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Atlanta  is the vanguard of the New South, with the charm and elegance of the Old. It is a city that balances southern traditions with sleek modernism. According to the 2010 Census, Atlanta had 420,003 residents within the city limits and 5.3 million in the metro area. In Atlanta, the peach trees are plentiful and the tea is sweet, yet this city boasts three skylines and the world’s busiest airport. Atlanta has been burnt to the ground and built back up; it has seen the horrors of war and felt the pain of droughts and floods. Atlanta knows rebirth and endurance though, perhaps better than any other city. Atlanta was host to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, gave birth to the greatest figure of the civil rights movement, is the beloved capital of the great state of Georgia, and has become the enduring leader of the American South.
The separated skyscrapers of Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead make Atlanta’s three skylines, and the size of any one of these districts could rival the center of any other city in the South. Atlanta is not all high rises though; each of the city’s urban neighborhoods offer unique atmospheres that are well adapted to living in the shadow of the city.
The most central and commercial area in Georgia (economically and politically), downtown Atlanta includes the state capitol, city hall, the CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium and the New World of Coca-Cola
Just North of Downtown, this is a major business and residential district with tall skyscrapers and a popular nightlife area. This district also includes Piedmont Park, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Georgia Tech campus.
Located several miles North of Midtown, Buckhead is a popular business and nightlife district. Buckhead is surrounded by neighboring Brookwood Hills, as well as Peachtree Battle, Lindbergh Center, and the Governor's Mansion.
The alternative style neighborhood Little Five Points is bordered by trendy Virginia-Highland with nearby Poncey-Highland, as well as the growing community of East Atlanta Village.
Home of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field and one of the busiest airports in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. South Atlanta also contains the neighborhoods of Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, and Lakewood.
Includes Vine City, Bankhead, Historic West End, Collier Heights, and the Upper Westside
The city of Decatur is only a few miles from downtown Atlanta, but has held on to its residential small-town charm. One of the most pedestrian-friendly areas in Atlanta, Decatur is home to many excellent restaurants, bars, and boutique shops.
Located on the Piedmont Plateau in the Northern Georgia, Atlanta is located almost entirely in Fulton County, while a part of the city limits extends into DeKalb County. The area size of the city limits is only 132 sq mi (343 km²), but Metro Atlanta which includes 28 counties has an area of 8,376 sq mi (21,693.7 km²). The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Northwestern boundary of the city limits of Atlanta, is a major source of water throughout the metro area. Aside from the river, the topography of Atlanta is assorted with rolling hills, forests, lakes and ponds, and granite Stone Mountain to the east.
Atlanta is on the Piedmont Plateau, at an approximate elevation of 800 ft - 1900 ft (240 m - 580 m) above sea level. The city is thus somewhat cooler than other places in the US South, a fact that certainly helped the growth of the city before the introduction of air conditioning.
Atlanta experiences a very wide range of temperatures. Temperatures in winter are overall mild to warm, but cold-fronts can bring light accumulations of snow and lows occasionally plummet into the teens. However, days are usually in the 50's and nights in the low to mid 30's. Ice-storms are very rare, but not unheard of. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures frequently reaching above 90°F (32°C), thus the city earning the nickname "Hotlanta". Rainfall is high in late winter and early spring, and afternoon thunderstorms are common in summer. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit. The region is often affected during hurricane season (June 1 to November 30) from remnants that spill out from the Gulf, bringing heavy rains and sometimes high winds.
Atlanta began taking substantive shape in 1837 when the Western & Atlantic Railroad selected the site as the Southern end of its tracks. The town was called Terminus until 1843 when it was renamed Marthasville after the daughter of Gov. Wilson Lumpkin. In 1847, the city was renamed Atlanta, supposedly a feminine form of "Atlantic" probably created by an engineer with the Western & Atlantic. The city was incorporated in 1847.
By the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Atlanta was a major railroad hub, manufacturing center, and supply depot. But, in 1864, in order to cripple transportation between the South and the North, Union General William T. Sherman's army burned all of the railroad facilities, almost every business and more than two-thirds of the city's homes to the ground during his infamous "March to the Sea." Atlanta lay in ruins, the only major American city ever destroyed by war.
Atlanta's first resurgence began soon after. Within four years of Sherman's attack, the Georgia capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta and a drive to attract new business was underway. In the meantime, college and universities began to open, telephones were introduced, and trolleys began to roll. In 1895, the Cotton States and International Exposition in Piedmont Park showed 800,000 visitors and residents that Atlanta was headed in a new direction and braced for the 20th century.
By the late 1920s, a downtown business sector had taken shape, giving Atlanta much of the distinct pattern it maintains today. At the same time, Atlanta Alderman (and later Mayor) William B. Hartsfield campaigned long and hard to convince the city to turn a vacant racetrack into an airport. Today, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the world's busiest airport, with more than 80 million annual passengers.
While the city continued its economic surge, it also became known as the "City Too Busy to Hate." Atlanta and Georgia preempted much of the strife associated with the 1950s and '60s by taking the lead in the Southeast in strengthening minority rights. The city's strongest identification with the movement was through its native son, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Much has been accomplished in the last 25 years to elevate Atlanta to a higher stage in the nation. An efficient public transportation system, MARTA, was put in place, Underground Atlanta was added, the Georgia Dome was built in 1992, and Philips Arena was built in 1999.
From July 20 through August 4, 1996, all eyes were on Atlanta as it hosted the Centennial Olympic Games. The city successfully hosted the biggest Olympic Games ever, showcasing itself to 2 million people in person and 3.5 billion people through global broadcast.
Most recently, Atlanta has become a major conference and convention destination, due mostly to the enormous airport and being the financial hub of the South. Most of the conference venues are located around the Peachtree Center MARTA station in downtown, and when there is a large show in town.
