10 Places to Make Your Simcha an Atlanta Attraction

10 Places to Make Your Simcha an Atlanta Attraction

Leah R. Harrison

Leah Harrison is a reporter and copy editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Above: The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Rose Garden provides an elegant, intimate setting for a wedding.

With all of the tourist attractions in metro Atlanta, why not hold your simcha at a place that truly reflects your personality? Here are 10 venues that are as individual as the people doing the planning.

1. Atlanta Botanical Garden

‪1345 Piedmont Ave., Midtown


A lush oasis within the refuge of Midtown’s Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden never disappoints. With 16 individual venues available for rental, here are some of the larger choices:

  • Day Hall offers the biggest event space in the garden, with room for 300 seated or 500 standing. Newly renovated, the hall has modern cork floors, organic lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows opening to Cox Courtyard on one side and Lanier Terrace, a nice option for open-air mingling, on the other.
  • Bordered by the Parterre Garden and Chihuly Fountain, the Rose Garden is an aromatic and scenic setting for your outdoor ceremony. It seats 200.
  • Linton’s in the Garden provides the option of indoor dining on the first level or rooftop service with skyline views and a fireplace above. Featuring the food stylings of chef Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene), the restaurant seats 220.
  • Fronted by the gorgeous Chihuly Fountain, Mershon Hall has a beautiful Greek revival façade, plus bamboo floors, tasteful lighting and Craftsman accents within. With capacity for 70 seated or 90 standing, the hall is ideal for more intimate gatherings and ceremonies.

Other striking and verdant entertaining options include the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen (70 seated, 100 standing), Sourwood Terrace & Canopy Walk (40/100), Cascades Garden (50/100), Alston Overlook (60/75), and the Fragrance and Trustees Gardens. Also available are the Hardin Visitors Center (100/300) and the Fuqua Orchid Center.

Choose from a list of approved caterers, or inquire for kosher options.

Call Atlanta Special Events at 404-591-1585, or email specialevents@atlantabg.org.

The Swan House Gardens lend elegance, beauty and Southern charm to a simcha.
The Swan House Gardens lend elegance, beauty and Southern charm to a simcha.

2. Atlanta History Center

130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead


With many venues that can be combined for just the right touch, the Atlanta History Center can accommodate a wide variety of events.

The Atlanta History Atrium and Museum are ideal for cocktail hours and mingling while adding a “historic backdrop and an edutainment element as well.” They can accommodate 130 seated or 500 standing. The Museum Terraces, with beautiful outdoor views, can be added for your ceremony.

Overlooking the lighted Quarry Garden, the renowned Grand Overlook Ballroom adds breathtaking drama and scale to your event with an expansive barrel-vaulted ceiling, Brazilian cherrywood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows. The ballroom accommodates up to 500 for seated dinner and dancing and 750 reception style.

The Swan House Gardens, with fountains and the Boxwood Garden, offer a lovely private venue for a ceremony and party of 50 to 750 people. Guests can tour the historic 1928 mansion during the event.

A sky-lighted atrium leads to the Members Room of McElreath Hall, where 120 of your guests can enjoy an elegant seated dinner outside the versatile Woodruff Auditorium, with fixed seating for 400.

The most rustic and charming option, the Smith Family Farm offers al fresco entertaining outside the 1860s farmhouse, outbuildings and gardens. Costumed interpreters and free-roaming sheep, as well as tours of the historic home, can be added for an injection of fun and authenticity to your event.

Choose from an approved list of caterers (including a kosher option), audio-visual, equipment rental and tenting vendors.

Call 404-814-4090, or email specialevents@atlantahistorycenter.com.

A powerful mural dominates the lobby atrium at the Center for Human and Civil Rights.
A powerful mural dominates the lobby atrium at the Center for Human and Civil Rights.

3. Center for Civil and Human Rights

100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Downtown


Established in 2007 and built on land donated by Coca-Cola, this innovative 43,000-square-foot building was designed by Phil Freelon, architect of the recently opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In an effort to portray the center’s vision, “The curving walls embrace the interior exhibits and supporting program spaces in a manner that suggests the joining of hands.”

The center offers an array of galleries and spaces for events. With sleek and contemporary design throughout, options range from seated dinner for 15 to 250 or cocktail receptions up to 500. Combinations to add lecture and theater space for up to 215 are available, and, to keep you aware of your surroundings, pre-function space and the MLK Papers Gallery are available as add-ons.

In-house catering is provided exclusively by Wolfgang Puck, with an extensive kosher menu available. The center has audio-visual and parking partners as well.

