UNITED STATES  |  Atlanta, Georgia Travel Guide
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Atlanta, Georgia

Meal at the Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia (cc)
Photo: Zach Klein
 

Atlanta Travel Guide

Introduction

Atlanta is the epic city of the American South. It is where the great American classic Gone With the Wind is set, at least in part. It is where the iconic all-American soft drink Coca-Cola was first offered for sale – back in 1886. It is where media mogul Ted Turner transformed his broadcasting company into the world's largest cable news network, CNN. It is the lead dog of the old Confederacy turned progressive hub of the South. There are Civil War encampments on its periphery, Old South restaurants serving ribs dripping with barbecue sauce in its downtown, and echoes of Martin Luther King, Jr. in its themed Historic District. For culture hounds, there are touring Broadway musicals, the Atlanta Ballet which is the oldest continuously operating ballet company in the nation, the Grammy award-winning Atlanta Symphony, and museums galore – repositories of Civil War memorabilia, Atlanta and Georgia history as well as African-American history, science and technology exhibits, and art ranging from Impressionist paintings to contemporary sculpture. The city is home to three major universities – Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Emory – which infuse it with youthful energy; and, too, it boasts the best business climate of any major city in the U.S., with a GDP of US$270 billion, the 6th-largest in the U.S. and 15th-largest in the world. Atlanta is also the fourth-largest black-majority big city in the nation, which has elected black mayors, exclusively, since 1973.

Location

Atlanta is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the northwestern part of the state of Georgia. It sits on a ridge just south of the Chattahoochee River, straddling the Eastern Continental Divide. Its principal airport, the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is among the busiest in the world.

How to Get There

Atlanta is a major hub for domestic airlines, with virtually all American and several international carriers flying in and out of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In fact, Atlanta is connected to virtually all major American cities by air.

Sightseeing

Main Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Atlanta - Lively city center, brimming with restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs, arts and cultural venues, and historic buildings that have been converted to attractive lofts and apartments that have drawn a young artistic crowd.

  • Peachtree - Main street and heart of Atlanta, which runs north from the south end of Downtown. It's both a microcosm of present-day Atlanta and an archive of yesteryear Atlanta. Margaret Mitchell lived, wrote and died here; America's first Black millionaire first established a business here; and Coca-Cola was first sold here.

  • Midtown - Atlanta's cultural center and an enclave of singles, young professionals and the alternative lifestyle crowd, lying north of Downtown, midway between Downtown and Buckhead. The Woodruff Arts Center which houses the Atlanta Symphony, High Art Museum, Alliance Theatre, the Playhouse with its myriad theater companies, and Piedmont Park which hosts most of the city's festivals and concerts, are all located here

  • Buckhead - Prestigious neighborhood north of Midtown, with million-dollar homes in wooded, hilly settings. There's also a commercial part of Buckhead, with scores of upscale restaurants and shops, and all-night bars, where Atlanta goes to play after hours. The Governor’s Mansion, Atlanta Historical Society, Historic Swan House and the Atlanta History Center are all here.

  • Druid Hills - Affluent residential community, with elegant Tudor, Georgian and traditional two-story mansions lined along winding roads on slopes overgrown with magnolias and dogwoods. Locale of Driving Miss Daisy, and home to Fernbank Museum, IMAX Theater and Emory Village. Close to Emory University.

  • Little Five Points - Atlanta's alternative lifestyle neighborhood, lively, effervescent, and filled with ethnic eateries, head-shops, funky boutiques, and an eclectic crowd. Reminiscent, in many ways, of New York's Greenwich Village. Named for the Five Points intersection between Moreland, Euclid and McLendon avenues,

  • Inman Park - Restored, gentrified, old Atlanta neighborhood, just west of Little Five Points. This is one of the city's premier residential areas, with Victorian-style homes with gazebos and scalloped awnings, and streets lined with shady willow trees.

  • Grant Park - One of the city's oldest neighborhoods, largely built between 1895 and 1915 and restored during the 1970s. It is located east of I-75/I-85, and is home to the Atlanta Zoo.

  • Sweet Auburn - Singularly the most racially integrated neighborhood in Atlanta, centered around Auburn Avenue. Sweet Auburn is particularly popular among African-Americans. Located west of Inman Park.

  • Ansley Park - Just to the north of Midtown, wedged between Peachtree and Piedmont streets, two of Atlanta's busiest streets, Ansley Park is a popular neighborhood that was developed in 1905 as the city's first automobile-oriented community. It is, however, one of the city's most convoluted neighborhoods, and easy to get lost in without a map or guide.

  • Virginia-Highland - Centered around Virginia and North Highland avenues, east of Piedmont Park, this is a neighborhood populated with older homes, small bungalows and houses divided for apartment living, and is home to several young professionals. It has a lively shopping district, and, increasingly, good bars and clubs that have made it the second-most popular nightlife district in Atlanta.

  • Decatur - Historic town with an equally historic town square and stately homes, some 6 miles east of Atlanta. This is also where the Carter Presidential Center and Emory University are located. For the record, Decatur was settled 13 years before Atlanta.

  • Alpharetta - A well-liked bedroom community, some 25 miles north of Atlanta on GA 400/Highway 19, with an historic main street dotted with antique shops, art galleries and coffee shops.

  • Marietta - Large, fast-growing community northwest of Atlanta, with a Southern small town atmosphere. The town has history, occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, and is filled with antebellum mansions, 19th-century Victorians and smaller bungalows. The historic and cultural center of Marietta is The Square, which has shops, old buildings, the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and the Theatre In The Square. The landmark, "The Big Chicken," is also in Marietta.

  • Roswell - An 1830s settlement on the Chattahoochee River, roughly 20 minutes north of Atlanta's Downtown, noted for its store of antebellum homes, as well as several large Tudor, Georgian and Colonial mansions.

How to Get Around

Where to Party

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: April-May and October-November
  • Cost Per Day: $60-$250 (€45-€190)
  • Currency: Dollar USD (€1 ~ US$1.30)
  • Electricity: 120V - 60Hz | T-slot socket with 2 flat parallel prongs and a round pin
  • Phone Code: +1 404 / 678 / 770
  • Population: 420,000 (5.3 million in the greater metropolitan area)

Nearby Destinations

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated November 18, 2013
Posted in   United States  |  Atlanta
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