Back to School

“Oh, you’re a freshman.”

This simple sentence is heard countless times as one walks through Emory’s campus in August and September. The start of a new academic year brings over a thousand new faces to campus. Whether this sentence is a response to questions of “Where is the library?” or “What time does the DUC close?” the “Oh” references the campus-specific information that freshmen tend to lack. Here are a few Emory basics for the class of 2020 as they join the Emory community.

Academics:

“Club Libs”: This phrase usually refers to Woodruff Library. The most important places in the library are the Matheson Reading Room, the first floor and the stacks. The reading room is located on the third floor, and although dead-silent, is popular for its Hogwarts-esque feel. Peet’s Coffee is located on the first floor and gives students the caffeine and nutrients they need to succeed (in exchange for Dooley Dollars). The first floor is a popular study spot, apart from Peet’s, because of its abundant whiteboards and low-noise environment. Although some prefer the stacks, it’s sometimes eery silence is understood to be a necessary evil during times of crisis (i.e. paper due the next morning that you haven’t started writing). The stacks are also rumored to be a popular place for “private dates” on campus. During the regular school year, the library is open until midnight Monday through Thursday, but during finals week, it is open 24/7.

Passing your classes: Emory is ranked 21st among national universities by U.S. News and World Report. Suffice it to say, school can be challenging. Luckily, Emory has resources in place to help students succeed academically. Mentoring programs, such as Chem Mentors and Bio Mentors, offer group study environments in which students who have previously taken those classes can help current students. Additionally, the Writing Center and EPASS Peer Tutoring offer individualized tutoring sessions by trained students at a time that the student chooses. All of these services are free. (Shocking, I know!)

Food:

The DUC: The Dobbs University Center is meal swipe central. Although it can become tiresome, by the end of first semester, most students will have mastered the DUC, whether that means taking advantage of the gluten-free and vegan lines when time is of the essence, or using various lines to make new food combinations like cheesy fries. If you open up your mind (and maybe lower your standards a little), you may find that the DUC offers a whole world of possibilities. For upperclassmen, these once-hated swipes turn into a hot commodity. Don’t be scared if a scary looking guy approaches you; he probably just wants one of your free swipes.

Dooley Dollars: Dooley Dollars can be spent at Cox, Kaldi’s Coffee, The Depot by Kaldi’s, Starbucks, Highland Bakery, the WREC and more. Freshmen tend to spend their 150 Dooley Dollars on Emory favorites such as Blue Donkey and King of Pops. Dooley Dollars are highly valued because they provide an escape from the DUC, offer more convenient options and make purchases tax free.

Social:

The Row: Eagle Row is home to the fraternities and sororities on campus, as well as themed housing, including the Black Student Alliance (BSA) house and Media, Literacy and Arts Outreach (MLAO) house. The lodges, which house the sororities, do not have parties. If a sorority hosts a function, it will take place at another venue. In contrast, fraternities and the themed houses often have parties and other events on the Row itself. The fraternities at Georgia Tech host parties that Emory students frequent when the Row is having a quiet night.

Clubs and Bars: Mansion Elan is a space that holds events a few times a year and is a favorite among underclassmen. These 18+ parties offer a night out at the club for those that aren’t of age. For those who are 21+, Maggie’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill is perhaps the most classic Emory late night spot. Although Mags is often the place many students go after their first few parties, the bar could truly be a night out entirely on its own. Many upperclassmen spend their Wednesday nights at MJQ, a local club. Some even venture into Buckhead and other areas to try new bars and clubs for an adventurous nights out.

The “Orange Is the New Black” (or OITNB) binge-watch just doesn’t have the magic it had last year. I know, it’s like hearing that Santa isn’t real during Christmas. While the existence of Santa can’t be proven, the less-than-stellar third season of OITNB is all too evident. I will try to convey my disappointment in as many spoiler-free words as possible, but understand that this is not an easy sacrifice to make — I need to vent.

First, let’s focus on the positives. Season 3 is 100 percent Larry-free. We rejoiced at the news about the absence of the most universally hated OITNB character a few months ago, but it really is a major improvement in the show. No one likes Larry. If you like Larry, you need to reassess your standards for human beings. He was whiny, underdeveloped as a character and irrelevant to the larger storyline. While similar to Piper at first in terms of sheltered unawareness, Larry remains stagnant in terms of character while Piper eventually must develop in order to adapt to the prison. It’s clear that Larry was kept around as Piper’s link to the outside world, but as the connection between them dwindled, so did his purpose as a character.  Because he was cut, there is significantly more focus on what is going on in the prison.