Movies and Television
Atlanta’s southern culture, deep history, and bustling city have been the backdrop for numerous classic films.
- Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Steeped in Confederate politics, a struggle for survival, and unavoidable love intrigues, this film has the rare distinction of being as good as if not better than the classic southern book it is based on.
- Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford, 1989). This film tactfully explores the racial issues of the civil rights-era through the nuances of a relationship between a wealthy white woman and her black chauffer.
- ATL (Chris Robinson, 2006). A coming of age drama set in the hip-hop culture of the modern city.
Atlanta is also the background for the popular television show "The Walking Dead".
- Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (Atlanta Visitor Information), 233 Peachtree Street, NE (Underground Atlanta), ☎ +1 404 521-6600, . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. edit
Atlanta's principal airport is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (IATA: ATL ICAO: KATL)  ("Hartsfield–Jackson," "ATL," or just "the airport" to locals), located about 8 miles south of downtown. Hartsfield-Jackson has been the world's busiest airport since 1999, and is a major hub for Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways. However, its efficient layout means it is also easy to navigate and not as delay-prone as many other hub airports.
On the domestic side, Hartsfield–Jackson is one large building separated into South Terminal (Delta and its partners) and North Terminal (all other airlines), connected by a central Atrium with a smattering of restaurants. The security line is through the Atrium, and because it is centralized, is usually fast; you can check current wait times at .
The gates are in 7 concourses; in order they are T, A, B, C, D, E, and F. To go between concourses, you take an escalator down to a long underground hallway, and take the fast Plane Train, or walk (it's about 1000 feet between each concourse). It's never necessary to leave and then re-enter security, and tight connections are very feasible, assuming you arrive on time.
Concourses E and F are the international concourses, and are where you will go through customs and immigration when arriving from abroad (unless you connected from another U.S. airport). You can be picked up by car directly from the international terminal, or take taxis or some shuttles. For all other ground transportation (rental cars, public transit, and more shuttles), take the free shuttle connector to the domestic terminal or car rental center. When departing on an international flight, you should likewise get dropped off or return to the international terminal to check in.
Hartsfield–Jackson is the terminus of the southern branch of MARTA, the city rail system (see Get around below). For travel to downtown, midtown, or northern Atlanta, this is a convenient and economical way of getting there, although usually one of the slowest. Most MARTA stations have taxi stands, and some hotels have free shuttles which will collect from the nearest MARTA station on telephone request.
Other ground transportation options include taxis, shuttle vans to certain hotels and conference centers, and a car rental center. Taxis are fixed-rate when going to/from the airport and major business areas (Downtown $30, Midtown $32, Buckhead $40; excluding fees); be sure to insist on this fare. The airport is easily accessible from the highways (I-85 for domestic terminals, I-75 for international terminal), and driving or being picked up is one of the fastest ways to or from the airport—just beware the surly police officers who will not let cars linger in the drop-off/pick-up zones.
Although the airport has all the conveniences you'd expect (several for-pay WiFi providers and free access to a few Atlanta web sites, an assortment of slow overpriced restaurants, etc.) there is not much else to see or do. If you find yourself with free time, go contemplate the Zimbabwean stone statues in the underground corridor between Concourses T and A, or check out the scenery in brand-new Concourse F. There are good restaurants scattered throughout the airport; but, if you have ample free time (and we do mean ample), go to Concourses E and F (the international ones) for a better selection of restaurants and nicer atmosphere. The USO has a lounge outside security upstairs from the domestic Atrium (M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 7AM-6PM, Su 7AM-8PM).
Atlanta is served by Amtrak  1-800-872-7245. Amtrak's Crescent train runs daily and serves New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Gainesville, Birmingham and New Orleans. Southbound, the train leaves New York just before 3PM, calls at Atlanta at around 9AM the next day and reaches New Orleans by 8PM. Northbound, the train leaves New Orleans at around 7AM, calls at Atlanta at around 8PM and reaches New York by 2PM the next day.
The Atlanta Amtrak station is located at 1688 Peachtree St. N.W., which is several miles north of downtown and the airport. To connect from MARTA, take bus #23 or #110, which can be transferred to at Buckhead Station and Arts Center Station. There is no on-site parking at the Amtrak station, but Elite Parking  has a surface lot nearby and offers longterm parking at reasonable rates.
Greyhound Bus Lines , 1-800-229-9424, provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the United States. Buses arrive at and depart from the Greyhound terminal at 232 Forsyth Street, located in a less affluent neighborhood on the southern edge of the downtown area and directly beneath MARTA's Garnett Station (see 'Get around' below).
megabus.com, ☎ 1-877-462-6342, . Express bus service to/from Orlando, Memphis, Charlotte, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Montgomery, Mobile and Athens. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1. edit
Bus Bank , 866 428-7226, charters buses and can help plan an itinerary for you or your group when visiting Atlanta. Bus Bank can take you to a number of Atlanta attractions including Olympic Centennial Park, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site, Civil War Museum, Georgia Aquarium, and more locations including university visits.
Atlanta is linked to the rest of the US by the Interstate Highway System. The principal interstates serving the city are I-75 (serving traffic from Detroit to Florida), I-85 (connecting the Mid-Atlantic to New Orleans) and I-20 (connecting Texas to South Carolina), all of which cross through Downtown.
I-285 (commonly called the Perimeter by Atlantans, and the Atlanta Bypass on overhead signs) circles the city at a distance of about 10 miles out, crossing and connecting with all the above freeways as well as the airport.
Free real-time traffic information is available by dialing 511 anywhere in the state of Georgia.
Although most locals rely on their cars for day-to-day transportation, walking and public transit are well suited for visitors. The major downtown neighborhoods are quite walkable, and many attractions are easily accessible from public transit.
