With all the travel we do, it is easy to forget how much we love our hometown, Woodstock, GA. We live here, we work here and we have a lot of fun here. So, we decided it was time to share our tips for how to spend a weekend in our hometown.
This is not the end all, be all list of things to do, but rather our favorites and recommendations for enjoying yourself in our hometown.
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How to get to Woodstock, GA
Woodstock is located northwest of Atlanta off Interstate 575. I would love to be able to tell you that you can take mass transit to get here, but that’s not possible. Thus, you will need a car to get here and get around.
Get off at Exit 8 (Towne Lake Parkway) and head east. Towne Lake Parkway will intersect with Main Street right in the heart of downtown. Finding a place to park can be challenging but downtown is worth it. There is so much to see and do in an easy walking distance of anywhere you park.
The first stop is our favorite brewery, Reformation Brewery.
Reformation recently opened up a great new location in downtown with plenty of room, both indoors and out, for games and relaxation. Plus, they have their experimental brewery on the premises for some tasty stuff you can’t necessarily get in the stores.
I am a big fan of Cadence, their Belgian-style ale, and Nolan the Wanderer, their rotating IPA. Bonnie really likes Haddy, their Belgian-style white ale.
Grab a beer, take a load off and enjoy this great space. It’s perfect for a Friday afternoon beer (or any afternoon, for that matter).
When you are ready, head on over to Century House Tavern. This is probably our favorite restaurant in downtown. It has just the right mix of tasty sandwiches and high-end entrees to keep any foodie happy.
We are big fans of the Ahi Tuna Burger, the Prime Rib Dip and the Jack and Coke-glazed Pork Belly. Seriously, the grits which come with the pork belly are some of the best we have ever had. I hate to say it but these are better than my grandmother’s grits.
After dinner, take some time to grab some gelato at Dulce Artisan Gelato and walk around in downtown. If live music is your thing, you will often, especially in the warmer months, find several bars with live music to enjoy.
Other great spots for a casual dinner in Woodstock we love:
Truck & Tap – Basically, this is a bar with great craft beer and space in the back for a food truck. The food trucks rotate but there are some really great trucks, like Dominic’s NY Pizza.
Freight Kitchen and Tap – The drinks here are fantastic and the pimento cheese dip is to die for. The food is mostly nouveau Southern.
Your first stop is the Woodstock Farm Fresh Market, held every Saturday morning April to December on Market Street right next to Reformation. Here, you will find fresh fruits and veggies, along with plenty of places to get something to munch on for breakfast. Alternatively, you could head up to Copper Coin Coffee Shop for coffee and a light breakfast.
Right next to the Farmer’s Market is the Noonday Creek Trail. This paved walking path leads down to the creek and provides a great way to burn off a few of the calories from the gelato last night.
Getting out on the trail is one of our favorite things to do on a Saturday morning and you will often find us exercising there. When you get to the bridge, you can keep going out to Highway 92 or head past the dog park (Woofstock Park) towards Woodstock High School. The former is a bit shorter and flatter and the latter is a bit more wooded. If you need to use the bathroom or get water, there are restroom facilities at the dog park.
For lunch, head down Towne Lake Parkway to our favorite BBQ joint, J. Miller’s Smokehouse. This is not located in downtown proper but is a relatively easy walk from downtown.
Before our first visit, we heard about this place from one of our coworkers, Susan, who knows the owner. We had been meaning to try it but just hadn’t made the effort. One day we were driving home, stopped in traffic right at the shopping center, with the window open. Bonnie said, “Wow, that smells good.” I immediately turned in, without any hesitation. The thing is, Bonnie enjoys barbecue but rarely will choose it; I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
The BBQ tastes just as good as it smells! We are particularly fond of the Smokehouse Cuban Sandwich, which is made with pulled pork and bolo ham, and the Black and Blue Brisket Sandwich. Also, the sour cream and bacon potato salad is to die for!
Pro tip: Order the Cuban without mustard, then douse it with the house-made Low Country Mustard BBQ sauce. Perfection!
Another great option for lunch is Canyons Fresh Grill. I am a big fan of the Red Smoke Burger. If burgers aren’t your thing, they offer chicken and salads as well.
