I may have a mild fear of heights, but I love the views from said heights. Seeing the buildings, cars and trees like tiny dots from above is unparalleled. I’ve been to Surfers Paradise’s Skypoint Tower, Toronto’s CN Tower and of course the Empire State Building in New York City. But it took me 25 years to go to the famed Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and Viewing Platform in Atlanta’s Westin Peachtree Plaza.
The cylindrical hotel overlooking Centennial Olympic Park is on the site of the former Georgia governor’s mansion and was built in 1976. It’s home to over 1,000 guest rooms on 73 floors and has become the most recognizable part of the Atlanta skyline. It’s also the 19th tallest hotel in the world.
The Sun Dial Restaurant has become a place to spend special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and for many, proposals. The restaurant serves up fine dining Southern fare for lunch and dinner daily. The 360 degree view from the bar rotates every few minutes, making every seat the best seat in the house.
I’d spent plenty of time in the area, particularly as I work in the building next door to the hotel for four months out of the year. But somehow, I had never had a reason to go to the top. It was a writing assignment on the best places in Atlanta that finally brought me to the top. While these projects certainly have their fair share of stress, they also allow me to see more of my own city.
From the viewing platform, you can see Atlanta’s most significant landmarks: the Bank of America building, Centennial Olympic Park, Stone Mountain, the Georgia Capitol, the Georgia Aquarium and even as far as Marietta, where I live.
Staying at the Westin may cost you, but you can’t beat the proximity to all the best things Atlanta has to offer. Not only can you walk to the most popular tourist attractions, but you can also access public transportation across the street, which will get you to the airport and most other parts of town.
If You Go
You can dine in the restaurant or drink in the bar, but you can also head up to the 73rd floor on your own. Just tell the folks at the desk on the 5th floor. I recommend going early as you may have to wait for an elevator during peak hours. The Westin is located at 210 Peachtree Street and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day. Visiting the viewing platform is $8 but going to the restaurant is free.