If you'll have a car anyway, driving is often the fastest means of getting around. It also opens up destinations that are difficult or impossible to access by public transit. However, having a car in Downtown is often a hindrance where parking is scarce, and the lengthy rush hour is an exercise in frustration.
Visitors will find today's Atlanta very walkable, with many improvements made in the last decade. Most of the in-town neighborhoods are individually easy to walk around, with dense collections of bars, restaurants, and shops. In particular, getting around within Midtown, Downtown, Decatur, Buckhead, or the areas around the North Highland Avenue corridor in East Atlanta (including Virginia-Highland, Poncey Highland, and Little Five Points) is usually quite easy; walking times rarely exceed 10–20 minutes, and buses or trains provide some relief for longer trips. Getting between those neighborhoods solely by foot is more difficult; for example, expect a 30–45 minute walk between Midtown and Virginia-Highland. Inter-neighborhood transportation is best done by car or public transit.
Atlanta is served by MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), +1 404-848-4711, , which operates both rapid rail and bus networks in the city of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton and Dekalb.
A single ride on MARTA costs $2.50; the fare includes transfers. MARTA uses wireless Breeze Cards to store your fare; a new card costs $1.00 but is reloadable and never expires. Breeze Cards are sold in vending machines at all rail stations or at RideStores at Airport, Lindbergh Center, and Five Points Stations. When starting the journey by bus, tap the card at the fare post next to the driver. When starting the journey by train, tap the card at the fare gate; your cash-depleted card will now act as your transfer. When transferring to a bus or train, simply tap your card again. (The card uses RFID technology, so you can leave it in your wallet and just tap your whole wallet on the sensor.)
Buses accept fares in cash, but cannot issue transfers on fares paid in cash — you must have a Breeze Card to obtain the transfer. If you plan to make a connection from bus to train, make sure to get one.
Unlimited passes are available ($9 for 1 day, $19 for 4 days, $23.75 for 7 days). These will easily save you money if you plan on making more than one or two trips per day.
The system is quite safe regardless of the time of day, although there have been a handful of incidents of violent crime in the last decade. Like in any other city or transit system, use common sense, keep aware of your surroundings during low ridership periods, and avoid train cars with no other riders or with only a couple of other riders.
The rail network is comprised of four lines: Red, Gold, Blue, and Green. The Red and Gold lines run north-south, while the Blue and Green lines run east-west, forming a cross with Five Points Station in the center.
The Red and Gold lines run on the same rails from a southern terminus at Hartsfield-Jackson airport through Downtown and Midtown Atlanta, before splitting into two branches: the Red line runs to north metro Atlanta at North Springs Station, and the Gold line runs northeast and terminates at Doraville Station. The Blue line runs from a western terminal at Hamilton E. Holmes to an eastern terminal at Indian Creek. The Green line runs east-west along with the Blue line, but has a small spur to Bankhead station and only goes as far east as Edgewood/Candler Park station. The Five Points station in downtown Atlanta is the only station where passengers may change trains between the Red-Gold and Blue-Green lines. Trains run from 5AM until 1AM Monday-Friday, and from 5AM until 12:30AM on weekends and holidays. Trains run on all lines every 12 minutes during peak periods, and every 20 minutes at night and on weekends. Note that the wait is often shorter than this for trips in the center of the city, as you will not have to wait for any specific train; you could take either the Red line or the Gold line to get from Downtown to Midtown, for example.
The bus network comprises over one hundred different bus routes, with many routes operating approximately every 20 minutes. Bus service on some lines (generally including the most popular tourist areas) runs from 5AM until 1:30AM Monday-Friday and from 5AM until 1AM on the weekends and holidays.Bus Routes
In addition to the train network, there are a few buses which are particularly useful for getting around some of the in-town neighborhoods:
- 110 "The Peach" – This bus traverses Peachtree Street/Road from Downtown to Buckhead. Although most trips along this corridor will be easier and faster using the train, this bus is still especially useful for getting to a destination between Arts Center Station and Buckhead, including the Buckhead Village, which is 20-minute walk from Buckhead Station.
- 36 – Useful connection to Virginia-Highland from Midtown Station. Beyond Virginia-Highland, this bus continues north and then east, stopping at Emory University, then traversing many residential neighborhoods before ending at Avondale Station east of Decatur.
- 16 – Leaves from Five Points Station in Downtown first eastward, passing the Carter Center, then turning onto North Highland Avenue and heading north to Virginia-Highland and beyond into the northeastern reaches of the city. Before turning onto North Highland Avenue, this bus runs roughly parallel to Highland Avenue in close proximity, and it follows North Highland Avenue through its most active areas, so this is a good route to get between destinations along that corridor.
- 2 – Leaves from North Avenue Station heading east and actually operates on two slightly different routes. Most of these follow Ponce de Leon Avenue and head briefly south and east along North Highland Avenue and Freedom Parkway before going along Moreland Avenue (through Little Five Points) and continuing to Edgewood/Candler Park Station. Once an hour, however, the bus will continue along Ponce (instead of turning down North Highland Avenue) and eventually reach Decatur Station. This route is useful for getting to parts of North Highland Avenue and to Little Five Points (both of which will be short walks regardless of which route the bus takes), and the hourly detour can be useful as well for reaching parts of Decatur which are further removed from the MARTA station.
- 12 – Leaves from Midtown Station and heads west along 10th Street past Georgia Tech. Turns north along Howell Mill Road and continues into far northwestern parts of the city. This can be useful for getting to the west end of Georgia Tech campus or for getting to the fairly recently developed West Midtown district (near Howell Mill and Marietta Street and continuing for some time along Howell Mill), where many restaurants, boutique shops, bars, coffee shops, and art galleries are located.
