Experiencing the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market for the first time can feel like a rush — a rush of anxiety. With so many buildings and seemingly endless floors, AmericasMart Atlanta may seem like a never-ending maze of furniture and decor. It can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to market or haven't been for several years.
If this is you, fear not! We've got your ultimate guide to the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, so you'll feel like you know where you're going before you even step in the building.
The Anatomy of AmericasMart Atlanta
The market is held in a massive building in downtown Atlanta known as AmericasMart Atlanta. This structure is actually made up of three buildings, and each building has at least 15 floors. Buildings 2 and 3 have parking lots, but if you don't have to drive, then don't. AmericasMart Atlanta is right on Peachtree Street, one of the busiest roads in downtown Atlanta. It's better to park at your hotel and take a taxi or rideshare service.
For the most part, however, you won't have to stray too far from Buildings 1 and 2. Most of the lighting, furniture and decor companies are in these two buildings. Most of your time will probably be spent in Building 1, but you may be moving back and forth between the two buildings frequently, so be ready.
All the showrooms have numbers that follow this layout: BX XX-AXX. Here's what this means.
- BX: Building number. Will be either a 1, 2 or 3.
- XX: Floor number. This will tell you which floor to be on.
- AXX: Showroom number. Each showroom has a letter and a number.
For a full map, check out AmericasMart Atlanta's website.
Registration is on the first floor of Building 1. In the mornings, it does get crowded, so prepare to wait in lines to get in. Once you've checked in, make sure you wear your lanyard at all times. Staff members will be checking.
To get up and down floors, AmericasMart Atlanta has elevators and escalators in every building and stairs in some. Staff will usually man the elevators to stop them from being too overcrowded, but nevertheless, these elevators stay packed — especially at the end of the day. If you want to move quickly, use the escalators.
To really plan like a pro, map out the showrooms you want to see ahead of time and then work your way either up or down the buildings. You'll spend less time traveling between floors and more time seeing products.
What to Wear
Whether you're visiting Atlanta for the winter or summer market, you may feel the need to dress in lighter clothes. After all, it's warmer in the South, right? While Atlanta does have milder winter and hot summers, AmericasMart Atlanta turns up the air conditioning no matter what the temperature is outside, so dress with layers.
In general, dress is fairly casual at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, but here are a few pointers:
- Wear slacks or long skirts/dresses: As mentioned, AmericasMart gets cold.
- Pack a light sweater or wear a light long-sleeved shirt: Have we mentioned that it's cold in that building? Wear something that can be easily carried or rolled up if you happen to be in a warm pocket.
- Wear comfortable, non-sneaker shoes: A nice pair of loafers or ballet flats that can withstand a full day or walking will be your best friend.
- Bring band-aids: That said, even the comfiest shoe will feel raw after hours of walking around. Have a few band-aids on hand just in case.
- Wear heels at your own risk: Few people would wear a stiletto heel to market, but a kitten or wedge heel may seem more manageable. In truth, just about any shoe is going to feel painful after eight hours of walking and standing, but a heel of any kind is only going to feel worse. We can't tell you what to do, but think twice before wearing heels to market.
What to Eat
You won't go hungry at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market. The 10th floor in Building 1 has a food court with a variety of options, and there are plenty of places to go around AmericasMart Atlanta itself.
Below is a short list of places for lunch and dinner that are only a block or two from the market. You may want to branch out even further for dinner, but these spots will keep you fueled and get you back to the market quickly.
Breakfast near AmericasMart Atlanta
- Starbucks, Building 1, Floor 1
- Starbucks, 210 Peachtree St NW
- Corner Bakery Cafe, 270 West Peachtree St NW #200
- Metro Cafe Diner, 229 Peachtree St NE B-17
Lunch near AmericasMart Atlanta
- Atlanta Braves All Star Grill, 200 Peachtree St NE
- Willy's Mexicana Grill, 235 West Peachtree St NW B42
- Haveli Indian Cuisine, 225 Ted Turner Dr NW
In addition to these venues, many showrooms have snacks and drinks available. Some even hold daily lunches. Almost everyone has at least a candy dish sitting out.
What to Pack
Most market goers carry at least a tote bag around the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market (even if you don't have a tote, don't worry, showrooms will definitely be handing them out). In addition to the obvious (phone, wallet and keys), here's what you should pack in your bag:
- Water bottle: While many showrooms do have water bottles, you'd be surprised just how quickly you get dehydrated. There are water fountains, so bring a bottle with you. You'll feel better if you stay hydrated as you go.
- Notebook and pens: You will probably want to take notes at some point, so it's good to carry a notebook and paper. You never know when someone might forget a business card and need to write down their contact information. Bring more than one pen, just in case.
- Phone charger/battery: There are stations to plug in your phone around AmericasMart Atlanta, so it's a good idea to keep your charger or a battery charger on hand.
- Business cards: Never leave home without them!
Like most trade shows, the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market goes by quick. If you plan ahead, you'll make the most out of your trip and leave Atlanta feeling accomplished and pleasantly exhausted.
Got a favorite place to go for breakfast or lunch at AmericasMart Atlanta? Share with us in the comments!
Photo: Schnitzel_bank via Flickr