When we were living outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in the northern suburbs of Roswell, there was a small country town you passed through on the way to somewhere — anywhere — else.
A recent family visit to Atlanta included a stay in Alpharetta and our jaws dropped at the remarkable transformation that has taken place. Over the past 20 years, Alpharetta has miraculously evolved from an afterthought into a trendy location with a plethora of amenities, activities, and attractions for locals and visitors alike.
Here are seven of the top things to do that spotlight why Alpharetta, Georgia, should be on your radar as a must-visit location in the southeastern United States.
1. Historic Downtown Alpharetta
Alpharetta’s rich history dates back to the 1830s when it was established as a trading post along a major Cherokee Indian trail. The town was incorporated in 1858 and its name is derived from the Greek words alpha and retta, meaning “first town.” This historical significance can be felt throughout Alpharetta, with its well-preserved buildings and landmarks.
For history buffs, the self-guided Alpharetta History Walk is an excellent way to learn about the town’s growth over the years. Pick up a brochure at the Alpharetta Welcome Center, which takes you through over 25 points of interest, each marked with informative plaques providing insights into Alpharetta’s past.
Highlights include the Alpharetta & Old Milton County History Museum, the Milton Log Cabin, and the Mansell House, a Victorian-era mansion that evokes the elegance of a bygone era. From its agrarian roots to becoming a railroad hub and now a thriving community, you’ll discover the different chapters that have shaped Alpharetta’s identity.
With charm extending beyond its history, the town is known for picturesque landscapes with tree-lined streets, quaint parks, and beautiful gardens.
Strolling through downtown, you’ll be greeted by interesting boutiques, cozy cafés, and inviting public spaces. A commitment to preserving the small-town character while embracing modern development is what sets Alpharetta apart and makes it so special.
2. Shop ‘Til You Drop
Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends, couture consignment clothing, or one-of-a-kind treasures, Alpharetta is a shopper’s paradise. For a unique experience, head to Queen of Hearts Antiques and Interiors.
In business for 25 years, this expansive antique mall is home to hundreds of vendors, selling everything from antique furniture and collectibles to vintage clothing and accessories. You could spend hours exploring the aisles and uncovering hidden gems that will add character to your home or wardrobe.
A short drive from historic downtown Alpharetta is Avalon, a premier mixed-use development that symbolizes the city’s metamorphosis into a sophisticated destination. With beautiful outdoor spaces and a lively, family-friendly atmosphere, Avalon blends luxury shopping, dining, and entertainment into one seamless package.
3. Savor Diverse Culinary Options
The culinary scene in Alpharetta is a food lover’s dream come true. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit Company, where fluffy biscuits and savory toppings create a mouthwatering feast.
For lunch, put some South in your mouth at The Southern Porch. This popular spot on Main Street serves up classics with a modern twist like fried-green tomato BLTs or macaroni and pimento cheese.
In the evening, indulge in a fine-dining experience at Foundation Social Eatery. The upscale establishment focuses on using locally sourced ingredients to create innovative dishes from juicy steaks to vegetarian delights that highlight the flavors of the region.
If you’re a fan of craft beer, Alpharetta will not disappoint. Jekyll Brewing is a local brewery that offers a wide selection of handcrafted beers, ranging from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts. You’ll never tire of their selection because they introduce a new brew every week!
4. Get Festive
Alpharetta is known for its lively festivals and events that celebrate the community’s vibrant spirit. Downtown is busy every night and absolutely slammed on the weekends.
One of the most anticipated annual events is the Alpharetta Arts Streetfest. This 3-day festival showcases the work of over 85 artists who display their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more. In addition to the visual arts, the festival also includes live music, food vendors, and activities for all ages.
Foodies should mark their calendars for the Taste of Alpharetta. This spring event in May hosts over 60 local restaurants, offering a chance to sample their signature dishes in one convenient place. From gourmet delights to comfort-food classics, there is something to satisfy every craving. Live music and entertainment add to the festive buzz, making it a culinary experience like no other.
For a big helping of Southern hospitality, don’t miss the Alpharetta Farmers Market. Held every Saturday morning April through November, the market supports local farmers, artisans, and food producers. You can stock up on fresh produce, sample artisanal cheeses and baked goods, or just grab a coffee and enjoy the fun vibe.
5. Indulge In Outdoor Recreational Activities
The natural beauty and abundance of green spaces around Alpharetta make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, or simply relax in nature, the choices are plentiful.
One favorite is Big Creek Greenway, a scenic trail that stretches over 8 miles and winds through woodlands, wetlands, and open meadows. Perfect for walking, running, or cycling (rent a bike from one of the local shops), this trail provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
For a more leisurely outdoor experience, head to Wills Park. This expansive park has a wide range of recreational activities, including playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. It’s the perfect place to gather with friends and family, enjoy a barbecue, or simply soak up the Sun.
6. Hit The Links
With its mild climate and numerous top-notch public courses, Alpharetta is a mecca for golfers year-round. Hit the fairways at picturesque RiverPines Golf, where you can choose between an 18-hole layout with views of the scenic Chattahoochee River, or a challenging nine-hole, Par-three course with tricky greens that will test your putting skills.
Even if you get more hole-in-nones than hole-in-ones, you’ll have a blast at TopGolf Alpharetta. This high-tech entertainment complex has hitting bays with complimentary clubs and huge outfield targets. Order food and drinks delivered right to your bay, dine in the restaurant/bar, or hang out on the rooftop terrace.
7. Enjoy A Vibrant Art Scene
Alpharetta’s arts and culture scene is thriving, with galleries, theaters, and performance spaces that showcase the work of local and national artists.
A must-visit for art enthusiasts is the Alpharetta Arts Center. This state-of-the-art facility provides a welcoming environment for emerging and established local artists. Rotating exhibits feature everything from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media.
Explore the galleries, attend art classes, or catch a live performance at the center’s theater. There is always something new and exciting to discover.
Speaking of live performances, the Act1 Theater is not to be missed. This community theater puts on a range of productions throughout the year, from classic plays to contemporary musicals. The intimate setting allows for an immersive experience where you can truly connect with the performers and the story they are telling.
Check out the musical talent in Alpharetta by attending free concerts held at the Brooke Street Park & Arboretum. This outdoor venue hosts a variety of musical acts, from local bands to widely recognized artists. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and enjoy an evening of live music under the stars.
Ready To Pack Your Bags?
Alpharetta, Georgia, has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Once a small agricultural town, it has blossomed into a thriving destination that seamlessly blends its rich history with modern attractions and small-town allure.
With its charming historic downtown, upscale shopping and entertainment, diverse culinary scene, and outdoor recreational spaces, trendy Alpharetta is a memorable getaway offering something for everyone.