- 1 – Leaves from Five Points Station heading northwest, passes the Aquarium, CNN Center, and World of Coca-Cola (if you don't want to make the 10 minute walk), stops by Georgia Tech, and also passes through West Midtown before heading into far northwestern parts of the city.
- 6 – Runs from Inman Park Station in the East to Lindbergh Station in the North. It first travels along Moreland Avenue (which becomes Briarcliff Road, on which it continues) with stops in Little Five Points (providing a shortcut there if the 10–15 minute walk is too much) offering short walks to much of Poncey Highlands. It also has stops at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control.
Note for weekend travel: MARTA runs slower on the weekends. Typical wait times are 20 minutes for trains and up to an hour for buses. Be sure to accommodate for this.
It is usually possible to flag taxicabs down near tourist attractions and bars in Midtown and Downtown. However, calling ahead is recommended.
24-Hour Taxicab Services:
- Checker Cab, +1 404-351-1111, 
Flat rates to and from the airport are listed on Hartfield-Jackson International Airport's website . Be sure to insist on the flat rate, even if the driver claims no knowledge of it.
Cars are the most popular form of transport to get around the sprawling city, and usually the fastest during non-peak hours. Many destinations outside the urban centers are only accessible by car. Rush hour peaks around 6:30 AM-9:30 AM and 3:30 PM-6:30 PM on weekdays and often results in congestion when traveling inbound in the mornings and outbound in the afternoons. Downtown/Midtown and major shopping districts such as Buckhead can also get crowded on weekends. In the most urban areas, many restaurants and shops in the area offer complimentary or low-cost valet services ($1-3 tip expected) and on the rare occasion where parking is scarce, public lots are usually nearby for a fee. In most of the city, though, parking is free and plentiful. Free road maps are available at . Real-time traffic information is available from the Georgia DOT at  or by dialing 511 from any phone.
Street names in Atlanta are very confusing. There are more than 70 streets that have "Peachtree" in their name, and they are often difficult to distinguish (Peachtree Street, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Circle, etc.). When someone says "Peachtree" without clarifying, they mean Peachtree Street, a major north-south thoroughfare through Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. They do not mean West Peachtree Street, which parallels Peachtree Street a block away.
Making matters worse, Atlanta puts cardinal suffixes on every road, and they are necessary; the same number is sometimes a valid address on two streets that differ only by their suffix. In practice, this isn't usually a problem, and most of the time locals don't bother listing the suffix, but if you see one listed on an address, assume it might be necessary.
Atlanta's top attractions form an eclectic mix that is sure to have something that appeals to everyone, and enough variety to keep the adventurous traveler busy. The highest concentration of exhibits can be found in the Centennial Park Area, where Atlanta's three biggest attractions are located within two blocks of one another: World of Coca-Cola tells the history of the world’s most iconic brand, with plenty of samples to ensure understanding; across the street is the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest by volume of water, where you can swim with the biggest fish of them all, the whale shark; and the CNN Center and Studio Tour, which offers a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run one of the nation’s leading news sources.
Those more inclined to history can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Sweet Auburn, which includes this inspiring leader’s birthplace home, his final resting place, the church where he once gave sermons, as well as a museum and memorial dedicated to his colossal achievements. Civil War buffs will enjoy the 100-year old Atlanta Cyclorama in nearby Grant Park, which tells the story of the Battle of Atlanta through a massive, continuous, circular painting. The largest collection of Civil War memorabilia in the nation can be found at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead, along side a large exhibit memorializing the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
Exhibits of both ancient and modern history can be found near Little Five Points at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, featuring a humbling display of the largest dinosaur ever unearthed, and the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, which is the permanent home of the former president’s Nobel Peace Prize. The Michael C. Carlos Museum, located on the campus of Emory University is an excellent attraction for those interested in the Greek and Egyptian cultures. The museum houses the largest collection of Greek, Egyptian and Near East artifacts in the southeast. Those with more refined tastes can enjoy the High Museum of Art in Midtown, which displays fine art from the last two centuries, as well as modern and contemporary pieces. In Midtown, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)  features rotating design exhibits and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center  offers rotating contemporary art exhibitions. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA)  between Midtown and Buckhead features a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, focusing on Georgia artists. Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Arts  in Downtown has a free exhibition of visual art as well. And finally, Gone with the Wind aficionados can’t miss the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, which preserves the Tudor Revival mansion in Midtown where the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel was written.
Travelers planning to visit multiple attractions may benefit from Atlanta CityPASS , which grants admission to 5 Atlanta attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate and includes expedited entry in some cases. The included attractions are: Georgia Aquarium; World of Coca-Cola; Inside CNN Studio Tour; either High Museum of Art or Fernbank Museum of Natural History; and either Zoo Atlanta or Atlanta History Center.
All types of performing arts can be found in Atlanta, such as the Atlanta Ballet . Founded in 1929, it is the oldest professional dance company in America, the largest self-supported arts organization in Georgia and the official Ballet of Georgia. The company's performances combine contemporary and traditional styles with classic ballets and new choreography. Its annual season is presented at the historic Fox Theatre , including the holiday season favorite "The Nutcracker." The "Fabulous Fox" is worth a visit just to see its grandiose interior, and hosts many plays and concerts throughout the year.
Opera fans can enjoy the Atlanta Opera . Atlanta's love affair with opera has spanned over 125 years of the city's history. Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Opera has won numerous awards both nationally and locally.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  is recognized for its creativity and innovation internationally. It is also known as a wonderful training ground for musicians who go on to stellar careers with other orchestras. Regular orchestral performances can also be caught at the new Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. .
