Located just south of the Appalachian Mountains, largely hidden beneath a canopy of trees, Atlanta, Georgia awaits to dazzle you with its Southern culture, hospitality and comfort food.
For such a young city, Atlanta has a rather brimming history. It began in 1836 when the state of Georgia built a railroad terminal in present-day Atlanta. By 1854 it became the central railway hub for the entire southern United States. Ten years later, during the American Civil War, Atlanta was used as an important military railroad and supply hub. The city was the target of a major attack and was set afire. After the War, as the city rebuilt, the population increased dramatically. During the Reconstruction period, Atlanta began to focus on moving away from the old ways of slavery and towards diversifying its economy.
Atlanta has 71 streets with “Peachtree” in the name!
Here are some of my recommendations for sites in Atlanta:
- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site – This is a combination of many landmarks throughout the city such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, where MLK Jr. and his father were pastors, and The King Centre.
- Fox Theatre – This former movie palace was opened in 1929 and has more recently been converted into a performance centre. You can also purchase a ticket to experience the rooftop Marquee Club before a show!
MLK began his college schooling at age 15!
Here’s a Pro-Tip: If you prefer a show with more audience involvement, head to Atlanta Magic Theatre to watch (and participate in) the incredible Peter Morrison’s magic show. Your mind will be blown!
- Atlanta Botanical Garden – A 30-acre paradise of botanical gardens located just outside of Piedmont Park. You can explore the many flowers, shrub and trees giving the “City in a Forest” its name.
- Museums – Atlanta is full of excellent and educational museums to satisfy all interests. I highly recommend stopping at High Museum of Art, Georgia Aquarium and of course the reason Pepsi doesn’t really exist here, the legendary Coca-Cola World!
Pepsi? What is that?
- Stone Mountain Park – You can hike the Skyhike or take Summit Skyride up to the top of the number one visited site in Georgia where you will find the Confederate Memorial a colossal monument carved into the side of the mountain. It took 70 years to construct and is a historical subject of controversy. You will also find a plethora of other activities, including a scenic train ride and laser show.
- Centennial Olympic Park – Built to be the centrepiece for the 1996 Olympic Games, this iconic park is the perfect place for a picnic or to cool off in the Fountain of Rings.
When flying to Atlanta, you will most likely fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This is the largest airport, by acreage, in the world and can be daunting to navigate. You have a few transfer options to make your way to downtown Atlanta. The MARTA train is the most economical option. It will bring you to downtown in about 18 minutes while Ride-Share or taxi are the most convenient choices as they take about 20 minutes but will bring you right to your final destination. Both options, however, are fabulous ways to travel around the city once you are settled.
When deciding where to stay while in Atlanta, you can rest assured that southern hospitality is guaranteed. Some of my favourite luxury stays in Atlanta are the historical Glenn Hotel, The Four Seasons in the vivacious neighbourhood of Midtown and Waldorf Astoria Atlanta in the financial district and affluent neighbourhood of Buckhead. Also in Buckhead is W Atlanta featuring an amazing infinity pool and rooftop bar. The Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown is located in the city centre and displays a variety of art and sculptures while Stonehurst Place offers an eco-friendly stay with their own rainwater system.
BBQ ribs with a blast of the Blues on the side!
A night out in “Hotlanta” is sure to leave you feeling jazzy!
Some of my favourite places to walk around and shop include Little 5 Points and Atlantic Station. Little 5 Points is an artsy neighbourhood with fabulous boutique shops while Atlantic Station will have larger stores such as Target and H & M.
Atlanta, Georgia is a beautiful and diverse city. In Atlanta, the tea is iced and sweet, the peaches are ripe and fuzzy, and the citizens are smiling and friendly!