still one of my favorite songs!). It's always pretty cool to see someone you have kind of grown up with and listened to for so many years live in front of you!

The tour was filled with an array of her new album mixed with the classics including Crazy in Love, Survivor, Halo, Girls (Run the World) among countless others you all know the words to. Her costumes were immaculate and made me want to search for the nearest decorated leotard store (although it probably wouldn't have the same appeal), fantastic lighting and effects, one of the best concert experiences I've ever attended! You can get her full set list here and more information about the Formation tour and how you can see Beyoncé live here!

Sadly all good things must come to an end and the concert ended with Beyoncé in all her shimmery glory. It was such a fantastic day and experience! After the concert we hung out in our hotel room while the crowds died down a bit outside. The plan worked! We were able to leave with minimal traffic and headed home safely. A true Sunday Funday! (Sorry had to say it).

If you are wondering more about what all the ATL has to offer, check out this site to help you plan your weekend or day trip! There is so much to see and do, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Happy Travels,


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