Atlanta has one of the most impressive theater communities in the United States with more than 65 active performance groups. Metro theaters present a variety of new and old works. The New American Shakespeare Tavern  is one highlight; this leading playhouse is the first troupe in America to complete the production of all 38 of Shakespeare's plays. Other highlights include Broadway musicals through Broadway in Atlanta  and Theater of the Stars , improvisation, southern themes, political and human issues, contemporary, classic and, of course, Shakespeare. Check out Alliance Theatre , Dad's Garage , Georgia Shakespeare Theatre , and Theatre in the Square .
Explore the cityscape and enjoy the many pieces of architecture built all around Atlanta, from the skyscrapers of Midtown, to the Downtown skyline, to the houses on Highland Avenue, to the mansions of Buckhead. Inman Park, Atlanta's showcases the city's old Victorian architecture. Other notable architectural attractions include the High Museum of Art and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
Atlanta has a rich assortment of skyscrapers, notable for their modern aesthetic and the abundance of spires. The Bank of america building in midtown rises to a height of 1023 feet making it the tallest office building in the country outside of New York or Chicago. A recent building boom has left Atlanta glittering with dazzling glass skyscrapers, many of which contain some of the most expensive condominiums in the country. That said, the city owes a sizeable portion of its modern cityscape to home-grown architect John Portman. The construction of the icon Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel helped steer Atlanta in a more urban direction. Portman, famous for the development of the hotel atrium also designed numerous other buildings in Atlanta, including the Hyatt Regency, the Marriot Marquis, and AmericasMart.
Atlanta also has a few view points where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the city in Downtown. One of them is the Sundial atop the Westin Peachtree. Another is the Polaris atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (its view is becoming obscured by the growing walls of glass around it), and there is also Nikolai's Roof  on top of the Hilton.
- Atlanta Braves and Turner Field — The Atlanta Braves' regular season takes place April through September at Turner Field in South Atlanta. Check out the Ivan Allen Jr. Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame at Turner Field, both open year-round. The remains of the former Fulton County Stadium where Hank Aaron hit his historic 715th home run can also be seen in the north parking lot.
- Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome — The 1998 NFC Champions, the Atlanta Falcons, gear up each September to kick off the official season in Downtown. The Georgia Dome has hosted numberous events including parts of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Super Bowls XXVIII and XXXIV, the 2006 Sugar Bowl, the NCAA Final Four in 2002 and 2007, and the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl.
- Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena — Covering 4.4 acres, Philips Arena is Atlanta's state-of-the-art multi purpose sports and entertainment complex located in Downtown. The arena is home to the NBA's Hawks and the WNBA's Dream.
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets — The city's most famous university features a popular and highly competitive sports program that competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference. All of the major venues, the best-known of which are Bobby Dodd Stadium for football, Hank McCamish Pavilion for basketball, and Russ Chandler Stadium for baseball, are on the Tech campus in Midtown.
- Atlanta Beat — The second incarnation of the city's women's soccer team joined Women's Professional Soccer in 2010. The Beat play their home games at a brand-new stadium, shared with Kennesaw State University, in the northern suburb of Kennesaw.
- Road Atlanta is the local racetrack, and is host to many major racing events including the annual American Le Mans Series "Petit Le Mans", a ten hour endurance race featuring world class cars and drivers.
- One day in Atlanta — This busy one-day tour will show you the many sides of Atlanta.
- Old South and New South — This tour takes you through the old historical sides of Atlanta and the new rapidly growing areas with postmodern architecture and technology, as well as unique culture.
- Atlanta shopping spree
- Visit Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown and relax by the man-made river, splash in the Fountain of Rings on a hot summer day or go ice skating at the ice rink in the wintertime, attend a concert, and pay respects to the victims of the 1996 Olympics bombing.
- Walk through Piedmont Park in Midtown, the largest park in Atlanta. Attend the Dogwood Festival in the spring time or one of the many musical events.
- Grant Park is the oldest city park in Atlanta and is home to Zoo Atlanta. Historic Oakland Cemetery, also located here, serves as the final resting place for more than 3,900 Confederate soldiers, famous Atlanta author Margaret Mitchell, golfing legend Bobby Jones, six Georgia governors and 25 Atlanta mayors.
- In January and February, look for the city-wide celebration of visual arts with ATLart  and enjoy an early spring at the Southeastern Flower Show  held at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
- In March, Atlanta celebrates Irish Heritage with Downtown Atlanta's St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival,  followed, in April, by the Atlanta Dogwood Festival  staged at Piedmont Park with children's activities, an artist market, and more.
- The Georgia Renaissance Festival  allows people to experience merry olde England during the days of King Arthur.
- Each May celebrates jazz in Atlanta, the Atlanta Jazz Festival  is presented at the Woodruff Arts Center and other venues.
- In June, visitors can experience the Atlanta Film Festival.  The Georgia Shakespeare Festival  presents plays from June through October at the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University.
- The days around Independence Day (July 4) are filled with quite a few celebrations, but the most notable is the Peachtree Road Race, with 55,000 runners and many more spectators.
- The National Black Arts Festival  is held during the third week in July and is the world's largest cultural celebration of African-American art.
- Dragon*Con , held for 4 days over Labor Day weekend, is a massive science-fiction and fantasy convention, although it's grown to be so multi-media and multi-genre that almost anyone can find a topic of interest here. Celebrity actors and writers come from across the world for Q&A panels. The convention is spread across 4 or 5 hotels downtown. Admission is pricey, starting at $40 for 2 days up to $120 at the door for an all-weekend pass. Walking through the hotels is free, though (you just can't attend any panels or enter the dealers' rooms), and the Costume Parade is not to be missed, whether you're on the lookout for Klingons, Storm Troopers, or hobbits.
- The Atlanta Pride Festival  is an October three-day celebration of gay pride held in Piedmont Park.
- Atlanta Celebrates Photography  promotes photography exhibitions and events citywide every October.
- Meet the people of Atlanta while serving alongside them at a Hands On Atlanta volunteer project. 
