Travel Around The World Close to Home...No Passport Needed!

12 Places in Atlanta That Make You Feel Like You're in Another Country

By Becky Samford, Publisher Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek & Peachtree Corners Macaroni Kid July 21, 2023

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to exotic places? Well,  that might be easier than you think. Although not quite the same as actually being there, there are many places in and around Atlanta that make you feel as though you were in another country. So why not "travel the world" close to home this summer!

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn recently glowed blue to show solidarity with all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, North America’s second largest Hindu temple, is a masterpiece of exquisite Indian design and workmanship where you can marvel at the intricate marble carvings and learn about the world’s oldest living faith – Hinduism.

A Mandir is a Hindu place of worship – a haven for spirituality and a place of paramount peace. The 30,000-square-foot mandir in Lilburn, is comprised of 3 types of stone (Turkish Limestone, Italian marble, and Indian pink sandstone). More than 34,000 individual pieces were carved by hand in India, shipped to the USA and assembled in Lilburn like a giant 3-D puzzle.

Over two million man hours of volunteer labor went into building this special house of worship. Many high school and college students spent their summer vacations working to make this project a success.  Along with the students, many professionals and business people temporarily put their lives on hold to help also.

If you have always wanted to see the Taj Mahal, this beautiful mandir is just as amazing. Entering it will instantly make you feel like you are in India.

HOURS: Mandir is open to all and entry is FREE. Individuals and families are not required to book their visit in advance. Visiting hours are from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. The best time to come and see are from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Please note that all clothing must cover shoulders and knees (wraps provided). 

AUDIO TOUR GUIDE: please visit the Gift & Book Shop to get your Audio Tour Guide which provides a detailed information about the various features of the Mandir. At your own pace, learn about the importance of a Hindu Mandir, the fascinating story of how the Mandir was built, the Hindu sentiments for each of the sacred images, the significance of Hindu rituals, the meaning behind certain architectural designs, and much more. The Audio Tour Guide is now available in English, Spanish, Chinese and German. Fees apply - $5.00/unit.


The Nilkanth Varni Abhishek Mandapam is located on the ground floor of the Mandir. This sacred part of the Mandir welcomes all visitors to participate in the ‘Abhishek’ ritual amidst the chanting of prayers and mantras. You may participating in the ‘Abhishek’ ritual to pray for good health, happiness, prosperity, peace, spiritual blessing, success in life and peace. 

Abhishek Mandapam times are:
9:00 am to 10:15 am, 11:35 am to 12:00 pm and 4:15 pm to 6:00 pm.


One of the highlights of a visit to the Mandir is to witness the midday Arti ceremony performed daily at 11:15 am.  It is an ancient Hindu offering made by waving lighted wicks before the sacred images to the accompaniment of a musical prayer.  Many visitors have described the experience as awe-inspiring. Please note, there are separate seating arrangements for men and women during the Arti ceremony. All visitors are requested to adhere to these arrangements during the Arti ceremony.


With its all-vegetarian cuisine, Shayona is the perfect way to experience the traditional and authentic tastes of India.  You can select from various menu options for sit-down or to-go, including a wide selection of sweets and snacks. Shayona is open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm daily.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
460 Rockbridge Road NW, Lilburn, GA 30047

More information at

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

High Tea is ever so British! But, you can get a similar experience in Candler Park. Dr. Bombay's Underwater tea Party is a sweet & savory escape for you to enjoy with friends and family. Enjoy a pot of hot tea and a delicious homemade assortment including sandwiches, quiche, cakes and baked delights. Presented on your own vintage china tiered tray in the backdrop of our whimsical, eclectic and inviting tea house, we’ll make sure this afternoon experience will be one that’ll make memories you can carry for the rest of the day and far beyond.

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party
1645 McLendon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Millennium Gate Museum at Atlantic Station

If you can’t get to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris right now, taking a photo at Atlantic Station’s Millennium Gate might make you feel like you’re there! The Gate is designed in the tradition of classical Roman triumphal arches that have been built around the world during the past 2,500 years.

Inside the arch is the 12,000-sq-foot Millennium Gate Museum, which is a world-class boutique museum of Georgia history. This museum narrates Georgia’s history through interactive technology, film, period rooms and exhibitions. In the heart of a bustling city, the museum's outdoor campus is just as inviting and educational as its indoor galleries. The museum campus is dotted with monuments and statues each telling stories about brave men and women in our history. The museum building, a work of art in itself, overlooks a pond and a pedestrian trail for guests to enjoy.

Tuesday through Saturday
10:00am – 5:00pm

TICKETS: Walk-ins are welcome, but to guarentee admission, purchase online HERE

  • General Admission: $12
  •  Senior, Student, & Military: $10
  •  Children age 8 and below: FREE

Millennium Gate Museum
395 17th St. NW, Atlanta GA 30363


Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Reminiscent of an elegant French country estate, only 30 minutes north of Duluth, Chateau Elan offers the ultimate escape from the city ! Tour the iconic winery, with their popular tour and tasting option. You will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the winery vat, production rooms, and bottling line. Then a senior wine steward will guide you through the entire winemaking process, from grape-to-glass. After your tour concludes, enjoy a guided tasting of five, winemaker-selected vintages.