Season 3 also offers a great amount of character development. Not only do we see more of the series’ darlings such as Pennsatucky and Taystee, we see characters that had only been in the background before. There aren’t as many episodes focused on one character’s backstory as there were last season. However, each character’s story is handled carefully with well-distributed attention given to each of them. This even focus showcases the skill of the writers, especially considering the size of the cast.

The humor is spot-on, as always. Part of the beauty of OITNB is the show’s ability to make the humor largely character-based without sacrificing the depth of the characters. However, what the new season gains in humor, it loses in story. While many interesting storylines are introduced, they lose momentum or are just forgotten by the season’s end. A lot of time is spent on already tired plot points, such as Piper and Alex’s contentious relationship — quite possibly the most boring part of this season. We’ve dealt with the Piper/Alex drama since Season 1, and it’s honestly grown stale.

Also, it feels as if Daya has been pregnant for ages. I wouldn’t have been surprised if her kid needed to take SAT prep along with his Baby Einstein videos. Although all of this is probably in an effort to continue with storylines from the previous season, I wanted old news to get wrapped up.

The more redundant moments in the series made this year’s binge watch feel significantly longer, but there was always an intense cliffhanger ending to reel me back in and deprive me of the sleep I so desperately needed. The end of each episode made me completely forget about anything mediocre I just watched and pulled me into a seemingly unending cycle of watching an episode, losing patience, seeing the intense ending, watching an episode, etc.

One aspect of this season that is not necessarily good or bad is the lack of a human antagonist. Season 2 gave us the character of Vee, one of the most manipulative and menacing characters on the show. Season 1 gave us Larry, who, while not necessarily an antagonist, gave the audience something to collectively team up against because, as explained before, he was just the weakest character. In Season 3, many characters that could be lined up as antagonists often turned around to do something good, giving another layer of complexity to the characters that would otherwise be maligned. As with any story, there are antagonistic forces at play, but they do not necessarily have a face.
All in all, Season 3 of “Orange Is the New Black” is just as solid in quality as the first two, while still managing to stand on its own in terms of tone and story. Some parts of the series’ larger story arc were sacrificed, but they were made up for in the development of characters that we have come to know and love, in addition to those we took for granted. Sure, it’s not as eventful or dramatic as it was last year, but it goes above and beyond to please fans of the show. If you haven’t already sped through right after it was put on Netflix, I highly recommend it. Just don’t set your hopes too high for a more dramatic Litchfield.

EBOLA AT EMORY HOSPITAL

In case you missed the recent frenzy of news trucks crowding Woodruff Circle, Emory University Hospital has been treating two American health care workers who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia. Kudos if you snagged a selfie with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

EXTENDED THANKSGIVING BREAK

Thinking about skipping class the Wednesday before Thanksgiving? Now you don’t have to. The Emory calendar now declares that Wednesday off for College and Oxford students (the Business School will follow suit but have not made an official announcement), which means a five-day weekend for the holiday.

PASTA JOHN’S NOW IN COX

If you couldn’t get enough of Pasta John’s infectious attitude and impromptu singing, be sure to stop by his new storefront in Cox Hall. The made-to-order pasta will satisfy the appetites of vegetarians and carnivores alike.

WOODRUFF LIBRARY RENOVATIONS

The second floor of Woodruff Library is now more mobile friendly. Over the summer, the space was renovated to include more electrical outlets to accommodate for personal laptops, as well as wheely tables and chairs to make it easier to study in groups. MARBL is also undergoing renovations this year. Since it’s now on the 7th floor, you won’t be able to get to the 10th floor for manuscripts, archives, rare books and a beautiful view of Atlanta.

THE MAIL ROOM

Check out the brand new mail center in the bottom floor of the DUC, which features a streamlined pickup process and the elimination of mailboxes in favor of mail folders sorted by last name.

RAOUL HALL

Raoul Hall is the newest addition to Emory’s luxury real estate for freshmen (also known as the freshman housing master plan). The residence hall will be home to more than 330 freshmen, resident advisors and sophomore advisors.

EAGLE ROW PAVING

In addition to the newly-built Raoul Hall, Eagle Row got a facelift. Whether you’re zooming to Zaya’s or running the row, thanks to this summer’s repaving, it’ll be smooth sailing.