Atlanta has one of the top 10 retail markets in the US, and the city's neighborhoods are a great place to find antiques, art galleries, arts and crafts stores, thrift stores and boutiques. The city's eclectic shopping neighborhoods include downtown Atlanta, Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, Buckhead and Midtown.
Buckhead is home to more than 1,400 retail stores. Lenox Square  and Phipps Plaza  offer the most concentrated collection of upscale stores available anywhere in the city including Barneys CO-OP, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Jil Sander, Gucci, Cartier, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton. The Midtown Mile  is a stretch of Peachtree Street in Midtown that offers street level retail shopping. It's on schedule to be complete in 2009, but many shops are currently open. Atlantic Station  also offers plenty of retail options.
If your interest lies in smaller, specialty, boutique or vintage stores, try Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, and East Atlanta Village. Wax 'N Facts is a popular store in Little Five Points that actually still sells vinyl records. Bill Hallman Boutiques are also a neighborhood staple, providing fashion forward clothing for Atlanta's social set.
Underground Atlanta is six city blocks in the heart of downtown Atlanta transformed into a spirited marketplace that offers historic guided tours and features restaurants, specialty stores, entertainment emporiums and street-cart merchants.
Street vendors are common in Downtown, especially in the Five Points neighborhood. You can also find large assortment of trade retailers at AmericasMart.
Affordability, variety of restaurants, culinary diversity and award-winning chefs are key ingredients that earn Atlanta a place at the table with other popular culinary cities. An assortment of neighborhoods offers an array of restaurants featuring cuisine that spans the globe, serving something for every taste.
During the past few years, several celebrity chefs have traveled south to call Atlanta home. Drawn to the quickly growing culinary scene, these chefs have been welcomed with open arms and some true southern hospitality.
- Spice Market, 188 14th Street, NE ([[Atlanta/Midtown#Eat|Midtown]], inside the W Hotel), ☎ +1 404 549-5450, . Breakfast M-F 6AM-10:30AM, Sa-Su 7AM-11AM; Dinner Mo-We 5:30PM-10PM, Th-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM. World-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten moved camp from New York to Atlanta and brought with him a new branch of this 3-star Big Apple restaurant, Spice Market. Located at the W Hotel in Midtown, the restaurant features family-style Asian-infused cuisine. Breakfast $10-17, dinner mains $16-34. edit
- Home, 111 West Paces Ferry Rd, ☎ +1 404 869-0777 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 404 869-0777), . Top Chef finalist Richard Blais combined traditional Southern flavors with contemporary techniques to create dishes like buttermilk pancakes with foie gras. He then departed and started "Flip Burger Botique." $31-$50. edit
Contemporary Southern Cuisine
What better place to travel than to the heart of Atlanta to experience Southern cuisine at its finest?
- Bacchanalia, 1198 Howell Mill Rd ([[Atlanta/Midtown#Eat|Midtown]]), ☎ +1 404 365-0410, . M-Sa 6PM-close. Ranked #1 in Atlanta by the Zagat Guide for seven years straight, Bacchnalia uses only the best organic and small-farm produce from its own Summerland Farm. Chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison also received the coveted James Beard award for “Best Chef in the Southeast.” $75 (prix fixe menu). edit
- Canoe, 4199 Paces Ferry Road, NW ([[Metro Atlanta/Northwest#Eat|Vinings]]), ☎ +1 770 432-2663 (email@example.com), . M-Fr 11:30AM-2:30PM (lunch), Su 10:30AM-2:30PM (brunch), M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5:30PM-9:30PM (dinner). Tucked away along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Canoe has been recognized by Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Gourmet and The New York Times for its excellent Southern cuisine. $11-$32. edit
- JCT. Kitchen & Bar, 1198 Howell Mill Rd, Ste 18 ([[Atlanta/Midtown#Eat|Midtown]], inside Atlanta's Westside Urban Market), ☎ +1 404 355-2252, . Lunch M-Th 11AM-2:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-2:30PM; Dinner M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Inspired by the “junction” of railroad lines near its home base, this restaurant infuses the down-home style of a country meal with the sophistication of a French bistro. $16-$29. edit
- Restaurant Eugene, 2277 Peachtree Rd ([[Atlanta/Buckhead#Eat|Buckhead]], at the Aramore condos), ☎ +1 404 355-0321, . M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5:30PM-10PM. Chef Linton Hopkins and his wife Gina run this small, family-style restaurant that features a menu sprinkled with staple Southern ingredients. The restaurant has been ranked among Atlanta’s Top 10 by Atlanta Magazine, Atlantacuisine.com and Atlanta Business Chronicle. $12-46. edit
- South City Kitchen, 1144 Crescent Ave ([[Atlanta/Midtown#Eat|Midtown]]), ☎ +1 404 873-7358, . M-Th, Su 11AM-3:30PM & 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-3:30PM & 5PM-10:30PM. Fifth Group Restaurant®’s South City Kitchen provides an accurate reflection of contemporary new Southern cuisine with a sophisticated spin. The restaurant is consistently recognized for its award-winning food, wine list and service including being listed as Best Restaurant in Midtown by Atlanta Magazine. A new location recently opened in Vinings GA, northwest of the city. $15-$36. edit
Atlanta Dining Landmarks
Be sure to check out these classic Atlanta icons.