Call 404-835-4286, or email events@civilandhumanrights.org.

4. College Football Hall of Fame

The College Football Hall of Fame features a grand entrance.
The College Football Hall of Fame features a grand entrance.

250 Marietta St., Downtown


Game on! Offering the option of a sit-down meal for up to 900 on a 45-yard indoor playing field with a high-definition video screen, this fun and creative new venue will make your event stand out from the crowd.

The new College Football Hall of Fame has 50,000 square feet of event space overall and can house 3,500 people. Using all-access passes that customize their experiences to a particular team, your guests can interact with more than 40 state-of-the-art experiences and exhibits.

With college football as the underlying theme, the facility has teamed up with the Omni Hotel at CNN Center and Classic Party Rentals to make your event into the most memorable game day. Kosher-style options are available.

Call 404-880-4840, or email events@cfbhall.com.


5. Fernbank Museum of Natural History

767 Clifton Road, Atlanta


With a vast array of options, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History brings your guests the wonders of our planet and enables you to plan an event of prehistoric proportions.

Your guests can dine with the dinosaurs at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Your guests can dine with the dinosaurs at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

Front and center, the museum’s necessarily expansive Great Hall puts you in the middle of the Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit, where the massive argentinosaurus is on the lookout for prey. With an 86-foot-high glass ceiling above and dramatic lighting below, the hall can accommodate 400 of your guests for seated dining or 600 for mingling and dancing among the world’s largest dinosaurs for an awe-inspiring evening.

The Lobby, which can accommodate 350, and Terrace are at your disposal as well.

The Outdoor Terrace, with space for up to 250, overlooks the lush Fernbank Forest and is an ideal setting for a ceremony or other al fresco event.

Fernbank Cafe, with elegant décor, stately columns, a Steinway piano and seating for 100, provides a more intimate entertaining option.

With its oval shape and dramatic night lighting, the Star Gallery seats up to 100 under a fiber-optic ceiling portraying the star constellations, providing your guests a unique and surreal evening.

For a celebration that will live on through history, go the VIP route: Show your video in the 178-seat auditorium, give your guests access to all the Fernbank exhibitions, and top it off with an IMAX movie experience.

Choose from a list of Fernbank preferred caterers for your event, or inquire for kosher options.

Call 404-929-6390, or email sarah.parris@fernbankmuseum.org.


6. Fox Theatre

660 Peachtree St., Midtown


Photo courtesy of PWP Studio The majesty of the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom is unrivaled.
Photo courtesy of PWP Studio
The majesty of the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom is unrivaled.

Named as one of Bride.com’s 50 Best Wedding Venues in America in 2015, the fabulous Fox Theatre has two lush offerings for your next memorable event. The grand arcade entrance and lighted front marquee can add to the drama of a special occasion.

The Grand Salon features Arabian atrium windows, and 3350 Sq. Ft. of richly decorated space including Moroccan tile, mosaics and a breathtaking stained glass skylight. It accommodates 200 seated or 300 standing, and has an attached Grand Terrace for an additional 1200+ square feet of outdoor entertaining with delightful breezes and a Midtown view.

The Egyptian Ballroom is the theater’s piece de resistance. With lavish finishes harkening back to the time of the Pharaohs, the sweeping ballroom features massive columns, dramatic uplighting and architectural accents fit for a prince, princess or royal couple. Suitable for 480 seated or 800 standing guests.

Affairs to Remember is the preferred caterer and manager of sales for Fox private events, or you may choose from a list of venue-approved caterers and vendors. Kosher options are available.

Call Nancy Lutz, special events director, at 404-881-2062, or email nancy.fox@affairs.com.


7. Georgia Aquarium

225 Baker St., Downtown


A renowned beacon in downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium offers many splashy venues and options, whether you’re hosting a smaller group (school) of 50 or a crowd (shoal) of 5,000.

The 23,000-square-foot Oceans Ballroom can accommodate 800 to 1,200 guests or can be configured into the smaller Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Rooms, based on your needs.

With easy access to the Antarctic Pre-Function space for meeting and greeting, the Atlantic Room can seat 180 for dinner and hold 400 for a ceremony.

The Pacific Room is the center and largest section. It offers the Indian Pre-Function space with a floor-to-ceiling aquatic viewing window that puts you at eye level with large, unusual and amazing creatures of the sea.

The private underwater view of the entrancing beluga whales makes the Arctic Room highest in demand. It accommodates 150 for dinner or 250 reception style.

