Make 2024 a Year of Culture
In our world that is more connected than ever, global culture is on the rise. The metro area is diverse and home to a variety of cultures, providing a myriad of opportunities for cultural experiences. This year, commit to taking advantage of all Atlanta has to offer! Stay busy exploring and learning with our ideas.
Table of Contents
Talk About It
You might notice a lot of your close friends and neighbors are similar to you. Learning about other families’ traditions and heritage teaches your kids about respect and empathy. Look for opportunities that involve meeting and interacting with people from other cultures.
- Talk to a family whose heritage is different than yours. Swap nights hosting dinners to share each family’s favorite foods and traditions.
- Write to a pen pal. Make friends all over the world with globalpenfriends.com. Swap letters, postcards, art, candy and more, and join groups to find travel friends, e-pals or a native speaker for practicing a new language.
- Want to make an even greater connection? Consider hosting an exchange student and welcoming them into your family. In Georgia, more than 235 students have attended more than 146 public high schools to help families experience a new culture and create lifelong friendships. Learn more at iseusa.org/georgia.
Read About It
Books are an excellent way to step into someone else’s life and learn more about their experiences. For older children, reading may launch a deeper discussion.
- “The Way We Say Hello” shows a young child searching for the best way to welcome a new baby into the family with cultures and customs from around the world.
- “Spanish Is the Language of My Family” is an intergenerational story that features a young boy preparing for his school’s Spanish spelling bee and asking his grandmother for help.
- “An Asian American A to Z: A Children’s Guide to Our History” explores the Asian American identity with stories of celebration and resistance, along with mini biographies.
- “We Are Still Here!” presents historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles and victories for a more complete look at Native American life.
- “A Year of Black Joy: 52 Black Voices Share Their Life Passions” features different contributors diving into their own field for a look at astronomy, beekeeping and more.
- In “Dim Sum Palace,” Liddy is so excited about going to the Dim Sum Palace tomorrow that she can’t sleep! When a delicious smell wafts into her room, she investigates and steps into a delightful palace of dim sum in this hilarious picture book.
- One day, Aarav decides to make masala chai for his grandfather, but his tendency to speed causes him to miss a crucial step in “Masala Chai, Fast and Slow.” Follow the masala chai recipe at the end for your own fun in the kitchen.
- “Everyone Loves Lunchtime But Zia” follows Zia, who is always nervous about lunchtime, as her dumpling and noodle dishes always look different from what everyone else is eating. During her birthday week, her parents show her the importance of traditions.
- “The Words We Share” shows young Angie deciding to offer her translation skills to others in their community.
- Holi is the Hindu festival of colors. In “Holi Hai!,” Gauri is excited to splash colors on everyone to celebrate, but when she doesn’t get her favorite color, she’s upset.
- “Plátanos Go with Everything” is a fun introduction to Dominican cuisine.
- Love transcends language, and food brings people together in “Words Between Us.”
- In “Raaga’s Song: A Diwali Story,” Raaga has the chance to audition for singing for the annual Diwali mela at the Royal Palace, but how will she gather courage for the event?
- “An Ofrenda for Perro” depicts a Day of the Dead celebration and the importance of pets.
- “Say My Name” celebrates the importance of names with six different children who share their names and backgrounds with the reader.
Go to a Restaurant
Food is a central element of heritage. Eating at a new restaurant is a delightful way to open your taste buds up to a trip around the world.
- Brazil: Minas Grill: This Brazilian steakhouse features an all-you-can-eat buffet, delicious pastries and more as you’re surrounded by Brazilian culture.
- China: Doc Chey’s Noodle House: Dim Sum is a Chinese word meaning “heart’s delight,” and it describes the small plates served in the Canton province of China 100 years ago. Taste it yourself at this restaurant, which also features a kid’s menu and monthly specials.
- El Salvador: Buenos Dias Café & Pupuseria: Inspired by the co-owner’s Salvadorian heritage, try different flavored Pupusa, a griddle cake.
- Ethiopia: Desta Ethiopian Kitchen: “Desta” means happiness, and you’ll be happy at this restaurant serving traditional Ethiopian fare, unique creations and more. They even have a vegan menu!
- France: Café Alsace: Try French cuisine with Bouillabaisse, Spaetzle a l’Alsacienne, Boeuf Bourguignon, Crème Brûlée and more.