DEAN JAMES

On July 15, Erika Hayes James became the new dean of the Goizueta Business School. She is also the first black woman to lead a top-25 business school.

FRAT HOUSE SWAPPING

Brush up on your Greek alphabet! Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) has moved into the old Sigma Nu house, Chi Phi has moved into the old Pike house and Xi Kappa is living in the old Chi Phi house.

NEW THEOLOGY BUILDING

This fall marks the opening of the new Candler Theology Library, a beautiful new building with large windows, classrooms and over 610,000 volumes.

— By Harmeet Kaur, Multimedia Editor, and Stephen Fowler, Asst. News Editor

Dooley

Dooley, Lord of Misrule, first appeared on the Emory scene in an essay in the school’s literary journal The Emory Phoenix. He began his tenure as Emory’s resident skeleton hanging in a biology classroom, giving him plenty of time to observe the strange and foolish ways of Emory students that he discussed in his essay “Reflections of the Skeleton.” But this was all a ruse, as a 1909 issue of Phoenix featured “Dooley’s Letter—By Way of Introduction,” which contended that the author of “Reflections” was an imposter and that the author of the “Letter” was the genuine Lord Dooley. For the next 30 years, Dooley contributed to campus publications, but it was in 1941 that he made his first appearance on campus at the school’s first dance. Since then, Dooley has remained to wreck a little playful havoc, most notably during Dooley’s Week, when the mischievous Lord patrols campus with his guard and releases classes. Dooley reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. — Rhett Henry, Editorials Editor

Swoop

Powerful, playful and at times a little sassy, Swoop is the much-beloved face of the Emory Eagles. But this was not always the case. Once upon a time, Emory’s athletic teams had no nickname. In the distant past, our sports teams had been unofficially called, at one time or another, the Hillbillies, the Gentlemen and even the Teasippers, but by 1960, we were just Emory. The Wheel‘s Sports Editor at the time, an intrepid young man named David Kross, decided that this situation just would not do and on Oct. 27, 1960, he unilaterally declared from the bully pulpit of the Sports section that Emory’s sports teams would henceforth and forever more (unless people disagreed) be called the Eagles. The name stuck.

July 4, 1986 was not only the 210th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — it was also Swoop’s birthday. Ever since then, he has been representing Emory both on and off the court/field. In addition to leading the cheering section at Emory sporting events, Swoop is also active in the Atlanta community, helping charities raise money for a plethora of good causes. In his spare time, Swoop enjoys listening to the music of the Eagles and watching old basketball games on ESPN Classic, especially those involving Larry Bird. – Bennett Ostdiek, Editor-at-Large.

Dooley’s Week

Dooley’s Week is the biggest spirit week on campus. There’s free food, free concerts, free shirts – plus, there’s that whole thing where Dooley walks around Emory and lets students out of class if their professors can’t answer an obscure question about Emory’s history. There also have been some great acts brought
onto Emory’s campus. Last year, Chance The Rapper was the performer and, two years ago, it was Kendrick Lamar. There’s also Dooley’s Ball, which is more of an electronic, glow-stick scene but equally exciting and well-attended. If you’re not one for big crowds and loud noises, there are other (calmer) events like trivia for students. This week is one of your few weeks that have concentrated celebrations of Emory pride, so take advantage of it — and
make sure you fight tooth-and-nail for a free Dooley’s Week shirt.

Homecoming Week

Most schools base their Homecoming Week around a football game, but Emory and SPC (Student Programming Council) have made sure “Swoop’s Week” will be an oasis from students’ studies and alums’ day-to-day lives at gridiron-less Emory.
Homecoming promises something for everyone, from those looking to reunite with old friends, to former student athletes, to scholars, to music buffs. Students will begin celebrating when they take a break from class with their weekly walk through Wonderful Wednesday on Sept. 17. The next day, the Candler School of Theology will host a lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and historian Dr. Garry Wills on the “Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture.” The Laney Graduate School will offer a “Conversation with the Deans” on hot topics. Oxford College will also hold its Alumni Awards Banquet. On Friday, award ceremonies and class reunions will take place, along with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s “The Journey to Leadership” Class. Saturday will be Spirit Day, beginning with a Residence Hall Reunion and fraternity and sorority open houses. At 1 p.m., the Women’s Soccer team, which made the Division III Tournament last season, will take on Berry College at the WoodPEC. The Homecoming Parade will take place at 12:30 p.m., ending at 2:00 for the Homecoming Ball on McDonough Field, featuring performances by Cash Cash and Sugar Ray. – Zak Hudak, Sports Editor

