They don’t call Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International the busiest airport in the world for nothing. Besides serving as a direct connection to metro Atlanta, many alternatives outside the city hold the same allure—easy access, cosmopolitan amenities, mild climate, and a plethora of meeting venues and hotels—without the downtown price.
Atlanta’s other “A-Town,” the northern suburb of Alpharetta topped Entrepreneur magazine’s 2015 list of top 10 small cities where business is thriving, with 15 businesses per 100 people. Big news for meetings—and the 600 tech companies anchored in the city—is a $100 million Marriott-branded hotel and conference center currently under construction at the new mixed-use Avalon development. It’s slated for completion in summer 2017. Other Alpharetta venue standouts include the 12,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park and a three-story Topgolf facility, plus many top-notch restaurants with private dining spaces.
This southern ’burb has the major advantage of being right next to the airport. In January, its DMO (formerly Meet College Park) rebranded to become ATL Airport District, promoting the cities of College Park and neighboring East Point. Collectively, the area has 8,000 hotel rooms and is home to Georgia International Convention Center. An InterContinental Hotel is planned for the parking lot of the airport within the next two years, adding to the district’s guest room inventory.
The fact that many residents get around almost exclusively on golf carts accurately conveys the laid-back, small-town feel of Peachtree City, only 30 miles south of downtown. The area’s Southern charm is accentuated by the Southern Hollywood Film Tour, which takes visitors to locations spotted in films like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Joyful Noise.” Seven hotels, including two full-service properties, can accommodate groups of up to 850 guests, and Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, known as “The Fred,” can seat 2,500.