- India: Zyka: Enjoy Hyderabadi hometown food with Tandoori Chicken, Saag Paneer, naan and more. Finish the meal with a traditional Indian dessert, including ice cream served in a clay pot.
- Italy: Dominick’s: Using family recipes and fresh ingredients, travel to Italy by tasting Chicken Carbonara, Veal Piccata and more, and the choosiest in your family can build their own pasta dish.
- Jamaica: Jamrock Restaurant: Dig into delicious Jamaican dishes, such as Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, Oxtail and more. Come back on different days to try the flavored Porridge of the Day.
- Korea: Letsbap: Grab and go different Korean foods to sample, including Bulgogi, Japchae, Kimbap and more.
- The Philippines: Estrellita Filipino: The dishes at this restaurant include lumpia (a type of spring roll), Chicharron Crispy Chicken Skins with a vinegar dipping sauce, short ribs and more.
Take a Class
Explore language, dance and more with classes for kids and families. These experiences immerse participants in culture and provide a new skill that can be fun and useful.
- The Spanish Academy
- École du Samedi
- Uhuru Dancers
- Atlanta Irish Dance by Burke Connolly
- Kruti Dance Academy
- Spanish Learning for Kids
- Lingual Kids
- Gao Chinese Culture Academy
- Manga African Dance
Try Something New
Whip up a new recipe from a different culture and discuss its roots over dinner. It’s a fun family activity and will also expose your kids to new foods and grocery stores.
- Check out Cooking the Globe’s website for creating and tasting foods from all around the world. Purchase a cookbook featuring cuisine different from your usual dinners. “International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World” by Mark and Tali Kurlansky features delicious recipes and cultural and historical tidbits. Each week, they explored a different country with a themed dinner, and you can do the same with recipes for 52 special meals.
- Grocery shopping together can be a special learning experience if you head to a local ethnic store and purchase a new treat to try! Asian supermarket chain H Mart has stores in Doraville, Duluth, Johns Creek, Riverdale and Suwanee. Check out Shivam Groceries for Indian and Asian grocery and produce. Supermercado Chicago is a Mexican market with an eatery area. Tiptop Kosher Market features kosher and Israeli brands. Visit the restaurant for pita, pastrami, schnitzel and more.
Be an Armchair Traveler
Experience the world without leaving home with these ideas to broaden your family’s knowledge.
- Purchase a world map or globe and use it to jumpstart learning at home. Randomly pick a country, and use online resources to discover more about the people, their traditions and special cities and locations.
- Use Google Earth to “visit” amazing places. Explore the Taj Mahal in India, the Towers of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan and more.
- View museums from around the world with Google Arts & Culture pages. You can even project an art gallery into your room using Augmented Reality.
- Discover Atlanta’s sister cities. Did you know Atlanta has 17 sister cities? Learn more about Brussels, Belgium; Fukuoka, Japan; Lagos, Nigeria and more at atlsistercities.com.
Go on a Road Trip
Whether it’s just for the day or a weekend away, these cultural destinations are worth the drive.
- Go back in time for a glimpse of the ancient biblical world, its history and culture at Biblical History Center in LaGrange.
- The Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is a prehistoric American Indian site, showcasing more than 12,000 years of traditions, and at the museum, view more than 2,000 artifacts.
- Helen is a bustling alpine village similar to Germany’s famed Bamberg or Lindau where families can experience German culture and fare.
- Travel to Hilton Head to appreciate Gullah culture and the community’s vibrant heritage to its forefathers with language, history, economics and artistic traditions.
Thanks to the city’s history of immigration and cultural diversity, many different types of people call Atlanta home. You can experience that diversity at these spots across the metro area.
- Buford Highway spans multiple cities across metro Atlanta and is filled with restaurants and markets representing cuisine from all over the world, including Vietnamese, Korean and Mexican. Several restaurants even made the recent Atlanta MICHELIN Guide: Nam Phuong, Food Terminal, Kamayan ATL, LanZhou Ramen and Han Il Kwan.
- Also located on Buford Highway, Plaza Fiesta is a vibrant, colorful mall resembling a Latin American street market.
- Visit Riverdale to view the Hindu Temple of Atlanta to appreciate and recognize Hindu heritage.