Other Campus Traditions

Emory’s best-known tradition is our unofficial mascot, Dooley, Lord of Misrule, and the week of spring semester that we dedicate to his antics and fun-loving spirit. His face (or, rather, his cranium) appears on all manner of Emory swag and there will, undoubtedly, be a number of students lucky enough to have him dismiss their classes. But Emory is a university that loves its traditions – these are a few more that make the rest of the school year more exciting:

Wonderful Wednesday: There was a time, early in Emory’s history, when Wednesdays were dedicated to rest and relaxation, not class and consternation. Although we have to go to class, Emory strives to maintain this spirit of fun by putting on a street fair in Asbury Circle every Wednesday afternoon.
Sophomore Pinning: Among other reasons, Emory is unique because students are considered alumni after two consecutive semesters. Why? Back in the day – before you needed a college degree to run a company – Robert Woodruff left Emory after just two semesters to run the Coca-Cola Company. The Student Alumni Association (SAA) remembers this quirk by bestowing alumni pins on rising sophomores in a lovely pinning ceremony.
Coke Toast: In another nod to Emory’s long history with the Coca-Cola Company, every first-year student and every graduating senior participates in a “coke toast” to commemorate the commencement and conclusion of their Emory careers. Drink up! – Nick Bradley, Associate Editor

Emory Sports

In such a college-sports crazed state, it’s easy to overlook Emory Athletics for the lack of any Division I teams (or any sort of football team) to speak of. What the University lacks in big-name sports and tailgate scenes, however, it makes up for by essentially being the best athletic school in Division III. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not a big one — just last year, the Eagles won five conference titles and finished in the top 15 nationally in nine sports, including a pair of national titles in women’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis. Emory clocked in at sixth in the Director’s Cup standings, which measure athletic success across the board, and Emory Athletics Director Tim Downes was named the Division III Athletic Director of the Year.

A bit of background: each of Emory’s 18 varsity sports play in the University Athletic Association (UAA for short), an eight-team league consisting of other D-III academic and athletic powerhouses like Washington University in St. Louis and New York University. They’ve won a combined 17 national titles, a staggering number that will likely increase once the 2014-15 seasons are in the books. – Ryan Smith, Associate Editor

Sophomores

The Sophomore Slump. It’s the sinking feeling you obtain when you realize midway through the semester that the entire year may not live up to the same expectations you had freshman year.

The biggest thing you can do to avoid the wretched Sophomore Slump is to not let yourself start the Pity Party. Instead of getting upset that you aren’t getting the grades you wanted, work through it and change your routines to better match your tough classes. If you start to feel overloaded, maybe you don’t take that extra sixth class next semester. In the end, sophomore year is about living life to the fullest, solidifying your friendships, advocating for change and making tough decisions.

Go out of your way to sit in your professor’s office hours and make an impact. You’ll be grateful that you did at the end of your college years when you get great recommendations and lasting relationships with your professors.

Advocate for all the causes you believe in. Sophomore year is the year to discover what you’re passionate about and to solidify what you truly believe in. Make an impact on campus, because outside of college, who knows when you’ll get the chance to do so again?

Freshman year might feel like it’s about fitting in, but sophomore year is about being unique, embracing yourself, making an impact and creating lasting relationships. Don’t squander it by feeling sorry for yourself; instead, embrace the multitude of opportunities Emory has to offer.

— By Ashley Bianco, Features Editor

 

Juniors

Hey, juniors! You’re halfway done with college. It may seem like you just got here, but you’ll be graduating before you know it.

Junior year can be a scary time, but it’s also exciting. Many juniors have transformational experiences while studying abroad. You (hopefully) have gotten some introductory classes out of the way and now have the opportunity to take classes that truly interest you. Student clubs and organizations often look to their upperclassmen participants to fill leadership roles. Also, since juniors are no longer required to live on campus and may bring cars to school, this is the time to get out and explore more of Atlanta.

This year is brimming with opportunities, but with the “real-world” lurking in the not-too-far distance, it’s also time to get serious. Here are a few tips to help make your junior year a success:

Take classes that interest you. Even if they’re outside your major. If you can’t spare the credit hours, try to branch out within your major by enrolling in classes outside of your concentration.