There are tons of ways to spend your afternoon in Woodstock. If shopping is your thing, look no further. Not only are there great shops in downtown, but there is also an outlet mall just up Rope Mill Road. You can even take the trolley there.
If shopping isn’t your thing and you want to see more in the way of nature, there is a ton to enjoy with just a short drive.
Just west of Woodstock is Lake Allatoona and Red Top Mountain State Park, both of which offer a lot in terms of outdoor recreation. There are several day use areas, hiking trails and boating opportunities to be had all around the lake.
Looking for a bit of history? Head south to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, our nearest unit of the National Park Service. Kennesaw Mountain NBP offers both a glimpse into the history of the Civil War in Georgia and some great views of the surrounding country.
Need a moment off your feet? We love the rooftop bar at Rootstock and Vine for a tasty cocktail in the afternoon or before dinner.
This place specializes in wine and bourbon, with a great selection of small plates/tapas. I highly recommend one the mules and be sure to check out their seasonal specials in terms of cocktails.
If the weather is hot, you might want to save drinks and the rooftop bar for after dinner to enjoy the cool of the evening.
For dinner, we recommend Vingenzo’s, a Neapolitan Italian restaurant owned by James Beard Chef Michael Bologna. You can get a wood-fired pizza or amazing pasta but be sure to pay attention to the specials.
We always enjoy the antipasti as a hearty appetizer. During our last visit, we had an amazing sea bass and pasta dish as well as the Bucatini All’ Amatriciana. But that is just a few of the great dishes we have had there.
Some other great dinner and drinks options in Woodstock we love:
Reel Seafood – I love their classic Dark n’ Stormy. The seafood here is great. I’m a big fan of the Seafood Gumbo.
Salt Factory – This gastropub offers a lot of tasty dishes along with a great beer and bourbon selection.
Cool Things to Do On Saturday Night
For Saturday night, we recommend checking the schedule for the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. Woodstock recently built a fantastic outdoor amphitheater and offers free concerts throughout the summer. Some of the acts which have played free shows in Woodstock include Drivin’ n’ Cryin,” Charlie Daniels Band, .38 Special and Everclear.
I got to go backstage for the Everclear concert. Yeah, I fangirled a bit. It was fantastic.
Another unique offering in Woodstock is Dixie Speedway, which offers dirt track racing at it’s finest. We can’t tell you how much fun we have watching the races at Dixie.
The races start fairly late, but there are plenty of warm-up and trial runs earlier, making for an action-packed time at the races.
Pro Tip: Make sure you stop by Wal Mart for some hearing protection and either bring or buy some cheap lawn chairs for the races. Also, this is a dirt track, so you and your clothes will get dirt on them.
If those aren’t available, be sure to check the schedule at MadLife Studios, which has a nice concert venue in downtown. Additionally, Elm Street Cultural Art Village offers live theatre most weekends.
For a nice breakfast on Sunday which will last you well into the day, we always head to J. Christopher’s. An Atlanta chain, this joint offers one heckuva tasty breakfast.
I like scrambles and skillets. Bonnie typically gets bacon and eggs. We both love their grits and their signature blueberry crunch cakes (pancakes with granola added) are amazing.
Pro Tip: Get here early on Sundays. The wait can be a bit long.
The other great option for breakfast, especially if you have never eaten at one before, is the Waffle House and there are two in Woodstock. Waffle House is probably the last bastion of true short-order cooks and the pecan waffles are just amazing.
Where to Stay
Since we live in downtown, we have never actually stayed at either of these hotels.
When my dad and stepmom come into town, they stay at the Hampton Inn. It is nothing fancy, but it works. While we have not stayed at this location, we have stayed at MANY Hampton Inns around the country and are always satisfied.
The newest hotel, located about five minutes from downtown, is a Holiday Inn Express and it is located right next to the outlet mall.
If you are looking to camp, there are several Corps of Engineers campgrounds around Lake Allatoona, as well as a campground at Red Top Mountain State Park.
It is kinda hard for us to believe our little downtown has grown to the point of being a weekend destination. I have lived here for more than 12 years and it has changed a lot in that time.
We hope you come to visit our little corner of the world. It’s a lot of fun and there is a ton to do and enjoy here. For more information on visiting Woodstock, be sure to check out VisitWoodstockGA.com.
Plus, who knows, you might run into us out on the trail or sipping on a beer at Reformation.