After more than a year of restrictions and burnout from long working hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinical laboratory community is eager to reunite and reconnect in person for the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo here in Atlanta. In addition to experiencing scientific sessions, presenting poster abstracts, and networking in the Clinical Lab Expo, attendees can take advantage of their downtime to explore the vibrant city of Atlanta.

From local cuisine to U.S. history, and even a museum dedicated to Coca-Cola, Atlanta is filled with must-see attractions.

Take a Bite Out of Atlanta

It’s no secret that Atlanta is known for some good, old-fashioned southern food, but the city also offers a variety of other cuisines that are sure to satisfy any appetite.

  • Mary Mac’s Tea Room – Serving southern staples including fried chicken, peach cobbler, and sweet tea, for over 75 years.
  • The Loco Coco – Who says being vegan has its limits? This local “Mexican-meets-southern” restaurant offers a gluten free and vegan menu without missing out on any flavor.
  • Alma Cocina – Winner of the Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay, executive chef Chad Clevenger puts a unique spin on Mexican and Latin American Cuisine.
  • Bones Restaurant – A steakhouse with seafood options for finer dining in Atlanta.

Embrace Your Inner Tourist

Although schedules often fill up quickly during a conference, most attendees still block off some hours to get a change of scenery from the bustle of the convention center. Why not take in the first few days of the fall weather by visiting outdoor landmarks, or swap science for history at one of Atlanta’s many museums?

  • The National Center for Civil and Human Rights - Features exhibits, events, and live performances, to tell the story of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing human  rights movements around the world.
  • Centennial Park – Home of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Centennial Park offers a birds-eye view of Atlanta on the 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel or acres of garden fields for those who choose to stay on the ground.
  • World of Coca-Cola – It’s a long 5 days at AACC. Load up on caffeine from Coca-Cola beverages served all around the world. Learn about the secret Coca-Cola formula and even try to catch a glimpse of the Coca-Cola polar bear.
  • Fairlie-Poplar – A unique historic district located in downtown, Atlanta, this neighborhood is sure to be lively at any time of the day. Explore the arts in theatres and galleries, then stick around for the music-filled nightlife.
  • Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame – It’s football season in Atlanta. Explore the hall of fame to see memorable college football coaches and players or practice throwing the ball and kicking a field goal on the 45-yard indoor football field.

Stay for a While

There’s no question why Atlanta is known as one of the top U.S. cities. Other key attractions include the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and many more.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to call ahead before visiting attractions or restaurants. Just like AACC has done in the convention center, venues in Atlanta are taking a variety of special health and safety precautions for visitors that can impact hours, reservation policies, and other considerations. For the latest information, and for additional ideas of what to do around the city, explore the Local Places tab on the AACC meetings app, or visit