Continue to make new friends. It’s easy to settle into a friend group and stop meeting new people. However, studying abroad can leave many friend groups split up for a semester or even a year. Whether you’re abroad or at Emory, don’t be afraid to branch out.

Prioritize. We’ve all been there — it’s the first week of freshman year, and everyone is looking to find their place to fit in on campus. Naturally, you sign up for 50 clubs. Junior year is the time to figure out which ones are truly important to you. Better yet, pursue a leadership role that you find meaningful.

Plan ahead. Start thinking early about senior year and beyond. Do you want to graduate early? Is there a job or internship you are particularly interested in? The sooner you start preparing for these types of things, the better.

— By Elizabeth Howell, Managing Editor

 

Seniors

I’m 20 years old, it’s August and I’m absolutely terrified.

It didn’t hit me until midsummer that I was going to be a senior. Three years in University really does go by quicker than you’d think. All of this pressure — from my parents, brother, extended family, friends — is kind of getting to me. I have ideas, goals and plans. I have started applications, and I have finished applications, but I can’t see my future right now.

But I’m happy. I’m happy and full of fear.

That’s just it: the fear of not really knowing where you’re going to end up, the fear of failing and disappointing all of those who bet on you, the fear of realizing that every- thing you worked for got you to the other side of where you wanted to be.

But I love the fear because it motivates me. The fear keeps me staring at my ceiling, thinking and thinking all night. The fear allows me to separate what’s real and what’s bullshit, because this is rational fear, and it keeps me alert.

I thrive on the fear because if I don’t succeed, at least I know that I tried, and that sentiment is enough to make me try again.

Life’s a gamble; life’s a risk. Life’s full of opportunity costs and the unknown, of beautiful people and horrendous people. Sometimes, it sucks, and you will fall flat on your face. You can plan and plan, have plan A, B, C, etc. and work your ass off to ensure at least one of these plans happen, but sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s just a part of the game.

College has and will continue to be a embracement of this fear. So for all the rising seniors: let’s play cards.

— By Priyanka Krishnamurthy, Editor in Chief

Best “First Year” Event: SONGFEST

Let’s be honest: it’s a little irritating when your way-too-energetic SA drags you out of your room (multiple times) to practice dance moves in a parking lot. But at some point between tripping over your hallmates and learning more lyrical variations to “Beat It” than you ever knew could exist, it stops being a burden and actually starts being fun. I won’t pretend to know how running around frantically in front of thousands of newly-indoctrinated Emory students does the trick, but it does. And you’ll find yourself returning to the WoodPEC every year after to cheer on your former place of residence.

Best Arts Event: BEST IN SHOW

This might be kind of a cop-out, but Best in Show never fails to impress. I’m 90 percent sure it was created as a way to prove to parents that we really do more than study in this place, but there’s no better way to see all the awesome things your fellow Emoryians are getting up to in one shot. Take a seat on McDonough and enjoy the amazingness of the a cappella groups, student-run dance teams and any other performing group you can think of. Best in Show usually takes place during the first few weeks of school, so it’s a great chance to see all the arts groups in action before auditions.

Best overall event: DRAG SHOW

Yes, it’s true: I cried during the 2011 drag show. (They couldn’t stop the beat!) This annual event is a great way to check out a variety of on-campus clubs, from the OMPS office to EmRock to the rugby team, and most importantly — to check them out lip-syncing and grooving to any rockin’ song they choose. And it’s for a good cause: all proceeds benefit Day League, formerly known as the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center. It’s an amazing occasion when the whole campus comes together to celebrate diversity and LGBTQ pride, show our support for one another and sing and dance along the way.

— By Emelia Fredlick, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Best during-the-day dining: HIGHLAND BAKERY

When the Einstein’s by the B-school closed down, chaos ensued. What could possibly replace the beloved bagel/coffee locale? Well, as it turns out, Highland Bakery certainly could. It’s perfect for grabbing a coffee and muffin for the road; it’s perfect for sitting with a traditional southern breakfast and finishing up your homework before class; it’s perfect for grabbing a fresh salad or sandwich and enjoying lunch with a friend. The rest of Emory is equally as excited about the bakery, so the lines tend to be long, but fear not — they move surprisingly fast.

