Whether you’re visiting Atlanta on a business trip and have some time to spare or are taking the whole family to the city for a holiday, there are plenty of sights and sounds to take in, all easily accessible via the excellent Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train line.
Centennial Olympic Park was created for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and has remained one of Atlanta’s premier outdoor spaces, with attractive lawns and fountains, within close proximity to many of the city’s main landmarks.
Grant Park is the city’s largest and most historic district and surrounds its oldest city park. Although it’s now primarily a residential neighbourhood, you can participate in a tour of its beautiful homes (aptly titled the Tour of Homes). The park also hosts an annual summer festival featuring artists’ markets, a fun run, live entertainment, and great food and drink under the shade of oak trees.
Just around the corner from Grant Park is Zoo Atlanta, home to one of the world’s largest captive gorilla populations, and one of only four zoos in the United States that cares for the critically endangered giant panda.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens is renowned for its impressive plant collections, beautifully curated displays and exhibitions of rare plants. This oasis in the heart of Atlanta’s urban midtown is home to 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning children’s garden, a canopy walk through the Storza forests, and a one-of-a-kind edible garden fitted with an outdoor demonstration kitchen.
Museums and historical institutions
Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, sometimes also referred to as the High Museum, it was the first in the world to have work lent from the Louvre in Paris. The museum houses a permanent collection of artworks, ranging from late 19th-century furniture to contemporary European and American paintings, as well as Georgian folk art.
The Ebenezer Baptist Church is part of the MLK Jr Historic District, where visitors can find the boyhood home of Martin Luther King Jr. The church is where both King and his father pastored, and serves to commemorate his legacy.
Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola’s worldwide headquarters, as well as The World of Coca-Cola, a multimedia experience that celebrates the history of Coca-Cola.
The CNN headquarters are also to be found in Atlanta. Visitors can tour the studios to see for themselves what the CNN newsrooms look like behind the scenes.
Atlanta is a shopper’s paradise that rivals the high streets of New York and London. Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza offer everything from high-fashion to high-tech, with over 300 retail outlets.
If outdoor shopping is more your cup of (iced) tea, try out Underground Atlanta. This is a unique urban market that spans six blocks in the heart of Atlanta. As well as shops, it features dining, entertainment and nightlife.
Other shopping districts include Virginia Highlands (known for its restaurants, pubs and galleries), Town Brookhaven (home to both boutique and antique stores) and Little Five Points (a funky bohemian hangout filled with art, theatre, shopping – a perfect place for quirky gifts and trinkets).
The Ponce City Market is to be opened in 2015, located in a restored building - the beloved Sears building - in the city’s old southeast. It will contain a carefully considered mix of dining and shopping, a food hall, rooftop games and amusements, public gathering and performance spaces. It should be a shopping experience not to miss out on.