If you were to close your eyes and envision a trip to the Atlanta area, you probably wouldn’t imagine a peaceful weekend getaway full of laid back activities and scenic views. However, just minutes outside downtown Atlanta is the cheery City of Sandy Springs, which offers an enticing retreat from the buzz of the larger city. From serene wooded parks to live music and fine dining, Sandy Springs provides an appealing combination of low-key activities and unique entertainment—just the place for a friends-only getaway. Here, you’ll find plenty of ways to unwind and de-stress—and have plenty of fun while you’re at it.
To help you plan the perfect escape with your trusted buddies or best girlfriends, we’ve mapped out some of the best ways to unwind in Sandy Springs.
Dig In with a Delicious Breakfast
Nothing says “Georgia vacation” like a satisfying Southern-style breakfast at a beloved local restaurant, which is why we recommend starting your day at Apron + Ladle. This popular, cozy eatery offers hearty classics with a southern twist. Guests will love their handmade biscuits smothered in gravy, spicy fried chicken benedict, and smoked Gouda cheese grits.
Just Love Coffee Café is another excellent place to indulge. This coffee shop is known for its artisan waffles and wide range of single origin coffees and blends. In addition to traditional waffles, guests can enjoy omelets, waffle sandwiches and breakfast burritos. With a colorful and inviting interior, Just Love Coffee Café is the perfect place to relax and chat with friends.
Is your crew more into sleeping in and then having a boozy brunch? Head to Casi Cielo for elegant dishes inspired by Oaxaca, Mexico and delightful brunch cocktails including mimosas and their Bloody Mezcal.
Escape to the Great Outdoors
For a truly local way to experience the outdoor scene, be sure to float down the nearby Chattahoochee River, one of the region’s most scenic waterways, in an inner tube. There are 22 miles of river shoreline in Sandy Springs, and the gentle current makes for an easygoing floating adventure that is perfect for cooling off on a hot spring or summer day. The Nantahala Outdoor Center operates an outpost where you can rent tubes (you can also choose kayaks or stand-up paddleboards) for your river excursion.
To savor a replenishing day in the mountains, venture north from Sandy Springs up the hospitality highway to the rugged landscape of Amicalola Falls State Park. While the park offers plenty in the way of beautiful mountain scenery, its claim to fame is its 729-foot namesake waterfall. A view of this immense waterfall can be reached via a 0.3-mile, ADA-accessible path, where you’ll enjoy a leisurely stroll with a huge payoff.
If your crew includes any history buffs, opt for a quick trip inside the Atlanta Perimeter to visit Oakland Cemetery and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. Both of these historical sites allow guests to soak up history and a little sun at the same time.
Founded in 1850 as the Atlanta Cemetery before having its name officially changed in 1872, Oakland Cemetery is the resting place of famous Atlantans including Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell and Maynard Jackson. This 48-acre cemetery is also Atlanta’s oldest public park.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is nearly 35 acres and includes landmarks, monuments and exhibits about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life and the civil rights movement. The National Park Service offers free, guided tours of Dr. King’s birth home. Check out Discover Atlanta’s guide to make the most out of your visit to this historic site.
Let the outdoor activities continue within Sandy Springs city limits at Big Trees Forest Preserve, a 30-acre park that protects one of the last swaths of forest in the Sandy Springs area. There are several very short trails to choose from, all with gentle terrain, so it’s a good option if some folks in your group prefer an easy walk to a hardcore hike.
Dig Into Delicious Cuisine
There’s no better way to cap off a fun day of adventures and exploration than with an excellent meal among friends. Hearth Pizza Tavern boasts a laid-back atmosphere with just a touch of trendiness, so you’ll feel right at home as you enjoy their signature oven-fired pizzas and full bar offerings. Plus, the tavern’s heated outdoor seating area lets you sip and eat al fresco any time of year.
For a more upscale experience, make reservations at Rumi’s Kitchen for some of the most exciting dining in Sandy Springs. Named after famous 13th-century Persian poet Jelaluddin Rumi, the restaurant specializes in authentic Persian cuisine—including traditional dishes like kabobs and dolmeh—with an impressive wine list. A lovely, light-filled dining room and breezy patio are the finishing touches on Rumi’s delightful dining experience.
Enjoy a Night on the Town
After dinner, you can enjoy what might be the most luxurious movie-going experience of your life at The Springs Cinema & Taphouse. After operating for years as the Lefont Theater, this space has recently undergone a massive renovation and now features a full restaurant and bar, impressive ambiance, and nearly 800 heated recliners. Moviegoers can snack on food and drinks before, after, and even during a movie, though it’s a great spot to dine even if you don’t see a film. Springs Cinema features independent art-house films and screenings in addition to blockbuster offerings, so there’s a movie option for every member (and mood) in your group.
If you are in the mood to get a little creative, grab your favorite beverage and book a class at The Sipping Plant, a BYOB craft studio where you can build your own terrarium. The Sipping Plant is a fun and relaxing way to spend quality time with your best friends while still doing something you wouldn’t normally do at home!
Live music fans won’t want to miss an evening at the Havana Lounge Cigar Club. In addition to high quality cigars and cocktails, this cozy but stylish hidden gem also often has live music including R&B, Neo-Soul, Afro House music, jazz, and more. They also offer a menu that features small bites with a fusion of Caribbean and Nigerian flavors.
For an Instagram worthy atmosphere and drinks, head to The Select. You and your girls will love the beautiful art deco design and the picturesque flower installation. The cocktails are almost as pretty as the restaurant, especially the Birds of Paradise which comes in an adorable bird shaped glass.
Relax in Comfy Accommodations
A relaxing getaway isn’t complete without a comfortable place to start and end your days, and Sandy Springs has plenty of excellent hotels for your visit. The centrally located Springhill Suites Atlanta Perimeter Center offers amenities like an outdoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and complementary hot breakfast daily.
For a more upscale stay, check in to the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, a gorgeous modern hotel that offers waterfront patios, a large swimming pool and fitness center, and spacious rooms and suites. If you really want to treat yourself, the Westin also offers in-room spa treatments by request.
While it’s not easy to extract ourselves from hectic schedules and day-to-day commitments, friends-only getaways are critical for our well-being. But in order to make the most of your time together, it’s essential to find a destination where everyone in the group can have fun, spend time with each other, and just relax. From its spas to its quiet woods, comfy hotels, and eclectic food scene, Sandy Springs offers all the essentials for a friends-centric weekend escape.