Best study spot: THE BIO LIBS

Best place to study on campus: “The Bio Libs” aka the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library. During finals time, the Woodruff Library is anything but conducive to studying. If you’re lucky enough to even find a seat, the collective panic creates waaay too much tension, and it’s impossible to actually focus your attention on, like, a textbook (I actually had security come yell at a study room one time for being too loud).

Enter the solution: the Health Sciences Library. In the Bio building en route to the Woodruff dorms, you’ll find this lovely hidden gem of a study spot. There are big, comfy chairs. There’s historic-feeling architecture. There’s always a free table. Perhaps most importantly, there’s silence.

Best bathroom on campus: FIRST FLOOR CANDLER

Unless you’re a Classics major, you probably won’t be spending a whole lot of time on the ground floor of Candler. But that’s why the bathroom you’ll find there is so awesome. It’s a personal bathroom, in a super-silent and calming area, so you can do your business in peace. There’s never a line. It’s in a primarily faculty-used area, so it’s a little nicer. And it’s clean.

Best on-campus late-night dining: ZAYA AT DOOLEY’S DEN

There’s been a lot of over-the-summer buzz about the revamps coming to Cox this fall, but until we have definitive proof of their improvements, I’ll always be a Zaya girl. It’s open over fall break, when everything else is closed, and it’s great for when you’re looking for somewhere to use your Dooley Dollars. It’s open at one in the morning, when you’re lugging an over-served friend back to the dorms, and you’re both really craving some pancakes. It offers falafel, gyros and other traditional Greek fare, along with all the basic chicken tenders and burger options. Plus, where else on campus can you grab a pint of ice cream to go?

— By Emelia Fredlick, Arts & Entertainment Editor

DRUID HILLS

Our beloved University is situated in a heavily residential, wealthy area known as Druid Hills. While Emory might have an Atlanta postal address, we’re actually outside the city limits of Atlanta in unincorporated DeKalb County — also known as the quasi-suburbs (seriously, Druid Hills was historically Atlanta’s second established suburb). While we live in a pretty quiet area, take advantage of Druid Hills’ gems.

Beautiful greenspaces, like the on-campus Lullwater Park and the forested Olmsted Linear Parks near Ponce de Leon Ave.
Award-winning dining, like the General Muir, a Jewish deli-style restaurant in the newly minted (and upscale) Emory Point, or Rise-N-Dine and Falafel King, every college student’s favorite hangout in Emory Village.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Seriously. Go. It’s cool.

DECATUR

O Decatur, the perfectly-planned city alternative to the urban planning nightmare that is Atlanta. Located a few miles east of Atlanta city limits, Decatur’s a neighborhood very close to Emory and was also a suburb that’s undergone heavy gentrification in the past decades. Now, it’s home to some of the best dining and drinking options in Atlanta.

Check out:
Victory Sandwich Bar. With $4 gourmet sandwiches and a cocktail menu to knock your socks off (see the famous Jack & Coke slushie), what other place could you take your late-night cravings?
Java Monkey. Along with Dancing Goats, Java Monkey represents the best coffee that Decatur has to offer (although the wi-fi could use some help). Stop by to get some reading done in a laid-back atmosphere — especially on Sunday nights, where some of the best slam-poetry in the city happens.
Decatur CD. Crotchety old men sell you an awesome collection of new and used CDs and records. Can’t beat that.
Most every other restaurant and bar. Chai Pani, Brick Store, Leon’s Full Service, Cakes & Ale — you really can’t go wrong when it comes to eating out in Decatur. Just check the menu before you go out if you’re looking to save money, since they be a bit pricey (see: gentrification).

LITTLE FIVE POINTS

The mini-version of the “big” Five Points in Downtown, Little Five is close to Emory — especially via Marta — and one of the weirdest, coolest neighborhoods in Atlanta. Booming with 1960s and 70s counterculture (if you look closely, you’ll still see some hippies), Little Five is brimming with locals and some of the best bars and food around. It’s strange and homey, and you may want to become a neighborhood regular.

