By Mary Ashton Mills


Located just below the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, Alpharetta is easily accessible on Georgia 400 and is minutes from downtown Atlanta. This city is a prime example that there’s still a lot to do without setting foot inside Atlanta’s perimeter.

Unique shopping and entertainment districts are abundant in Alpharetta. Put a smile on every doll lover’s face with a visit to Georgia’s only American Girl Boutique and Bistro. Located at North Point Mall, it’s the perfect place for you, your children and their dolls to have lunch and shop, followed by an overnight hotel stay with the American Girl package at Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta or Residence Inn Alpharetta. Your child will receive a complimentary doll-sized travel bed to take home, cookies and milk, American Girl movie night and more.

For the adventurous spirit, check out Georgia’s first escape game, Urban Escapes. Enter one of their themed game rooms where you and your family will be given clues, codes to crack and puzzles to solve in order to make it out on time. For entertainment with a little family friendly competition, options include Mainstreet Entertainment with bowling, billiards, laser tag and more as well as Topgolf, a golf entertainment complex where all ages can play a variety of point-scoring games.  

Dining options are endless. Try an alfresco lunch at the original PURE Taqueria, located in a renovated gas station with plenty of patio seating. Big Creek Greenway, with eight miles of trails, is an ideal setting to walk off all those delicious meals. 

Concertgoers will love the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park that draws big-name concerts year round. History buffs will enjoy a tour of the Milton Log Cabin, which was built in the 1930’s by the Future Farmers of America students and is the only remaining FFA-constructed log cabin used today. Tours are by appointment only. 

In the springtime Alpharetta comes alive with a food truck alley, farmers markets and festivals galore. For more information visit

Distance: 168 miles or 2 hours 30 minutes. 

Budget: Make it a day trip. Use the money you saved on accommodations to explore some of the unique entertainment options. 

What to See: American Girl Boutique and Bistro, Urban Escapes, Mainstreet Entertainment, Topgolf, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Avalon shopping district, North Point Mall, Big Creek Greenway, Milton Log Cabin.

if you go: Check out one of these awesome events. March 12–Shamrockin’ For a Cure, May 12–Taste of Alpharetta, May 28-29–Alpharetta Arts StreetFest.


This article appears in the March 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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