Smaller groups can take advantage of the Gallery Events. These more intimate opportunities include Cold Water Quest for Arctic viewing, Ocean Voyager alongside the largest underwater viewing window on the continent, and Tropical Diver for a close-up reef experience.

Be a big fish and include all-access, VIP­­ or behind-the-seas tours, or add aquarium admission and allow up to 5,000 guests to navigate all aquarium galleries to their hearts’ content.

Wolfgang Puck Catering at the aquarium offers an expansive kosher catering menu. Access the menu from the aquarium event planning page under Wolfgang Puck Catering.

Call 404-581-4126, or email booking@georgiaaquarium.org.


8. Michael C. Carlos Museum

Emory University

571 S. Kilgo Circle, Atlanta


Customize your distinctive event by choosing any of three rental spaces in this sleek museum designed by architect Michael Graves. Options include seated dining in the elegantly appointed Ackerman Hall for up to 120 and standing receptions for 300.

Add the galleries, featuring ancient Egyptian, Nubian to sub-Saharan and African art, and give up to 600 of your guests the rare opportunity to mingle among the mummies and sarcophagi. This is an event planning opportunity not to be missed.

Rental fees include security, tables, chairs, audio-visual equipment, setup, breakdown, on-site event supervision and free after-hours parking.

Select from a list of 10 preferred caterers “who all have a history of creating memorable events at the Carlos Museum,” or pay an upcharge to use an approved caterer of your own choosing.

Call 404-727-0516, or email jwarre2@emory.edu.

Piedmont Park’s Greystone overlooks Lake Clara Meer.
Piedmont Park’s Greystone overlooks Lake Clara Meer.

9. Piedmont Park

North of 10th Street between Piedmont and Monroe drives, Midtown


Often regarded as the Central Park of Atlanta, Piedmont Park is the intown place to congregate and celebrate. The park features granite staircases dating back to the late 1800s, as well as three distinctive options for holding your event.

Built as a blacksmith’s forge in 1945, Magnolia Hall has a capacity of 200 with mission-style décor featuring lantern lighting, exposed rafters and vintage oak paneling. Four sets of French doors lead to a beautifully landscaped 3,000-square-foot stone courtyard, which can be tented, and is perfect for pre-dining cocktails and conversation. Just off the courtyard, the Magnolia Hall Lawn is a beautiful place for a ceremony.

Touted as Midtown’s only waterfront event space, the majestic Greystone has the namesake granite walls and 9,000 square feet for hosting up to 400 of your guests in a variety of ways. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment available, the South Wing has a catering kitchen and seats up to 220. Add the ­Main Hall for buffet or drink service, dancing, or seating for an additional 50 guests.

The Terrace overlooks the Piedmont Park Pool and Lake Clara Meer. It seats up to 120 at tables, is a charming add-on for dancing or mingling with a view, and seats 150-180 theater-style for a romantic ceremony.

Dockside near the 12th Street gate has a dock and lawn area and the historic Visitor Center Building. The dock, directly on the west end of Lake Clara Meer, can be tented and is an idyllic place for an outdoor ceremony for up to 120 guests. The lawn offers seating for 200. With a mural-painted, barrel-vaulted ceiling, the Visitor Center Building can seat up to 60 of your guests.

Choose from a list of preferred caterers and vendors. For an additional fee, approved outside caterers may be used. All proceeds benefit the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Call Jane Rollo at 404-875-7275, ext. 230, or email jrollo@piedmontpark.org.


10. Zoo Atlanta

800 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta


Chinese-themed dining is popular at Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Veranda.
Chinese-themed dining is popular at Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Veranda.

One of only four zoos in the United States currently housing giant pandas, Zoo Atlanta provides a vast number of choices for hosting a wild event.

Four indoor spaces are available at the zoo, including the 257-seat Coca-Cola World Studio for showing your favorite video. Or you can choose from seven outdoor venues of varying sizes, many of which can be tented, for your untamed experience. They range from the Chinese Plaza and Panda Veranda, complete with a panda viewing room, to Flamingo Plaza, which is ideal for big bird watching during your reception and dining events. Tenting and string lighting are included.

Package availability and add-ons, such as Wild Encounters and behind-the-scenes access, differ with each space.

Renting the whole zoo gives you and up to 4,999 of your friends the run of the place and includes access to the Ford Pavilion and private elephant, gorilla and orangutan feedings after dark.

Customized menus are created through the zoo’s preferred caterer, Nourish Events, and kosher dining accommodations can be made.

Call 404-624-5650, or email specialevents@zooatlanta.org.

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