Labor Day Traffic in the Little Big Apple
Atlanta has been called The Little Big Apple and is also known as the Crossroads of the South. And for this Labor Day all roads lead right smack into our city. The Holiday, which actually starts before the weekend, for some travelers arrived on Wednesday or Thursday. And throughout the weekend our fair city is expected to host between 500,000 and 800,000 visitors this weekend to visit family & friends for graduation parties, birthday parties and cookouts, or to attend one or more of the 100's of events planned to celebrate the long Labor Day Weekend and what that means is that we have forming right this very minute a 'perfect storm of chaos' brewing in the city. And throw into that mix, the predicted thunderstorms each day, we are looking at a horrendous traffic scenario all weekend, all over Atlanta, both inside and outside the perimeter.
For starters, one of the largest events scheduled is the 29th annual Dragon Con Convention downtown. Organizers tell us that big crowds have a the biggest impact on our local economy and that each year, it just keeps growing. This year Dragon Con is expected to bring in 60,000 heroes and villains over the holiday weekend. "This is not just nerd culture, this is Atlanta culture,” said Dragon Con director Dan Carroll. "The Atlanta Convention Bureau estimates that we have an impact of $65 million every Labor Day on the Atlanta economy."
It’s just one of several big events this weekend, including the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome. All in all, more than 600,000-800,000 people are expected in downtown Atlanta this weekend. The organizers all agree that if you plan to attend any events, that you plan to get there by 8am. That's pretty early, but you'll be glad you did. "Parking is going to be so tight it'll be and a nightmare, so be patient,” said Hyatt Regency General Manager Peter McMahon.
Gay Black Pride Weekend is also taking place in the city this weekend. This event will extend the current figures up from between 100,000 and 200,000 each. As much as we would love to list for you the great hot spots to enjoy during your time in town, what we must do is tell you is what to avoid, which are The Hot Spots! Atlanta is a beautiful city, but the traffic has been horrendous lately, and will continue through the weekend, unfortunately!
Since Atlanta is known as the "Crossroads of the South," that is a beautiful sentiment until any of our holiday seasons. This time of year people from all over the southeast pour into our city to shop, visit, and simply pass through and all that volume means one thing: Traffic, Traffic, and more Traffic. There'll be more road rage, fender benders, and traffic tickets given in Atlanta and there's only one way to avoid it. Sorry to say it, but 'Stay home!'
Lenox Square Mall
There is no pain like the pain of spending an hour trying to go one mile past Lenox. The Buckhead area as a whole is a nightmare this time of year but Lenox and Phipps Place are the epicenter. If possible, avoid Peachtree Road altogether and don't get off 400 at Exit 2. Your best bet is to use Roxboro Road, NE to come in towards the back of Lenox Mall and just shell out our money to the valet so you don't drive around for hours.
Atlantic Station has quickly become one of the biggest shopping destinations in the city. Nearby IKEA adds to the traffic woes here. If possible, avoid unpredictable 75 altogether and use Northside Drive or Howell Mill Road and 17th to cut through to Atlantic Station. The less you can be on the highways, the better.
Lake Lanier Lake Lanier is truly a sight to behold anytime of the year, and we love that it's right outside our city! But unless you absolutely, positively have to go we advise you to stay home. This place is a traffic nightmare no matter how you get there or what time you go - but avoiding 985 is a smart bet (we'd suggest Hwy 19 instead.)
Mall of Georgia
Speaking of Buford, do we even have to tell you to steer clear of Mall of Georgia? If you can find a way around the traffic light disaster that is I-20 you'll be in better shape; Financial Center Way runs parallel to 20 and might be worth a shot. We suggest you hit the mall as early as possible.
What did we miss?
If you get stuck in some epic holiday traffic in the Atlanta area...tell us about your experience! We hope you'll plan your time in the Little Big Apple well enough to avoid major delays, and Have A Great Labor Day Weekend!