The Best of Little Five:
BEER. The Porter Beer Bar has a menu with more beer than you could ever try, and Wrecking Bar Brewpub has some of Atlanta’s best beer — brewed in-house. Both have food to die for. If you’re looking for a grungier experience, try Star Bar (which has local music most nights) or Elmyr, everyone’s favorite Mexican dive bar with great food and cheap liquor. (Pro-tip: if you want more weird, dive bar excellence, check out East Atlanta Village).
COFFEE AND PIZZA. One of the oldest coffee shops in town, Aurora Coffee has great coffee, good music, and a nice patio. You can get all different types of iced and chocolatey stuff you want (even fresh coconuts), and if you’re hungry, just go next door to Savage Pizza.
MUSIC. Criminal Records is your go-to stop for records. They’ve got a huge selection of vinyl and CDs (and comics!), great recommendations, and they host a number of *free* in-store performance (Chvrches came a few months ago). For even more music, you can head over to Wax N’ Fax just next door.

VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS
By far one of Emory’s most popular neighborhoods for nightlife, VaHi (or “the Highlands”) has got a pub-crawl sort of charm, and it’s full of young professionals and new families. It’s very walkable and, like Druid Hills, it has a lot of old houses. Other than that, it’s kind of a peaceful, reliably decent area of town with a couple of good spots:

Blind Willie’s. It’s Atlanta’s best blues bar, and it’s a great alternative to EDM/sweat-filled clubs. Come for the drinks, stay for the always soulful live music.
Atlanta Cupcake Factory and Alon’s Bakery. The first offers gourmet cupcakes with flavors like Butterfinger and chocolate salted caramel, and Alon’s provides the best fresh breads and pies around.
The plethora of pretty good bars like Hand in Hand and Dark Horse Tavern, but Manuel’s Tavern is probably the best of the bunch, with a history of being a Georgia Democrat leader hangout and a local favorite.

BUCKHEAD

Okay, if you want to go to Buckhead, just know that it’s pretty widely regarded as the most ritzy, pretentious area of town. It’s Atlanta’s financial district, and apparently Justin Bieber lives there now. That’s all I’m saying. A begrudging list of the few things that are “ok” or at least have some vestige of character in Buckhead:

Because You’re Fancy:
Prohibition. Once rated as one of Atlanta’s douchiest bars (not kidding), Prohibition is a speakeasy-style establishment where you technically have to give a password to get in. It’s trying to replicate the exclusivity (and elitism) of the 1920s with fancy cocktails and cigars. Ugh.
Anis Cafe & Bistro. Located in a cute house, it serves a blend of French and Mediterranean cuisine on a peaceful patio.

MIDTOWN

One of three city centers in Atlanta (between Downtown and Buckhead), Midtown has lots of tall buildings, 9-to-5 white-collar workers, and young people, often from the nearby Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

Go See:
Piedmont Park is one of the most iconic, beautiful parts of the city. Atlanta’s answer to Central Park (both were actually designed by the same person), Piedmont is huge and great for running, walking your dog, or just having a picnic and reading with a friend. Check out the nearby Midtown Art Cinema if you want to catch a flick afterward.
Flying Biscuit Cafe. It may not necessarily be the best breakfast in Atlanta, but you’ve got to go at least once. The original Flying Biscuit is in Candler Park (close to Emory), but the Midtown location has the best people-watching. Both have mouth- wateringly good biscuits and that sweet, sweet strawberry jam.
The culture. The High Museum, Atlanta’s biggest art museum with some good college nights, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are both located in Midtown’s Woodruff Art Center. Additionally, the Alliance Theatre and the Fox Theatre are nearby for stage performances. And if you like clubbing, Ponce’s MJQ offers the best Wednesday night out.

DOWNTOWN

Atlanta’s Downtown is in the midst of change. While parts have been often vacant after work hours are over, the heart of the city is being swept with new life as affordable housing crops up and as Georgia State University, the city’s biggest university located in the “concrete campus” of Downtown, keeps growing.

Places to Go While You’re There:
The Mammal Gallery. It’s a new, community-oriented performance space that hosts some killer (and cheap) live shows, as well as open mic nights, game nights, and art-focused events that welcome all types of people.
Anatolia Café & Hookah Lounge. Into hookah? Not? Doesn’t matter — Anatolia has both great Mediterranean food and good drinks and hookah, and it’s usually filled with other college students from around Atlanta. Meet people!
Downtown’s surrounding neighborhoods. They’re not on this list but, every neighborhood in Atlanta has something to offer. Like bars? Edgewood Avenue is probably the bar district in the city. Into coffee? Check out Condesa Coffee off of Boulevard Drive. Love nature? The Southwest Atlanta Beltline makes you forget you’re in a city with its hiking trails and urban forest.

— By Sonam Vashi, Executive Editor