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For the Love of God, Get Out of the Ogle Bubble and Explore Atlanta

Another year, another two semesters of procrastination, late nights, and a brain on the fritz. It’s easy to get caught in the crossroads of caffeine and insanity at Oglethorpe — most of us are known for our ability to overbook ourselves with extracurriculars, jobs, classes, and personal projects. However, let me tell you one thing before the proverbial shit hits the fan:

For the love of god, get out of the Ogle Bubble and explore Atlanta.

If you’re unfamiliar with what the Ogle Bubble actually is, let me give you a brief definition:

Ogle Bubble (noun, O·gle Bub·ble, /oʊ-ɡʌl bə-bəl/) — a social ecosystem located at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia. With easy availability of food, entertainment, housing, and peers, many within this community spend most of their time inside the university without visiting the Greater Atlanta area.

The Ogle Bubble is powerful, and oftentimes hard to breach with a thin wallet. Atlanta, as the ninth biggest city in the country, has a tendency to be pricey even for a small venture out on the town. Despite this, there are many opportunities to explore the intricacies, wonders, and oddities here without breaking the bank. As someone who broke the bubble and lived in the big city the past summer, take it from me — you’d be doing a disservice to yourself if you didn’t experience everything Atlanta has to offer. It has its own share of issues as a city, but the culture, people, shops, and restaurants more than make up for it.

Here’s a couple of my suggestions to burst the Ogle Bubble and see the best of what’s under the gold dome.

The Bakery

825 Warner Street SW

When local DIY venue The Mammal Gallery bit the dust due to gentrification, The Bakery has filled the gap in providing a venue for Atlanta’s thriving DIY scene. Located off the Beltline in Atlanta’s Westside, the venue is massive, decorated with gorgeous murals, and holds true to their mission of providing a safe, accessible space for Atlanta’s multicultural community. With art exhibitions, concerts, yoga, parties, and activist meetings happening here nearly every week, this place is the go-to for both young and old folks to see what Atlanta’s burgeoning creatives and eccentrics have to offer. In the past, The Bakery has been host to the festivals and celebrations like Southern Fried Queer Pride Festival, The Big Thing, WREKtacular Fest, YES MA’AM, and many more.

Little Five Points

Little Five Points is a staple of Atlanta culture. Little Five Points — home to Criminal Records, Variety Playhouse, Junkman’s Daughter, Java Lords, the Vortex, and dozens of eclectic stores — has garnered the reputation as one of Atlanta’s most significant counter-cultural epicenters. Though the area has been commercialized overtime, the spirit of protest and unabashed self expression still remains prevalent. If you’re looking to find a record or some deals on second-hand clothes, catch a show, or grab a bite to eat, this is the place to be.

Decatur Square

101 East Court Square

This place is just classic — full of greenery, murals, shops, and removed from the mania of downtown. Finding free parking here is pretty much impossible, so taking the MARTA is the move. It’s got some of the best restaurants with Chai Pani, Farm Burger, Calle Latina, and Raging Burrito as well as Java Monkey, arguably the best coffee shop in town. You’re bound to see some of Atlanta’s creatives and organizers typing away on various projects there. Java Monkey even hosts a poetry open mic every Sunday. Perfect for a relaxed afternoon or any kind of date night, Decatur Square has everything to offer.

Paris On Ponce

716 Ponce De Leon Place NE

Located right by Ponce City Market and the BeltLine, Paris On Ponce is one of those antique/artist markets that you can just get lost in. The vintage store has got dozens of artist-curated booths of random nick-nacks from the 20th century onward, plenty of fancy furniture decor to transform any living space, as well as vintage shirts, paintings, artisan soaps, and the like. Oh yeah, there’s also a cabaret room called the Maison Rouge that looks like it was lifted straight from early-20th century France. BONUS: Oglethorpe held its Winter Formal there and nearly broke the floor cause we went to hard on the dancefloor.

Lake Claire Community Land Trust

280 Arizona Ave NE

You like Emu’s? Land Claire Land Trust has got one of ‘em, and his name is ‘Big Lou.’ Located right down the road from Little Five Points and A Cappella Books, the Lake Claire Land Trust is Atlanta’s hidden hippie gem. It’s a swath of land of about 2 acres with little wooden huts, a stage and amphitheater, a fire-pit, a pond, and other earthly delights. People gather here for various festivals, workshops, as well as a drum circle every first and third Saturday at sundown. When greenspace is rarity in the big city, this place is the perfect retreat. Park on the road, and remember to respectful of the neighbors and the space.

Buford Highway

Probably the most diverse stretch of road in the entirety of Georgia, Buford Highway is host to seemingly hundreds of restaurants split up by square. If you can’t find anything to eat at the City Farmer’s Market, you can literally jump from square to square for Vietnamese, Mexican, Greek, Korean, or Chinese eats. For all the foodies or curious eaters out there, Buford Highway is heaven. Plus, it’s just seven minutes down the road from Oglethorpe, so if the caf food just doesn’t cut it, take a drive down the street for a world of flavor.

A Cappella Books & Charis Books

208 Haralson Avenue NE; 1189 Euclid Avenue NE

For all the bibliophiles and geeks out there, behold the greatest bookstores around. A Cappella Books and Charis Books are located right in the Little Five Points area. A Cappella Books is the city’s only in-town, full service bookstore full of stories about music, activists, freedom seekers, eccentrics, and much more. They also host in-store readings with some of the country’s most celebrated authors. Charis Books is bookstore specializing feminist, cultural, and intersectional texts for those educating themselves about the fight for equity and interested in stirring up good trouble. &

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