Reservations at $48 per person, click  HERE

Other amenities include, gourmet dining,  luxury guest rooms, afternoon high tea, golf, a world class spa and more. Visit their website HERE for more information

100 Rue Charlemagne
Braselton, GA 30517

Bone Garden Cantina, Day of the Dead Restaurant 

Stepping inside this restaurant is almost like stepping into an authentic Mexican cantina. This cozy cantina features colorful folk art inspired by Day of the Dead, an ancient holiday in Mexico honoring ancestors and departed loved ones. Local painters, tattoo artists and friends helped fill their space with original artwork that reflects Mexico’s rich history and vibrant culture.  All of their  dishes are made from scratch in small batches every day and are traditional dishes inspired by Mexico’s street food and regional cuisines.


MONDAY thru THURSDAY: 11:00am til 10:00pm FRIDAY thru SATURDAY: 11:00am til 11:00pm SUNDAY: Closed

1425 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Montaluce Winery Tour and Wine Hike

Just a short one hour drive north of Duluth, you will swear you are in Tuscany!  Your trained outdoor staff member will lead you in a tour of the Montaluce winery, followed by a guided hike along nature trails, the headwaters of the Etowah River, and through the vineyard, concluding with a wine tasting in their beautiful sister restaurant-Trattoria di Montaluce. 

Please dress accordingly. The hike is intermediate and about 1.8 miles. Wear comfortable HIKING shoes and clothes you would want to hike in. The whole experience lasts about 2 hours
Wine Hikes must be booked 24 hours in advance. Click HERE
$65 per person NOT INCLUDING TAX or TIP. This price Includes a 5 pour Montaluce wine tasting and a take-home wine glass

For a truly Italian experience, bring a change of clothes and stay for dinner! See their menu HERE

Montaluce Winery & Restaurant
501 Hightower Church Rd
Dahlonega, GA 30533

More Info at


Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Hawkers Asian Street Fare in the Old Fourth Ward will make you think you’re dining in Asia. Their location at the new StudioPlex Alley on the Eastside Beltline near Auburn Avenue is temporarily closed, but they have another location Sandy Springs. The name was inspired by the street food vendors the four co-founders, Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho, encountered living and traveling in Asia.

The moody neon glow, the loud clang hitting the woks in the kitchen, and the steamy flavor wafting up from the plates on the table. You’re in the U.S., but you’ll feel like you’re spending the night in Singapore.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1230 Ashford Crossing, 300 b
Atlanta, GA 30346

See their menu HERE

More Information at

Japanese Zen Garden at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead

Give yourself over to tranquility with winding paths, a bridge, the soothing sound of a 30-foot waterfall, and plenty of greenery in this gorgeous Japanese garden, designed by an award-winning Kyoto architect. The garden is open to the public everyday at no  charge.

Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
3300 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305

KURA revolving Sushi Bar

Japan is known for hi tech innovation. Kura Sushi, has brought hi tech to the culinary scene with a  revolving sushi concept, that combines advanced technology, premium ingredients, and affordable prices to provide a unique dining experience. With more than 500 locations across Japan, Taiwan, and now in Atlanta, you can enjoy the healthy, fun, and delicious dining experience that is Kura Revolving Sushi Bar!

Open 7 days a week from 11AM until  10PM

6035 Peachtree Rd Unit A-107, Doraville, GA 30360
2925 Buford Dr Suite 1105, Buford, GA 30519

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory

Only two things remind you that you are in Atlanta and not Egypt. There are no pyramids and there is no Nile River cruise. But walking among the extensive collection of mummies, sarcophaguses, cuneiform tablets, jewelry, gilded Egyptian funerary masks, bronze statuettes of deities, and the exquisitely preserved coffin of priestess Taosiris, will certainly make you forget where you are! Coupled with one of the free knowledgeable docents, this is an experience like no other.

Tuesday - Friday          10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Saturday                       10 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Sunday                          Noon — 5 p.m. 


Seniors and children ages 6-17
College and university students with valid ID
Children ages 5 and under

***Sunday FUNdays, the 1st Sunday each month during the academic year, offer FREE admission and drop-in studio activities for families from 12 - 4 p.m. No registration is required.

571 South Kilgo Circle
Atlanta, GA 30322

Atlanta Chinatown in Chamblee

Take a passport-free trip to China in Chamblee!  Chinatown is filled with specialty stores, a supermarket, and a  beautiful Chinese garden, featuring a picturesque red bridge over a small koi pond. There are sculptures of bodhisattvas and even the Great Wall of China depicted on a wall mural. You can feast at six restaurant stalls, a bakery or two dine-in restaurants that all provide authentic cuisines from around China, with recipes passed down from generation to generation.  So, bring your camera, a big appetite, your sense of adventure and cash, because they don’t accept plastic!

Open daily from 11AM to 9PM

Chinatown Mall
5383 New Peachtree Rd # C,
Chamblee, GA 30341

Bavarian Alpine Village of Helen

Helen is a bustling alpine village, about one and a half hours north of Duluth. Colorful shops dot the landscape, polka music fills the air, and the heavenly aroma of authentic German fare makes your mouth water! Set against a scenic backdrop of mountains, forests and river banks, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the cobblestone streets of Germany’s famed Bamberg or Lindau.

Helen is filled with year round family fun and adventures. Hosting Georgia's Oktoberfest for over 50 years and being named the #1 Christmas town in America, Helen has been heralded by Southern Living, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and more!

Click HERE for more information.