Georgia easily conjures images of daytime activities, from relaxing at the host hotel’s outdoor bar with fellow attendees to hitting the links for a friendly round of golf.
But the Peach State is just as sweet after hours.
From bowling and planetarium shows to ghost tours and toasting the day over a glass of locally made moonshine, nighttime brings many fun opportunities for groups meeting throughout the state.
At Atlanta-based Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, groups can book a private two-hour pizza-making class during which they’ll stretch and throw the dough, create their own crusts and build their toppings before finally enjoying their creation.
Another great option for groups looking to experience Atlanta’s nightlife is the Painted Pin, according to Kristin Delahunt, director of convention services at the Atlanta CVB.
“It’s more than a bowling alley,” she says. “The 22 lanes feature custom Chesterfield couches and full-service staff to deliver balls, shoes and food to each lane.”
Elsewhere in Atlanta is the Pub Perimeter, which according to Sarah Anne Steadman, sales coordinator at the Dunwoody CVB, has private space for group events, traditional British fare and a fun Pour Your Own Beer wall.
“It’s a great place for interactive receptions paired with excellent hot and cold hors d’oeuvres,” she says.
In Dunwoody is Vino Venue, which hosts cooking competitions, hands-on classes, pairings and active demonstrations that are well-suited for groups interested in teambuilding and networking.
Gwinnett County is home to a grown-up playground called Slingshot Entertainment, where visiting groups will find private meeting rooms, bowling, a restaurant and bar, an arcade, go-karting and the country’s largest ninja course.
“The ninja course is similar to those on the TV show American Ninja Warriors,” says Victoria J. Hawkins, marketing communications director at Explore Gwinnett.
Specialty menu items at Slingshot, she adds, include the Georgia Burger, topped with pimento cheese, pulled pork and slaw, and adult milkshakes, including the Dirty Turkey, which is made with Wild Turkey, creme de cacao and chocolate ice cream.
An after-hours tour at the Dalton Distillery is always a big hit with visiting groups.
“Experience a variety of historic items on display, used in the early days of moonshining in Georgia,” says Cassie Cochran, marketing manager at Dalton Visitors Bureau. “Tours include a sample bottle of original moonshine and a souvenir ‘prescription’ for moonshine.”
After the tour, groups are seated in the tasting room and a local comedian entertains the crowd.
Groups meeting in Albany might check out the evening Cocktails & Acrylics class at the Albany Museum of Art.
According to Kristen Schuette, manager of marketing and communications at the Albany CVB, participants sip a beverage of their choice while following step-by-step instructions in order to complete a lovely painting to take home.
Schuette adds evening is also a good time to explore Thronateeska Heritage Center’s Wetherbee Planetarium for an intimate look at the stars.
Groups meeting in Valdosta might plan on a Wild Adventures Theme Park “members only” outing after dark.
“They’ll open up a small section of the park, usually a couple of rides, and provide catering in the same area for groups,” says Tim Riddle, general manager at the Valdosta–Lowndes County Tourism Authority.
He adds downtown Valdosta has four restaurants—306 North, Steel Magnolias, The Bistro and Bleu Cafe—that will participate in a dine-around for interested groups.
“It’s always fun and the restaurants usually have a special drink or dessert for our groups,” Riddle says.
In Athens, groups are encouraged to tap into local microbreweries and the city’s amazing live music scene.
“Savvy planners can immerse their event with local flavor by hosting a happy hour at Creature Comforts Brewing Co., just five blocks from meeting rooms at the Classic Center,” says Hannah Smith, director of marketing and communications at the Athens CVB.
Afterward, she adds, “live music is everywhere and can be the highlight of any gathering.”
Among the music venues to choose from are the Foundry, which has space for private functions, and the Georgia Theatre, with a rooftop restaurant overlooking downtown.
A night out in Macon might include getting tickets to a recent Broadway production at the Grand Opera House, a light comedy at Macon Little Theatre or a drama at the historic Douglass Theatre.
And, according to Robin North, vice president of sales and services at the Macon-Bibb County CVB, Macon’s starlit skies are even more enchanting at the Museum of Arts and Sciences during a “Sky Over Macon” presentation.
She says this activity includes refreshments, a planetarium show and the chance to look at the night sky through a state-of-the-art telescope in the on-site observatory.
Friendly competition is the name of the game at Augusta’s Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex, where groups can play Night Flight Glow Golf on Friday nights.
“Shout ‘fore!’ as you launch glow-in-the-dark discs through the air toward a marked target,” says Jay Markwalter, director of sales at the Augusta CVB.
The interactive and award-winning Augusta Ghost Trolley tour, which stops by the city’s most haunted attractions, is another fun outing for groups.
Savannah also has a popular haunted tour, but it specifically visits the city’s pubs, including those found along River Street.
“There’s so much history in Savannah, and this pub crawl will teach attendees some interesting things about the city,” says Jeff Hewitt, senior vice president of sales and services at Visit Savannah. “Most if not all of our pubs have ‘spirits,’ making for some intriguing ghost stories.”
Along the way, attendees are allowed to carry 16 oz. to-go cups filled with an alcoholic beverage, making this tour an especially ‘spirited’ outing.