- Pittypat's Porch, 25 Andrew Young International Blvd ([[Atlanta/Downtown#Eat|Downtown]]), ☎ +1 404 525-8228 (fax: +1 404 524-0471), . M-Su 5PM-close. Experience the Hollywood glamour of Southern belles and fancy gentlemen at this restaurant named after Scarlett O’Hara’s hospitable aunt in Atlanta’s own Gone with the Wind. $14-29. edit
- Dante's Down the Hatch, 3380 Peachtree Rd, NE ([[Atlanta/Buckhead#Eat|Buckhead]]), ☎ +1 404 266-1600, . M-Su 4PM daily. A Buckhead fondue spot with a nautical theme, live crocodiles and jazz performances six nights a week. edit
- The Varsity, ([[Atlanta/Midtown#Eat|Midtown]]), . Established in 1928, The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant and serves greasy chili dogs and locally renowned frosted orange drinks. edit
- The Sun Dial, ([[Atlanta/Downtown#Eat|Downtown]]), . Located 723 feet above downtown Atlanta, this revolving restaurant gives a 360 degree view of the city and serves excellent entrées, wine and desserts. Lunch mains $13–20, dinner mains $30–60. edit
- R.Thomas Deluxe Grille, ([[Atlanta/Buckhead#Eat|Buckhead]]), . With its trademark windmills, bells, birds, lush plants, and Peachtree St. location, it is hard to miss this fixture of the Atlanta dining scene. This is probably the only restaurant in town where a vegan and a burger lover can eat together and both be happy. Favorites - the grilled-not-fried wings, the french toast, and all the smoothies. $11-19. edit
Fast Food Chains
In much of the South, and particularly in Atlanta, all soft drinks are referred to as "Coke." Due to the ubiquitous advertisements and broad popularity of the product, Coca-Cola has transformed the modern southern colloquial for anything carbonated into simple "Coke." If you sit down and order a "Coke," expect to be asked "what kind?" This cultural practice is maintained even to the extreme of ordering a Pepsi by saying "I'll have a Coke...a Pepsi please." The epicenter of this peculiar practice is Atlanta of course, because the world headquarters for Coca-Cola are downtown.
A true staple of southern culture, sweet tea can be found at almost any restaurant in Atlanta. In most places an order for "tea" will be assumed to mean "sweet tea"; hot or unsweetened tea need to asked for specifically. A popular variant to a glass of sweet tea is an arnold-palmer, a half and half mix of iced tea (either sweetened or unsweetened) and lemonade, named after the famous golfer who popularized it. "Arnold-palmer" is a bit of a tongue twister, so ordering a "half iced tea and lemonade" is common.
With fun and unique attractions, renowned restaurants and top-of-the-line hotel experiences, Atlanta keeps the party going from day to night. With chic style in Buckhead, alternative scene in Little Five Points, a casual atmosphere in Virginia-Highland and a trendy vibe in Midtown, Atlanta nightlife suits every style of letting loose. Since each district has so many options, you will want to visit each discrict article for a more detailed listing.
Buckhead is still the most popular nightlife district for locals and out-of-towners alike. Andrews cafe  and Aiko Lounge  are among the most popular dance clubs in Buckhead among 20's and 30's singles, while an older crowd can be seen at the Beluga Martini Bar. The Buckhead clientele is mostly of an upscale crowd, so be sure to dress to impress.
Midtown is the spot if you're looking for the urban vibe with diverse a crowd of 20's and 30's, many of them are college students, locals, transplants from out of state and foreign countries. This is also a gay and lesbian friendly area.
Downtown has a few options for nightlife as well. Many of the Downtown watering holes can be found in Kenny's Alley  in Underground. The Fairlie-Poplar district has a few neighborhood bars as well. Stats  is an ideal sports bar to watch a game located near Centennial Olympic Park.
Other popular clubs throughout the city include The Masquerade  and MJQ Concourse. All areas of the city also have plenty of pubs and taverns, such as Fado Irish Pub Fado  in Buckhead, Shakespeare Tavern  in Midtown, and Highland Tap  in Virginia-Highland.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
Most of Atlanta's major hotels are located downtown between Five Points and Midtown in area with a name that is easy to remember: the Hotel District. The district is in the heart of Atlanta's economic and political center and is within walking distance to many of the major tourist attractions, including the Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the CNN Center.
Rapidly growing Midtown, the center of Atlanta's business district as well as many high-rise luxury condos is nearby many museums and theaters. If you're looking for boutique hotels that are near a thriving urban setting, Midtown may be the area for you.
Once the heart of Atlanta's nightlife, Buckhead is still home to several upscale hotels, which are close to the area's shopping and dining districts.
If you're staying in Atlanta without a car, you'll have the best time if you stay around Midtown or Downtown, which offer central, easy access to MARTA. Both areas have many excellent bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions accessible by foot. The big-name hotels in these parts of town are close to train stations and bus routes, making access to most interesting parts of town quick and hassle-free. Buckhead and Decatur Buckhead are other options with good access to transit, but not as many tourist attractions in the area (and in the case of Decatur, not many hotels to choose from).
If you plan on renting an apartment, good places to look include Midtown a few blocks from Peachtree Street between the Arts Center and North Avenue MARTA stations, and around North Highland Avenue south of Virginia Avenue (including Little Five Points).
Despite Atlanta's reputation, the city is not as dangerous as many perceive it to be. The crime rate has dropped during the late 1990s and 2000s and reached a near forty-year low in 2005. While violent crime levels are still high compared to most American cities, most of the violence is related to the drug trade, and takes place in parts of the city visitors seldom see.
Usual precautions should be taken, as in any other major city, such as not traveling alone at night and being aware of which neighborhoods are more prone to crime. In Atlanta, the southwest and southeast areas have reported the most incidents of crime; the triangle created by I-285, I-75, and I-20 in particular is a dangerous neighborhood. Car theft is exceptionally high by national standards. Outside of the perimeter, crime rates are significantly lower (except Dekalb County).
Atlanta area codes are 404, 770, 678, and 470. All 10 digits of the phone number are required when making local calls.
