The Dragon Con fantasy and sci-fi convention provides plenty of people watching, workshops and parties in downtown Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. MARTA is a great option for getting to and from the fun with the Peachtree Center MARTA station in the middle of it all. Here are five tips to make your commute easier so you can spend your time enjoying the festivities instead of worrying about your ride.
1. Know and Love the Peachtree Center Station
All of the action of Dragon Con (including the Saturday morning parade) takes place above the Peachtree Center MARTA station on the red and gold line. If you’re traveling from the blue or green line, travel to the Five Points MARTA station and transfer to the first northbound train to reach Peachtree Center.
If you’ve never been to this station, heads up that it is very far underground and requires a long escalator ride up to the street. Use the elevator if you don’t like heights or are prone to getting dizzy.
View walking directions to the host hotels to simplify your commute once off the train: Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Hilton Atlanta and Sheraton. In all cases the John Portman exit off the train platform (not Ellis) is closest to the hotels. At street level you’ll also find a CVS Pharmacy if you need any supplies.
For more information, see Navigating the Peachtree Center Station.
2. Use the App
Contrary to popular belief, trains typically run on schedule, and actually have a schedule. It is important to know that on Labor Day (Monday), the entire MARTA system runs on a Sunday schedule. But if you have the MARTA on the Go app for Android and iOS, you’ll have access to the real-time arrival of trains. The app won’t work once you’re inside the Peachtree Center station because of its depth underground, so check arrivals before entering the station.
Otherwise, use Google Maps for MARTA trip planning. You’ll also need to plan for alternate transportation if you are out after 1 a.m. You can use promo code MARTAGuide to get $20 off your first ride with Uber as one option.
3. Purchase Fare in Advance
MARTA fares are $2.50 one way. Ideally when you first buy or load a Breeze card (the MARTA fare card), you can put all the fare you need on it before the start of the weekend to save you time down the road. With many events taking place downtown at the same time as Dragon Con, there will likely be lines at the fare machines — even more reason to purchase in advance and in bulk. If you add fare to your existing card online, allow one hour for processing before riding rail.
If you don’t plan to use MARTA other than getting to and from the convention, calculate how many one-way trips you will be taking and pay for those number of trips. However, if you want to do more exploring, MARTA offers one-, two-, three- and four-day passes that allow unlimited rides. The one-day pass for example, is a deal if you will make four or more trips in a day.
4. Park and Ride
Many MARTA stations around the city have free daily parking — a great way to hack your commute. View your parking options here, including good places to park around Atlanta’s interstates based on your direction of travel. Additionally, some stations offer overnight parking if you need a place to leave your car. Rates are $5 or $8 per day depending on the location. Explore MARTA’s long-term parking lots to learn more.
5. Stay at a Hotel Near MARTA
If you can’t find a hotel to stay at near Peachtree Center, book a hotel that is near the red or gold rail line for easy rail access and an easy ride to Dragon Con. A hotel in Midtown near the North Avenue, Midtown or Arts Center station is your next best bet. Buckhead also has a few hotel options, but the commute is slightly longer. View all hotels near MARTA to view your options.