- Stop by the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, a community of the Metropolis of Atlanta in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, under the care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- Japanese gardens are meant to honor Japanese aesthetics by highlighting the natural landscape. In Atlanta, view similarly styled gardens at Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gibbs Gardens and Grand Hyatt Atlanta.
- In Cartersville, the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site was home to Native Americans from 1000 A.D. to 1550 A.D., and features the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast.
- Global Mall is a South Asian retail center with more than 100 businesses to help shoppers experience the tastes of India and Pakistan with restaurants, clothing, jewelry and more.
Visit a Museum
Museums are an example of high culture and introduce new concepts to kids in an informative and entertaining manner.
- The High Museum of Art is home to more than 17,000 pieces of European, African and more decorative, folk art pieces and photography.
- The National Center for Civil and Human Rights connects people from all over the world using immersive exhibits to showcase the story of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement in the U.S. and the struggle for human rights around the world today.
- Visit the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum to understand Jewish culture, arts and history.
- Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum focuses on art and culture with collections from Africa; ancient Egypt, Nubia and the Near East; ancient Greece and Rome; the Indigenous Americas and South Asia.
Go to a Festival
Make plans to attend festivals that celebrate countries and culture throughout the year. These events will give your family an exciting glimpse into traditions, food, art, music and more.
- Roswell Roots (Feb.) celebrates Black History Month with programs, events and activities focused on raising cultural awareness and engaging the community.
- The Lunar New Year Festival (last three weekends in Feb.) features a special Lunar New Year Drone and Light Show at Stone Mountain Park, along with cultural craft activities, storytelling, puppetry, dance and drum exhibitions and other cultural elements.
- The Johns Creek International Festival (May 4) celebrates the diversity of Johns Creek with food, music and art.
- The Cherokee County Indian Festival & Mother’s Day Powwow (May 11-12) allows you to learn about Native American history and culture.
- The Marietta Greek Festival (May) features homemade food, music and dancing to celebrate Greek culture.
- The Caribbean Book & Musical Festival (June) brings different people together using books and music.
- The Annual Atlanta African Dance & Drum Festival (July 19-21) features a diverse range of music and movement workshops, a craft market, food vendors and more.
- The Cobb County International Festival (Aug.) celebrates food, music and art from around the world.
- JapanFest (Sept.) explores Japanese culture with food, music, performances and more.
- The Stone Mountain Highland Games (Oct. 19-20) features colorful pipe bands, Scottish athletics, piping and drumming competitions, country dancing and more.
- The Brookhaven International Festival (Oct.) is held along the Buford Highway Cultural Corridor for live cultural performances, international cuisine, an art walk and more.
- The Native American Festival and Pow Wow (Oct. 31-Nov. 3) at Stone Mountain Park has dance, music, craft demonstrations, storytelling and more.
- The Atlanta Christkindl Market (Dec.) showcases the magic of the holidays at this market combining German tradition with Atlanta.
Honor Holidays and Special Months
There’s always a reason to celebrate when you explore holidays from all around the world! Holi is a Hindu celebration of color, love and spring and occurs in March. Diwali, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are all multi-day holidays that honor light. Ramadan is observed by Muslims as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community each spring.
- February: Black History Month
- February 10-24: Chinese New Year
- April: Arab American Heritage Month
- May: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- May: Jewish American History Month
- September 15-October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
- November: Native American Heritage Month
Order a Subscription Box
Starting a monthly subscription box is a fantastic way to bring the world to your home. Expand global knowledge with activities and food designed for kids and families.
- Raddish’s Global Eats Club are monthly kits inspiring global citizenship. Boxes include illustrated recipe guides, a quality kitchen tool, collectibles, a creative kitchen project, culinary skill lessons and a complete grocery list.
- Discover a new country each month with hands-on activities, stories and souvenirs with Little Passports’ World Edition. Each month, find crafts, puzzles and surprises for a global trip.
- Little Global Citizens’ transports you to a different country with an authentic guide, crafts, activities, recipes, books and more. The sibling option includes two sets of all activities.
- Make international travel easy with KiwiCo’s Atlas Crate, which is designed to help your child develop an appreciation for other world cultures. Build a spinning globe, make a travel book, create crafts and more.
- Bond over country, culture and cuisine with eat2explore. This cooking kit includes the hard-to-find specialty ingredients needed for recipes to discover Singapore, China, France, Kenya and more.