10 Things to Do in Atlanta Georgia
Atlanta Georgia has many exciting places to visit. There are scenic green spaces like Piedmont Park, unique entertainment venues like Fox Theatre, plus one of the country's best panda exhibits at the zoo. History buffs, shopaholics and night owls will likely all find something to pique their interests: from Civil War museums to the boutiques in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood and the bars of East Atlanta. Families flock to spots like the interactive Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field and the World of Coca-Cola. According to USNews.com, here are the details of their top 10 things to do.
Atlanta History Center —#1
Spread across 33 acres in one of the trendiest neighborhoods of the city Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center seeks to explore Georgia's past through comprehensive exhibitions, historic homes, and miles of gardens and trails. The center's primary facility is the Atlanta History Museum, which showcases exhibits that span the region's history, from Native American culture to life in the antebellum South.
Near the museum is the Swan House, a restored estate originally built in 1928 that gives visitors a different perspective into the city's history. Living up to its name, every room supposedly has at least one swan (motif) in it. Outside of the house, the Swan Woods Trail is lined with beautiful plants native to Georgia. Nearby, you can also see how the other half lived at the Tullie Smith Farm, a plantation house from the mid-1800s: Costumed "farmers" give demonstrations of 19th-century farming techniques throughout the day. Meanwhile, bookworms won't want to miss a tour of the Margaret Mitchell House. In the author's three-story Tudor Revival home, she penned her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Gone With the Wind."
Fox Theatre — #2
The Egyptian-theme Fox Theatre is home to the Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Ballet, but Broadway musicals and different bands also take the stage here. According to the theater's website, the Fox hosts more than 300 performances a year. If you choose to reserve a seat (there are nearly 5,000), you'll also enjoy a feast for the eyes, covering the walls and ceiling: Brilliant colors, a dynamic ceiling—complete with moving clouds and stars—and numerous architectural flourishes await you.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site — #3
For a glimpse of our nation's history, head to the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. There you'll find the modest home where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was born and raised. You can also head over to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once a pastor. And right next to King's grave site, you'll find the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which displays engaging exhibits on the Civil Rights movement. These, along with several other landmarks and museums, are jointly considered a national historic site. Wear comfy shoes because the entire complex is spread out over several city blocks.
Piedmont Park — #4
Adjacent to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Midtown, Piedmont Park is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Picnic areas are plentiful, but make sure to pack your lunch ahead of time; food vendors are only allowed in during festivals and other special events. Paths for biking, walking, and jogging are available, as well as designated sports areas for soccer, bocce, and everything in between.
Centennial Olympic Park — #5
Sandwiched between the Georgia Aquarium and the CNN Center is the Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre patch of land that features lush paths of grass, artwork, pools and fountains. The park was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games and was a centerpiece of the festivities; now, it's one of the most visited areas of the city.
The park is free and open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. One of the most well-known parts of the park is the 251 water jets of the Fountain of Rings. There are four water shows a day, during which the jets are "choreographed" to various songs.
Oakland Cemetery — #6
You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy a visit to the Oakland Cemetery. Situated less than a mile from downtown Atlanta and spanning 48 acres, the cemetery stands not only as a testament to the city's role in the Civil War and the civil rights movement, it's also a prime example of the "rural garden" cemetery movement of the 19th century. Among its winding paths, shade trees and flower shrubs, you'll also find elaborate mausoleums, intricate sculptures and an impressive collection of art and architecture. Amidst the 40,000 graves, you'll spot some well-known Atlanteans, including legends like golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The Confederate Memorial section has some of the most impressive memorials and carvings of the whole cemetery, while Potter's Field has only one monument for the thousands of people who couldn't afford private burial plots.
Stone Mountain — #7
Standing tall in this 3,200-acre park is a massive quartz monzonite mountain etched with the images of three famous Civil War figures: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Visitors like to trek to the top of this "Stone Mountain;" either on a sky ride or with a steep hike.
Some say the park is overpriced, but that's often because they aren't utilizing all it has to offer. Consider yourself warned: There's also a wildlife preserve, a beach, two golf courses, several restaurants, and antebellum plantation onsite that is open to tour. You could easily spend all day exploring the grounds. You should especially stay until the evening in the summer, when the Laser show Spectacular blazes the mountain's carving and the night sky with images representing the South.
Atlanta Botanical Garden — #8
The Atlanta Botanical Garden should be a plant lover's first stop in the city. It covers a magnificent and beautiful 30 acres in the northern corner of Piedmont Park. Be sure to stop by the Fuqua Orchid Center, which features a huge variety of unique high-elevation orchids native to South America. Nearby is the Fuqua Conservatory, home to rare tropical and desert flora, including begonias, palms, hibiscus, and jasmine. You'll also find a wonderful and colorful collection of poison dart frogs within the glass walls of the conservatory.
Turner Field — #9
If you're a fan of baseball, you can't pass up a visit to Turner Field. Original home of the Atlanta Braves, this iconic sports venue is a hit with recent visitors, especially those traveling with young kids, thanks to its ample amenities like face painting stations, batting cages and more than 110 food and beverage vendors. During baseball season, Turner Field can accommodate more than 50,000 fans on game days. However, you don't need to catch a game to explore the stadium. Guided tours offer travelers a glimpse behind the scenes, visiting areas like the locker room and the dugout. Another popular stop on the tour is the Braves Museum & Hall of Fame, which spotlights the players that built the Braves' legacy.
World of Coca Cola — #10
Stop here if you're a fan of the world's most popular soft drink. Sitting near the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola is as it sounds: a museum dedicated entirely to Coke. Visits to the two-level facility begin with exhibits on the drink's historical milestones, its role in pop culture and the bottling process. The older generations in your group will probably enjoy the museum's attention to the company's past, but the kids will probably be most excited for the Taste It! area, where more than 100 different varieties of Coke from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America are available for unlimited sampling. Some recent visitors said the free, limitless samples made up for the pricey admission.