As the biggest city in Georgia as well as the capital of the state, Atlanta combines its rich history with youthful energy. “The Big Peach” is home to three professional sports teams and over 10 universities. It even hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and an important Civil War site, Atlanta boasts a variety of history and art museums for all ages to enjoy. Dubbed “Hotlanta” for the combination of the lively nightlife, booming hip hop industry, and Southern heat, there is never a lack of cultural events to check out.
Atlanta is divided into over 200 diverse neighborhoods, with some of the busiest parts concentrated Downtown. Major companies like Coca-Cola and CNN have their headquarters there and the many iconic sites within the Sweet Auburn Historic District, just east of Downtown, attract visitors and locals alike. Hailed as “the Beverley Hills of the East,” the Buckhead neighborhood in the northern part of the city is the perfect place for chic shopping and dining. The Midtown area, which divides Downtown and Buckhead, is known as the art and music center of the city. It offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life with large natural sites, such as Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Check out our visitor's guide to Atlanta for more detailed information.
Located in the center of Atlanta, Midtown is a hub of diversity and entertainment. Whether it’s for work or play, people from all over the country, and the world, flock to this Atlanta neighborhood. With a thriving arts scene and some of the city’s most iconic architecture, Midtown is loaded with sights, activities and hangout spots.
Not only will you spot internationally recognized companies such as Turner, the Cartoon Network and The Coca-Cola Company in Midtown, you’ll also find renowned educational institutions such as Georgia Tech and Savannah College of Art and Design. Midtown is home an arts scene unlike any other in Atlanta—the Historic Fox Theater, Woodruff Arts Center and the Loft and Vinyl are just a few places in the city for the performing arts. Many Midtown structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s not hard to see why. If you are impressed by city landmarks such as Rhodes Hall and Margaret Mitchell House, head for the Bank of America Plaza or 1180 Peachtree to see some of the tallest and most iconic structures in Atlanta.
You’ll find plenty of places to stay along Piedmont and 10th Street, and dozens of options for eats on Peachtree or 10th Street. Piedmont Park is the go-to place to walk your dog, and the Atlantic Botanical Garden is a great place to unwind. Midtown also hosts the Atlantic Arts Festival, Dogwood Festival, Music Midtown and Gay Pride each year, attracting hundreds of people to this already-popular tourist spot.
Westside is one of Atlanta’s hippest neighborhoods, with revamped historic buildings that throw back to the 1900s. The area used to be one of Atlanta’s industrial nerve centers, but was long forgotten by mid-century. The neighborhood’s revival came after designers and artists found the large factory spaces the perfect blank canvases to showcase their work. You’ll find historic buildings converted into shops, restaurants and living spaces. The Westside is a popular destination for dining (West Egg for brunch, Flip Burger Boutique for lunch, Bacchanalia for dinner), shopping (Room & Board, Sid Mashburn) and traversing the area’s many art galleries. The neighborhood hosts an art walk the third Saturday of each month, a chance to see local flair and latest works of the art world.
Photo ops are plentiful throughout the neighborhood, but popular spots include a bridge above train tracks that date back to the pre-Civil War era and the cobblestone alleys once traveled by horse-drawn carriages. For a night on the town, Westside is home to four arts centers that host shows, and a selection of bars, restaurants and music venues. The King Plow Arts Center, Terminal West and the Goat Farm Arts Center are a few options to get you started.
The Old Fourth Ward may be best known for the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic site. This neighborhood, located in the east side of the city, is a shining gem behind a gritty façade. Old Fourth Ward’s main attraction, the childhood home of MLK Jr., is located on Auburn Avenue. The neighborhood is also home to some of Atlanta’s most popular parks and gardens. There’s the Freedom Parkway, which connects to the Carter Center, Grant Park and the award-winning Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Just north of Freedom Parkway, you’ll find a music venue known as The Masquerade, Ponce City Market and the Plaza Theater. For a place to eat, North Highland or Ponce De Leon avenues have a variety of options. From pizza to vegetarian to diner-fare, the Old Fourth Ward has eateries for anyone and any occasion. For nightlife, the intersection of Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue has a nice cluster of restaurants and bars.
The most efficient and scenic way to see Atlanta is the Skyview Ferris, which features luxe gondolas that tower 20 feet above Centennial Olympic Park. Head to the Georgia Aquarium for a fear-inducing swim with whale sharks or see the extremely rare (and adorable) twin baby pandas at Zoo Atlanta. Memorable live entertainment can be found at picnic-friendly Chastain Park Amphitheater, which hosts both daytime and nighttime festivals and concerts, and the legendary Fox Theatre. A half-hour drive east will bring you to iconic Stone Mountain, a quartz dome etched with a Confederate memorial and surrounded by hiking trails and a family-friendly theme park.
There are also many pet-friendly places to go in Atlanta. You can use this list of eight dog-friendly restaurants that we recommend checking out during your stay. You can also walk your dogin these six great destinations in the city.
Home to the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta is a hassle-free travel destination. See all different parts of Atlanta quickly using MARTA, the mass transit system, or take in the scenery at a more leisurely pace with a horse-drawn carriage or trolley tour. Atlanta is a small enough city to find a spacious home brimming with Southern charm, but big enough to find a modern apartment that offers the full urban living experience. Atlanta's diversity will mold to fit whatever your travel wishes may be!
Visit the charming college town of Athens, Georgia, which is an hour and twenty minutes by car from Atlanta. You can walk the grounds of the University of Georgia, which was founded in 1785. Athens has many charming restaurants and cafes, and is a lovely place to walk or ride a bike around. If you are looking for a more natural setting, drive two hours and fifteen minutes north to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Set in the scenic foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is a fantastic place to explore beautiful forests, streams, and waterfalls.
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