You’re in Atlanta, stuck in a windowless room 20 floors up from what looks like a dodgy downtown. A couple of client buddies drop by and you eat a $150 steak at some clubby place and when you next look at your watch, it’s 2:45 a.m., there’s a Cheetah Girl in your lap, a $495 champagne tab in your pocket and no sign of your buddies. Well not this year, pal, because I’ve decided to play Virgil to your Aeneas. For starters, there are the neighborhoods, and I’m not talking about everything called Peachtree. I’m going to limit my recommendations to the less-obvious downtown, midtown and Buckhead scenes in case you have time to seek out some of the more unusual aspects of the city. Atlanta is known for many wonderful things and people: Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, Ted Turner and CNN, its airport, a brand new Aquarium and the most heavenly collards, cracklin’ and biscuits this side of the Pink Pig. But also, on any given night, you can rock out to alt, country, jazz, club and classical music, stimulate yourself with alternative art and performance, peep in on several lurid yet attractive lifestyles and dine a hundred ways from ordinary. By a stroke of luck, you’ll be in Atlanta just in time to enjoy the first blush of our colorful spring. Millions of azaleas will be blooming and dogwood trees—the personification of Southern charm—will also be blushing their finery. Witness the lushness at the April 9 finale of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park (www.dogwood.org). In addition to more than 50 musical performances throughout the day, there are some 200 artists in the market section and you can see one of the largest Frisbee "disc dog" events in the country from noon till 5. Then walk two blocks to the Cha Gio Vietnamese restaurant (132 10th St., 404-885-9050), run by the incomparable Mrs. Lee and whichever of her talented children she can talk into showing up that day. On Monday night, the Braves play the Phillies at the Ted, game time 7:35 p.m. The Braves always come to play and the stadium is one of baseball’s cooler venues. After the game, sustain the mood by visiting the city’s quintessential neighborhood joint—Manuel’s Tavern (602 North Highland, 404-525-3447). It’s home to the recently dormant breed of proud Southern Democrats, as well as discerning drinkers and conversationalists. If all the other places are booked, it’s getting late and you’ve got to show clients a good time, take them to the Buckhead Diner (3073 Piedmont Road, 404-262-3336). The dining room will be packed, but after a couple of drinks at the bar, try to sit at the diner seats in front of the grill. You’ll see how delicious, high-end comfort food is made. Cap off the evening with a tray at the curb from Atlanta’s prized Varsity (61 North Ave., 404-881-1706). Rev up your radio at the drive-thru with a chili dog, carrier-grade rings and brain-nipping Orange Frosty. If you’re feeling bloated the next day, head to Dick’s Sporting Goods (3535 Peachtree Road, 404-267-0200) in Buckhead and hike up one of three 60-foot climbing walls. The South’s best shopping destination lies a block and a half away: Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square. Excellent restaurants grace the two meccas: Twist (404-869-1191), Tavern at Phipps (404-814-9640) and Brasserie Le Coze (404-266-1440). Got an hour and a stretcher in the car for breakfast? Check these great meat-and-threes: Bobby & June’s Kountry Kitchen (375 14th St., 404-876-3872) and The Silver Skillet (200 14th St., 404-874-1388). Also high on the triglyceride chart are two of Atlanta’s finest soul food kitchens, both a short cab ride from the convention center: Thelma’s Kitchen (768 Marietta St., 404-688-5855), serving spicy, crispy fried chicken, okra pancakes and world-class vegetables, and Paschal’s (180 Northside Drive, 404-525-2023), the neighborhood hangout of Civil Rights Movement icons. Got a date? Try Two Urban Licks (820 Ralph McGill Blvd., 404-522-4622) and get an eyeful of the Bauhaus setting and Atlanta’s most flirtatious clientele. Wherever you find yourself, we hope you enjoy your stay and, remember, you need to specify if you want your tea unsweetened. Y’all hurry back. –Alex Swan is media relations director for ARRIS.

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