- Argentina, 245 Peachtree Center Ave Ste 2101, ☎ +1 404 880-0805 (consuladoargentinoatlanta.org, fax: +1 404 880-0806), . edit
- Australian Consulate-General and Trade Commission, 3353 Peachtree Rd NE Ste 1140, Atlanta Financial Center, ☎ +1 404 760-3400 (fax: +1 404 760-3401), . edit
- Belgium, 230 Peachtree St NW Ste 2710, ☎ +1 404 659-2150 (Atlanta@diplobel.fed.be, fax: +1 404 659-8474), . edit
- Brazil, 3500 Lenox Rd NE, One Alliance Center Ste 800, ☎ +1 404 949-2400 (fax: +1 404 949-2402), . edit
- Canada, 1175 Peachtree St, 100 Colony Square Ste 1700, ☎ +1 404 532-2000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 404 532-2050), . edit
- Denmark (Honorary), 1100 Spring St Ste 500, ☎ +1 404 876-5511 (email@example.com, fax: +1 404 875-2629), . edit
- France, 3399 Peachtree Rd NE Ste 500, The Lenox Bldg (corner of Lenox Rd and E Paces Ferry Rd NE), ☎ +1 404 495-1660 (fax: +1 404 495-1661), . edit
- Germany, 285 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Marquis Two Tower Ste 201, ☎ +1 404 659-4760 (fax: +1 404 659-1280), . M-F 9AM-noon. edit
- Greece, 3340 Peachtree Rd NE, Tower Place Ste 1670, ☎ +1 404 261-3313 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 404 262-2798), . edit
- Japan, 3500 Lenox Rd, One Alliance Center Ste 1600, ☎ +1 404 240-4300 (email@example.com, fax: +1 404 240-4311), . edit
- New Zealand (Honorary), 513 Seminole Ave NE, ☎ +1 404 745-4551 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 404 525-2495). edit
- Philippines (Honorary), 3340 Peachtree Rd NE Ste 850, ☎ +1 404 239-5747 (fax: +1 404 233-4041). edit
- Switzerland, 1349 W Peachtree St NW, Two Midtown Plaza Ste 1000, ☎ +1 404 870-2000 (email@example.com, fax: +1 404 870-2011), . edit
- United Kingdom, 133 Peachtree St NE, Georgia Pacific Center Ste 3400, ☎ +1 404 954-7700 (fax: +1 404 954-7702), . edit
Inside the Perimeter
In Atlanta vernacular, "ITP" refers to everything inside I-285 which makes a loop around the city's far edges. A few cities, which are distinct from Atlanta proper, also reside ITP.
- Decatur is easily mistaken for an in-town neighborhood of Atlanta , but is in fact the largest of Atlanta's neighbors and sits a quick 15 minutes east on Dekalb Ave. Decatur has retained its small city feel and relaxed pace, despite its proximity to the giant metropolis.
- East Point is home to many well known hip-hop and R&B groups as well as a burgeoning fine arts community, and is located south-west of Atlanta's neighborhoods.
- College Park is a small town south of East Point and adjacent to Hapeville and the airport in South Atlanta.
Outside the Perimeter
Many towns in the greater Atlanta area reside "OTP" but remain closely associated with the city.
- Marietta is half an hour north-west on I-75 and home to Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum and Six Flags White Water.
- Kennesaw is just beyond Marietta on I-75 and is home to a Civil War battlefield, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in addition to Kennesaw State University and the Museum of History and Holocaust Education.
- Stone Mountain is one of Georgia's most unique attractions, and is just half an hour to the east. Visitors can hike up the mountain or take a cable car to the top.
- Austell is half an hour to the west and is home to Six Flags Over Georgia. Goliath, the tallest roller coaster in the Southeast, can be found here.
- Helen — A mountain town created to resemble an Alpine village. Popular in the fall for viewing autumn leaves, and the largest and longest Oktoberfest in the Southeast. Also neaby is Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls, as well as Sautee-Nacoochee Valley.
- Dahlonega — Once the location of Georgia's own gold rush. Visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum and try your luck finding some of your own gold. Also located in Dahlonega is Wolf Mountain Vineyards , which offers a perfect get-away to taste award winning wines and enjoy a beautiful scenery. The vineyards and winery provide the perfect setting for Sunday brunch, café lunch, and gourmet dinners.
- Savannah — A 4 hour drive, but well worth it. The downtown is a historical district with many parks, squares, and historic architecture.
- Hampton — Home to the Atlanta Motor Speedway, an 870-acre racing complex hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series events in March and October. In addition to the race weekend, the facility hosts events ranging from driving schools, Thursday Thunder Legends racing, Friday Night Drags, Car Shows and many others.
- Chatahoochee River Fun — Sixteen recreation areas along a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River  have been designed to conserve the river and provide outdoor entertainment for the whole family. In addition, the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell offers education environmental programs, canoe trips and other recreational activities.
- Outdoor Adventure Club of the South — Atlanta's premiere outdoor adventure and social club. OAC South  offers dozens of outdoor and social events around the metro Atlanta area every month. Hiking, biking, backpacking, climbing, water sports, and more.
- Lake Lanier Islands — The closet beach to Atlanta can be found at Lake Lanier Islands Resort , with its lakefront beaches, water park, golf courses, boating, spas, and more.
- Chateau Elan Winery and Resort — Chateau Elan , a 16th-century-styled French retreat, is just 30 minutes north of Atlanta in the town of Braselton, and has a festive atmosphere that encourages guests to tour the vineyards, visit the winery, have lunch at a sidewalk café and play a round of golf.
- Barnsley Garden Resort — Barnsley Garden Resort  is a beautiful hotel and resort in Adairsville, Georgia with lush gardens, cabins and a Zagat-rated golf course.
- Callaway Gardens — Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia Callaway Gardens  is a premier vacation spot with tons of activities for the entire family.