Virginia Highland is a great area of Atlanta to while away an afternoon and evening. You can stroll through the shops and stop in at restaurants and cafes and feel as though you’ve had a real escape from the pace of the city. Whether you’re sipping coffee at Cacao or checking out the fun home furnishings at Urban Cottage, it’s a great little staycation. It’s perfect for a girls’ day with your mom or a romantic afternoon with your sweetheart.

Urban Cottage
998 N. Highland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 815-9993

If your fella is overwhelmed by the girly elements of shopping in Virginia Highland, promise to take him through Urban Cottage. Here, the two of you can find some fun new items to add to the decor of your home. It’s also a great spot for small gifts, either for a friend’s housewarming or for a baby shower. Finally, if he needs an extra incentive, there is a lingerie department, too.

TWELVE Boutique
994 Virginia Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 541-2357

TWELVE Boutique is an interesting combination of a store with unique gift finds and a functional flower shop. On the boutique side, there are interesting items ranging from gorgeous leather bags and luggage to intricate jewelry, to unusual vases and artwork. You’ll also find funny and clever cards to go along with the gifts. The floral arrangements are truly gorgeous works of art as well. The sales associates are a little over eager but are quite friendly and knowledgeable.

1046 N. Highland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 892-8202

An afternoon of shopping will require a stop for coffee. CACAO has a couple of cute tables located right on the North Highland Avenue sidewalk, so you can see and be seen while you sip one of the best cappuccinos in town. Of course, the store is really known for its indulgent, luxurious chocolates. You can even create your own chocolate mixture with your favorite ingredients.

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Paolo’s Gelato
1025 Virginia Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306 
(404) 607-0055

A visit to Virginia Highland is not complete without a stop at Paolo’s Gelato. Paolo and his crew make the most authentic Italian treats you will find in Atlanta, and on the weekends they offer flavors inspired by flowers. If it’s too chilly for gelato, consider getting some of the freshly filled cannoli. You can also purchase gelato to go so that you can savor it throughout the week, and there are special treats for pets, too.

Goin’ Coastal
1021 Virginia Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 941-9117

If you are looking for dinner before you try out Paolo’s Gelato, pop into Goin’ Coastal, located right next door. This charming and friendly little spot prides itself on offering tasty, sustainable seafood. On the weekends, there are excellent brunch specials like banana stuffed French toast casserole and several different Coastal Benedict offerings. Of course, the restaurant has its own delicious take on shrimp and grits, too.

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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on “