In 1974, the Atlanta Rhythm Section sang the virtues of Doraville with the line, "Touch of country in the city." Today, you might wonder, "Which country?" as you drive along Buford Highway on either side of the Doraville line and read the billboards and shop signs in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, and more. Although Buford Highway as a thoroughfare spans from Buckhead to Buford, the multi-ethnic eating and shopping destination commands about a seven-mile stretch inside and outside the I-285 perimeter. It remains a mecca for delicious, exotic, cheap food, as well as countless shopping opportunities for the adventurous. Looking for meat-shaped tofu? Tongue-scorching spices? Cowboy boots or ball gowns for preschoolers? Buford Highway awaits.
Go on a shopping spree at Plaza Fiesta
Plaza Fiesta is exactly like one of those winding marketplaces you'll find in the neighborhoods of Mexico City. You can get a tattoo, buy a live rabbit, eat an astounding array of Mexican and Latin American foods, and shop for Western wear at any one of the shops that offer a dazzling array of boots, shirts, and belts for everyone in your family, even baby.
Go to the annual Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport
Buford Highway has an airport in the middle of it, which most of the year is good for one thing (unless you have a plane): eating at the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant where you can watch the planes take off. But let's face it - there's better food on Buford Highway, and you need action! Well, fear not: The annual air show is coming up on May 12, and it's billed as the BEST CIVILIAN AIRSHOW IN THE COUNTRY!!!!! Stunt planes, antique planes, fire trucks, and more will be on display, and you can buy a ride in a plane or helicopter.
Get your international grocery on at the Buford Highway Farmers Market
We have many stellar farmers markets in Atlanta, but for international specificity, Buford Highway takes the cake. A massive produce section leads into a back corner where a huge machine turns out fresh-made tortillas. Meat refrigerators stretch toward a giant seafood department, after which you're liable to get lost in the crazy isles, each dedicated to a different corner of the globe. Eastern European baked goods and toiletries, Japanese cookies, Nigerian powdered beverages. A brand-new food court is nearing completion and is bound to offer mind-blowing lunch diversity.
Eat like a Japanese businessman at Sushi House Hayakawa
Pristine sushi, traditional Japanese service, huge sake selection, and a ladies room that stocks stockings (in case yours rip!), Sushi House Hayakawa not only delivers some of the best Japanese in Atlanta, it also feels more Japanese than anywhere else. Be sure to ask the chef, Atsushi "Art" Hayakawa, what the specials are, and be prepared to gobble pristine salmon roe, melting monkfish liver, and the freshest sashimi around.
Sing your heart out at Karaoke Melody
Located conveniently beside Hayakawa is Karaoke Melody, one of the best out of a bunch of private-room karaoke joints along Buford Highway. Karaoke Melody is cleaner than some, and the iPads they give you to select songs with sure are swank. The mishmash of cultures that end up drunk in this place at 1 a.m. (Asian businessmen and their female companions, bachelorette parties, hipsters, etc.) is sure to give you a night to remember. (Pro tip: If Karaoke Melody is booked up, try Karaoke Melody 2 right up the street.)