As this year approached, I had an exciting plan to write a travel blog both for Georgia Tech fans going to away games and for fans of opposing teams coming to Atlanta for. see the landscapes. Sadly, COVID has made a comeback and made the prospect of traveling across the country considerably more difficult. I don’t expect this to stop die-hard football fans, but I will recommend that if you are a fan from northern Illinois coming for the game, be sure to take proper travel precautions.
While there are currently no travel restrictions to or from the state of Georgia, there is a minor one for Illinois at the time of writing. There doesn’t appear to be any strict prevention when traveling, but quarantining and testing negative while traveling to and from the state is recommended. While we all want to go out and watch a great soccer game, keep your safety and the safety of others in mind while traveling. Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands… whatever the CDC recommends. Understood? Good. With that out of the way, let’s talk about traveling to Atlanta.
How to travel: Getting from northern Illinois to Atlanta
For those unfamiliar with it, and I was certainly one of those before Google searched it, the Northern Illinois campus is located in Dekalb, Illinois. I’ve never been there personally, but the photos make the campus beautiful. Unfortunately, Dekalb is about a 12 hour drive without stopping from downtown Atlanta (which may be why I have never been there), either mainly by taking I-65 or the I-24 for the majority of the trip. If you decide to take this road trip I would recommend taking I-24 as it seems to have fewer tolls and takes about the same time, although I-24 appears to have major roadworks. construction on the Illinois-Kentucky border. which you need to pay attention to.
If you are not inclined to drive 12 hours, it may be a good idea to take a flight. Flights appear to be (relatively) inexpensive at around $ 100 and should only take around 2 hours from takeoff to arrival. Keep in mind that you will lose 1 hour coming from Central Time to the East, so that’s actually 3 hours. I was only able to find flights from Chicago O’Hare although Dekalb has a municipal airport so it will require driving and you will either need to rent a car or use Lyft or Uber to get around Atlanta for your stay. Uber from the airport to Midtown will set you back around $ 35. If you set up a hotel in Midtown, you should be able to walk for the rest of your stay. Lyft is usually around $ 5 cheaper than Uber.
Honestly, renting a car probably isn’t the best idea unless you’re just getting a good deal. There is not a lot of parking in Atlanta and the roads will be closed on game day which will make driving more confusing. In general, it’s worth avoiding the headaches and paying a little more for Uber than trying to figure out which Peachtree Street is the right one in Atlanta.
Marta is also an option if you plan to stay purely in Midtown. There is a Marta station at the airport which serves the city center where there are 2 stops near the campus. Make sure you read the map carefully to know which exit to take so you don’t have to walk extra blocks to your hotel. If you take Marta, also try to travel lighter so that you don’t have to carry large bags with you when exiting the station.
This is where your trip can end up costing you. Hotels in Atlanta tend to be a bit pricey, especially on game day. In this case, the Georgia Tech match against NIU is unlikely to increase the costs, but the Bama match against Miami later (Ed. Note: and DragonCon!) can have an impact on things. Most hotels near the Georgia Tech Campus will cost you between $ 100 and $ 150 per night. Airbnb won’t help much; most renters have increased their prices because of the game day weekend, so unless you’re looking in areas outside of Midtown, you’ll be hard pressed to find affordable accommodation.
Since affordability is out the window, I would recommend staying at the Hampton Inn near campus or the Crowne Plaza for ease of access. Both are within walking distance of the stadium and provide access to many Midtown restaurants that are worth a visit. It’s a slightly longer hike to places like Olympic Park and Aquarium, but they’re still in the area.
To see in Atlanta
There is so much to see and do in Atlanta that it can be overwhelming. I think we’re going to have a few, so for this week I’m just going to highlight the big things to visit.
The Georgia Aquarium is down the street about a 15-minute walk from the Georgia Tech campus. It is currently the third largest aquarium in the world and the largest in the United States. See whale sharks and beluga whales, and have fun spotting otters.
In the same vicinity is the College Football Hall of Fame, a must visit for any college football fan. It has lots of interactive experiences and big screens that make it a fun time for kids and adults alike.
There’s also the World of Coke Museum, which traces the history of Coca-Cola and features exhibits that let you drink coca-based products from around the world. These products can range from delicious to disgusting.
Finally, there is the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It may sound depressing, but in my experience I have learned a lot about history and the struggle for civil rights in the country. It’s a surprisingly good time.
If you have kids, the Center for Puppetry Arts is further into Midtown, as is the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. There is also a new LEGO experience that I have no experience with but has garnered rave reviews since it opened.
If you’re into Civil War history, check out the Cyclorama near the Atlanta Zoo, which is a giant painting of the Battle of Atlanta that covers 360 ° of the battle.
For those more nature-oriented, check out Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, about a 20-minute walk from campus.
Food in the area
Again, there is too much food in Atlanta to list everything in this article.
For traditional match day cuisine, head to The Varsity, which is located across the highway from campus. It’s almost always busy, but it’s the traditional spot for game day lunch.
There is also a great burger bar called the Vortex which you must check out if you are a fan of good burgers. The original Vortex is at Little 5 Points, which you’ll need to go to, but there is a Vortex branch a short walk from campus.
For more southerly-oriented cuisine, try Mary Mac’s down Ponce de Leon for southern fried cuisine. In contrast, the Fado Irish Pub can offer you a more traditional Irish breakfast, if you are looking for a different taste.
Honestly, just within walking distance of campus, there are too many unique eating places to find. Take a walk and choose something you are almost sure to like.
GAME DAY !!!
Most of the tailgating is near the stadium. The fraternities will celebrate Techwood Drive from top to bottom. Families tend to congregate on Fifth Street Plaza. Many games and festivities will be organized near the Peters Parking Deck. Most roads are closed on campus during game days, but if you wander further into campus you are likely to see students and alumni taking part in the festivities on Tech Green near the student center.
Once tailgating is complete, opposing fans will usually enter near the corner of North Avenue and Techwood Drive (can’t remember the exact gate number, apologies). Usually, this is where opposing supporters sit in the corner of the stadium along the opposing team’s sideline. At this point, sit back and hopefully enjoy a good soccer game.
Hope you enjoy your trip to Atlanta and have a positive experience on the Georgia Tech campus. I will apologize in advance to all Huskies fans for the moment we beat you all. Nothing personal, just business.