Here's a common Atlanta conundrum: your friends or family come into town, a few different travel books in hand, and want to see all the typical haunts. And while we're avid supporters of all the typical destinations, sometimes we just don't have the wherewithal to navigate the daunting trifecta of endless lines, displaced sightseers and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lo! There's a solution. Many a solution, actually. Atlanta is brimming with off-the-beaten-path sight-seeing solutions!

Their Suggestion: The Atlanta Aquarium
Our Alternate: The Lake Clare Land Trust and Big Lou the Emu
Not going to lie, we're still holding out hope that the Aquarium will come around to our humble wish and let us shake hands with some otters. But until then, we're holding out for some animal interaction that has real zest. And as all regular visitors to the Lake Claire Land Trust know, there's no substitute for the antics of Big Lou the Emu. We highly suggest bringing some newcomers to this lush oasis and watching their surprised faces when they find to find roaming among the flora and fauna a—you guessed it—emu, strutting back and forth like he owns the place. (Which he very well may.)

Their Suggestion: Fernbank
Our Alternate: The Wren's Nest House Museum
The Fernbank is expansive, informative and full of wonders, no doubt. But the Wren's Nest House Museum – now that's an intimate affair piping with Atlantan culture. Perhaps you read about Joel Chandler Harris in your textbooks. Maybe you were regaled with the stories of Brier Rabbit and his crew as a wee tot. But no textbook can tell Mr. Harris's story quite like the folks at the Wren's Nest. And trust us, no one can do justice to his tales like the Wren's Nest Ramblers, the award-winning storytellers in residence. Join 'em in the West End to hear them regale audiences and bring Joel Chandler Harris's legacy to life.

Their Suggestion: The Atlanta Zoo
Our Alternate: Little Creek Farm Conservancy
We melt at the sight of sleeping, baby twin pandas as much as the next guy, but it's common knowledge that the zoo can be, well, a bit of a… zoo on the weekends. Little Creek Farm Conservancy, however, is a gem of a wildlife reserve right off of Lawrenceville Highway. And with 40-acres of land to explore, and over 40 horses in residence there's plenty of room to wander around and interact with the animals without feeling overwhelmed by a crowd.

Their Suggestion: The World of Coke
Our Alternate: Sweet Auburn Curb Market
Sure, it can be pretty fun to get your photo taken with a giant, magical polar bear and take sips of different variations of our beloved Coca-Cola, but once we're filled with carbonated nectar, what are we to do with our appetites? Listen, to call ourselves long-time devotees of Sweet Auburn Curb Market would be a bit of an understatement – but who wouldn't want to go to a place where the the vendors are endlessly varied, the foolscap is always changing, and there are constant bits of Atlanta history afoot?

Their Suggestion: The Varsity
Our Alternate: Buford Highway
We're not staking a claim that there's any proper substitute for chowin' down on a chili dog and slurping on a frosted orange. But sometimes, when we're posed with the question, "What'll ya have?" we find ourselves daydreaming of fare that's a bit more exotic. Let's face it folks, Buford Highway is an endless, one-of-a-kind experience and allowing any guest to skip town without a little taste our highway to culinary heaven, well that would be doing them a complete disservice.